Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jesus H. Who?

So have you every heard of this Jesus guy? Beard? Wears a robe? He's the central figure in Christianity, a belief system around which most of western culture has revolved around for the last 2000 years or so. No? You haven't heard of him?
Above: Jesus, seen here arm wrestling the Prince of Darkness for control of Middle Earth,
is the founder of an obscure, and oft persecuted religious movement known as Christianity. 
Darly Banther: single-handedly
informing people about Jesus.
Well now you probably never will. Thanks to efforts by non-Christians, practitioners of this little-known faith has been relegated to second-class status. Did you know that it's not even legal to go up to other people's children in a parking lot and confront them with pamphlets and surveys about their religious beliefs? Daryl Banther sure knows it, as the city of Ringgold recently asked him to stop harassing people at a Memorial Day street festival.

Well, I guess that about
sums up Daryl Banther.
"...if I was an atheist at a football game and I didn't like the prayer being said I could get it taken out of the football games, or if I'm anything else I have rights, but as a Christian we have rights no more, they've taken all the Christian rights away and I'm gonna stand for what's right."

-Daryl Banther, has rights no more

And thus ends both prayer at football games and the belief system of 2.2 billion people. Thanks atheists, you've ruined everything.
"Well now what the fuck am I going to do?"
-Tim Tebow
"Come back to Elmo's van and Elmo will
teach you about the Kingdom of Heaven!"*
Sigh...ok, so totally subtle sarcasm aside, sometimes I don't think the Daryl Banthers of the world quite understand exactly what religious freedom is. Sure, he was asked to stop handing out his religious pamphlets at the festival, but that's not because he's a Christian, it's because he was haranguing strangers about religion. In fact, he could have haranguined from the comfort of his own booth had he filled out the proper paperwork. Banther was just being goddamned creepy so the police asked him to stop.

Religious freedom is the freedom to practice (or not practice) whatever batshit crazy belief in the supernatural you want without the fear of being fed to the lions or set on fire. It doesn't really cover chasing people around the parking lot with religious tracts...that's just being obnoxious.
"Rawr! We told you to knock it off with the Watchtower! Rawr!"
-Hungry Lion
*um...I'd like to point out that that's some creeper in an Elmo suit. I'm totally not making a Kevin Clash crack.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ich bin ein Teapot, short und stout!

Are you for goddamn kidding me? Here, check this out. It's about a tea kettle that looks like Hitler. Someone saw it on a billboard and posted it on Reddit and now the thing is sold out. I have some problems with this not the least of which is the fact that a tea kettle's perceived resemblance to the leader of the Third Reich somehow increases its value.
When it whistles, it's time to invade Poland! See? 'Cause it looks like Hitl-
Hey, wait a minute who the hell advertises tea kettles on a billboard anyway?
I don't know what's crazier: that
she thinks the Mother of God came to her
in a cheese sandwich or that she sold it.
So the obvious question is does it really look like Hitler? Ehh...sort of. Although it might just be because somebody already made the connection. I mean, now that someone said 'Hey! It's Tea-kettle Hitler!' you can't not look at it and not see it. On the other hand you have to wonder about the first person to notice the resemblance. Usually when people see things in everyday objects, it's usually because they want to see it. Non-religious people probably won't spot the Virgin Mary in a piece of grilled cheese, but a devout believer (or regular crazy person) might. So do we see Hitler because we want to see Hitler?

"Yeah! My cat looks like the guy that
orchestrated the Holocaust! I"
Take for example. There are some cats on that site that really do look like Hitler, and that's, uh, super, but then again there are many many more that don't. It's somewhere between a Rorschach test and a crap shoot. For whatever reason there are people out there who submit photos of their cat in the hope that others will agree that it looks like history's most famous Charlie Chaplain mustache-owner/genocidal maniac. Does anyone else think that's kind of messed up?

Shouldn't we be gathering up kitchenware that looks like Hitler and burying it in the desert like a bunch of unsold Atari cartridges? Or in the case of the cats who look like Hitler...uh...shaving them or something? that juicer doing what I think it's doing?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let's give Microsoft our money!

