Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another senseless act of sequel.

Tri...Triplets? Seriously? Triplets. Yeah, someone's making a sequel to Twins
Uh, Twins the movie. Nobody's making a sequel to the biological
phenomena of two offspring produced in the same pregnancy.
Screenplay by Cocaine.
Remember Twins? No, of course you don't. It was an obscure and vaguely sci-fi-ish 80's comedy starring Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger as twin brothers. Wai-waaah? I know, the zaniness, right? Anyway, there was some bullshit in there about how they were the result of an experiment to create a superior human. Arnold plays the project's übermensch and DeVito was the leftover genetic material. It may sound like something the Nazis would have tried, but I guess in the 1980's, this somehow passed as comedy.

Above: some kind of hideous frog monster.
The fact that Twins even exists also suggests that at some point director Ivan Reitman called up Danny DeVito and said the following:

"Danny, I've got this new script. It's a comedy about a set of mismatched twins and I think you'd be perfect as the misshapen accident of biology. Whatta ya say?"

Triplets adds Eddie Murphy into the mix because somebody, somewhere thinks that the only thing funnier than a movie about the Penguin being related to a leathery Republican meat-mountain is a black guy being related to both of them.
Suck on it, science!

And why not Coming to America 2?
Is Arsenio hall busy or something?
Look, I'm not against sequels. Some of the best movies ever are sequels (note, I said some, not all), but holy shit, Twins? It just seems senseless. It's not like it ended on a cliffhanger. Nobody's been waiting 25 years to find out what happens next in the Twins saga. What gives? Haven't these guys moved on? DeVito's got a TV show, Murphy has a successful career as a cartoon donkey and Schwarzenegger has been slowly fulfilling his political prophecy as foretold in Demolition Man. So why this? Why now? 

My guess is that this is about Schwarzenegger trying to get back into movies. He's already signed up for Terminator 5, and another Conan movie. Like the high school quarterback whose been selling carpet for 30 years, he's trying to get the band back together and that's cool, just, for the love of God, don't ruin Kindergarten Cop for me. Please. Do another Predator, reboot Commando, whatever. Just leave that piece of my childhood alone.
Pictured: The former governor lovingly caressing the ass of his
younger self's bronze statue. Yup, nothing weird about that... 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spier No Spying!

Check out this BBC headline: 'Top German Spy chiefs to go to Washington for talks.' Um, if they're such great spy chiefs, how come we know who they are and when they're coming?
"Ok, guys, remember: soccer not futßol, nobody says 'discotech' anymore and 
whatever you do, don't mention that you work for German Intelligence."
briefing Germany's best spies
"Celebrating 199 years
of not being on fire."
So yeah, America's European allies are pissed and rightly so. It turns out we might have been tapping Chancellor Merkel's cellphone and those of like 34 other world leaders, and who knows how many random people around the world. In response, Merkel has asked the President to sign a 'no-spying agreement' similar to one we have with the Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. That's reasonable right? C'mon, we trust Canada and they once burnt down Washington. What's Germany ever done to us?

Oh...right...ok, but what have they done recently?
Anyway we've been caught red-handed and now we're going to do the classy thing and say we're sorry, and that we promise never to do anything like that again, right? Check out this editorial by Lisa Monaco, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and counterterrorism:

"Don't worry, as long as the leaders of
Germany and the other EU members are
idiots, this'll all blow over in a few days." 
"Over the past few months, a series of unauthorized disclosures of classified information have led to criticisms of our intelligence activities. These disclosures have created significant challenges in our relationships with some of our closest foreign partners...we will continue to gather the intelligence we need to keep ourselves and our allies safe while giving even greater focus to ensuring that we are balancing our security needs with the privacy concerns all people share."

-Lisa Monaco, rocking the passive voice

Uh, so the problem isn't that we've been spying on our closest allies, it's that they found out about it and don't like it. Yeah Lisa, let's go with that...
"Yes, they're robbing your house, but aren't you partially to blame?
I mean, you were the one who noticed your TV was missing."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Today in gross injustices...

