Monday, December 31, 2012

RIP Perspective, we hardly knew ye...

Hey, so like Happy New Year. Our planet has now made two thousand, thirteen laps around the sun since a guy who may or may not have been magic was possibly, but by no means certainly, born.
"Happy New Year! Wooo 32 B.C.!
Hey, what the hell are we counting down to?"

-Some Roman
Pictured: Thomas Kinkade
pushing the envelope.
Anyway, New Year's is traditionally a time to reflect on the year, make resolutions for new one and for some reason rattle off a list of dead people. Now I should mention that part of the tradition is that we only bother mentioning famous people. You and me? No one cares. Doomed to obscurity. You know who does make the list? 'Artist' Thomas Kinkade. Yeah. Is that even fair? No, of course not, have you seen his work? There is no justice. Anyway, dead now are Dick Clark, Ernest Borgnine, Whitney Houston, Andy Griffith, Donna Summer, Gore Vidal, Maurice Sendak and George Jefferson.

C'mon, give me one good reason we can't
posthumously declare Ray Bradbury
Emperor of Mars. Just one good reason.

Cultists lost the King of the Moonies, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, Sesame Street lost Jerry Nelson, the voice of the Count, S.H.E.I.L.D. lost agent Phil Coulson and everyone lost Phyllis Diller. Fans of space and the future were especially hard hit loosing Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, Ray Bradbury and Neil Armstrong. That's right, until this year we were all sharing the planet with the first person to ever set foot on the goddamn moon.

Hoping for a raise this year? Send a
couple of these Moloch's way and he'll
see what he can do.
No loss however, will be felt more keenly than that of our species' sense of Perspective. The cognitive ability to place one's own opinion and point of view into the context of the larger human experience succumbed to bullshit related analogies this year. Yup, 2012 saw smoking bans and gun control compared to genocide, the separation of Church and State compared to the crucifixion and gayness compared to the practice of sacrificing babies to the ancient Phoenician deity Moloch. Perspective, you will be missed.

Todd Aiken is still in congress somehow.
You can contact him here. Enjoy!
Perspective's untimely demise also coincided with Republicans using the word rape the way the rest of us use punctuation. For example, disagree with something? Then it's just like rape. Oh and women who become pregnant as a result of rape? They're probably liars and were secretly into it according to Congressman Todd Aiken. Know what else? Sometimes God causes rapes because he loves babies so much. Don't think about it too hard, you'll only burst a blood vessel.

That was way, way too close people.
I mean, holy shit, could you imagine?
Of course 2012 wasn't all death and rape analogies. I mean, the President did win the election (despite the State of Florida), marriage equality referenda passed in three more states, and we narrowly avoided not one but two apocalypses (both the Mayan thing and Michael Bay's TMNT reboot). And in a move I certainly never saw coming, George Lucas has decided to turn Star Wars over to someone else and is now planning to give the billions of dollars he made off the deal to charity thus forcing us to take back every bad thing we ever said about him.

Now when I complain about Episode II sucking, I'm the jerk. Well played Lucas, well played.
Above: Obi-Wan Kenobi getting the low down from a cockroach in a space diner.
Idiotic? You bet. But George Lucas is giving $4 billion to charity, so shut the hell up. 
"Ever hear of the Medieval Warm period?
It proves that global warming is part of
a natural...glub....glub....glub..."
All in all 2012 was ok. In many ways it kind of turned out like The Hobbit: kind of slow in parts, with some moments that were just unnecessary, but otherwise well acted and with no shortage of trolls. Ok, so New York did almost slip under the waves like an overpriced Atlantis with no parking, but on the other hand we can point to the flooding in Queens next time some jackass dismisses climate change as part of a natural cycle, so you know, bright side...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

One MacGuffin to rule them all...

Listen, I have a confession to make and it's not going to be easy for me to say. Ready? Here goes: I fell asleep during The Hobbit. I know, I know, I'm the worst.
I don't think I'm alone on this.
-Bilbo, burgling the 
shit out of Gollum's ring
Look, in my defense I was really jet lagged and went to see a really late show. Oh, and there were like 15 trailers before it started and the movie was long. I mean really long. In fact, with a running time of just under 86 hours I think it's down right amazing that I only nodded off for a few minutes. Of course, those few minutes were during the Riddles in the Dark scene which is my favorite part of the book. If you're unfamiliar with the scene, it's the pivotal moment where our hero, Bilbo, heroically robs a deranged, fish-eating recluse living in a cave of his only worldly possession.

