Monday, January 31, 2011

The Future? You're soaking in it!

Welcome to the future, smeghead.
Not satisfied with living eight hours into the future, invisible tanks and time-traveling police boxes, the U.K. has one-uped us again. Today Manchester Airport is introducing holograms (or as they are known in England: Hollogrammes) to help keep the security line moving efficiently. Wait, what? I know, for real, they have holograms and all they can come up with for them to do is to remind people not to bring more than 3 ounces of liquid on the plane (or in British measurements, one sixth of a hogshead on the aeroplanne). Sure, the same job could probably be done with a regular LCD monitor or you know, people, but you've got to give them points for jumping straight for the future-est thing they could think of.

General Cooper, years ago you served
my father in the Clone Wars....
Of course, exactly what they mean by 'holograms' isn't clear and the article doesn't really describe how this works. Are we talking about the holodeck here? Will the security staff at Heathrow International have to be on the look out for a self-aware hologram of Professor Moriarty? Or do they mean 'hologram' the way CNN meant it when they had Anderson Cooper talk to an empty room while Will.I.Am was digitally inserted into the shot? Remember that? The day CNN decided that its viewers were all idiots?

These people, that's who.

Anyway, I guess I shouldn't be too hard on CNN or the British. After all, they just want so badly to be living in the future, that they act like it's already here even if the technology doesn't necessarily live up to nerdy expectations. Of course, they could be on to something. I mean we have iPads, internets, Forever Lazy, and now holograms. Who's to say the future isn't here already?

Maybe all we have to do is start acting like we live in the world of tomorrow. Give it a try! You know the TV in your living room? Start calling it the 'main viewer.' And your cell phone? Yeah, that would be your 'comm-unit.' Sure, you might feel like an idiot at first, but at least you'll be a future idiot.

These guys are all over it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jennifer Huddleston: Tweeter of Injustice

Hey Harps, fuck you.
Sometimes I think to myself that maybe we should have finished off the south while we had the chance. Does this make me a bad person? Probably, but I am kidding so settle down. It's just that sometimes people in the south do things like this. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, people in other places do crappy things like this as well. But we're not talking about them right now. Anyway, this grocery store in Arkansas placed a 'Family Shield' over the covers of US Magazine because it featured a photo of Elton John, his husband and their baby. A god damned 'Family Shield' to protect people from a picture of a family.

William Seward,
Secretary of Makin' Out 1861-65

Wow. I really hate it when the word family gets used as code for straight white christians. For real. Also, check out the text of the 'shield': To protect young Harps shoppers. I guess they're saying that the youth of Arkansas is so mentally fragile that they can't handle the fact that Elton John is married to a dude with whom he has a child. Is the mere suggestion of gayness really enough to send southerners running? If so, the Civil War could have been over in a week and without all the killing and Atlanta burning. Lincoln could have driven around the south in a stage coach making out with William Seward. War over. Also: rumors confirmed.

Jennifer Huddleston
(artist's rendition)
So yeah, it's probably not fair of me to make Civil War jokes every time there's a news story about bigotry in the south. After all, it's important to remember that douchbaggary is certainly not exclusive to everything south of the Mason-Dixon. Remember this shit? That was here in California. Also there was this dude in New York. And who could forget Haley Barbour, governor of Mississ-uh...let's say Vermont. The point is, that in ripping on the sheer idiocy of Harps Grocery Stores we must remember that Jennifer Huddleston, the woman who tweeted the photo of the 'Family Shield' is herself southern and a champion of justice. Check out what else she said: "I love Arkansas. I hate to see this sort of thing happen here or anywhere." Advantage: Huddleston.

Harps has since relented, but should we even care at this point? Instead of taking the opportunity to apologize and own up to their mistake, the Harps spokeswoman blamed their customers saying that complaints from shoppers prompted the manager to deploy the 'Family Shield' and save us from Elton's gay-rays. Classy. And then there's this awesome statement from Harps' CEO I stole from the Vancouver Sun article:
"What? Some of my best
friends are gay 

British pop icons."