Who says police brutality doesn't pay off?
No one? Good. Because apparently it does.
I'm betting that you, in your entire life, have never felt the need to pepper-spray 21 college students in the face. Am I right? Good. Congratulations, you're a decent human being. You're also a chump. Pepper-spraying college students can be highly lucrative, at least that's what former UC Davis police office John Pike discovered. He was just awarded $38,056 in a worker's compensation settlement with the school. John who got how much for what now? Here, let me explain, and seriously, try not to die of a rage-based aneurysm.

Students must be rolling in it. How else
could they afford so many $200 text books?
Cast your mind back a couple of years to when the California Board of Regents decided that an 81% tuition hike was just what the state needed to reign in those fat-cat college students and their fancy ramen noodle feasts. In protest, students and faculty at the University of California at Davis decided to, uh...protest. The protesters marched, rallied, set up tents (as was the style at the time), and you know, protested. Peacefully. In order to affect social change. Obviously it was time to call in the campus police in full tactical gear.

Threatened by what I can only assume were some seriously catchy chants, and surrounded on one side by students sitting on the ground, officer John Pike broke out the pepper spray and went to town. Since this is the 21st century and everybody's cell phone is a tiny news studio, Pike instantly became the living, breathing poster-douche of excessive force.
Above: Officer John Pike heroically pepper spraying a human chain
of students who were aggressively huddling in his general direction.
Behold: The salty food-brick of kings!
Since the incident, John Pike and his family have been the target of death threats, which, while not surprising, nobody deserves. I mean, c'mon internet, let's grow up. The resulting anxiety and depression from these threats are what prompted the University to pay out $38,000 in worker's comp, so if you're one of the dicks who sent him a threatening, all-caps email, then way to go, Pike is now trembling all the way to the bank. $38,000 by the way, should just about cover one year at UC Davis, with enough left over for the ramen noodles and over-priced textbooks., that's not the word, injusticely? Is that a word? Well, let's just go with fucked-upedly enough, Pike actually got more for the assault than the students he sprayed, most of whom were awarded $30,000 and will still probably spend the rest of their working lives paying off crushing student debts.
Above: the pink-hued, porcine* visage of Officer John Pike. Be sure to shout 'boo!' if you
ever see him in person. Of course, he'll probably just get more worker's comp if you do.

*What? I have the utmost respect for the 99.9% of police officers who do what is certainly a mentally and physically taxing job, and I would never refer to a cop as a pig. That said, this dude totally looks like a pig. Also, he pepper-sprayed kids in the face and got $38 grand, so seriously, fuck him.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Advantage: New Jersey

Yeah, New Jersey. New Jersey just joined the list of states that I have to grudgingly accept as more progressive than California on marriage equality. New Jersey.
New Jersey: The 'you can see New York from here' State

What? Oh like you can name
anyone else from New Jersey.
So how can New Jersey be more progressive than California when gay marriage became legal there only last night at 12:01am, and when California's had it since June? Settle down, I'm getting there. America's spray-on tan capital totally wins because their State Supreme Court decided to not make everyone wait while homophobes put together an appeal. California on the other hand, went back and forth like six times and at one point was letting a well-funded right-wing website dictate civil liberties. It was pretty lame.

Speaking of lame, alliteratively named Governor Chris Christie, long time opponent of marriage equality and joy in general, asked the State Supreme Court to hold off on same-sex marriages until fundamentalist jerks could come up with some more bullshit about how God hates gay people.  
Above: Governor Christie asking reporters not to turn around.
"Hey, fugget about it, I mean, c'mon."
-Chief Justice Stuart Rabner
Why would he do such a thing? I don't know, maybe he wasn't hugged enough as a child. I hear that sort of thing can really screw you up. Anyway, the court wasn't having it. Here's an excerpt from the their decision:

"When a party presents a clear case of ongoing unequal treatment, and asks the court to vindicate constitutionally protected rights, a court may not sidestep its obligation to rule for an indefinite amount of time."

