Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We're sø scrëwed!

Wooden shoes? Wow, the
Dutch can't have a bad idea!
When you think of the Netherlands, what comes to mind? Tulips, windmills and American college students on journeys of self (and flavored pot) discovery, right? Well now we can add Ground Zero for Human Extinction to the list because a bunch of Dutch scienceticians have decided to come up with a deadlier, more contagious version of the bird flu (or H5N1 if you're nasty). You might be wondering why they would do this terrible thing. Unfortunately we may never know, they are, after all, Dutch.

You know, I'm all for science, it's great, but I'm having a real hard time seeing the practical value in coming up with even more terrifying diseases than the ones we already have.
Next up: Super AIDS. Not only can it fly, but it's also resistant to missiles.
The only known treatment is to turn yourself into a morph ball and use bombs.

Absolutely H-A-T-E-S us.
I mean, hasn't nature totally got it covered? It did come up with bubonic plague, smallpox and malaria all on it's own. If there's one thing we, as a species, should have picked up on over the last few years is that the planet and everything on it hates us. It's not just disease: earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunami, volcanoes, Twilight, wild-fires-it's a miracle we're even still around to invent the next pandemic. Of course the new virus is probably safely locked up behind one of those quaint double-door things, but who knows what might happen in the future?

What's even more pants-shittingly scary is the fact that these guys plan to publish a 'how-to' guide to their work; sort of an FAQ for doomsday. That way any super-villain with an English/Dutch dictionary and access to a science lab (name one that doesn't) can hold the planet hostage. Thanks The Netherlands, thanks alot.

Behold: Dr. Renée van der Pol, Supreme Empress of the Earth,
seen here holding a vial of the Avian Ultra-Flu with which she seized power.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The line must be drawn here!

You know, we Trekkies put up with a lot, but this goes too far. Did you click on the link? Good, then you read that not only has the Star Trek sequel been pushed back until 2013, but that it's now going to be in 3-frelling-D. Yeah, that thing from the '50's. 

Try and guess which one is the Communist infiltrator!
"Yeah, actually it made almost $3 
billion including overseas sales."
-Some Blue Space Elf
Ok, fine, people were easier to entertain back then, I get that. There were like 3 channels, what the hell else were they going to do? So what's our excuse? What about seeing shit fly at us from the screen in nausea-inducing stereoscopic vision is so appealing? It doesn't add to the story-telling and it's certainly no good for people who, like me, get motion sickness. So what's up? On an unrelated note, did you know that Avatar made like a billion dollars? Anyway, for some reason making movies in 3D is totally in right now. 

According to Back to the Future 2
we should have holo-sharks by 2015.
But will 3D still be the big damn deal it is now? I doubt it. A lot can change in two years. Assume for a moment that by 2013 Kulkulkán hasn't devoured the sun, won't 3D be a thing of the past? You know, again? C'mon, it's going to be the future by then. I was kind of hoping we'd have holograms or some kind of direct-brain download or something. Does anyone really think we'll still be slapping on a pair of communal eye wear covered in 4 years worth of other people's face-goo?

Remember Deep Impact? No? Exactly.
The worst part about Star Trek 3D, is that it will come right in the middle of the re-re-re-release of Star Wars in 3D thus giving 'Wars fans another reason to claim that Star Trek is somehow a rip of George 'Neckbeard' Lucas's opus. I mean, the story in the last one was kind of similar: A farm boy with a magic destiny dreams of going into space and gets guidance from a wise old man with powers, sound familiar? There's even a bad-guy that blows up planets. Adding 3D makes it feel a little me-too. It'd be the other 3D space movie; the Deep Impact to Star Wars' Armageddon

It might as well be
a Virgin Merit Badge.

It might seem like I'm getting worked up over a movie that's two years off and might totally be good (and I am), but you should know that I can't help it. Star Trek fandom is pretty low on the scale of socially acceptable nerderies, even among other geeks. Why? No one knows, but for reasons beyond our ken, Trekky-ism seems to come in just behind asthmatic mathlete and only slightly above the Babylon 5 Fan Club (what? I said 'slightly'). We're a little sensitive about it, especially when it comes to Star Wars fans, who are (inexplicably) considered cooler than us. 