That worldly possession as you've probably guessed is the magic ring which Tolkien later retconned into the single most dangerous MacGuffin in Middle Earth which Frodo then spends three, three-hour movies trying to get rid of.
Clearly, Frodo has never heard of Craigslist.
Above: A battle scene from The
...or maybe Narnia, hell this
could be Avatar for all I know.
But anyway, the movie itself was a little bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong, I can deal with deviations from the book, it's just that all the extra stuff felt like Jackson was trying to stretch it out (which he is). There were half a dozen samey epic battle scenes which I'm pretty sure weren't in the book, Saruman drops by for a pow-wow, Kate Blanchett's there for some reason and we spend like twenty minutes watching the birdshit-caked Radagast the Brown truck around on his bunny sled and somehow there're two more movies to go.

Look, I'll take all the Middle Eathiness I can get in DVD deleted scenes, but in the theater when I haven't slept I just want them to get to the bloody point. Yes, there's probably a really good movie buried under all the padding but holy shit. The only comfort I take is knowing that every sequel and prequel Peter Jackson can milk out of Tolkien's work is another few years of keeping New Zealand's economy afloat.
Like seriously, before these movies, all those sheep-herding kiwis had to
rely on for tourist dollars was the stunning natural beauty of their islands.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Where were you when?

He's like Walter Cronkite,
but with perspective issues.
Wow, it's been a rough couple of weeks here in America, and just when you thought we could endure no more, this happened:

"Call it the nightmare before Christmas. A lot of folks hoping to kick back and relax with a movie at home on Christmas Eve were out of luck, thanks to a Netflix outage that had thousands of unhappy customers taking to social media to vent their frustration..."

I'm sure that one day we'll all be telling our grandkids where we were during the Great Netflix Outage of 2012. Sure, The company apologized and the service was restored, but is sorry really enough? I mean how many people were forced to switch over to Hulu, or god forbid, talk to one another?
Do the Netflix people up there in their ivory tower even realize that
Hulu is like 80% Korean soap operas? Do they have any idea?
"Five channels and one of them is PBS?
Godammit, I hate the 20th century!"
Ok, so kidding aside, thousands of people went on social media to vent their frustration? Holy shit, for serious? Did people actually discover that Netflix was down and immediately hop online to commiserate with friends about it? What did we do in past centuries when the cable went out? Get on our primitive non-cellular phones and rail against having to watch regular broadcast television like a bunch of savages? Are we so fragile and internet-dependant as a species now that we can't go a couple of hours without instant access to full seasons of Project Runway? 

Above: Aliens taking a wise
preventative measure.
In a jaw-droppingly pathetic twist, it turns out that the outage was limited to devices which stream the service to your televisions like PS3's and Blu-Ray players and not say, computers. So people could have actually been watching Netflix on the very same computers and iPhones they were using to whine about being deprived of Netflix for a few hours. Let's all just remember this when the aliens come and obliterate us from orbit rather than letting us spread our stupid to the stars.
During the blitz, Londoners took shelter in the city's underground
tube stations while the Germans bombed the shit out of their homes.
Fun Fact: Not one of them complained on Twitter.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Glock

Ready for a heaping helping of crazy? Check this shit out:

 "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
-Wayne LaPierre, the guy
 in charge of the NRA
Guns are also the only thing that stops paper, scissors and rock.
"No you idiots, guns don't kill people, Xbox
 kills people. I can't make this any clearer." 
Wow. In addition to reducing the complicated issue of guns in America to a simple formula that even we limp-wristed, Obama-loving, vegans can wrap our protein-deprived brains around, Monsieur LaPierre* explained that it's not so much the NRA's efforts against effective gun control and their insistence that it's our patriotic duty to be packing heat at all times that create a culture in which shootings are commonplace but video games

I'm not alone on this right? I think we
all picture her when we hear the word.
I'm no expert on video gam-oh, wait, I guess I kind of am and I kind of take umbrage at Gunny McToterton's desperate flailing for an easy scapegoat. I have wasted-er...spent an uncountable number of hours playing games, hours I could have spent learning how to play the guitar, getting a master's degree or interacting with my fellow humans, yet somehow I have never gone on a killing spree and am fully capable of telling fantasy from reality, so what else ya got Wayne?