-The New Jersey State Supreme Court

When it was clear that same sex marriage would become law, and that no appeal would stop that, Christie withdrew his request, squawked and then flew off on his heli-umbrella, never to be seen again. Interestingly enough, much of that didn't happen, but he did withdraw his request, that was real.
"It's time for this bird to fly!"
-Governor Chris Christie
Inter-racial gay cake toppers?
Bam, I just sextupled the market.
The Court went on to say that "[T]he state has presented no explanation for how it is tangibly or actually harmed by allowing same-sex couples to marry." Thus saying what we've all been thinking. Congratulations New Jersey State Supreme Court, you got it in one. How has it taken this long for learned people in judicial robes to put just those words together? It's seems so blindingly obvious that other people's religious objections to gay people getting married shouldn't carry the weight of law, yet here we are with 36 states still dragging their feet on equality. And dragging their feet on the wedding industry. I mean, we could triple the cake topper industry's profits overnight. I mean, holy shit Republicans: profits. You guys love those. How are you not on board with this?


Yup, that was the 400th Onward Stranger Fiction post. Thanks for reading...or, at least pretending that you read my blog. I guess I have no way of knowing. Either way, you're the best! Here's a picture of the Enterprise-D, my favorite Enterprise.
Don't agree? Then you're mistaken. It is, objectively speaking, the best Enterprise.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Don't worry, somebody got rich off of this.

Hey, good news everybody, it looks like our society might not be collapsing into a Mad Maxian dystopia of dune buggies and mutants. At least not this week.
Sorry guys, check back in a couple of months...
"Yes, the shutdown was difficult for 
everybody, but what about my needs?"
-Speaker Boehner
Apparently, a deal's been worked out in the Senate that would fund the government through January 15th and raise the debt ceiling until February 7th. What happens then? I guess we get to do this all over again. We should probably use this reprieve to try and fix the flaws in our system of government that allowed a fringe faction of an unpopular party to bring the entire country to its knees, but luckily for the GOP, we all have a short memory. Oh, and not that this wasn't fun and all, but do you think that maybe next time John Boehner is feeling under appreciated we could all just chip in and get him a cookie cake or a trip to Carvel or something? It might save us a lot of grief in the long run.

You know who wasn't worried for a minute though? Investors. Sure, the shutdown brought our economy to the brink of another global disaster, cut off vital government services, in some cases threatening the lives of seriously ill children and probably cost us what little credibility we had left in the world, but it's not like there wasn't a bright side. The hardest working Americans, investors, made out like goddamn bandits. How? I don't know, sorcery probably. Wall Street has always been kind of a mystery to me.

Pictured: investing.
As I understand it (which is to say, not very well at all), investors parlay their already considerable wealth into even vaster sums by trading theoretical shares of companies. It's sort of like having a job, except instead of getting up and doing things in exchange for money, you can sleep in, while your money makes itself. Anyway, when investors are confident in the economy they buy stock, when they're not confident, they don't and our civilization careens closer to total collapse. And careen it did.

So while we were all waiting with baited breath to see whether or not a deal could be worked out, Wall Street was betting that the House and Senate wouldn't just let us default on our debts. Through the douchey alchemy that is the stock market, this raised the DOW a couple hundred points thus making those least affected by the shutdown even richer than they were when this whole things started. It kind of makes it all seem worthwhile. Or, you know, the opposite of that.
What's everyone so upset about? They're just profiting
off human misery and uncertainty...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Revolution Will Be Ill-advised!

Above: Rep. Griffith
opening his word hole.
Today in ridiculous, self-aggrandizing justifications for interfering with the democratic process:

"I will remind you that this group of renegades that decided that they wanted to break from the crown in 1776 did great damage to the economy of the colonies...They created the greatest nation and the best form of government, but they did damage to the economy in the short run."

Republican from Virginny

Really? House Republicans shutting down the government and threatening to plunge the country, and possibly the world into another economic catastrophe reminds him of the Revolutionary War? That's really interesting because it reminds me of a bunch of Tea Party shitmerchants throwing a tantrum because they don't like Obamacare. 
"Onward lads! We fight for freedom, liberty and  
the repeal of the 2.3% tax on the sale of medical devices!"
-Brigadier General Kaiser Permanente,
Continental Army, April, 1778
Everything this woman has ever
said in her life, for instance.
I suppose you could argue that the American Revolution was little more than rich, land owning, white guys throwing everything into chaos because they didn't want to pay taxes, so on a really cynical level, Griffith sort of has a point, but after that the comparison kind of falls apart. The American colonists didn't have a voice in the way they were being governed so they rebelled and formed their own government. The Republicans on the other hand totally have a voice, except that they use it to say stupid, backwards shit (see left), so we voted them out.