Even the appearance that Star Trek is being turned into a Star Wars knock-off is pretty vexing. Trekkies are many things, but we are not the kind of dork that will stand outside a movie theatre staging battles with plastic light sabres. We do, after all, have our dignity.
"Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Octopi Dry Land!

"What're you looking at chump?"
-Some Octopus
By Trident's beard! Did you see this? Some random family was hanging out at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve near Half Moon Bay in California when an octopus, apparently hearing the call of Cthulu, crept to shore and started skittering around on (relatively) dry land. Was this a fluke of nature or the vanguard of some kind of cephalopod invasion? These things are scary smart for mollusks whose closest relatives are brainless hors d'oeuvres like clams or cuttlefish who, despite the name are neither fish nor adorable.

Marine biologists have observed threatening behavior in octopuses...octopies...these things before. A couple of years ago some in captivity were caught fashioning crude shelters out of coconut shells while others were able to solve mazes and even sneak out of their tanks at night to go on raids of nearby fish tanks. 

My god, some are even breeding an octo-army!
"Holy crap, that was you guys?"
-Octo-Lord Steve
We're through the looking glass here people, but what could we have done to deserve this? What could the mighty Octo-Lords possibly have against us? I mean it's not like we, as a species, are especially cruel to them, are we? Sure, we poison their habitat, serve them live and squirming in Korean restaurants, and the less said about SeaQuest season 3 the better, but still, what have we done to deserve this? Of course, I may be taking this too personally. Maybe this is just how evolution works, like maybe our number is up and other animals see an opening. The best thing to do right now might be to gracefully step aside and make room for our new masters. 

Sorry kid, the meek get squat.
But who shall inherit the Earth? If you said the meek, you've already lost. This is going to come down to species vs. species, one shall stand, one shall fall. But if our days at the top are already numbered, are we doomed to be slaves to octokind? Is it time to start fashioning our own coconut forts? I think not, fellow humans! Sure, squids (basically the same thing, right?) are looking pretty strong right now, but we still have an ape up our sleeves (sorry).

Yeah, that's right, the apes. After all, our simian pals have brute strength, thumbs and the ability to throw barrels (among other things) at enemies. Also, they've totally wanted it more ever since that documentary 'Planet of the Apes' showed them how sweet it would be to rule the Earth. Yup, it's time we started arming the apes with nets and harpoons before any more octopi get any bright ideas. I don't know about you, but I'd rather live under monkey-law than the cold, sucker-lined tentacles of oppression. 

Behold: our grim future.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, now get the hell out!

Wherever a flag waves majestically
out of focus, Mitt will be there.
It's Thanksgiving! As everyone knows, this is a time of togetherness, sharing and hard-line anti-immigration rhetoric. This year, the Thanksgiving spirit has definitely gripped Mitt Romney, GOP Presidential hopeful and wistful flag-eclipser, who has taken the opportunity to announce his position that conditions for illegal immigrants should be made so inhospitable that they'll return to their home countries and apply through normal channels. The logic being that people who come here illegally shouldn't be allowed amnesty while others are going through official channels.

Our border is slowly becoming
Double Dare with live ammo.

Ok, I can sort of see his point, although it seems to me to be contrary to the self-determination and gumption Republicans like to pretend to be all about. After all, many illegal immigrants are people who evaded our Predator drones and crazy Texans with guns and made it over our mighty border fence in order to work low-paying jobs. Aren't these the kind of people we want to become citizens? Aren't they bringing to the table the kind of ingenuity and bad-assery that makes us awesome? Anyway, somehow I doubt he would see it this way.

Romney, who was born without the gene responsible for irony, clarified his new, dickier position the day before Thanksgiving. A holiday which, while not without its fair share of whitewashing and bullshit, celebrates the time the first Americans lent a helping hand to people who showed up uninvited (and wearing stupid buckle hats). Look, I'm just going to put this out there, I mean, I don't want anyone to lose their job at all much less during the holiday season but maybe Mitt should consider firing everyone who works for him.