In fact, video games have taught me many valuable lessons.
For instance, did you know that ham found in walls can heal any injury?

Finally, someone with the courage to
speak out against plasma grenades.
Look, I don't want to tell the gun nuts how to run their crazy gun club, but with all that's happened shouldn't they be stepping up efforts to educate the public about gun safety and the importance of responsible gun use instead of trying to fix blame elsewhere? I mean, people aren't out there murdering each other with Wiimotes, they're using guns. You know, the things the NRA has spent decades and millions of dollars promoting. Like, do they really think anyone's buying it? 

LaPierre went on to suggest that we should have armed guards in all the schools. His solution to gun violence is more goddamn guns. How is anyone supposed to take these guys seriously? There has to be some reasonable members of the NRA out there, can't one of them chloroform LaPierre and lock him in the basement before he opens his crazy hole? 
"Hey liberals, JFK would be alive today
if he was carrying. Now who's stupid?"

-The NRA
*It's french for Mister The Peter.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Let's trip Jason Martin!

Hey blog, sorry it's been a few days. I'm back east for the holidays and my people (Quarter-canadians who live in New York State) don't believe in using the internet on St. Boxing-Day Tides' Eve.
In Canada, Christmas cookies are called Boxing-Day Biscuits
and are made largely of ham and Labatts. Incidentally, this is not true.
If assholery is cumulative it may eventually
collapse in on itself and destroy the solar
 system. Clearly something must be done.
So, what's new? Well, the infinite depths of human awfulness have reached a new, marianas-level low. And no, somehow I'm not referring to Mike Huckabee's Christmas Shoes-esque theory about the school shootings. My beef (and presumably the beef of 99.9% of all human-beings who have ever lived) is this story here. Go on, click. See what I mean? Like a last minute bid on an ebay auction about to expire someone has stepped in and wrested the Worst Human Award 2012 from the claws of people who use rape analogies by setting up a fake donation site for the families of one of the Sandy Hook victims. That is some Omega-level assholery.

How do you even do that? The grieving parents contacted the guy, named Jason Martin, to say knock it off and he cooperated saying he didn't mean any harm, but for real? He didn't think that soliciting money in the name of a murdered child with whom he has no connection would be a problem? I know it's a common enough name, but if you know anyone called Jason Martin go ahead and trip him just in case. He'll understand.
See that guy in the lower left? His name is Jason Martin. He's not the Jason Martin,
but the woman next to him tripped him anyway. When she explained why, he was totally cool with it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Welcome to the future, flesh-bags!
It looks like our quest to become actual cyborgs is another step closer to reality-wait, huh? That's not your quest? Pfffft...fine then, enjoy the global ecological collapse while the rest of us stomp around in our shiny new robot bodies free of squishy human concerns like breathing and flossing. Anyway, some geniuses from Ghent University in Belgium (yes, the waffle people) have invented contact lenses with built-in LCD technology that can connect with wireless devices and create a heads-up display in your eye. Now you'll never again have to not be on the internet!

Think of it, a constant barrage of information filling up your visual field. And because the lenses sit on your eyeballs themselves you can't even close your eyes to get away from it. It will be like having Terminator-vision but with fewer execution directives from Skynet.
What? Cybernetic components need pumpkin spice
lattés to lubricate their bio-functions. It's science.
Cindy's telling Allen about her day.
Allen's looking at porn. Everybody wins.
Oh, and it will be great in social situations. Ever been in a conversation with someone who pulls out their iPhone and starts checking Facebook like you're not even goddamn there? Happens to me all the time. Well, no longer. With these new lenses, all you'll notice is a glassy stare on your friend's face while they pin things to their Pinterest board. Outsiders will totally think you have a friend whose interested in whatever the hell your saying.

Of course with any new technology there's bound to be some fairly gruesome consequences in the short term while we all get used to being linked with the hive mind. Distracted-driving traffic accidents are likely to spike, but it's a small price to pay to finally free ourselves of human interaction.
"Oh hey Mandy. Yeah, I can talk, what's up?"