We can do that thanks to the colonists and the government they set up: the one Griffith called the 'best form of government' and the very same one the GOP is completely undermining with the shutdown. I'm not sure the American Revolution is really the analogy he should be reaching for.
"The Patriots during the Revolutionary War? Well, with respect to representative Griffith,
I don't think that's a fair comparison. We're more like Jesus. If you recall, He died because He
believed that the free market should determine who should and who should not get cancer treatment."
-House Speaker John Boehner*
I guess they're saving us from having to
 fill out health insurance forms...hurray?
What's really terrifying about Griffith's comment is the way he sounds like he's trying to soften up the ground for the damage defaulting on our loans will do to the economy. Like he's totally cool with it. Sure, the Revolution screwed up the economy of the colonies, but those guys were fighting for freedom from tyranny, the GOP is fighting against a law that makes health insurance affordable. Like, do they really think we're going to give them a parade for that?

Pictured: Morgan Griffith marching in the first ever Shutdown Day Parade.
Although, the only real hero I see here is a braided leather belt.

*Speaker Boehner may not have actually said this. I mean he might have, I don't know, anything's possible. He does come out with some crazy shit.

Friday, October 11, 2013

It's Federation Day 2013!

Hey everybody, it's October 11th, and you know what that means, right? Yup, it's National Coming Out Day and Federation Day, so if you're gay and a trekkie you get two presents.
He owns this day.
In New York you can legally punch
someone in the face for saying climate
change is a hoax. Punch. In the face.
Still don't know what the hell Federation Day is? Fine, here, read these: (2010, 2011, 2012), I'll wait. With me now? Federation Day is the holiest day of the Geek Orthodox calendar, as it is on this date, in 148 years, that our planet will join the United Federation of Planets: a fashion-challenged utopian society filled with amazing technology that will solve all of our problems. But 148 years is a ways off, so what are we supposed to do until then? Well, according to science, moving inland would be a good idea for a lot of us.

But Star Trek is about a bright, implausibly optimistic future, and since there's a decent chance we'll all be dead by the time it rolls around, I propose we start living in it today. How? I'm glad I pretended you asked. Here're some 21st century ways to party like it's 2299, you know, before we're all swept out to sea:

Look, I made a thing! And it
only took me 74 hours!
Replicate things! In the future, whatever you want can be instantly yours thanks to replicators, which convert energy into matter, and get this: they're sort of already here. In the 21st century we call them 3D printers and they're the first step towards a post-scarcity society in which all our needs will be met by a magic wall slot. Of course, instead of creating objects out of energy, 3D printers build things out of polymers or metal powder. Anything you can imagine and then break down into a precise 3D computer model can be extruded before your very eyes, one layer at a time...over many, many hours.

Anyway, we can also look forward to replicators simultaneously solving both our garbage and energy problems. You see, not only will they convert energy into matter, but they'll also convert matter into energy. On the Enterprise, the replicators take leftover food, broken equipment, even the waste generated by the crew and turn it into energy which in turn powers the replicators.
Yeah Jean-Luc, the computer didn't just pull the
atoms for your Earl Grey tea out of thin air. Future!
Pictured: proof that we,
as a species, are doomed. 
Get assimilated! According to Star Trek, one of the greatest threats we'll face in the future is the Borg, an unstoppable civilization of cyborgs who want to make us part of their hive mind. Yeah, it sounds terrible at first, but in real life people love hive minds. Ask yourself how much time you spend online every day, and then add to that the 20 or 30 times a day you check your phone to see if anyone texted you or if anyone responded to your stupid 'if you're really my friend you'll re-post this' status update. Now multiply that figure by 4, because you're probably lying. See? Welcome to the collective.

