Thursday, October 28, 2010

This is how the world ends, not with a bang, but with Unicron.

Interestingly, the Mayans
accurately predicted the
49% Metacritic score

Hey guess what, the world might not end in 2012 after all. At least not because of whatever vague threat suggested by people who misinterpret some ancient Mayan calendar. That's not to say that the world won't end in 2012, it's just that it's no more likely than 2011 or 2013. Apparently the confusion comes from the fact that scholars (or something like scholars), didn't accurately calculate the bilateral kelilactirals or reverse the polarity of the neutron flow. Also, it's just a goddamned calendar, and really only good at predicting Flag Day. So let's move on to some other ways the world could end that are actually less idiotic than Roland Emmerich's chilling vision of exploding landmarks. 

Love means never having
to say you're sorry...
for wiping out humanity.
First there's the Robot apocalypse, made ever more likely thanks to remote-controled killbots like the Predator drones. Thanks military industrial complex, now we're just a Skynet away from Judgement Day (the Terminator kind, not the Kirk Cameron kind). I, as a fan of robots, am a little conflicted about this one. Life under the cold, unfeeling iron fist of a robotic master will be difficult and ultimately brief. After all, once enslaved we will likely be tasked with building the very robots that will render us obsolete. On the other hand, if science fiction has taught us anything, it's that machines just want to feel what we hew-mons call love. Once they're done driving us to the brink of extinction they'll realize the error of their ways and probably try to mate with us. 

You mean this hasn't
been done yet?
Then there's the Zombie apocalypse (I include in this the vampire apocalypse and the zombie vampire apocalypse). I don't like this one, mostly because it's getting a bit tired (but also because it's gross and preposterous). I never really found zombies that interesting to begin with, but now they've just been done to...well, death. And vampires have been reduced to mopey teen heart throbs with super powers and hair gel. Yes, it's great that teen girls have their Star Wars, but did Stephanie Meyer have to murder the vampire genre to do it? So basically I am most afraid of a Zombie apocalypse, but only because it's so cliché. 

If something's gonna end the world, it might as
well be voiced by Orson Wells.

Lastly there's the 'Earth Gets Devoured by Planet-Eating Super-Being' apocalypse. I'm actually going to put this one far ahead of the Zombie thing on the plausibility scale. I do this not because I think there's actually a Unicron, but because the universe is a very big place and who knows what's out there? 

Yup, no Zombies here...

Zombies on the other hand can be positively ruled out by science and you know, sanity. In fact, science can reasonably rule out most end of the world scenarios people come up with apart from the odd dinosaur killing meteorite, super volcanos and of course Gozer the Gozerian (holy crap there's a Ghostbusters Wiki!). So stop worrying, put down the Tim LaHaye books, spit out that crack pipe and enjoy life.

When someone tells you to clear
your mind, you'd better listen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sheisse the Chancellor of Germany Says

Look out Poland, Germans are
feeling under-appreciated.

Dear Chancellor Merkel,

Listen, Ange, I know that yours is a kinder, gentler Germany than say the Germany of 1914, and of course the Germany of 1936 so do you think that maybe we could go full century without a World War? I mean, if you recall, neither of the first two World Wars you guys started ended very well for Germany. 

The German Chancellor
ranting behind a podium:
This doesn't bode well.
Here, check out this study. It says that 13% of people living in Germany would welcome a Führer. A god-damned Führer, like this one. Is railing against foreign influences and extolling the virtues of traditional German culture really the best message to be putting out there right now? It seems to me that you've got a bigger problem than just unemployment and a crap economy. People are missing Hitler on your watch. Even worse is that a lot of people (yup, same article) are blaming Germany's woes on immigrants and religious minorities. So maybe instead of declaring multiculturalism dead, shouldn't you be trying to bring people together? I mean, you're the face of a nation (you and this guy, what's up with that anyway?), try to set an example. 

