Monday, March 31, 2008

One for you, one for me. Two for you, one two for me.

Bugs Bunny in "Racketeer Rabbit"

That gag about counting the money is priceless, and something worth implementing in your daily money interactions with others. It was also used to greater beatnik effect in a Cool Cat cartoon released more than two decades after "Racketeer Rabbit," but that is often hushed up by the industry. Cool Cat does not get much play these days. In 1967, though, he was a star.

No he wasn't.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

More from John's Legendary Visit

And more photos from John's legendary visit here.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Dissipative Qualities of Earth Q

The first issue of Alan Moore's Promethea has one of my favorite story titles of all time, a tagline that can be seen on both covers for the issue. Here's the one by Alex Ross:

"If she did not exist, we would have to invent her." It is hard to argue with that. She didn't exist. Then she got invented. Ergo Ipso And because Promethea is an exploration of the relationship between fiction and reality, among lots of other things, that sentiment is implied as being typical of the creation of fictional characters. This can be tested in the comfort of your own home with a simple experiment. Think of a character, say, Superman, and then ask yourself the following questions:

1. Did Superman exist? (no)
2. Did we invent him? (yes)

That's science.

Now, what happens when the fictional characters themselves begin to fiddle around with such conceits? If you read this week's All-Star Superman #10, you already know the answer: We-almost-we-not-we end up inventing them again. Brought to you by Grant Morrison, the author who has gone on record as intending to bring sentience to a comic book universe.

Morrison's latest stab at getting comics to think for themselves, or at least get the Real World Coincidence/Corollary Count (RWC/CC) up to a good half-dozen instances per issue, is a story that features Superman creating a world without him, in the form of the manufactured miniature universe of Earth Q, to see how people handle things without him around to protect them. And, spoiler alert: in a world where there is no Superman, an artist in the almost-1930's-not-1930's ends up creating the original comic version of Superman seen (in our universe) in Action Comics #1.

That is, in and of itself, a nice celebration of the creative efforts of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, but this issue of All-Star was released on March 26th, the same day that a judge ruled that the copyright of the Superman material in Action Comics #1 be restored to the Siegel family, making the whole thing an even more interesting bit of synchronous simulacrum.

And as if that was not enough to convince you that Superman is real and he is coming to your house RIGHT NOW, another scene in the issue shows Superman visiting some sick children, a sequence with thematic analogs to a charity auction being done by the Superman blog "Say It Backwards."

And those two separate instances on the RWC/CC were clear after they were pointed out to me, but you know what the first thing I noticed was after reading All-Star Superman #10?

Superman observes himself and writes down his entire eight billion letter genetic sequence, only two weeks after the special edition of Gattaca was released on Blu-ray and DVD. I can guarantee you that something about that is insane, and in true quantum fashion, I am willing to concede that the insanity is in the observation.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Grind-My-Gears Pop Music Friday

Kylie Minogue's tenth studio album, X, is being released in the US on April 1, four months after its international release. And not being able to...hear my...gears?

Ah, I done heard it, and the only US addition to the album sounds like a good excuse to just stick with the import.

  • KYLIE TO APPEAR ON THE TODAY SHOW - MONDAY MARCH 31ST Multi-Platinum Kylie Minogue will visit the U.S. the week of X's release starting March 31st with an exclusive, live, gear-grinding interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show at 8:30 am EST (check your local listings for times)
  • KYLIE ON ABC'S 'DANCING WITH THE STARS' ON TUESDAY APRIL 1ST! The pop icon will make a very special performance on ABC's hit show Dancing With the Stars, where she will perform "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" and the first single for the US, the gear-grindingly hip-hopified "All I See"!
Until today, I just thought the singles that were coming out were doing so globally, but I guess not. It's not like anyone would notice that MTV wasn't playing the video for "Wow," even if it had been a US single.

Or like that time when Natasha Bedingfield released the US version of her album, but left off the best UK single, or at least the best single about wanting babies. For a while I thought she was saying "I wanna have your babies/I'm serious like rabies" and that was even better. That ground my gears a little bit, too, being wrong about that, but things are better now.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sharbat Gula will teach you about mortality.

"The primary characteristic of this universe lies precisely in the inability to use categories of the real to speak about it." - Jean Baudrillard

I have been trying to wrap my head around that quote for the better part of a week, but it is just not coming together for me, so I've decided to just shoehorn a meaning in there and see what happens. So, starting now, the meaning of Baudrillard's quote is that back issues of X-Men (categories of the real) will never be able to accurately express ideas of mortality.