"Both our employees and our customers come in all shapes and sizes, beliefs and preferences, Harps has never and would never discriminate. We are sorry these events caused misunderstandings."
-Roger Collins, CEO, DB

Starbucks Coffee, now available in
Tall, Grande and Two Gay Dads. kinda seems to me that Harps would and has discriminated. Also, this isn't a misunderstanding. The Harps manager made a dick move. Roger could have and should have nutted up and apologized, but instead he just suggested that 'events caused misunderstandings.' That's like saying: "I am sorry the punching of you was caused by our fists." Apologies don't work in passive voice. And another thing, is being gay, married and a parent a preference? Maybe it's a size or shape...I'm confused, Roger, help me out.

So I guess that's it. Harps has succeeded in embarrassing the south as well as the entire nation in front of the Australians, the British, and pretty much every country that calls soccer football and has access to the internet. Not to mention the fact that this story was beamed into space and is probably right now tipping the scales on Klendathu in favor of invading Earth. Thanks Harps, thanks a bunch.
"Hey Ted, did you see that thing about that grocery store and the Elton John magazine cover?"
"Yeah, they put a warning label on it or something...these guys are from that planet? Oh, let's get'em!"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


In Japan, they do science.
This is what science is all about: Researchers in Japan are planning to clone a woolly mammoth from DNA extracted from some frozen remains discovered in Russia. Why? I don't know. Maybe because science is all about pushing boundaries, and going beyond what is known. Or, maybe it's because Japan's got a thing for giant prehistoric monsters and science. Either way if it works, it's going to be awesome, Toho awesome.

The plan (partially according to the article, I had to fill in some blanks myself) goes something like this:

Horton Hatches an Abomination
Step 1: The Enclonening
Wrap a modern elephant's egg cell around some mammoth DNA, cover it in chocolate (I assume) and shove the whole genetic Cadbury into some unsuspecting pachyderm. Wait 10 months and presto: Woolly Mammoth. Some people might deride this as playing god, I am going to laud this as playing god. If you're going to spit in the face of mother nature, you might as well make it a loogie.

Behold: our bleak future.
Step 2: Startling Revelation
Obviously the first thing the research team is going to do after bringing an extinct species back from oblivion is hold a press conference. They'll discuss their findings, answer questions and laugh at the fools who said it couldn't be done. This is also where they'll likely list their demands. After all, they will soon command an army of mammoth clones, who are we to stand in their way? Nobody, that's who.

Why not just build this and cut out
the middle steps?

Step 3: Kill It
Of course before the mass cloning and crushing can begin, the mammoth will undoubtedly get loose and run amok forcing us to destroy it and once again prove that, in the end, the real monster is man. Since this is Japan we're talking about, we can expect the final battle to involve some sort of robotic mammoth created in secret and piloted by some dude in color-coordinated spandex and a bike helmet.

Suck it, Darwin.
So there it is. Still think this idea is a crime against god and nature? That maybe un-extincting a species goes against the principle of natural selection? Well, you're probably right. On the other hand, it's possible that we (humans, not you and me specifically) might have driven them to extinction in the first place. What better way to say 'we're sorry' than to resurrect them for our own amusement? And who says it has to end badly for the mammoths this time? What's that? I did? One paragraph ago? That doesn't sound like me...

Behold: our bright future.
Well, in any case, things can be different this time. Instead of killing them for food and skins, we could incorporate mammoth clones into our society. Think of it: a utopian world where man and mammoth, once mortal enemies, work side by side for a better tomorrow. Of course a more likely scenario is a world where the super-rich hunt on game preserves stocked with cloned wild-life.

I mean, that's probably where this is going, some sort of Jurassic Park for douche bags. What's worse is that after a while, the novelty of shooting run of the mill mastodons, saber-tooths and giant sloths will wear off and scientists will have to come up with hybrid creatures to hunt, like Sharktopus.

But that's years down the road. For now let's just enjoy the fact that the mighty woolly mammoth might once again roam, well probably a lab and then maybe a zoo or something.
"Soon, my icy throwback, soon..."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Alec Baldwin Japandered* My Hometown!