"Oh, you call this the New World? How quaint. And you came in a boat? My, how interesting...Us?
Why we walked over a bridge made of ice, fought sabre tooth tigers and woolly mammoths
and then populated two continents...Yeah, sure, we can spare some corn."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In a Rooney-less world, options are limited.

Hey look, there's a new study from people who study things like this that indicates that Fox News viewers are now less informed than people who watch no news whatsoever. It's like whatever Fox and Friends is spewing is somehow making their viewers at home more stupid.

I swear to god when this show started they had a puppet co-host.
Does anyone else remember this?
But I feel like we already knew this. What I don't get is why anyone bothers doing these studies anymore. It's not like the remaining Fox fanbase is going to be swayed by facts. These people can be broken down into three basic groups. Please approach with caution:

No it doesn't, but who cares?
You're watching aren't you?
First are the people whose only knowledge of the world around them comes from the television in the Wal-Mart Auto service center. The sound is usually off, but the Fox graphics are admittedly pretty slick and the news segments are given awesome titles which may or more likely may not bear a resemblance to things that happened. Armed with their half-remembered screen crawls about how Nancy Pelosi goes down to socialist-controlled Cuba twice a year for orphan blood injections, they defend their positions with every fiber of their being because they 'sawr it on the news.'

With Andy Rooney gone, what else are
curmudgeons going to nod approvingly at? 

Then there are the old people who just need their worldview validated. After all, cell phones are confusing, men are marrying other men and the President is black. Who can keep up? Fortunately, Fox is totally there to make them feel better about being afraid of Muslims. Did you know that for the first time in the history of the world, things are different from the way they were in the past? Also, things cost more, what's up with that? And how come there's so much swearing in movies these days? 

"Wow, thanks, but you must go now.
Others need your guiding wisdom.
 Godspeed jackass, godspeed!" 

The last group are the true addicts who know it's crap but continue to watch regardless of how bad it is for them. Like smokers, no amount of cajoling is going to dissuade them from their addiction. In fact, pressing them on the subject is likely only going to make them want to run home and turn it on just to spite you. To keep with the smoker analogy, they know it's bad for them and are either too addicted to stop, or just don't give a shit. All you're going to do is make them light up another one.  

Yup, at this point there's nothing we can do to save them. Everyone who's given up on Fox News has already done so and those who haven't are too far gone. Like the guy at the end of the Human Centipede whose only sustenance has been passed know what? I'm going to abandon this metaphor right now and go with something less stomach-churning:

Hey, how 'bout that guy in Star Trek: First Contact that gets assimilated by the Borg
so Picard phasers him to put him out of his misery. Yes. Let's go with that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Websites are people too.

Hey, remember the whole Prop 8 deal? Yeah, it's this thing that happened in California where a bunch of sanctimonious dickweeds rounded up enough signatures to put the civil rights of an entire group of people up to a vote and then cajoled a slight majority of voters into deciding that treating gays and lesbians equally would somehow lead to rampant sex with satanic otters or something. Since this was total bullshit, some couples sued the state saying the initiative violated their rights. You know, because it does.

Governor Schwarzenegger (who you might remember from Kindergarten Cop and Twins) and the State's A.G. saw the thing for the heinous legislative gay-bash it is and declined to defend it in court.
Yup, even the guy who made Jingle All The Way wanted nothing to do with Prop 8. 

Next on the docket: Is blocking
pop-ups a right, or murder?
So without the "State of California" in the "State of California Vs. Rational Human Beings," San Francisco Judge Vaughn Walker overturned it. Problem solved, right? Nope. The Ninth Circuit Court ruled that sponsors of the bill like the website have the standing necessary to defend it in court...why not, right? Websites are people too and deserve equal recognition and protection under the law. It's not like is trying to marry another hate group or something.