But they sure do try!

One great melodramatic example of this is in X-Men #31, which was reviewed yesterday at Not Blog X. This issue focuses on Psylocke, a British-born telepath who switched bodies at one point with a ninja assassin (Kwannon). A ninja assassin who was in love! But then there was that bodyswap and later she caught the Legacy Virus and I guess she died after that, but who really cares, right? If the creative team wanted her back, she could be in the next issue, fit as a fiddle with a line of dialogue as simple as "I got better." But let's say we were to take some dialogue between Kwannon and her lover from that issue of X-Men and use it on the cover photo from National Geographic's June 1985 issue. Then would we be accurately expressing ideas of mortality?

I dare say yes! And then I dare you to click on the photo to see what that young girl looks like today. And by today I mean six years ago.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Godnobbedy Good"

"Cluckin' Chicken" commercial parody from Saturday Night Live

I saw this sketch at an impressionable age, and that cartoon chicken has one of those funny voices that really stuck with me. I probably speak in a Clucky-like voice at least once a week, usually when some chicken is delicious.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Incredibly True Facts About Shayne Lamas

Here are some bullet-pointed, incredibly true facts about Shayne Lamas, none of which I have made up:
  • Shayne's father, Lorenzo Lamas, often refers to Shayne as his "little renegade."
  • Shayne has a gambling problem. Let me rephrase that: Shayne is awful at gambling.
  • When Shayne is wearing her huge sunglasses, no one can see her or hurt her emotionally.
  • Like many people, Shayne likes to enhance a dating experience with alcohol, a process known as "social lubrication."
  • Except Shayne just calls it "lubridating."
  • Really.
  • Shayne paints her nails black because of peer pressure.
Remember, all of these facts are incredibly true, because it is irresponsible to make up stuff about people you don't know and post it on the internet.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Unyielding Terror of the Star Sharks

A lot of really terrifying things have a built-in safety mechanism that make them inherently less terrifying, like how velociraptors are terrifying, but also they are extinct. With sharks, this safety mechanism is that sharks are pretty scary in water, but hilarious when on land. It's all moot, now, though, because apparently sharks also hail from the stars, and that is the kind of terror that is unyielding.

That's the most unyieldingly terrifying thing I've ever seen, and its head isn't even visible! Imagine that thing popping up and...

Whoa! Not only that, but did you catch what Alex said above about the star sharks (or starsharks for short)? They aren't just sharks, they are also living attack craft used by the Brood, a race that behaves exactly like xenomorphs. Essentially, the scariest movie monsters from 1979 are driving around space in the scariest movie monster from 1975, showing up to fight the X-Men as the scariest supervillian team-up of 1987. And while that may have been more than two decades ago, starsharks are still out there. If you look up at the stars on a clear night, you can still see the unyielding terror, soaring majestically, waiting for its chance to eat your shit.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I went on a float trip today, but in a parallel universe I stayed home and did a huge post about polar bears.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Where's my rabbit-stabbing knife?"

John is coming back into town today, on vacation from learning about geodosic rock formations and working on a cook line, which, if it's anything like Anthony Bourdain says it is, can be kind of grueling:
Line cooking is about consistency, about mindless, unvarying repetition, the same series of tasks performed over and over and over again in exactly the same way. The last thing a chef wants in a line cook is an innovator...Chefs require blind, near-fanatical loyalty, a strong back and an automaton-like consistency of execution under battlefield conditions.
That, from Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential, is probably a good stab at describing most jobs. And speaking of stabbing, here's a scene from the television series Kitchen Confidential, a documentary of the book with footage that happened in real-time:

Kitchen Confidential

It was canceled after four episodes aired in 2005, although I'd have to believe that John would get picked up for a second season if given the chance. I'll be sure to follow him around with a camera this weekend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim

Casting Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim is a bad idea. But you know what else was a bad idea? Michael Keaton as Batman. And yet Batman is a great movie. A great movie that should have been called Michael Keaton: Vigilante Jones, because the character is basically Michael Keaton pretending to pay attention to what the people around him are doing while wearing a Batsuit that does not swivel at the neck. Also he likes to buy things in Japan and sleep upside down, which is like, come on, people, that is exactly what a robot would do if he were trying to convince people he was Batman!