Oh yeah...check out those vents...
I bet your AMD chip gets sooo hot...
Attention parents and grown-up man children: Microsoft has just announced that you will be giving them another 3 to 5 hundred dollars. Yup, there's a new Xbox coming out and it's confusingly called the Xbox One, which is what we called the first Xbox to distinguish it from the Xbox 360 which was, also confusingly, the second Xbox. Here's a link to the long awaited 'reveal video.' I'm not sure who put it together, but it is unsettlingly pornographic. 

Anyway, the name is meant to imply that it's the only featureless black slab of technology you'll ever need next to your TV because it does so many things: games, bluray, the internets, Skype...which I guess people been dying to do on their TV.
This only interests me if you can turn it on by saying:
'Computer, put incoming transmission on the main viewer.'
Pffft...these loosers probably don't
even know what a video game is...
Of course there are a couple of things it doesn't do. It won't offer meaningful human contact for instance. Also, and perhaps more disturbing, it won't play 360 know, the ones which you've spent hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours on over the last eight years. Oh, and it won't play used games either, not easily anyway. Microsoft, seeing an opportunity kill the used-video game market is going to start linking individual copies of games to player's Xbox-live accounts so they can't be resold.

This likely means the end of stores like Gamestop who rely on used game sales to stay afloat. On the other hand, Gamestop will pay you $8 for a game that cost you $60 a week earlier and then they'll turn around and sell it for $58, so really, the hell with them. 
It takes some cajones of iron to ask $54 for a used copy of
Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning with a straight face.
Sure can't wait to go
through this bullshit again!
Now, when you buy a new game you'll get to enter a special activation code while you install it thus combining the excitement of waiting for a game to install with the challenge of entering a 25-character case sensitive alpha-numeric key. Sounds like fun. Thanks guys, we all really missed mid-90's PC gaming. So what if you want to lend the game to a friend? Well, tough shit. You're free to lend the disc out, but if your friend wants to, like, play it, they'll have to pay the full retail price to activate it.

Pictured: The filthy, Dorito-eating
thieves who keep Microsoft in business.
In addition to killing the resale industry that's been feeding off game developers for ages, the industry is also out to curb software piracy. Remember the fan reaction to Sim City's mandatory internet connection DRM catastrophe? Someone at Xbox thought that was an awesome idea, so the new console will require an internet connection whenever you boot up a game. You know, just to make sure you paid for it. It's Microsoft's way of telling its loyal customers that to them, we're all potential thieves. But don't worry, their keeping an eye on us...a soulless unblinking eye.

"You know Allen, I really think
you should get that rash looked at..."

-Xbox One
Like all the time. For real. The console is always 'on,' even when it's off. This is so the Kinect (Xbox's camera/microphone/surveillance package) can be ready to turn the system on whenever you come out of your RedBull-induced stupor long enough to demand entertainment. You don't even have to sit up or move or anything. It sure sounds pretty future. Of course I suppose it also could come in handy if Microsoft is ever curious about your buying habits and/or what your look like naked. But don't worry, the company promises to include security features so that they'll be the only ones allowed to peep into the human zoo that is your life.

To sum up: It'll be expensive, treat you like a criminal and turn your living room into a living experiment in market research. So, who's pre-ordering?
"Just shut up and hand us your money."
-Microsoft's new, somewhat ill-advised slogan

Monday, May 20, 2013

What Nitpickery is this?

You'll want to be about this cool
(see above) to continue.
What's that? Why yes, I did go see Star Trek Into Darkness this weekend...oh? You'd like to me to use my encyclopedic knowledge of all things Trek to pick apart the film's shortcomings? My pleasure. Of course, these aren't reasons you shouldn't enjoy the film, they're just reasons Bad Robot should hire me as a consultant on the next film tentatively titled: Star Trek Tokyo Drift. Anyway, I'll be calling bullshit on some specific elements of the film and I should warn you that I'm about to drop some serious nerd here, so like proceed at your own risk.

