Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Haiku Hump Day -- It's Obsolescence!

The Pony Express was created to bridge the gap between the eastern and western ends of the transcontinental telegraph line. It operated for less than two years before the line was complete. Apparently, in order to maintain operation, the owners of the Pony Express lobbied the US gov't for a million dollar contract -- which was still a huge number even by the time Dr. Evil came aound. But the government was like, "ha, good one," and fired off the first transcontinental wire in April 1861. Big deal -- they'd have gotten clobbered by the car eventually anyway.

Things get old and get replaced by other things that do the same job, but faster, smaller, and cheaper. In many cases for the better -- just imagine what your iTunes library would look like if you stored it all on these.

Some things we replace because we realize that they're killing us.

Some things we just wish we'd replace because they're killing us.

It can happen with places too. If opportunities in one spot dry up to a sufficient degree, people leave for better luck elsewhere, leaving ghost towns in their wake.

Anyone who's ever been to Detroit knows that it's still happening in some places. Sometimes I wonder if it'd happen to my precious Los Angeles, if the city got leveled by a quake.

Sometimes even when a technology is eclipsed, we still turn to the old-school just because it did something special, and with more heart than the newer version.

Not every obsolescence happens because of technology. Sometimes things just go out of vogue. Designs for clothes, cars, buildings bend along with our whims and our values.

Go forth and 'ku to me of the passage of time. Write about technology, write about style, write about humor, write about values. Then after, let's all off to the pub to get corned like b'hoys at a bucket shop. O!

Happy 90th Birthday Ray Harryhausen!!!

The Next Generation

Pretty much every time I bring up Star Trek The Next Generation I'm saying something bad about it (unless you catch me on those rare occasions when I'm referring to the super-binge-marathon where I watched all seven seasons, back in 2006 or thereabouts, and came to really appreciate and admire the whole project). Just a couple weeks ago (in a post that didn't get that much attention) I wrote that TNG "was a big bucket of liquid nerd cheese that got poured over Star Trek, rendering it unpalatable to nearly everyone on earth except super-geek-nerds."

But then I finished the sentence by observing that "J. J. Abrams somehow sucked all that nerd-cheese out of Trek and returned it to its true form." I think I'd have to change "true form" to "preferred form" or "optimal form," which, of course, involves some serious compromises, but the compromises are sensible. Star Trek is many things (it's much more malleable and chameleonlike than Tolkien or Star Wars; you'd have to look at the DC-comics universe to find a comparable degree of elasticity and adaptability to the mores of the time), and, now that the J. J. Abrams movie has triumphed, I'm finding that I can go back and watch TNG and really enjoy it, because the pressure is off; I know Star Trek is in good hands and what I consider to be its essential ideas (including the crucial requirement of mass appeal) are on the front burner, so I can now be a Trek connoisseur and really enjoy TNG, which is way at the other end of the Trek spectrum.

In other words, back when TNG (and its spin-offs and movies) were all Trek was, I was just so irritated at being forced in that specific direction (and so worried that the whole franchise was going to fade into oblivion) that I resented what they were doing and constantly pined (no pun intended) for a return to what I considered to be the "essence" of the show. But now, everything I wished for has come true beyond my wildest dreams (at least as far as Star Trek is concerned) and I can finally groove on the total, complete, intellectual, hard-sci-fi immersion in the "deep end of the pool" that is The Next Generation. It's really great stuff (as I have acknowledged before) and, now that it doesn't have to carry the full burden of the Trek legend into the future, I can totally enjoy it.

'Lost': The Essential Reading List

From ew, Still trying to puzzle out the meaning of it all? Doc Jensen looks at books, authors, and literary references that found a place in the ''Lost'' world. [SPOILER WARNING for those who haven't finished the series yet]

This 1977 novel by Walker Percy (The Moviegoer) is a bleak psychological investigation of a Southern gentleman gone toxic and mad from his wife's betrayal, his own violence, and various other sad things — including, it seems, America itself. It was one of many books read by good ol' boy Sawyer on the beach during his downtime from A-team missions in the jungle. It was also one of three books (along with Watership Down and A Wrinkle In Time) on Sawyer's dresser in his Sideways world; many Lost fans have inferred their presence in Sawyer's afterlife fantasy to mean that they held more significance to him and to Lost than any other novel seen in his hands. Lancelot speaks to Sawyer's unresolved rage over the deaths of his parents. (Perhaps coincidentally, the novel was published the same year as their murder/suicide.) But its final pages — in which the demented dark knight threatens to impose his own brand of justice upon the world unless God reveals himself and intervenes — mirror Richard Alpert's complaint to Jacob that by remaining silent and separate from his Island people, he allows the devilish Smokey to manipulate and darken their hearts.