The Scott Pilgrim movie could be great in the same way, a fun movie that has little to do with the source material. Michael Cera could do that thing where everyone around him gets really worked up about something and he stutters. And though the main plot of Scott Pilgrim is how Scott has to fight "seven evil ex-boyfriends" to impress a girl, maybe they can have another character not played by Michael Cera do that now.

So, if you liked the mischief Michael Cera got into in the back-to-back smash hits Michael Cera Gets Drunk and Scores and Michael Cera 2: Michael Cera Knocks Up Shadowcat, and also you don't even know who Scott Pilgrim is, you should be excited about Michael Cera's Precious Little Life 3: Scott Pilgrim Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Utah Saints - Something Good

"It was the freshest move I'd ever he was floating on air!"

Everything I need to know about Lorenzo Lamas' daughter I learned from watching The Bachelor.

Shayne Lamas, Bachelorette and Bonne Vivante

Being attractive serves as a natural advantage in life. People just tend to respond more favorably to those who are beautiful, and to give them what they want. This is because, hey, you never know, a beautiful person might just sleep with you if you keep it up with that favorable responding. And as the old maxim goes, "A person who doesn't give preferential treatment to a hottie dies a thousand death, but a person who got to sleep with a hottie dies but one."

Of course, this leads to little resistance in the life of a beautiful person, and without challenges or adversity, the souls and potential talents of those who are blessed with looks tend to wither and die. That, or the beautiful person overcompensates by trying to be extra nice and humble, and also trying new things with gusto, and all that can be pretty insufferable, too. Life is rough!

Now, most people who take care of themselves are attractive in some way or another, and everybody has days when they are just 'on' and things work out for them. But there is a certain category of "beautiful" that, if a person is in it, they will meet with absolutely no resistance in their lifetime outside of getting their run on General Hospital extended past 18 episodes.

Shayne Lamas is in this category. And it certainly does not help that she is the daughter of someone else who is also in this category. But now she is doing her best to find true love, ABC-style. Although it doesn't help there that she completely dominates news coverage about the current season.

Really, though, she doesn't NEED any help. Even in the ideal numbers situation of 24 single attractive women (and a token crazy) doing their best to impress you, it is still your job to impress a girl like Shayne. ABC has done all the heavy lifting for current The Bachelor Matt Grant by paying Shayne's per diem, but Grant still has to maintain a modicum of interest from Shayne, same as Brad had to for Bettina and Travis had to for Sarah. Then, after the overnight dates with the final three bachelorettes (Amanda R., Erin H. and Shayne), Grant can cut her, because impressing beautiful people after you have slept with them is exhausting and not that lucrative.

When you really think about it, the point is that the most beautiful person in the room will consistently finish third, both on The Bachelor and in life.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's a Neil Patrick Harris Monday!

Everyone knows that Barney Stinson, Neil Patrick Harris' character on How I Met Your Mother (new episode tonight), has got a certain way with the ladies. But he's not the only character NPH has played who knew how to seduce a woman:
Clip from Doogie Howser, M.D.

But does he even remember that moment? Let's ask him:

He does not. And now I wonder whose wife he's talking about.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mom Jeans: Fact or Menace?

Top Cow Productions released some promotional artwork for their upcoming Broken Trinity event yesterday, a great illustration by Kenneth Rocafort of Witchblade-wielder Sara Pezzini. And I think he drew her wearing mom jeans:

I could be wrong about that, though. As far as I know, Pez IS a mother (maybe, I don't really read a lot of Witchblade these days), so in one sense, any jeans she puts on are going to be "mom" jeans. However, in order to get a better sense of what really makes a pair of jeans "mom jeans," I decided to consult a promotional employee manual distributed by Express in 2002. It was less than helpful:

No closer to the truth, I watched the following investigative report:

"Mom Jeans" commercial parody from Saturday Night Live

Those are extreme examples of mom jeans, but does room exist in the spectrum of denim fits for a more demure pair of jeans for the discriminating mother, a fit like Slim Bootcut Mom or Mother's High-Rise Flare? I...I...don't even know what to believe in anymore.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Stride Gum really IS my kryptonite.