Monday, December 10, 2012


In case you were wondering, prophecy
smells like pomade and homophobia.
Hey, the Mormon Church has put up a whole website addressing how Mormons should stop being dicks to gays and lesbians! Wow, it seems like only yesterday they were sticking their face up in California's Prop 8 bullshit like it was Joseph Smith's hat and here they are magnanimously reaching out to gay people with compassion and understanding. Thus dawns a new day for LGBT Mormons and...

...uh, wait, no, gayness is still a sin and Mormon God makes gay people just so he can mess with them. I suppose it's a step up from 'get out of our giant Mormon Castle you godless sodomite,' but still...
Meanwhile, at the hall of Justice...
"Hear that Nicole? I'm freeeee!"
Yeah, the website is probably a well-intentioned attempt to reach out to gay people and that's cool I guess, but I still think they're kind of missing the point. Check out this quote:

"Members of the Church who have same-sex attractions, but don't act on them, can continue to enjoy full fellowship in the Church...Unlike in times past, the Church does not necessarily advise those with same-sex attraction to marry those of the opposite sex. Same-sex attraction itself is not a sin, but yielding to it is."

-Statement from The Church of Latter Day Saints, 
relaxing its previous pro-sham marriage position

Ok, so what they're saying is that being gay and a Mormon is fine as long as you don't do any of the icky gay stuff like finding companionship and living a healthy and full life. Look, I don't want to tell people how to run their crazy space church,* but that's not really outreach so much as it is grudging acquiescence.
"Hey have you heard? We're no longer anti-gay!
We just think gays should lead lonely, sexless lives."
*in fairness I believe all religions, my own included, are just a little crazy and probably from space. I didn't want you to think I was singling anyone out.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Have Yourself A Sociopathic Little Christmas!

So I'm not really a fan of Christmas music. Christmas movies either. Really anything Christmas-themed is not for me so you can imagine the personal hell I live in from late October through January every year.
Spend more than 10 minutes shopping and then try to tell me that the
mall at Christmas isn't where bad people should go when they die.
It's that amazing.
Compounding my torture is the fact that the music played in perpetual loop at my job has now turned exclusively to Christmas songs. The Sirius mix deemed work appropriate is full of the usual six or seven covers of John Lennon's Happy Christmas, some Alvin and the Chipmunks bullshit about a hula hoop and I'm pretty sure that's Sting singing I Saw Three Ships, but nothing, nothing could prepare me for The Christmas Shoes. Holy hell have you heard of this? No? Well prepare to have your face melted by religion.

"Ain't I a stinker?"
It's by some Christian group called NewSong and it came out like 12 years ago. If I'm understanding the lyrics correctly, the song tells the story of some dude (played by Rob Lowe in the movie, but we'll get to that) helping a little boy buy shoes for his dying mother on Christmas Eve. Touching, right? That is until Rob Lowe comes to the sociopathic conclusion that God, in a move straight out of the Old Testament, has given some random woman cancer just to teach him the true meaning of Christmas.

"I'm afraid it's cancer...fortunately
it's nothing a new pair of shoes won't cure! 
You know, because we women love shoes."
-Doctors, in the fucked up
universe in which this song is set 
Behold these disturbing lyrics:

Sir, I wanna buy these shoes
For my mama please
It's Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size

Could you hurry, sir?
Daddy says there's not much time
You see, she's been sick for quite a while
And I, know these shoes will make her smile
And I, want her to look beautiful
If mama meets Jesus tonight

I knew I caught a glimpse of heaven love
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy to remind me
What Christmas is all about

Above: A screen shot of
The Christmas Shoes: The Game. 
If God arbitrarily murdering someones mother to teach some jackass in line at Payless about the wonder of the holiday shopping season isn't enough to drive you into the cold embrace of Atheism, nothing will. But it doesn't end there. The runaway success of this maudlin piece of horseshit has spawned an entire media empire. Oh yes, there's a country cover, a made-for-TV movie (like I said, starring Rob Lowe) and even a novelization of the movie. For those keeping score, that makes it a book based on a movie based on a song.

Pictured: Rob Lowe and the family
he destroyed through his ignorance of
the true meaning of Christmas.

But wait, there's more! The Christmas Shoes: The Movie isn't even the only movie. There's not one but two made-for-TV sequels: "Christmas Shoes Rising" and "Christmas Shoes Into Darkness" (ok, these are not the real titles, but wouldn't it be great if they were?). Collectively they're known as the Christmas Shoes Saga (also not true, but still). Yup, the movie about a woman getting Christmas cancer because of Rob Lowe is just the beginning of an epic trilogy...or should I say thrillogy?