Oh and you should also know that I will be spoiling the shit out of Into Darkness, so if you want to go in clueless about what happens stop reading now. Like for real. Spoilers. Don't goddamn read the following if you want to be surprised.
"You know what sweetie? I'm sick of this. Here, spoilers, his name
 is Jeff. Doctor Jeff Who. That's his name. Mystery: over." 
-Professor River Song,
saying what we're all feeling
Still with me? Ok.

"Got your scroll suckers!"
1) Bullshit on the opening scene.

The film opens with Kirk and Dr. McCoy stealing a scroll from some primitive pre-warp natives for no
reason whatsoever and then booking it back to the Enterprise, which for equally unclear reasons is hiding under the ocean nearby. Meanwhile, Spock is busy getting himself trapped in the caldera of an active volcano which is somehow going to destroy the entire planet if he can't set off a 'cold-fusion' device. Ok...whatever.

The Transporters are powered
by magic and dramatic necessity. 
Because this is Star Trek and the transporters only function when the plot demands it, Kirk decides that the only way to rescue Spock is to fly the Enterprise into the volcano and beam him up at close range even though it means revealing the ship to the natives and thus will violate the Prime Directive. Why is Kirk stealing their scroll in the first place? Why does Spock have to personally insert the bomb into the volcano? Why is the goddamn ship hiding under the water? The answers, in order, are 1) Because the director wanted to open with a chase scene. 2) To put Spock in danger. 3) Shut up and eat your popcorn, nerd.

In fairness, Benedict Cumberbatch
is equally as Indian as Ricardo
'Fantasy Island' Montalban.
2) Bullshit on Spock Prime:

Yup, classic Spock (Leonard Nimoy) has a cameo in this film when Alterna-Spock (Zachary Quinto)
tries to consult his future/parallel self on what to do about Khan. Huh? Yeah, it's Khan. Everyone swore that Benedict Cumberbatch was't going to be playing Khan but, surprise he's playing Khan. So apparently Khan is now a white English guy, alright...Anyway, after some bullshit about how he doesn't want to affect NuSpock's destiny or whatever, he decides to go ahead and clue him in anyway because hey, Khan is like really dangerous.

Although is anyone going to believe
this thing just wants to talk to whales?
But why the hell is Spock Prime still worried about altering the future? The reboot universe is already hopelessly deviated from the Prime Universe thanks to Nero's time-meddling in the last movie. The future Spock Prime remembers is completely off the table. He should have been telling everyone to watch out for Khan, V'Ger, the Whalesong Probe, the Borg, everything. Then maybe all the terrible shit that happens in this movie up to and including Khan's nosedive from orbit into San Francisco could have been avoided.

Oh boo-fucking-hoo.
3) Bullshit on Emo Spock:

Look, I like Zachary Quinto as Spock. He's great. But do the writers even know what a Vulcan is? Klingons like to stab things, Borg assimilate you and Vulcans suppress their emotions. It's kind of their thing, yet every other scene has Spock making out with his girlfriend, shouting, crying or going into a berserker rage and beating the crap out of someone. What the hell guys?

"One does not simply
beam onto Kronos..."
4) Bullshit on Trans-Warp Beaming:

Ok, so Khan, for reasons not made entirely clear, decides to pull off a couple of terrorist attacks designed to cripple Starfleet. Kirk stops him, but Khan evades capture by beaming to Kronos. Yeah. He beamed to the Klingon home world, from Earth. I know I'm talking about a sci-fi movie with aliens and warp drive and everything, but that's just preposterous, even by Star Trek standards. At the beginning of the movie Chekov couldn't beam Spock out of the volcano because there was too much ash or interference or something but Khan can beam from San Francisco to Kronos? Unless the Klingon home planet is located just outside of Oakland, there's no way this should have worked.