In the chewing gum world, only two things matter. One is image. The other is ridiculously long-lasting flavor. And if you have been watching Smallville lately, you know that the gum with the coolest image and the ridiculously longest-lasting flavor is Stride. You know this because developments in Stride culture are now the only thing the characters talk about.

One thing that does not matter in the chewing gum world, however, is quality control. The Stride gum factories in Metropolis, for instance, have a severe problem with kryptonite getting into various batches of Stride (which, compared to every other business and residence in the Metropolis/Smallville regional area, is not so bad, really, because kryptonite gets into just about everything in a 200-mile radius). The promotional strategy to combat potential negative publicity from kryptonite gum is an effective one: A lot of One Republic shows are held in the Stride gum factory, sometimes as many as two a week!

With integrated brand promotion that good, you could put arsenic in your gum and still outsell Trident! Not that Cadbury-Schweppes, the company that makes both Stride and Trident (and more importantly Cadbury Eggs), really cares which brand of gum outsells the other brand they ALSO make. You know who does care about that, though? Advertising Principles professors who assign you (me) to write about the sales strategies for Trident gum. I tell ya, I really thought Stride and Trident were the same brand, but it turns out they are way different (Trident is for old people, apparently).

Keeping in mind that I could not tell Stride and Trident gum apart even when I was specifically assigned to tell them apart, the ad wizards at Cadbury-Schweppes must have realized that the only way to get me to care about gum is to have Superman flat-out tell me to chew it.

Actually, it might be best to have Laura Vandervoort tell me, but that's splitting Kryptonian hairs. Pass the Forever Fruit Stride!

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Grind-My-Gears Key Party Friday

You know what really grinds my gears? That Nick can't see this in Taiwanland.
"Key Party" sketch from Saturday Night Live

You know what else really grinds my gears? That SNL ever used the character of Carol again. Once was plenty.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Britney's New Avatar

The video for Britney Spears' "Break the Ice," the third single from her album Blackout, was officially released today, and it features what one can only assume is an animated version of Britney by way of Aeon Flux. To say that this new avatar is a bit out of proportion to how Britney actually looks these days would be accurate but not entirely fair, since the animated version would look idealized next to anybody, even Britney six years ago. As it turns out, though, one of my particular criticisms of Blackout when it came out specifically had to do with lyrics on "Piece of Me," wherein Britney states "I'm Mrs. Lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous/I'm Mrs. Oh-my-god-that-Britney's-shameless/I'm Mrs. Extra-extra-this-just-in/I'm Mrs. She's-too-big-now-she's-too-thin." Maybe I just was not as up on my celebrity gossip as some, but I asserted that no where had it ever been stated that Britney was too thin. Despite the fact that it took a cartoon to get us here, that is now a patently false observation on my part, to which all I can say is this: Well-played, Spears.

For a project like this, I think the new look is appropriate, and even a trend that I hope continues. Animated music videos are always at least a little bit awesome, and sometimes all the way awesome. Using real female singers as a starting point for animated eye candy is a step in the right direction, and one that could potentially lead to Kylie Minogue as Dazzler in a music video, an idea that really seems to work for some people.

However, and I cannot stress this point enough, using an idealized animated version of yourself in a music video should never be a substitute for a proper diet and regular exercise. This may not be that big of a problem now, but continued advancements in technology will soon allow everyone, not just divas, to lie about their appearances with avatars, as shown by this image from "14.2.99" in Alan Moore's Magic Words (Avatar, 2002), illustrated by Juan Jose Ryp:

So remember, it is impolite to use an avatar that does not at least reasonably simulate your appearance. Or at least it will be, once everyone is jacked into the metaverse.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spyware make you wanna say BLAAAARGH

It's never fun to go to sleep leaving a problem unresolved, but sometimes that's all you can do. The worst instance of that for me was the time I tried to locate a hundred dollars I KNEW I had hidden somewhere in my apartment, only to forget where exactly it was. While most people are satisfied with the security a jar of mayo in the fridge provides for a couple of twenties, I am too clever for that, and also too clever for myself, having secreted the cash to a location I couldn't recall even a day later. So I spent a couple of hours moving around all my bookshelves and clothes before finally giving up and just going to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, the very first thing I did was go to my dresser and pull the money out of a sock. And that is the story of why Raven and Tortoise do not get along.