See more here

"Superman 5" Movie That Never Happened

From worstpreviews, Back in 1974, three producers purchased the film rights to Superman that eventually resulted in the classic 1978 film. After a great sequel, there were two more installments that many believe led to the end of that series.

But the producers were planning a fifth film, called "Superman Reborn" with comic book writer Cary Bates on board to bring the franchise back to its past glory. Unfortunately, Warner Bros managed to get the rights back and quickly killed "Reborn."

Newsarama now caught up with Bates to get a few details about the project, which would have had Brainiac as the main villain. He said:

"The intent was to leapfrog over Superman III and especially IV, and return the series to the high mark achieved in 1 and 2. It was our desire to do a fully developed, balls-out science fiction story pitting Superman and Brainiac against each other mano a mano."

"Brainiac comes to Earth for the first time and shrinks Metropolis, adding it to his interplanetary collection of miniaturized cities. But because he becomes aware of the unique super-powered being in his latest acquisition, Brainiac miniaturizes himself and ventures into the bottled Metropolis in person. This leads to a knock-down drag-out battle that ends in what appears to be Superman’s death."

"A split-second before his atoms would've been permanently disintegrated, they are sucked into a bottle-city a few rows over... Kandor. There he is 'reborn' as a mortal man, where he gets to reconnect with his Kryptonian roots as he begins the arduous process of rehabilitating himself and eventually escaping from Kandor to resume his battle with Brainiac."

Neve Campbell on the set of "Scream 4" is sporting a Moe Howard haircut

Monday, June 28, 2010

Giorgio Moroder ♫ Chase (theme from Midnight Express)

On a recent episode of The Simpsons there was a skateboarding chase sequence that used some really cool techno music. At the time I didn't realize that it was from the Midnight Express soundtrack. After a little research I located it and was embarrassed to realize that it was decades old. I love it.

Megan Fox is married

From thesuperficial,Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green were reportedly married “late last week” at the Four Seasons in Hawaii, according to TMZ. My advice to the lucky groom: Try not to think about the fact she married you immediately after bombing another movie. There’s no way that has anything do with anything, safety net.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows looks terrific!

Good news everybody!

From ew, Futurama‘s June 24 return to the small screen garnered record ratings for Comedy Central. According to the network, the animated show attracted 2.9 million viewers total, making it the highest-rated and most-watched animated series premiere — with the exception of South Park — for Comedy Central. The series was also Thursday’s highest-rated show among men 18-34.

The Truffle Shuffle T-Shirt

From geekology, At first I got all excited when I saw this because the model looked like an attractive lady and I thought I was gonna get a face full of napples. Then I realized it was just a dude that looks like a lady. That's the worst kind of dude, FYI. I'd still kiss him aside, this is a Truffle Shuffle t-shirt. It has "DO THE TRUFFLE SHUFFLE" on the front, and a picture of Chunk's face when you flip it over your head to dance. Clever, you should probably get one. And I'm not just saying that because I'm gonna titty-twist your pepperonis off like radio dials, but I am. They don't call me the Purple Nurpler Areola Rolla' for nothing you know.

Two-part 'Deathly Hallows' brings Harry Potter to close

After laboring for a decade to adapt J.K. Rowling's tales of the wizarding world to the big screen, those associated with Harry Potter are gearing up for the Nov. 19 opening of the seventh film in the series.

USA TODAY has exclusive images from a new trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that hits theaters and goes online this weekend. An eighth film was shot at the same time, based on the second half of the 759-page book.

Warner Bros. is using the trailers to kick off "The Year of Harry Potter," which will culminate in the release next summer of the second part of Deathly Hallows. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park opened June 18 in Orlando.

See pictures here

Harry Potter Fans Deemed Too Heavy for 'Wizarding World' Ride

From yahoo, Most people remember the feeling of not being tall enough to ride an amusement park ride, but some would-be riders of the signature attraction at Universal Studios' new "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" theme park in Orlando are being turned away because of their girth. The ride, "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey," employs individual restraints to keep each guest tucked in to his or her seat, but the restraints aren't large enough to accommodate heavier riders.