And another thing, if the technology exists to just beam anyone or anything anywhere, why doesn't Evil Admiral Robocop (oh yeah, Peter Weller is in this movie!) just beam a couple of thousand anti-matter bombs directly into Klingon HQ? Why would anyone even bother with Starships anymore?
"Um...uh...well there's a perfectly good reason for...uh..."
On the other hand I think I just
got an idea for Star Trek Z.
5) Bullshit on Khan-juice:

And can we also talk a little about how Khan's blood is basically a cure for death? In a scene in which Bones for some reason pumps Khan's blood into a dead tribble just for the hell of it, he discovers that augment platelets reverse cell deterioration (syence!). Not only does this come in handy when the film decides to rip of Star Trek II, but it also suggests that that everyone in the Star Trek universe is now potentially unkillable. All they have to do is tap Khan and his genetically-engineered pals like a bunch of immortality kegs and live forever.

This summer, get ready to boldly
kick ass no man has kicked before...
Yeah, ok, so I probably sound a little harsh, I mean Into Darkness was ok, I'm just a curmudgeonly fan who grew up on the Shatner movies and TNG. This movie is aimed at people who enjoy summer popcorn flicks. If you're like me you'll probably walk away complaining about the illogical plot, blurry and confusing action scenes and how they put the Enterprise's torpedo tubes in the wrong place. And then when you're done complaining, you'll go see it again and then probably a third time because let's face it, we have problems.

To sum up:
If I were to say to you "Shaka, when the walls fell," and
you responded with "Sokath, his eyes uncovered," then
Into Darkness is not your kind of Star Trek movie. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dear J. J. Abrams, here's 11 dollars.

Here, just...just take it...
Today's the day nerds! Today the awkwardly titled Star Trek Into Darkness comes out! I say awkward because I never really thought of Star Trek as a verb. I mean, if anything I associate it with sitting in front of the television for hours at a time but, whatever, this is J. J. Abrams's Star Trek-a fact that I find both exciting (hey, it's a new Star Trek movie!) and disappointing (hey, it's a new reboot Star Trek movie). I should explain that Abrams and I have a complicated relationship. Partly because he's in charge of Star Trek now and partly because we've never met.

"I've never been a fan of Star Trek."
-J. J. Abrams, 2008

"No Shit"
-Me, just now
"Which one's this? Star Trek 9?
Where's Spock, is he in this one?"
Look, 2009's alt-reality sorta-reboot was fun. It had a great cast, neat effects and all the beeoop-beeoop noises on the bridge and most important of all it was the first Trek movie since First Contact you could bring your non-Trekkie friends to without them gouging their eyes out in abject boredom. On the other hand it had some problems, problems that I may have mentioned before, but because the internet is dangerously low on nerds listing things, here are my three biggest issues:

One: The film was full of scientific inaccuracies that even a Texan school board would call out as bullshit. Yeah, ok, Star Trek was never a master's course in astrophysics but holy shit, black holes are collapsed stars, not alternate-universe time-holes.
"What? The dealership was out of red?
God, I hate you guys."
Two: Starfleet would never hand the Enterprise or any other ship over to a cadet just because his father was famous. Sure, he saved the planet, but regular-universe Kirk had to work all his life to get his own ship. Alterna-Kirk just had it handed to him like one of those entitled kids on My Sweet Sixteen. I want to watch this movie thinking Kirk is awesome, not sit there seething about how he's another entitled jerk winning at life.

Three: I will never forgive J. J. Abrams for destroying planet Vulcan. Never.
"I don't know what's more insulting: the destruction of my homeplanet,
or the fact that it's being imploded by something called 'Red Matter...'"
But hey, it's Star Trek 12, so they've got me. I'm going. I'll let you know what I think, because I'm sure you're dying to know.

Pat Robertson to women: "You'd be happier if you'd just shut up."

Hey ladies, are you angry that your husband is cheating on you? Here's the secret: shut up. There. Bam. Pat Robertson just solved your marriage problems.
"The Bible tells us that shutting up will help women solve all kinds of
problems. Broke a nail? Shut up. Bad hair day? Shut up. The menstruation?
Shut the hell up. You see? It works for everything!"