Last night was about the same, except that the "money" was my "registry" and "forgetting where I hid the money" was "not knowing how to remove this spyware .dll from my registry without it reinstalling itself." Again, eventually all I could do was pack it in and go to sleep. And sure enough, I woke up this morning, booted in safe mode, and sent that little fucker to .dll hell inside of 20 minutes. And that is why Spider makes its webs.

Although having your computer exhibit unapproved functionality sucks, I count my blessings at times like this that I don't have any cybernetic implants that could be infected with similar malware. And that's why I'm glad I'm not Tony Stark, the invincible Iron Man. At one point, he had a skin of artificial nerve circuitry and a chip in his spine so he could walk, and of course this led to him getting hacked by a corporate nemesis.

However, instead of just being forced to look at a bunch of inappropriate banner ads, Stark had it much worse, suffering a bio-override that he could only combat by staying in his Iron Man suit permanently. Whenever he took off all or a piece of the armor, his motor functions were vulnerable to remote control, like in this completely un-doctored scene from "Armor Wars II" where the villian forces Stark to wave his arm:

Dastardly! Eventually, Stark fixed the problem, but not by booting up in safe mode. No, he fixed it with REPULSOR RAYS! TO THE FACE!

But suppose Stark was never able to fix the problem, and he always had to wear the armor. In that case, it would be safe to assume that he would not take news of the new "Minority Report-like interface" well, as it does not require the use of "pesky gloves or silly headgear." All the man has left in his life are pesky gloves and silly headgear, and he will use them with your interface whether they are required or not. And that is why Tiger has his stripes.

PREVIOUSLY: Iron Man is a Futurist.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dave Stevens, R.I.P.

Dave Stevens, creator of the Rocketeer, passed away yesterday at the age of 53. As a coincidence, yesterday I was rereading an interview with Adam Hughes from the August 2002 issue of Comic Book Artist, in which Hughes speaks about Stevens' influence on him as an artist:
There was personality and there was craftsmanship in Dave's stuff. It is nostalgic and has a retro, classic quality. He is a guy whose work is really grounded in the Good Girl art in the 1930-50s tradition, and his take on the material is very honest. The women he drew were beautiful but never came across as crass.
Stevens and Hughes collaborated together on the "Pride" cover for DV8 #1, released in 1996.

Mark Evanier has written more on Stevens' passing here. He will be missed.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Economic Realities of Bull Semen

A Snickers bar wrapper taught me a new word the other day:
Nougatocity (noun): A heightened yet fleeting state of accomplishment that makes you realize how unbelievably unmotivated you normally are.
And since I had just eaten a Snickers bar, I was in possession of enough peanut-packed power to find out why my candy bars were making up new words for "sugar rush." Unfortunately, by the time I discovered the rest of the marketing campaign, five minutes later, I had "sugar crashed." As such, I no longer had the resolve to find out what Snickers' other new made-up words, including satisfectellent and substantialicious, meant, although my guesses are "sugar rush" and "sugar rush," respectively.

By the time I reached nutritional equilibrium again, I had a new question. "Why is it," I asked myself, "that we can put a man on the moon, but we can't process and refine a candy bar that gives me all-day energy with no side effects?" Then I read one interview on the subject and called it a day, Snickers-hangover-style.

That interview was with Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma. In it, he talks about some basic nutrition advice, like how you shouldn't eat anything bigger than your head. No! You shouldn't eat anything that doesn't rot. Yeah. And remember that the more that a foodstuff is processed or refined, the less nutrients and vitamins there are in it. Right. And what can be done with farm bills to even the playing field:
You need a farm bill that basically evens the playing field and is not driving down the price of high-fructose corn syrup, so that, you know, real fruit juice can compete with it. You need a farm bill that makes carrots competitive with Wonder Bread.
Pollan says a lot of things that are not crazy, which is good. But I do diverge from him on one point, which comes across as slightly crazy (even if it turns out to be true). Pollan says he will not personally eat cloned livestock because he doesn't know what it could do to you health-wise, which is fair. However, he also says that cloning champion bulls will devalue their semen. Again, even if that turns out to be true, it's a crazy thing to say, and I'm not sure what the problem would be if champion bull semen was cheaper and more plentiful?