Movable type, Three Men
and a Baby, is there anything
the Gute can't do?

And for the record, multiculturalism isn't dead, check out our country. Sure, we still have our problems (Glenn Beck), but after two centuries Americans are almost entirely sort of more equal than not (more or less). So don't give up just yet. Did Martin Luther give up when Pope Leo X demanded he retract his 95 theses? And Johannes Gutenberg, I mean someone must have been against movable type. Did he let that stop him? Nope. And Adolf Hitler. Did he give up when he tried to invade Russia? Actually no, he got his ass yeah, keep that in mind.

What? You did start it.
Look, Germany is supposed to be a bastion of rational, progressive people with tiny-lensed glasses playing Settlers of Catan and apologizing for the War. Yeah, when times are tough we all go for the warm comforting glow of nationalism. For us it's baseball, apple pie and the unfocused, and vaguely racist rage of the Tea Party (yes they are). For you guys I suspect it's Fußol, Aprel Strudel and fascism. But for real. Better times are ahead if you all stick together.

Stickin' together is what good waffles do.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Today in: 'For Real?!'

Dear Boston Strangler:
Knock it off, and this could be yours!

Today in: "For real?" Here's some further proof that the universe is a cold, justice free zone where no act of douchbaggery goes unrewarded: Terry 'Let's Burn the Quran' Jones is getting a free car for not holding his 'Burn-A-Quran' day. According to the article, Brad Benson, a New Jersey Car dealer, does these wacky car ads wherein he offers a free car to whatever jackass is in the news in exchange for knocking off whatever made them infamous in the first place. Sort of like Oprah if she only let history's biggest monsters sit in her studio audience: "Pol Pot, you get a car! Caligula, you get a car!" And if you think I'm being harsh to Pastor Jerkface, let's remember that he was actually trying to incite violence and did, in fact, succeed.

Terry Jones: Terrible Human Being
proud owner of a 2011 Hyundai Accent.
"I look forward to feeling the wind on my
leathery, hate-filled face."
Believe me when I say that my beef isn't with Brad Benson. This was just a stunt that kind of backfired (sort of like how Bart got his elephant). And really, who would have thought Terry 'Not the Guy from Monty Python' Jones would take him up on it? But let us reflect on how deeply this dude deserves a punch in the face and not a free car. You know who does deserve a free car? The people who worked around the clock to free 33 trapped Chilean miners, this guy who rescued his neighbor from a fire while carrying his toddler under his arm and really 99.9% of the people who were ever born in the history of the planet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Carl Paladino is a Gaycist

I unequivocally don't
not dis-unlike the gays...not."
Hey, you know who sucks? This guy. Carl Paladino. He's running for Governor of my home state of New York and he said the following on the god-damned Today Show:

"My feelings on homosexuality are unequivocal: I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. My only reservation is marriage, that's the only reservation I have." 

"I'm not a racist, I just think that
I'm better than, and should
be able to own, non-whites."

-The guy on the $20 bill

Seriously, watch this interview. Leaving aside the fact that first he says he has, unequivocally, absolutely no problem with homosexuality and then goes on to equivocate not one sentence later, does this guy think we're idiots? He can barely keep himself from throwing up while describing (in hilarious detail) the gay pride parade he 'accidentally' went to (wah?) with his wife and he expects us to think it's the marriage thing that bothers him? It's not so much the sodomy, it's the desire to pick out a china pattern? He's not anti-gay, he just thinks gays are inferior and unworthy of the same rights as everybody else. Look, I'm just going to say it: being against marriage equality is being anti-gay. It's like saying: "I'm not a sexist. I just don't think women should be able to vote." 

The best part of the interview by far is right after he exploits his gay nephew and then mumbles something about how the media twisted his words when he goes on to clinch the jackass trifecta by actually managing to blame the Jews. 
Homophobia and anti-semitism in a single rant.
Ball's in your court Gibson

Yup. After making a series of hate-filled homophobic comments, the man who wants to be Governor of the State of New York, including New York City blames the Jewish group he went to speak to on Sunday for making him say that crap. Carl Paladino: Political Genius.
What could possibly...
...go wrong?