"You're all screeeewed. Ha!"
-Justice Scalia
Anyway, this could result in Prop 8 being thrown out completely or it could push the issue to the Supreme Court which could either be a good thing or a bad thing. Don't get me wrong, it should be pretty obvious that you can't deny civil rights to people just because a bunch of bible thumpers don't like it, but these are the same people who officially handed representative democracy over to Walmart forever so my faith in their ability to come to a reasonable decision is a little strained.

To quote Ms. Kahn: "Flames, flames...
on the side of my face."
But you know what? Can I just rant for a sec? Good. I really, really don't like the people and organizations that support Prop 8 (see list). They sort of fill me with a kind of blind, puking rage. Does this make me a bad person? I mean, I know we're all supposed to be open minded about people's differences of opinion, but I just can't wrap my head around what makes them think that their religious objections should trump other's rights. God, they suck.

I know, there's been like crazy big steps towards equality in the last few months alone and that's awesome. It just that it seems like every time there's a court victory or a bad law gets thrown out there's a 'yeah but' attached and another pack of pouting red-state medievalists ready to carry on. You'd think if these people actually gave a shit about marriage and family they'd want everyone to share in it.

Another bride's special day ruined by the knowledge
that somewhere two dudes are getting married.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I never get invited to the good symposia.

Can you believe there was a symposium on the subject of exploring deep space and they were taking suggestions? Can you further believe that it was sponsored by the Pentagon? Yeah, The Pentagon. Am I alone in being uncomfortable with the idea of deep space exploration being brought to you by the same people who gave us Predator unmanned planes and the F-22 Raptor? And while we're at it, Predator? Raptor? When did we become Cobra?

The Pentagon recently earmarked $80 billion dollars to construct a Terror Drome
thus ending America's reliance on foreign Dromes (figures sold separately).

Space is big. Good work everybody.
Anyway, the thing's over now and the consensus is that traveling to another star system is going to be like really, really hard, which we already knew. But I'm feeling a little left out and since I didn't get to go, I'd like to offer some suggestions of my own. And by my own, I mean things I've seen on TV. Yeah, TV. Unless science fiction has lied to us, there are plenty of ways to overcome the incomprehensible distances between stars. These guys just aren't looking hard enough. Here's a list of space exploration options in ascending order of implausibility:

Also a problem: Freezer Burn.
The most scientifically plausible (i.e. boring-est) method of interstellar travel is probably going to involve freezing people and then thawing them out decades later when their slow-as-hell ship makes it to the next star system. The obvious flaw to this plan is that the round trip could take a couple hundred years. That's centuries of potential asteroid collisions, power failures and face-huggers. Not only that, but if/when the astronauts do return, they would find that everyone they knew and loved was long dead and that future music is unfamiliar and off-putting. Sort of like the way Auto-Tune sounds to anyone born before 1985.

Also, two-hundred years is a really long time for science. Any discoveries they might make could be way out of date. It would be like Lewis and Clark rolling into D.C. now, pointing west and going: "Hey, the Pacific's that way. Don't eat the poison oak." And then we'd be like: "Psscht, thanks losers, we already figured that out."

Pictured: dumbasses.

Sure, the Hoff's got KITT. MacGyver's
got wormholes. Advantage: Mac.
Not a fan of returning home to find the Earth populated by super-intelligent apes? Fine, maybe Stargates are more your thing. They're basically a network of magic space doors left behind by aliens who, according to Richard Dean Anderson's documentary series Stargate SG-1, also terraformed thousands of planets and populated them with Canadians. Awesome. The only downside to exploring space via Stargate is that the plan relies on a super-advanced race of aliens leaving one buried one under the pyramids for us to find. Not super-likely, but you never know.

The planets the Stargates lead to generally fall into the budget-conscious 'Canadian Zone.'

Matter and anti-matter?
What could possibly go wrong?
Then there's Warp drive. It would get us there pretty quick and while it's fictional, some people are actually working on it. The basic idea is that by compressing the fabric of space you can propel a ship through the void like toothpaste squeezed from the bottom of the tube. All you need is a sufficient energy source like a matter/antimatter reaction or a black hole or something. Simple right? Of course nobody knows how to build a warp core and on Star Trek they tend to explode with the force of a thousand suns, but once we work out the technical details we'll be ready to boldly split some infinitives.