-Pat Robertson, expert on things
"Thou shalt kick him to the curb girlfriend."
-Luke 15:32
A viewer wrote in to his show with a problem. The kind of problem for which you might expect a religious person to seek advice from a spiritual leader. Her husband cheated on her and she's trying to forgive him. I guess because the Bible says something about forgiveness, probably somewhere in the back...look, I don't know, it's a pretty long book. Fine, whatever, her beliefs compel her to try and work through her marital issues rather than simply dumping his ass and I suppose I can respect that.

Above: The exact moment when Kristi
is invited to shut up. Around the :29 mark.
But why does she ask Pat 'move to Saudi Arabia so you can beat your wife' Robertson for help? What made her think Pat Robertson was going to do anything other than tell her she's just a girl and should shut up? In fact, first he gives his co-host, Kristi Watts, a crack at it before telling her to shut up:

"Well...I think forgiveness can be one of the most difficult things in the whole wide world to do, and especially when it comes to a spouse because that's one of the ultimate betrayals-"

"You may still smell like that
whore, but I just can't stay
mad at these cheekbones..."
Sorry, what's that Kristi? Were you talking? Because shut up. Pat's got something to say. I guess he wasn't so much interested in what she had to say as he was interested in telling her how wrong she is. Behold:

"-Alright. Here's the secret-this is the secret: Stop talking about the cheating! He cheated on you, alright, he's a man. Well, what you do is you begin to focus on why you married him in the first place, on what he does good...start focusing on those things and essentially fall in love with him all over again. And I recommend you reach out and touch him-touch his face! Touch his face! ...think about those things and give him honor, instead of trying to worry about it..."
-Words that Pat Robertson actually said. 
Out loud. For real.

"Do you, Steve, promise to love, honor
and cherish Nicole and also to 
get a little 
biblically sanctioned tang on the side?"
Oh, and hold on guys, while Pat Robertson, and by extension God are basically telling women that they are essentially life's punching bags, they're also calling men out as mindless dicks with feet who can't stop cheating. As long as they provide food and shelter and refrain from beating the children, they're holding up their end of the bargain. Sure, they may come home with syphilis from time to time, but as Pat says: "recognize also, like it or not, males have a tendency to uh...wander a little bit." Did I mention he's a spiritual leader to like, millions of people?

Look, I'm no expert on the Bible so for all I know, Pat's totally an expert on what makes a healthy bronze-age marriage, but how does this guy have a TV show? In the 21st century? And moreover, what's with his female co-hosts? Have they all got Stockholm syndrome or something? Like, what does he do to them?
Suffice it to say, Mittens will no longer be
questioning Pat's interpretation of Ephesians.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bob Wilkins: Marketing Genius!

It's open season on Titanic but they
kind of had it coming with all that
'unsinkable talk' and too few lifeboats... 
You know how there's such a thing as too soon when it comes to certain horrific events? I mean, it can depend on how awful the original incident was, but in general when it comes to something like, say, last summer's movie theatre shooting spree, 10 months is about 800 years too soon. Apparently unaware of this is Goodrich Capital 8 Theatre's manager Bob Wilkins who thought it would be a brilliant marketing move to send some actors dressed as armed SHIELD agents into the auditorium for the opening weekend showing of Iron Man 3.

What's that? You hadn't heard that there was an Iron Man 3? Well, that's probably because some guy dressed in full tactical gear hasn't threatened you with a fake gun.
"Go see the Great Gatsby staring Leonardo DiCaprio
and Tobey Maguire! Now in theaters!"
These are supposed to be SHEILD Agents?
Phil Coulson must be rolling over in his grave...

Anyway, police were called in armed and ready for a stand off. Fortunately no one was hurt and everybody had a good laugh (no they didn't), but exactly how fired is Bob Wilkins? Well, he's not...not yet anyway. When the local ABC affiliate asked him if he considered the mass shooting at the theatre in Aurora, AZ when planning the stunt he said: 'Absolutely, that's my number one priority every day, the safety and security of our guests.' Which I suppose is why he worked so very hard to make his 'guests' think their lives were in danger.