On the other hand, if you own a lot of stock in champion bull semen, you might want to sell before prices plummet. Just remember the old saying, "The more bulls in market, the less bull the market," and your financial prospects will be fine. On Wall Street, this dynamic is known by some as the relative nougatocity of the market.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Gentle Television Network

Before he satirized promoting a culture of fear, Stephen Colbert satirized promoting a culture of puppy-sanitized news:
Clip from 1996's The Dana Carvey Show

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Terminatin' Mr. Cooper

My favorite kind of terminator has long been the one that marks the split between the night and day side of a planetary body. I also enjoy movies about autonomous robot soldiers called terminators, but as a general concept, it's hard to really like them best, since most of what they do tends to be killing people.

However, last night I found out that I already personally know a terminator (killing robot type), and that he has been sent back in time to kill the future leader of the resistance, Anderson Cooper. The terminator's name is Tanner, and he is a T-888 advanced infiltration unit with interpersonal relations programming so advanced he could even get married (to a fat chick).

I was unaware of this fact for years, even though the clues have always been there. For instance, Tanner has to soak his arm in ice water every day, ostensibly to help with "tendonitis," but what I now know to be a typical terminator procedure for repairing a damaged mimetic polyalloy. Also, Tanner often refers to errands as "objectives," another something that terminators do.

But it all came together last night, when Tanner was insistent on us going to see an Anderson Cooper speaking engagement, repeatedly calling it his "primary objective." I agreed, but only because I like to have my picture taken with famous people.

Before I could get a better shot of myself and Anderson, though, Tanner made an attempt to accomplish his "primary objective," which resulted in him being forcibly ejected from the building by security. He told me later he was trying to give Anderson a flier for a party, but I know he made an attempt on the life of the only man who can save the human race.

I also know that the reason security was able to forcibly eject a T-888 terminator was because they were also terminators, but ones that had been reprogrammed and sent back in time to protect Anderson Cooper.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Love is always the Feller Number.

Slate ran an article earlier this week about why Italians grab their crotch, and at least part of the reason is that grabbing your seat of fertility is a good way to ward off bad luck, particularly nuns and the number 17. Nuns I can understand, I can totally see Italians thinking nuns are bad luck, no doubt. But the number 17? That is random.

All the way random, as it turns out, as 17 has been officially marked as the most random number between 1-20, by no less an authority than William Feller, a mathematician who taught at Princeton. Later, he died. Arnold Zwicky, who studied mathematics at Princeton, wrote about 17 several times, and even presented a proof of its randomness:

"A completely random number can't (should not) be too large. Say, less than or equal to 20. After that it's a breeze. Working from below, it clearly can't be 1, nor can it be even, and hence neither 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, nor 20. 3 is for the Trinity and 5 is too important in base 10 notation; 7 and 11 are lucky, and 9 is a perfect square and hence hardly random. 13 is unlucky; 15 is a multiple of 5; and 19 is too close to 20. That leaves 17 as the only possible candidate. Q.e.d."

So there's that, and although there are plenty of cultural signals for 17 (many by Abba), the number by itself doesn't get a lot of play in numerological circles or society at large. However, 17 does have its share of claims to fame. Notably, it is one of several numbers closely associated with Eris, the Greek goddess of discord and strife. Eris is most famous for tossing the apple that started that Trojan War, and slightly less well-known for fighting Wonder Woman.

And while that's kind of a crap association, things could be a lot worse for 17. It could be 23, another number noted for randomness, the number most closely associated with Eris, and a number that may never live down the ignominy of being the subject of an awful movie about Jim Carrey peeing on things and calling it synchronicity. Joel Schumacher's The Number 23 2: The Number 17 probably won't be coming to a theater near you, but that's just the kind of random and unfortunate nonsense 17 is infamous for.

For my part, I tend not to notice the number 17 unless it's in conjunction with an incongruous element, but that might be appropriate. My favorite of these is from the April, 2002 issue of "Seventeen," with a photo of the lovely Keri "Felicity" Russell, oblivious to the fact that the cover copy was going to ask the eternal question, "Is that my butt?"

It made me laugh in April of 2002, and it makes me laugh today.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Taser-related Moos, I mean News!

A Rogers police lieutenant by the name of David Mitchell has been suspended for 10 days because he used taser cartridges that had been taken out of service and filmed himself using them on a cow in Pea Ridge. He then showed the video to other cops at the Rogers Police Department. When asked for comment, this is exactly what the cow said:

More on the bovine/officer shenanigans here, image taken from here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Snow Day

Last week, I made several public proclamations making it clear that spring was here and that the temperature absolutely would not dip below fifty again until November. Well, I was wrong. And I was wrong about the Oscars, too. Frankly, if I'm going to be wrong, I need to learn how to be wrong for the force of good.