See? Lot's of options open, so get cracking science. What's that? Where are we going to find the money? Gee, I don't know, if only there was some area of human endeavor that soaked up vast amounts of resources but doesn't really make the world a better place...

Anyone got any ideas?

This doesn't say 'tremble in fear' so much
as 'you forgot to stop at the store.'
Well, I can't think of everything, however I would like to propose that we hold a symposium on the name Milky Way. I know, right? Why do we have to call our galaxy the Milky Way? It's like we're begging the Andromeda galaxy to come and kick our ass. I mean, I know that someone thousands of years ago looked up and said: "kinda looks like milk," but could we maybe come up with something a little more intimidating? Someday aliens from another galaxy are going to roll in and ask: "What do you call this place?" And we're going to have to explain that it's named after a substance we squeeze out of mammal teats. And then we're going to have to explain what mammals and teats are. It's going to be a whole thing.

I suggest 'Galacticus Prime.' The '-us' on the end makes it sound sciencey
 and adding 'prime' just makes it sound cool. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Hey look, the news has picked up on another video game related non-contraversy! There's a new Super Mario game coming out and the Tanooki Suit is back. What the hell's a Tanooki suit? Well, way back in Super Mario 3, one of Mario's power-ups was this little raccoon costume that granted him the powers of a raccoon: flight and the ability to turn into a statue of an old man.

So Mario likes to dress up like an animal and hang around with like-minded adults
in a non-judgemental atmosphere. What's wrong with that?

Seriously Japan, what is up?
If you just said 'Hey, that doesn't make any damn sense' you'd be correct. But Super Mario comes from Japan, so it makes Japan sense. You see, in Japanese myth there's this magical raccoon dog with giant testicles called a Tanuki. Legend has it he once murdered an old woman, made soup out of her and fed it too her husband. In a brilliant move, someone at Nintendo thought that a psychopathic raccoon monster with giant balls would be a great fit for a Super Mario game and the Tanooki suit was born.

Anyway, someone at PETA apparently caught wind of the Tanooki suit's return and decided to get angry about it because he's wearing fur. Yup, PETA is upset that a cartoon plumber who's been stepping on turtles for thirty years is dressing up like a raccoon. They even went so far as to create a super-violent parody on their website:

Above: That's a skinless raccoon dog chasing a skin-suit-wearing Mario through the bowels of hell.
Thanks PETA, that aught to haunt my dreams.

Fun Fact: The average Fox News
viewer is, in fact, Helen Lovejoy
But are they really all that upset? Is it at all possible that PETA is exploiting the media's deep stupidity when it comes to video games? Like seriously, all you have to do is come up with some bullshit about how a new video game is in some way controversial and the news eats it up. Remember when Fox News made up some crap about Mass Effect's non-existant alien sex-simulator? Yeah, in typical Fox News style they even called the story 'SeXbox.' And then there was GTA San Andreas' Hot Coffee, and really anything related to Mortal Kombat.

For some reason news outlets are really good at missing the point with gaming. It'd be one thing if they just didn't get it, but it seems like there's an almost willful ignorance going on.

To put it into SAT analogy terms: The video game industry is to the media,
as the ocean is to medieval mariners.

Holy shit guys,
like really?
Part of the problem is that they treat it as a passtime for kids despite the fact that the average gamer is 37 and the industry pulls in about $10 billion a year (putting it up there with the film industry). So when some lunatic thinks she hears 'Islamic messages' in some shitty DS game she gets a platform for her crazy. Meanwhile someone makes a movie about a guy who sews people together (mouth to anus) so he can see how long it takes them to die and it's just another horror flick. I've got to think PETA knows exactly what they're doing, I mean sometimes they don't even have to try. Like the time the President swatted a fly in an interview and everyone looked at PETA to see if they would get upset. They didn't, they sent him some humane fly traps and soaked up some free media attention.