Universal seems to have anticipated this issue, stationing staff "wizards" and test-seats along the line and at the entrance to Forbidden Journey. Riders test their ability to fit in the seats, as well as the restraint (which must click three times to be deemed safe and for the potential rider to be allowed into the attraction).

One Harry Potter fan, Jeff Guillaume of Lansing, Michigan, expressed disappointment on his "Harry Potter" fan site after he failed the test. Guillaume is 5'8" and weighs 265 pounds, and says the restraint wouldn't fit over his torso, though he reports that other rides at the park have special cars reserved for bigger riders.

Universal, which doesn't have "specific weight limits (just the test seats and a requirement that riders be at least 48 inches tall), says the "body dimension" restrictions are "to ensure the safety of our guests. It's #1."

That's all fine and good, but considering the average weight of an American man is 191 pounds (and rising: in 1960 it was 166 pounds), "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" could be turning away quite a few potential revelers.

Universal isn't the first theme-park operator to deal with issues raised by the growing rate of obesity in the United States. In 2007, Disney had to modify the "It's a Small World" ride after weighted-down boats began regularly getting stuck in the plume.

One Harry Potter fan who was unable to ride "Forbidden Journey" when his seat test yielded only two clicks of the restraint, is turning the incident into a personal motivational challenge. Banks Lee, who says he's 6'2? and approximately 310 lbs, has decided to diet and exercise until he can get on the ride (and hopes to continue his quest even after meeting that goal.) He's even started a blog: Banks Lee and the Three Clicks: My Journey to Fit on an Enchanted Bench, where the Orlando resident is documenting the long walks and sensible diet that he hopes will lead to a ride on "The Forbidden Journey."

Megan Fox Wants to Star in "Lost Boys" Remake

From worstpreviews, Speaking to Sky Movies magazine, Megan Fox revealed that she's a huge fan of the 1987 film "Lost Boys," which starred Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman and the late Corey Haim. If she had the chance, she would love to star in the remake.

"They couldn't remake it because it would destroy it, but I've always loved 'The Lost Boys,'" she explained. "The female character in it s not really amazing, but if you were to turn one of the male characters into a female, I would love to do that."

Fox added: "That movie has stuck with me my whole life. There's something magic about it to me."


'Toy Story' wins at the box office, while 'Grown Ups' scores and 'Knight & Day' lags behind

From ew, Toy Story 3 has dominated the box office for a second straight weekend, but Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups did some serious business, too. Knight & Day, meanwhile, did little to restore Tom Cruise as a summer box office draw. And the three films combined didn’t do enough to combat last year at this time, when Transformers 2 bowed to $109 million.

Toy Story dropped 46 percent, for a second-week take of $59 million. The film’s 10-day cume now stands at $226.5 million, making it the quickest Pixar movie to cross $200 million. The movie is likely to topple Pixar’s highest grossing flick, Finding Nemo, which topped out at $340 million back in 2003. Grown Ups did respectable business on its own. The broad Adam Sandler comedy bowed to $41 million but earned a B from audiences, according to CinemaScore. The film marks Sandler’s third-highest opening ever.

Knight & Day grossed $20.5 million for the three-day frame. The PG-13 rated film’s total gross now stands at $28 million (it opened on Wednesday) — not an auspicious beginning to a movie that cost more than $150 million. Audiences liked the film more than Grown Ups, according to CinemaScore, which gave the movie a B+. But whether or not it will continue to play in the marketplace remains a question. The Karate Kid continues to draw audiences. In its third weekend in release, the film earned another $15 million, a 48 percent drop, pushing its total gross to $135.6 million. The A-Team isn’t holding up as well in theaters. Earning $6 million its third weekend, the PG-13 rated actioner lost another 58 percent, for a total gross of $63 million.

Read full review here

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Star Trek Shirtless Kirk Cologne

From slashfilm, Last year, Genki Wear released two Star Trek branded cologne fragrances for men:
“Red Shirt” (the tagline on the box reads “Because tomorrow may never come”)
and… “Tiberius” (in reference to James T. Kirk’s middle name, tagline reads “Boldly Go”).
Last month it was announced that Genki would be adding a third fragrance to their Star Trek line: “Shirtless Kirk”. I kid you not.

I'll see your Tik Tok and raise you a Star Trek & Booze

Slow Blog Day, so...