So what kind of people buy into this? I don't know, but I suspect that there is significant overlap between those who enjoy The Christmas Shoes and people who buy 9/11 commemorative coins and wear holiday-themed sweaters without irony.
Google 'bad holiday sweaters.' Among the dozens of handlebar-mustached
hipsters mugging for the camera in their choice thrift store finds you'll find
 this woman taking her seasonal sweater-wearing very, very seriously.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Good News, Bad News

Mmm...dippin' sauce!
Hey, check this out. According to the Government, the world isn't coming to an end after all. In an effort to stem the tide of doom-related hysteria currently gripping our nation's idiots, the Government has posted on its blog (yes, the Government has a blog now) that the rumors about the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world are just rumors and we should all go back to our TV watching and Bloomin Onions®. Well, that's a relief, thanks the Government! In other news, we're boned according to a new study.

"It's bullshit, I mean, c'mon. Now if there are
no further
 questions, I've got science to do." 
Anyway back to doomsday, the blog even has some links to NASA videos which debunk the loony-toon theories about rogue planets, comets and, I presume, Quetzalcoatl. That's right, they actually took valuable time and resources away from inventing warp drive to try and reassure the tin foil hat crowd that the world isn't coming to an end. I don't know, I feel like if there are still people out there freaking out because they read too many Tim Lehaye books or watched too many History Chanel 'documentaries' about The End Times no amount of reason is going to talk them down.

Look, I don't want to see anyone to go Heaven's Gate on us. I really don't. There are few things more upsetting than people screwing up their lives for the sake of crazy bunk theories. Remember Harold Camping and the May 21st, 2011 thing? Holy shit, these people sold their houses in anticipation of the Rapture. Yeah, whoops.
You never see anyone in their 20's with their lives ahead of them
predicting the end of the world...hmmm, I wonder why that is...
"Natural cycle my ass..."
-Polar Bears
What's worse is that there are so many real and scientifically plausible reasons to be worried. Take this new and dire warning about climate change. Now scienceticians are thinking that carbon emissions might up the average temperature by 9ºF by the end of the century instead of the hoped for limit of 2º. Look, I don't know much about you know, climate-science but that sounds catastrophic. Shouldn't we all be freaking out? We just watched Queens flood on CNN, but because Nostradamus didn't predict polar bears drowning, climate change isn't on the popular radar.

So I had a thought, maybe we should take a page from the crazy book and try dressing up real life predictions as pseudo-science. Maybe have someone at NASA 'uncover' some lost Bible passage about carbon footprints or solar energy. Sure it's lying, but it's lying for science. That's ok, right?
"And lo it is written that in the year of two-thousand and thirteen carbon
emissions must be reduce-ed by 8% lest woe be upon you all."
-Steve McMillan, head of Soothsaying
and Portents for NASA

Monday, December 3, 2012


Hey look, apparently I haven't been wasting my life, I've been appreciating art. New York's Museum of Modern Art (or MoMA for lazy people) is adding video games to its collection of crazy shit we're told is art! And may I say it's about damn time.
Finally, the world can appreciate 1994's medium-defining Shaq Fu.
Blowing quarters at the arcade? No,
you were investing in an art degree.
The collection will initially consist of 14 games including classics like Pac-Man, Tetris and vib-ribbon...what you've never heard of vib-ribbon? Yeah, me neither. That's probably because it's art and we're all philistines. Check out the list and add +5 to your geek roll if you've played even than half of them. But don't worry, according to the museum's curator Paola Antonelli, more well-known and you know, better games like Asteroids, The Legend of Zelda and Street Fighter II will be added over the next few years because seriously, Canabalt? Is that even a thing?

Anyway, it looks like those years spent in our parents basement, risking scurvy and heart disease will finally pay off. How you might ask? Snobbery of course. Have you ever had a serious argument over Wind Waker's visual style? Do your eyes mist up at the mention of the opera scene from FF VI? That's not fanboy-ish obsession, that's appreciation of fine art. Oh yes nerds, we're all art critics now.
"Poppycock! Any assessment of early 21st century console-based action RPG's that doesn't
recognize the contributions of Gunpei Yukoi isn't worth the blog space it's posted on. Harumph."
-Art Critics