Look, even if you sometimes find yourself wondering what dolphins taste like, or praying to god that McDonald's will bring back the McRib in your lifetime, you have got to admire the way they ride the media like Muad'dib on a sandworm. Advantage: PETA.

Although PETA has been exploiting naked people for years,
when's someone going to call them on that?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Frank Miller hates your iPhone

I like Batman. I like Scooby-Doo. That
doesn't mean they should hang out.
Wow, did you see this? Frank Miller isn't quite the bastion of rational thought we all think he is. If you don't know who he is, he wrote the graphic novel 300 (which the movie was based on) and is the guy famous for taking the aging, campy and downright Scooby-Doo filled Batman of the 1970's and turning him into the badass we all know and love. Last week on his blog he went off on the Occupy Wall Street movement, and in the process also made a hilarious poop joke. Read carefully, or you might miss the rapier-like subtlety.

Miller, seen here reclining on a pile of
 corpses, is better at 9/11 than we are.
In the rant, he compares the demonstrators to babies, clowns, thieves and rapists who need to go get real jobs, you know, like drawing comic books and then licensing the movie rights. Miller, who unlike those thieving clown-baby rapists who currently occupy Wall Street, was in New York during 9/11. He, along with Glenn Beck and a few AM Radio hosts, was one of the few people actually affected by it while the rest of us were too busy living comfy lives in our parent's basements playing Lords of Warcraft* on our iPhones.

You see what we don't understand is that the real threat to our culture isn't the ever-widening gap between rich and poor (or Baron and Serf) it's Muslim people and their army of Orcs led by a nine-foot hermaphrodite who want to take away our freedom. Did I mention that he fixed Batman?
In this scene from 300, the evil King Xerxes threatens to have gay sex with the American flag.
Historical accuracy is extremely important to Miller.
*Yeah, I don't know what Lords of Warcraft is, but it must be a videogame so awesome that it distracts us all from the un-relenting terror we should all be living in.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Super-Lucky Veteran's Skyrim Doomsday!

Hey, it's November 11th, 2011, one of the most under-appreciated doomsdays of the year! So what's the deal? What did Y2K have that 11/11/11 doesn't? I mean, it looks like something that would screw up computers, maybe 111111 is binary for 'launch the missiles' or 'erase the NASDAQ.' We just don't know. Crazy doom people are really missing a great opportunity here as far as ominous dates go.

"And lo, upon the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year of the third millennium,
there shall be a great explosioning. Also, watch out for the Conquistadors, those guys are dicks."

-Ancient Mayan Prophecy
At least I still have Chairman Meow
to keep me company.*
Today is also a super-popular date for weddings in China where people are not only way into numerology but it's also Singles Day, a holiday invented (probably by the Chinese equivalent of Hallmark) in the 90's to make single people feel better about dying alone. Yeah, so everyone's sticking it to singles by getting married on a day set aside for the lonely, childless shut-ins. Way to go Chinese newlyweds. 

A 'sky-rim' is also a sex-act performed
on a plane. Google with caution.
Speaking of lonely, childless shut-ins, the universe hasn't forgotten us completely. 11-11-11 is also Skyrim's release date! What the hell's a Skyrim? You know, I'm not really sure, but what I do know is that it's a new video game that promises to give me and nerds like me a reason to get up in the morning (figuratively speaking, as I have a remote and a wireless Xbox controller). Skyrim gives you a sword, a Viking helmet and some magic and lets you run around a pseudo-medieval world fighting monsters. Think GTA but with more dragons and slightly fewer prostitutes. 

However, it's not everyone's lucky day. Given the shaft this 11/11 is Veteran's Day which now has to share the date with some blind coincidence of the calendar. The date was chosen because it's anniversary of the Armistice with Germany which was signed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 93 years ago. If you know your history, the treaty ended not only German military ambition, but also war itself forever. 

It also brings us blow out savings on a new fridge from Sears! Thanks armed forces!

*p.s. Sorry. Also, I don't really have a cat.