What were George Lucas' five best Star Wars ideas?

This occurred to me recently and I wanted to ask what other Horrorthonners thought. Obviously you could say "the Force" or "the Jedi" but I guess I'm asking in a more abstract, elemental "pure cinema" sense. What were the basic visual/auditory innovations that gave the thing its fundamental punch, up on the big screen for the first time? Anyway here's my list:

1) lightsaber (probably his best idea ever)
2) spaceship dogfight
3) droids
4) orchestral score
5) use a Muppet*

Comments welcome. (I'm posting on my phone from a Massachusetts cabin, which is pretty cool.)

*(not just a mere puppet but a Muppet, specifically, complete with Frank Oz.) (Go ahead and give me a hard time about not sticking with the first movie if you feel like it.)

ADDENDUM: Others that occurred to me included "Vader mask," "dirt everywhere," "Death Star trench (you could just say the Death Star itself but that had kind of been done before, albeit never so well)," "Letting them try to build the Dykstraflex motion control system even though it was the pre-PC era and they had to make their own fucking printed circuit boards" etc. He had a lot of good ideas, and so did the people he brought together.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Toy Story 3

***** (2010)


I'm not going to say much beyond insisting that all of you just go see this, and marvel at the unparalleled artistry of Pixar. I'll just make a couple of quick points:

1) It's the best 3D I've ever seen, bar none. They really know how to do it. My previous favorite was Beowulf, but even that seems gimmicky and projectile-heavy compared to TS3. The 3D especially shines in...

2) ...the short, Day & Night, is not only mind-blowingly brilliant but makes the cleverest use of 3D I've ever seen anywhere.

3) All Pixar systems were completely re-done circa Up, so all the character models and sets had to be completely rebuilt from scratch, and they're both noticeably superior and exactly the same as the last two times, if you can dig it. They've found a perfect visual balance between the 15-year-old pristine "birth of the CGI movie" Toy Story look of Andy's room and the post-Wall-E astounding atmospherics and textures.

4) Another trilogy with no weak link, like The Lord of the Rings (and, of course, The Expando Machine) (kidding).

5) God, I love animation!

HHD Results: …And NEWWWWWWW Haiku Heavyweight Champion!!!!…

How to put into words what happened Wednesday? I’ll sure as hell try…


In the wrestling biz, they refer to a “curtain match” as a main event SO compelling, that all the other wrestlers on the undercard gather around monitors behind the curtain backstage to watch, rather than just going home once they finished.

I had no way of predicting how the topic would be received, and for a while there in the late-afternoon hours, I was beginning to think I had blown it. We were having some fun up to that point, but it was just me, Pants, AC, Cat & Octo. Some good stuff was flying around, but I felt largely that everyone else had given a collective ehhh. Little did I know that what was building was one of the most epic and memorable days in Haiku History.

Enter 50PageMcGee. Much like the Ultimate Warrior, when he beat the Honky Tonk Man at Summerslam 89 for the Intercontinental Title, it looked like we had an Unstoppable Force, nothing but offensive firepower that could not be stopped.

WWF - Honky Tonk Man vs Ultimate Warrior - MyVideo
The match itself is only 30 seconds. Warrior’s post-match interview was twice as long. But this is what it felt like with 50’s first haiku.

Enter Octopunk. The proverbial Immovable Object, meeting the Unstoppable Force head on. What happens when the two collide? Not even Gorilla Monsoon could answer that question, as he asked it approximately 3,000 times over the course of his broadcasting career. (2,000 of which were accounted for in the two Hogan matches listed above.)

It’s 8 minutes, all of it good. The commentary is especially good, if you replace “Hulk Hogan” with “50Page” and “Andre” with “Octopunk.” Gorilla makes it to the 1:47 mark before he uses the phrase.

50 & Octo traded blows in a gladiatorial showdown the likes of which we’ve never seen. Like a hurricane fighting a tornado, or a mega shark fighting a giant octopus, it was a battle that can barely be explained – you simply just had to be there.

Or an Earthquake fighting a Typhoon

The sheer brilliance of it is that accidentally (or symbolically-on-purpose), the very topic brought out the best in these two. Rather than our usual collective wit-fest, we all became gradually aware that our roles were to sit back and enjoy the show. Octo & Fitty became the gladiators in a main event that I don’t think either of them planned on being in. We had all performed our duties on the undercard admirably, and now, the “curtain match” main event was at hand. And it did not disappoint.