I come from Rochester New York. What's that? No, it's not near the city, and yes I know that by 'The City' you mean New York City. There is, in fact, an entire state called New York full of millions of people who are legitimately called New Yorkers.
New York: The Finger Gun State

Compare and be amazed!


I think people who live in New York State, but not New York City have an inferiority complex. Rochestarians (yes, that is what my people call themselves) certainly do. Don't get me wrong, it's a great place, but like everywhere else in the world that isn't New York City, it is not New York City. In fact, pie charts like the one to the right would indicate that 99.9% of the world's cities are not, in fact, New York City. Yeah, suck it Boston. So why then does Rochester have such urbis envy? (It's latin for 'city,' thanks internet!)

I suppose it would be like being Jesus's brother Steve. What's that? You never heard of Steve? That's because I made him up to illustrate a point, so just deal with it, ok? So anyway, Steve H. Christ was a perfectly competent carpenter, but his brother founded a religion that dominated western civilization for 2000 years. No matter what Steve did with his life, it would pale in comparison.
Steve: "Check it out bro, I'm gonna build us a sweet new porch."
Jesus: "That's great Steve, I'll give you a hand after I finish healing the blind."
The Dollar Coin is the
Golden Globes of numismatics.
So back to the inferiority complex. If you ever meet someone from Rochester, ask them to tell you about it. Watch their eyes light up, it's like asking a geek which is the best Star Wars (since you ask, it's Empire). Despite being the home of Frederick Douglas, Susan B. Anthony and National Museum of Play, the following Rochestery things are probably what you're going to hear about. You know, now that I'm thinking about it, these are mostly food related...huh, I guess we like to eat.

Tastes about as good as it looks.
White Hots. According to the Wikipedia article, white hots were invented as a low cost alternative to hot dogs. Yeah, they started out being made of things not quite up to snuff to make it into real hot dogs. Today of course, they're made of recognizable parts of the animal (pig, in case you were wondering) and subject to the FDA, but if you ever try one, remember as you bite into its milky white albino casing that the spices you taste once covered the flavor of pig rectum. Enjoy!

Believe it or not,
this is the 'before' picture.
For a real Rochester experience, order your offal-stuffed pig intestine as part of a Garbage Plate-a grease soaked platter of myocardial infarction. Beans, potatoes, macaroni, chili and some kind of meat on a plate. They're actually kind of good if you don't really care about seeing the year 2030. Technically, it's only a Garbage Plate if it comes from Nick Tahou's. It's like how Champagne has to come from the Champagne region of France or else it's just sparking wine. Because of this, other local restaurants have their own versions, usually called something like: Refuse Plate, Trash Plate, Heartburn Special. God, I wish I was making this up.

Hey, here's something Rochester has that you can't put in your mouth (or at least shouldn't): George Eastman. He basically pioneered modern photography. After founding Kodak, he devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy and enduring the excruciating pain of a chronic disease. He left behind his house which is now an awesome museum, and a suicide note reading: "To my friends, My work is done, why wait?Wow. He was the father of modern photography and went out on a great one-liner. 
Of course they're pissed, photos took like three hours back then.
Good thing there wasn't a Luger handy, one of them would have Eastman'ed themselves.

Our old slogan was:
"you probably won't get murdered!"
When you come from an oft unheard of city, there's a tendency to seize upon any pop culture reference to it. It's like we're looking for outside confirmation that we do in fact exist. For example, we will sit through any movie or television show if it has a even a slight connection to the city. I once watched a movie called 'The Alphabet Killer.' It's loosely based on Rochester's second most famous serial killer (yeah, we've had a couple) after this guy and is quite possibly the worst 98 minute movie I ever sat through twenty minutes of. But I endured it (or at least part of it) because it was filmed near my house.

One of the biggest 'hey we're a real place' boons came recently when Beetlejuice (what? I like Beetlejuice) star Alec Baldwin filmed a couple of ads for Wegmans. I should probably explain that Wegmans is a supermarket chain that started in Rochester. It is, and I say this without irony, awesome. I now live in Northern California and shop at a Safeway which, by comparison, blows.