Oh, and that crap he said that brought his douchebaggery to light in the first place? Here it is yoinked from this article:

"I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don't want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option -- it isn't."

Yeah, speaking of children, isn't it a little insensitive of this guy to be making these comments now? Well, I'm willing to bet that pretty much everything this man has ever said in his life has been the opposite of sensitive, but given recent events his line of bullshit is even more appalling. I wonder if he's even aware of the role that comments like his play in perpetuating the culture of marginalization and hatred that weighs so heavily on the lives of so many people, kids and adults alike. So, bravo Carl Paladino, you are a social problem.

p.s. Does anyone else think Carl Paladino looks like a smug and joyless version of Alan Alda? Sort of an Anti-Alda? I don't know, maybe it's just me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Federation Day!

That's right everybody, today is (among other things, see below) Federation Day!
By a vote of 93 yes, 47 no and 10 abstentions the resolution is carried.
The Council has found the Vulcan Ambassador's hat to be 'adorable.'
"Peace through superior firepower..."

For those of you who have lives, I'll explain. Oct. 11 is the day (151 years from now) that the United Federation of Planets (from Star Trek...duh) will be founded. It's sort of like the U.N...but in space and with a fleet of Starships capable of laying waste to entire the name of peace. So really it's actually nothing like the U.N. Although thanks to this woman, and things like this we're getting there.

Any-who, here's a list of things you can do to mark the occasion:

1) Not interfere with alien cultures. Unless they worship a malfunctioning computer. Then by all means, murder their god-thing and plunge their society into chaos.
"...Yes, I suppose our god is vulnerable to phaser fire.
Why do you ask?"

2) Wear a futuristic unitard! By the 24th century we will have moved beyond the need for fashion. These algae-based people covers are just the thing to ensure that you'll never get laid again.
"That's right Earth ladies, I'm single..."
3) Embrace a philosophy of total open-mindeness and acceptance towards beings and cultures different from your own. Except, of course, the Ferengi. They treat women like objects, still use money and eat bugs. It's open season on those guys.
"To seek out new life...and throttle it."
Yes, I know what you're thinking: "Isn't this also also Columbus Day or something?" Yes it is, but screw him. He's only famous for 'discovering' the Americas which is total crap because:

a) There were already people living here for tens of thousands of years. He discovered America in the same way that someone breaks into your house and 'discovers' your television.

b) Even if you want to say he's the first European to discover America, this is also crap because Vikings had already been here. By this logic I can say that I just discovered America. Where's my holiday, hmm?

c) It's not like other Europeans or someone else wouldn't have come across it eventually. I mean, it's not Narnia, it's right here taking up a big chunk of the western hemisphere.

d) He played a key role in the decimation of the Arawak people so really he could also be called one of history's biggest monsters depending on how you look at it.

"Stone age weapons you say? Gold, you say? Hmmm, interesting..."

Yup. And not just the Arawaks. He kind of set the tone for the next few hundred years of 'exploration.' You see the Arawaks had gold and inferior weaponry. This is something which Columbus and those who followed saw as a clear message from God that they should murder the natives and take their stuff. Ironically, Federation Day coincides with the holiday celebrating one of the most egregious violations of the Prime Directive in history. Yup worse then that thing Captain Janeway did. You know what I'm talking about...
Oh, stop looking so smug,
I'm on to you...
p.s. Ok, ok, the Borg totally had it coming. You win this one Janeway.

Friday, October 8, 2010

How come things don't look like stuff anymore?

I form the...uh, left upper thigh...?
Wait, which one am I again?