Space limitations prevent me from reprinting their entire exchange, which of course you can find here. But here’s my highlights of some of the more impressive, devastating blows, taken from consecutive postings, so you can really witness the sheer seesaw nature of the battle. I begin with Octo’s first jab after 50s Revenge Fantasy (more on that later). The comments alternate between the two.

Revenge fantasies
I save for those who hurt me
Not sloppy pissers

let me get this straight
your method of starting shit
is to *talk* to me?

While you are reeling
I'll pee on your white shag rug
Laughing my ass off

judo sweep the leg
elbow drop onto his spleen
spleen bursts on impact

Spleens are for pussies!
I rip mine out to prove it
Blind you with spleen juice

next comes the bellows
plugged into mouth, pump pump pump
make an octo blimp

(This was midstream in the Fireplace Accessories series, but it was the one that KILLED me…and now, a double-roundhouse from Octo…)

As his mouth opens
In drops the atomic bomb
My aim's good today

To protect myself
I open small parasol
Got from coyote

(At this point, it was anybody’s match. I couldn’t tell WHO was going to emerge victorious. The parasol’s reappearance alone was nuclear.)

with face-melt powers
i do some rearranging
now he's Uwe Boll

50 throws a punch
Morph Boll face into anvil
Humorous clang noise

octopuddle goop
reshape into giant nose
rub into my rug

My sobs are a ruse
All Gretchens sticky

From here, the battle just turned insane. Not only was all of Horrorthon involved, but then Octo pretty much went berserk, laying waste to all of us, along with Hawaii, California, and Canada. His big finish:

Stan surveys wasteland
Shaking head and tut tutting
I sneak up behind

Heat vision? Doom breath?
Radiation arsenal
I opt for wedgie

The best part of this haiku battle was that it had everything, intelligence, wit, humor, incredible imagery, cartoon-like flights of fancy, celebrities, and all of us. The worst part of it was that I got wedgied at the end. Taking nothing away from Octo’s superlative, valiant, brilliant retaliation, BUT…for starting it all off with an epic haiku series about a revenge fantasy on a sloppy piss job that had by turns, almost all of the above elements, for inspiring the rest of us (Octo more than anyone) to lofty heights, for those reasons, (let's go to Howard Finkel at ringside), the winner of this bout…and NEWWWWWWWW Haiku Heavyweight Champion…


The crowd goes berserk
Octopunk can’t believe it!
Parasol wilting

I'd Rather Drown: EMILY The Robo-Lifeguard

From geekology, EMILY may look like a porpoise wearing a Red Cross tent, but she's actually a robo-lifeguard. One that will undoubtedly turn a blind, robotic eye if you ever cramp up in the surf.

"This summer, EMILY (for EMergency Integrated Lifesaving lanYard) began patrolling Malibu's dangerous Zuma Beach and will watch over about 25 more by December. Although lifeguards operate this version by remote control, next year's model will autonomously save potential drowning victims as reliably as a human. Once a lifeguard tosses EMILY into the surf, its sonar device will scan for the underwater movements associated with swimmers in distress. Its electric, Jet Ski-like impeller drives it at 28 mph through even the roughest chop, getting a flotation device--itself--to victims six times as fast as a lifeguard would. The 'bot's camera and speakers will let an onshore lifeguard calm the person and instruct him to wait for human help or to hold on as EMILY ferries him back."

I don't really understand how the sonar differentiates between a drowning victim and a swimmer, but I do know I'd rather take my chances with a shark. And by take my chances I mean gouge that son of a bitch in the eyes and ride it to Australia. Then set up camp in a kangaroo's pouch.

Get ready to feel uncomfortable again

Is Hollywood headed to mars?

From latimes, Sources say that John Davis, the Fox-based producer behind such science-fiction hits as "Alien vs. Predator" and "I, Robot," has optioned film rights to the Ray Bradbury classic, in which humans land on Mars after a cataclysmic disaster and interact/clash with the natives in a series of interlinked adventures.

Bradbury's 1950 short-story collection has made it to the screen before, in a 1980 television miniseries that starred Rock Hudson and Bernadette Peters. But 30 years later, there's plenty more that technology (and 3-D?) could bring to the tales.