"$6.25 for a cup of coffee?
God I hate living here."
My favorite is this ad in which Baldwin manages to tell us about Wegman's $6 'Dinner Solutions' whilst simultaneously capitalizing on Rochester's seething jealousy of New York City: "A healthy, delicious, chef-prepared meal for $6? I can't even get a cup of coffee in New York for $6." Hey New York, fuck you and fuck your first-rate universities, world class sports teams, vibrant culture and unbeatable night life, we've got a fancy grocery store. I am almost not kidding. Almost.

*Not my word, but in fact, a real thing. Observe this link! Technically 'to Japander' something, one has to shill for money which Alec Baldwin did not do in this case. He did these ads for free, because his mom likes the store. Awesome.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chupacabra, we hardly knew ye.

Would you read something
 called Vapid Media Whore Magazine?
Didn't think so.
Well, it's the end of another year, and as such it's time to remember those who have left us. It's a thing we humans do to mark the passing of time and to fill out the ridiculous amount of air time devoted to the non-event that is the calendar rolling over to another year. 2011 follows 2010, is it really news? Anyway, back to the parade of dead people. I should clarify that by 'left us' I mean died-they didn't break up with us. Also, by 'those who' I mean famous people. Millions of people die every year, but since most of us belong to the faceless mass of humanity, who cares, right? Not the ironically named People magazine, that's for damn sure. So here're some of the (famous) people who died this year:

It is always funny when
TV moms swear...always.
Barbara Billinglsy! While she's certainly most famous for playing June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, to me she will always be the helpful passenger who comes to the rescue with her knowledge of jivetalk in Airplane! She was 94! She lived through two World Wars, 18 presidents, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, the Cold War, and the discovery and subsequent demotion of the planet Pluto. That's an amazing run. Kudos.

Yeah Captain, I got it: don't call 
you Shirley. It was funny the 
first fifty times.

Speaking of Airplane!, Leslie Nielson died too. Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies are some of the funniest goddamn movies ever in large part due to Leslie Neilson. There were maybe three jokes between these movies, but somehow he made them hilarious (a super-power not possessed by the millions who quote the movie every day, so take note). Also, he was in Forbidden Planet in a serious role...well, if Space Captain is a serious role. If you haven't seen it, it is one of the best and most influential sci-fi movies ever. It 'inspired' Gene Roddenberry in the same way Queen's Under Pressure 'inspired' Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby.

Sorry Blanche,
there can be only one.

And then there's Rue McClanahan. It's a dark year indeed when we lose a Golden Girl and so soon after the passing of Bea Arthur (watch her in the Star Wars Holiday Special, yes, it's a thing). The loss of southern belle/mega-slut Blanche Devereaux leaves only the delightful Betty White to carry the mantle. Hey, you know what's weird? Betty White is the oldest Golden Girl. I looked it up on Wikipedia (I like do do my research, as long as it's easy). She's even older than Estelle Getty, the woman who played Bea Arthur's mother. Wow, what if it turned out Betty White was secretly deranged and killed off her co-stars out of some insane desire to be The Golden Girl. Wouldn't that be wild?

Holy crap, this was a thing?

Perhaps most tragic was the simultaneous discovery and death of the Chupacabra. A Kentucky man 'discovered' (and by discovered I mean shot) what biologists at a nearby gas station say kind of looks like a Chupacabra. At least I assume they were scientists, I mean, the local NBC affiliate wouldn't just interview a couple of random people at the Kum & Go,* would they? Mystery solved: The Chupacabra is real...and now it's dead. Thanks Kentucky. 

For real. That's what it's called. 

*Yes, Kum & Go is a chain of gas stations in the midwest and yes, they are absolutely unaware of how hilarious the name is. I don't think that's where the locals were interviewed about the Chupacabra, I just wanted to mention that there was something called a Kum & Go. And now I have. Enjoy.