Now while you're probably wondering how stupid must this guy be, but Wilkins does ask us bear in mind that 'only a few people were upset, but hundreds were entertained' and really, that's what's important, right?
"My favorite part was when when I was convinced I was
about to be shot in the head by a gun-toting lunatic..."
Visit beautiful Missouri, the
'We'll just fucking shoot you' State.
Did I mention that this happened in Jefferson City, Missouri? I looked it up and in Missouri, a concealed weapon permit costs $100 dollars. It's also one of the 'stand your ground' states meaning that you can legally shoot anyone who looks at you funny. If I'm doing my math right there's about a 98% percent chance that this story should have ended with some bullet-ridden community theatre actors with SHEILD badges and plastic body armor from Spirit Halloween Superstore being carted off by paramedics. Way to go Bob...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Gayness

The Minnesota House of Representatives has passed a marriage equality bill that would make their state the next big thing in gay weddings. The bill still has to pass the Senate, but hey, this is pretty great news, right? No! It's heartbreaking news according to Republican Representative Peggy Scott.
Representative Peggy Scott: Another victim of equality.
Incidentally, what's up with her hair? Did she tell
her stylist what she thinks of gay marriage? Oh, burn!
"Don't worry Peggy, we promise
to come together...for Minnesota."

Enjoy this quote in which Representative Scott reminds us how divisively the bill will divide know, into divisions:

"My heart breaks for Minnesota, dontcha know*...It's a divisive issue that divides our state...It's not what we needed to be doing at this time. We want to come together for Minnesota, we don't want to divide it."

-Rep. Peggy Scott, crying in her cheerios
*I may have added the 'dontcha know'

To be clear here, Peggy's beef is that the marriage equality bill will divide the state and that Minnesotans should instead come together...for uh...un-equality. Wait, huh? While I'm sure that anyone loosing any argument probably wishes that the other side would just stop being so victorious, what exactly does she expect from her opponents here?
"You know what? You're right, my partner and I have discussed it and
we'd like 
to withdraw the bill and go back to our second class status.
Also, would you help us pray the gay away? We're completely serious.
You've shown us the light, Peggy Scott!"

-Rep. Karen Clark, author of the bill
totally fucking with Peggy 
Above: Minnesotan Julia Burt oppos-
holy shit, what's up with her eyes?
You know it's nice to be able to see both sides of an issue and I'd love to be open minded about this but for real, they've got nothing. Check out Julia 'Crazy Eyes' Burt, (around the 1:10 mark) some random homophobe the local news picked out of the crowd: "I feel sorry for our world, but the world has turned, the world has turned to a place that wants immediate gratification, and it breaks my heart, it breaks my heart for my children and my grandchildren."

It's known as the 'asshat' gene
and it tends to run in families.
So it's not poverty, war, or disease that breaks her heart, no, it's gay people wanting equal treatment under that law. Apparently it breaks her heart like some kind of pre-Cindy Lou Who-Grinch to see other people happy so she's taken up the cause of fighting equality. Goddamn she sucks. You know, my heart breaks for Julia Burt's children and grandchildren too, but for other, more genetic reasons. Let's just hope irrational homophobia is a recessive trait and that future generations will be spared this shitty attitude of hers.

My god, they came out of nowhere!
And what does she mean by 'immediate gratification?' A reoccurring theme among the opponents of both Minnesota's bill and marriage equality in general seems to be 'not now.' Republicans, according to the local CBS affiliate were complaining that Democrats were putting this ahead of more important issues like the state budget. But state budgets are kind of always a thing. Exactly how long are people supposed to wait for equal rights? It's not like gay people appeared one day back in 2009 and started making demands. 

LGBT equality been a decades long struggle for rights and recognition in this country. What is wrong with people that they think 'we'll get around to it eventually' is gonna fly when it comes to civil rights?
"What do we want?"

"Equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered!"

"When do we want it?"

"As soon as Julia Burt, Representative Peggy Scott and the
religious right are comfortable with it and also after the parties
reach an agreement on the state, uh...basically never!"