There's certainly ample narrative material in the book, which chronicle much of the action from humans' point of view, with some philosophical inquiry layered atop the pulp stories. One thing that may need to change, however, is the timing: Bradbury's original book set a chunk of the stories in the distant future -- in 2000 and 2005.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

For The Lushes: Single-Serve Wine Glasses

From geekology, Do you like wine? I think wine is fine. As hell. I like pinot noir. Also, anything else with alcohol in it (except liver). And now you can buy wine by the disposable glassful! Hey -- lemme get a lil sippy-sippy.

the inventor of this disposable stemware actually took it on a show dedicated to finding cool new products, and it was rejected. The joke's on them; they're blowing up over in the UK. At £2.25 a glass (~$3.40) they're not exactly cost effective...

...cost aside, the real advantage is in the simple fact that it's sealed and good to go. The foil top is like a yogurt container's, keeping your wine fresh and your legal status legit.

I, for one, am not ashamed to admit I would double-fist pound the hell out of those things. And not like a dino either. Dammit, now I want some wine. And dino-sex. Quick, somebody distract me. HIYO, penis in my face!

1967 Vintage COLOR Twist N Turn Barbie Doll Commercial HQ (watch for surprise celebrity)

Octo and JPX looking cool 21 years ago

Cool game for the iPhone

Zombie Escape

From tuaw, This was probably my favorite game of the show -- it's a line-drawing game where you're tasked with drawing routes for survivors of a zombie apocalypse to rescue choppers. As they appear on sides of the touchscreen, it's your job to draw a path through the walking undead, and as the 28 days in the game go by, the difficulty ramps up with more undead and more survivors. Additionally, there are powerups and other items to collect, which give the game some tower defense-style elements, enabling you to defeat the undead from offscreen. But sending your survivors to get the powerups means they'll have to take separate routes and risk more danger.

Zombie Escape was about three weeks out from release when I saw it last week, so it should be on the App Store by the end of this month. It's definitely worth a look, especially if you're a fan of the line-drawing genre.

Gatoroid and Mega Python Facing Two Aging Pop Music Idols

From iwatchstuff, Thanks to the SyFy channel genuinely not giving a shit about what kind of crap they might be airing at any given moment, we've been treated to a number of match-ups you'd never see in nature nor on any channel that puts forth any effort whatsoever. Notably, in recent memory, we've seen Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus versus '80s pop icon Debbie Gibson, and Mega Piranhas versus helicopters versus '80s pop icon Tiffany. But you know what match-up we haven't seen, because SyFy just now came up with it but should still have it done in a few months? Debbie Gibson versus Tiffany versus Mega Python versus Gatoroid (standard Gatoroid, not Mega). This only makes sense:

Gibson will play a fanatical animal-rights activist who frees illegally imported exotic snakes from pet stores, sending them into the Everglades, where they grow to mega sizes. Tiffany will play an overzealous park ranger who uses dangerous methods to save endangered alligators.
"I know that pop culture fanatics have been dying for Tiffany and me to collaborate for the past 24 years!" said Gibson in a statement. "What better way to do it than by battling each other in a campy romp through the Everglades?”

"Only in my dreams have I been able to have a catfight with Debbie Gibson...until now!" Tiffany said. "This is soo MEGA cool!"

Is it "soo MEGA cool," Tiffany? Because I was thinking it sounded sort of pathetic-oid.

Also, it's DEBORAH Gibson now.

Product tie-in for yesterday's Haiku Hump Day

Futurama returns tonight

From ew, Tonight, Futurama will return from the dead for the fifth or sixth time. This is a sacred event. Five years ago, when I was rediscovering the show on Adult Swim reruns, news of Futurama‘s return would have caused my brain to explode. In fact, my brain did explode back in 2007, when the show’s creators announced the production of four direct-to-DVD movies. Then I actually saw the movies…and haven’t felt so disappointed by a franchise I love since The Phantom Menace taught us all a valuable lesson about intergalactic trade routes. All of which has me wondering: When Futurama returns this week, will it still be as good?

I don’t want to sound like a hater. There was some fun stuff in every movie. The time travel plot of Bender’s Big Score was twisty fun. The Beast With a Billion Backs features easily the best war against heaven since Paradise Lost. The end of Into the Wild Green Yonder was very emotional. And, well, I lied, there was nothing fun about Bender’s Game.