With that in mind, let me be the first to declare that Mischa Barton will DEFINITELY play Supergirl in a new movie, and there is no way that Laura Vandervoort will get the part instead. Similar (but not exactly the same) thoughts have been running through my dog's noggin:

Monday, March 03, 2008

quarterlife + garfield - quarterlife + tony robbins

Guess which show was canceled after its premiere episode received the lowest ratings NBC has seen in more than two decades? Indefatigable proof that what people really want is positive programming, not a bunch of punks whose idea of self-fulfillment is having sex twice. It's not too late for quarterlife, though. I believe the show can be retooled and return as a harbinger of hope. All we have to do is remove the cast and add Tony Robbins, the world's most motivational 12 year-old.

Garfield should be in it, too.

PREVIOUSLY: quarterlife + garfield

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Political CGI Boobs

Rudy Giuliani appeared on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" last night, but unlike Huckabee, his jokes were ONLY not funny, not "not funny and equivalent to the heat death of the universe," as Huckabee's appearance was. But I wouldn't criticize if I didn't have anything positive to contribute, so here's how I would have improved last night's obligatory Republican candidate appearance.

Have you ever noticed how Giuliani looks almost exactly like an old man version of actor Rob Youngblood (Melrose Place, Sliders)? That was originally my entire proposal, just five minutes of commentary on how similar these two look. But trying to get photos for comparison, the only pictures of Youngblood I could find were from a show called Space Precinct, so I put Rudy and Rob together in a promotional still from that and bam! "Buddy Space Cops: Father and Son."

Of course, a sketch like that will require a lot of special effects for all the space stuff, but like the saying goes, "Enh, we'll just CGI it!" Something that was done a lot for the source material, too, 1994-style!

It really makes you long for a time when explosions and car chases actually meant something, like they did in the 1970s television series The Fall Guy, starring Lee Majors. It also featured Heather Thomas, 1982's winner for "Outstanding Achievement in Reasons to Watch Zapped!" So I guess when you get right down to it, my main point here is that I'm going to go back to ignoring political humor for the rest of the day and rent Zapped! instead. But if SNL wants to use "Buddy Space Cops: Father and Son," I could live with that.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Porcupine Parergy

Of all the critters in the animal kingdom, except perhaps the marmot, porcupines and hedgehogs have it the toughest. In what has long been a speciest smear campaign, false accusations about these creatures continue to be bandied about, from porcupines' supposed inability to have intimate relationships, to the impossible athletic prowess attributed to the hedgehog. And these are just some of the pernicious rumors started by German philosophers and Japanese video game designers, the two camps that represent the chief co-conspirators in this ugly debacle. But today we put a stop to all these lies, especially the two already mentioned because that's really the whole list. So, here we go:
1. Hedgehogs are the fastest creatures on the planet, with a land speed record of 760 mph.
This rumor, which places an undue amount of pressure on hedgehog youth to live up to an impossible ideal, has long been the leading cause for teen hedgehog suicide, which is itself by far the most common cause of death for all hedgehogs, followed by "quill-related fatalities" (numbers 2-8, 10) and "badgers" (9). Simply put, enough hedgehogs kill themselves every year because they are not as fast as Sonic that if you lined the bodies end-to-end, it would be gross.

2. Porcupines are incapable of intimate relationships, as being physically close to another porcupine will cause them to puncture each other with their sharp quills.
Referred to equally as the "Hedgehog's Dilemma" and the "Porcupine's Dilemma," this idea was originally conceived by 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer as a metaphor for humans who cannot be (emotionally) close to others without hurting them. However, since its original publication in Schopenhauer's Parerga and Paralipomena (where he referred to the creatures as "Stachelschweine"), this metaphor has been mistakenly applied to porcupines and hedgehogs, neither of which species has any trouble getting close to other porcupines/hedgehogs. In fact, the leading cause for reaching retirement age in the hedgehog/porcupine communities is "quill-related cuddling," followed by "definitely not badgers" (numbers 2-10).

For more information on inaccurate things about porcupines and hedgehogs, as well as plenty of inaccurate ideas about human nature, be sure to check out Schopenhauer's Parerga and Paralipomena.