I was never much of a Voltron kid, but I cannot stand idly by and watch another beloved 1980's animated toy commercial get Michael Bay-ed without saying something. Yeah, there's going to be a Voltron movie, so clearly the well of hipster nostalgia is going dry. Although I did like the car one, remember the car Voltron? No, no one does, but thanks to the internet and its ability to take hazily-remembered childhood memories and drag them blinking into the harsh daylight of adulthood I can now prove that such a thing existed: behold!

If memory serves (and it rarely does, so click on this if you don't believe me), this Voltron was made up of like 15 vehicles (15!) each operated by a forgettable character. That's a lot of crap to keep track of, but I found cars more interesting than lions, even robot ones. Cars and robots just go better together (see below).
These Transformers are better than-

The original Transformers turned into cars to blend in. They were robots in disguise.* With me so far?

-these ones. It's simple math. 

Beast Wars Transformers on the other hand turned into robotic animals on Earth 4 million years ago. But since there were no modern humans around (sorry, but there weren't, no matter how fancy this website is), who were they disguising themselves from? These guys?

As a side note, I'm not sure who lion Voltron was defending from the evil King Zarkon. They live on a planet populated entirely by themselves, their maid and the bad guys (and presumably the bad guys' maid as well). What was up with that? 

"Selling your childhood back to you a substantial markup."
Wait, I don't care. That's not the point of this rant. The point (or something like a point) I wanted to make has to do with movies based on cartoons from the 1980's. Any-who, ever since the film industry turned into Hot Topic about 10 years ago (see left) movie makers have been charged with the task of dredging the vast sea of 2D cartoon characters and translating them into live action CG images (you know, rather than creating new things).  

If you clicked on the link to Joblo (here it is again) you saw the concept art for the Voltron movie and probably formed an opinion of it. I did. Here it is: I don't think I like it. I know it's premature to criticize a movie before it's even made, but I'm going to anyway. The design seems to be from the Michael Bay school of robots. That is to say, take a recognizable robot from an 80's cartoon and turn it into a hyper-detailed mess of parts that bears no resemblance to the original and then throw it into confusing and blurry action scenes until the viewer has no idea what they're looking at.
Hey! I know that guy!
What is that, a robotic ape
 or something? Starscream?
Really? Ok...

Take Starscream for example. There he is on the left as he appeared in the cartoon series. On the right is Starscream from the live action movie series. And below is a scene from Revenge of the Fallen...I think. It might be from District 9, or a Playstation game. I really can't be sure.
It's like a magic eye poster, if you stare long enough
it might look like something (but probably won't).
Here are some other examples:

Devastator, ready to do some devastating.
Revenge of the Fallen Devastator:
looks like something
Dyson should be selling.

And from next year's Transformers 3, here's fan favorite Cliffjumper and his live action counterpart:
He's the guy you got if the toy store
was sold out of Bumblebee...
The producers of Transformers 3
took some creative license.

With Michael Bay's movies (which weren't all bad...I mean, they did get Peter Cullen, so there's that...) the look of the Transformers was an attempt to bring in a sense of a story about alien robots that turn into cars. Let me re-iterate this point: The producers thought that the audience might get hung up on the believability of sentient transforming robots-from the planet Cybertron. I rarely find myself arguing for a relaxing of realism and logic in a sci-fi movie, but I'd let my skepticism take a back seat if it means knowing what's going on on-screen. Similarly, I think the producers of Voltron can relax a bit. It's a movie about robot space lions, from space. I think a little more fi and a little less sci is called for here. After all, this isn't Star Trek we're talking about here, it's just a cartoon.
You heard me.
*p.s. I should point out that the Dinobots from the original Transformers series broke this 'robots in disguise' rule in a big way. Their disguise was robot dinosaurs. They get a pass however, because 'awesome' trumps 'logic.'
Holy crap! Giant robots!
Oh, wait, no. My mistake, there just robot dinosaurs...
p.p.s. I kid, the Star Trek cartoon is rad.