When you get right down to it, the films just felt like they paled in comparison to the original series. Every episode of Futurama threw alien cultures and futuristic satire in your face at a rapid-fire pace. (And the show could also move you to tears, something that The Simpsons stopped doing over a decade ago.) By comparison, the movies just felt like lots of fan service with once-great characters turning into clich├ęs; think Sex and the City 2 for the D&D set.

Exec-producer David X. Cohen talked to EW last month, and his teases for the show’s upcoming storylines (Robosexual marriage! Mutant rights! Katee Sackhoff!) has me hopeful that the show will return to its former glory. But what do you think, PopWatchers? Will Futurama be another Family Guy, a show that rose from the dead to achieve pop culture dominance? Or will Futurama be another Family Guy, a brilliant series that was never as good (IMHO) in its post-cancellation run? And is Futurama the most quotable show ever? Windmills do not work that way! Good night!

Just Follow The Directions: How To Beat Super Mario 3 In 11-Minutes

From geekology, These are the button-by-button instructions on how to beat Super Mario 3 in 11-minutes. I assume they work but I wouldn't know because I can't read and play video games at the same time. As a matter of fact, I can't read and do anything at the same time. Because I never learned to read do anything. What? Tying shoes is for pussies.

See video here

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Haiku Hump Day: FINISH HIM!!! (Fighting, Conflict, Violence, General Antagonization Of Each Other)


Since the dawn of made-up time, when Cain fought Abel, and since the dawn of real-life time, when caveman brother fought caveman brother for that last morsel of dingo kidney, mankind has settled disputes with force. Back in the day, it was club vs. bone. Today, it’s Predator drone vs. club. Either way, as a species, we’re always at each other’s throats.

“They thought I said ‘hell.’ I distinctly said, ‘Unleash shell’!”

Which is kind of the point this week. The ancient Romans may not have invented gladiatorial combat, but they did bring it into its modern form, and with that, its modern symbolism.

“We’ve got a great new Christian Disposal System we’ve just installed.”

And by symbolism, I mean that it is the SPECTACLE of violence that we gather to witness, so that we effectively release that primal need wired into each and every one of us through a viewing of virtual and/or real violence. I read all that somewhere; it was either MAD Magazine or the philosopher Roland Barthes. Oh, yeah - it was Barthes. (Definitely click on that. The first few paragraphs sound much smarter than me, and clarify what I’m getting at here…)

In our enlightened day and age, this “primal release” takes on many forms:


Viewing all of these things allow us to live more civilized lives.
We may say we want to kill our boss, but instead of actually carrying out the deed, all of our pent-up rage and hatred towards our boss is released when we see Stone Cold Steve Austin flip off HIS boss, Vince McMahon, and give him a patented Stone Cold Stunner through a table. Our violent demons are exorcised. I read all that somewhere; it was either Roland Barthes or WWE Magazine. Oh, yeah – it was WWE Magazine.


Romans may have felt, from time to time, like going on a Christian and/or prisoner killing rampage. Wrestling fans may have felt like going out to kill Russians, or gays, or gay Russians, or whoever was the heel that week.

"Mix well for maximum effect."

But the shared public spectacle of watching justice be served, so to speak, allowed those same Romans to settle down, return peaceably to the public baths, have crazy orgiastic public sex, then gorge and vomit all night. So there was that.

Anyway, Fight! Fight! Fight! It’s all about Fights this week, y’all. Combat, it’s forms throughout history, and our modern interpretations that we have today. And also, you can describe how you felt like killing that shithead Steve Anneese after he clotheslined you from behind in the hallway after lunch because he was pissed that you took his seat in the lunchroom that day (applies to HandsomeStan only – JSP, you were there). God, I wanted to kill that fucker. Good thing Demolition was on TV that night.

So this week is also about A) fights you’ve been in, B) wanted to be in, C) wanted no part of, D) enjoyed watching (movie fights et al), and E) any other conflict (physical, verbal or mental) that you’ve gone through.

Truth be told, there's somewhat of a grading curve this week. The more haikus about professional wrestling (in particular 80s WWF wrestling), the happier I'll be. And feel free to bash it as the dumbest thing ever visited upon society; I gladly embrace dissenting viewpoints. I would have made this the sole topic, but all that drivel at the top is my attempt to broaden it out and make this sound like a more sophisticated topic than it really is. And to hopefully not have the women click away in disgust, which probably happened four paragraphs ago.

Anyway, Fight! Fight! Fight!

(Oh, and Surprise! Thanks, JSP!)