Sure, becoming a Borg will strip you of your individuality and link you to a collective consciousness where you can't even escape into the privacy of your own thoughts but if you take a close look at the user agreement on Facebook, you'll see we're pretty much there already. All that's left is the cyborg arm.
Today is Three of Six's birthday. Send him a Starbucks gift certificate?
A real-life holodeck that plays Halo?
Now you'll never have to face reality!
Get a holodeck! Ok, so like the replicators, holograms aren't quite up to 24th century standards, but check out this 'proof of concept' video for Illumiroom. It's an Xbox One with a projector and a Kinect (the always-on camera Microsoft wants to use to conduct valuable market research on your gaming and masturbation habits), which scans the room and then projects images that can interact with your environment.

It can extend the game beyond the confines of the screen and even mess with your environment by projecting an image of your living room over itself and then distorting it. It sounds pretty cool, and while it's not an immersive holographic environment with total freedom of movement and solid objects made out of light and force fields, it's also not going to gain sentience and try to murder you. I'd call that a plus.
Above: Riker, thanking space-Jesus that it was Data's stupid Moriarty hologram
that took over the ship and not his program: Three-way on Tellar Prime.
Happy Federation Day everybody!

Oh, and sorry about the kind of grim tone, what with the climate doom and all. Back in the sixties when Star Trek started, all anyone worried about was nuclear war, and that turned out ok. I'm sure if we all get Nissan Leafs and someone invents cold fusion in the next couple of weeks, we'll be fine.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Let's Celebrate Leif Erikson Day!

Hey, do you know what today is? If you said Fijian Independence Day, relax, it's tomorrow. Today is Leif Erikson Day!
Pictured: Leif Erikson exploring the shit out of the North Atlantic.
"We made it! Steve, take a picture of me with
the new conti-...Steve? Steve, tell me you
didn't forget the camera...goddamit Steve!"
Wait, who whatson what now? Yeah, Leif Erikson, he was the first European known to have set foot on any part of what we now call North America and he did so hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus. Now, I know what your thinking and yes, humans did cross the Bering land bridge 13,000 years earlier on foot and without the benefit of advanced Viking cod-salting techniques, but no one back then wrote anything down or documented it so I guess it doesn't count. Incidentally, why the shit doesn't that count?

Anyway, to celebrate Erikson boldly going where generations of humans had totally gone before, Lyndon B. Johnson issued an official proclamation (which his secretary probably had to clean up a bit) making Leif Erikson Day a national holiday. This back in 1964, so why the hell we still talk about Christopher 'Kill'em All and Grab the Gold' Columbus is beyond me. 
"Gerri, take shit this down: My fellow Americans, it is with great pleasure
that I proclaim today to be goddamn Leif Erikson Day. That I-talian sonofabitch, 
Columbus, can kiss the Presidential bunghole, you hear me?"
Thanks Google, way to render the
human drive to explore obsolete.
So how does one even celebrate Leif Erikson day? Vikings are famous for going a' Viking which was a lot easier in the 11th century. Raiding the Irish coast now would probably be considered a dick move (also, an act of war). We don't get the day off, so telling heroic sagas around the campfire while getting blind drunk on mead is probably out and thanks to things like Google Earth we can't even discover new continents. So what else is there? You ask. Talk like a Viking. The whole day.

Sure, there's already a Talk Like a Pirate Day, but Vikings are objectively cooler than pirates, so really those scurvy-addled, tricorn hat-wearing, parrot-lovers can go suck a lime (which they probably should do, what with the scurvy). So what does a Viking sound like? Think the Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show, but instead of spouting gibberish, we'll tell proud tales of the days before ABBA and flat pack furniture. Who's with me?
"Gather 'round and I will you tell the tale of Øläf Heädsplitter, the mighty Norse warrior
who slew King Svën The Bløøddrinker, and then feasted on his still beating heart..."

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Hey, lookit this: NBC is going to air Space Race, a reality show in which contestants will compete to win a trip on Richard Branson's space plane. Cool, right? Maybe? You know, I'm not really sure how to feel about this. Yeah, winning a trip to space would be awesome, but everyone else on Virgin's Spaceship Two will be there because they handed over 200,000 space bucks for the privilege.
Pictured: An artist's rendition of what awaits space tourists.
"When I grow up, I want to be a skycap."
-Some kid, aiming high
Is that all space travel is going to be? Five minute micro-gravity joy rides for the ultra-rich? When a kid says they want to be an astronaut when they grow up, we all go awww and pretend like it's totally going to happen someday but, in reality, we all know full well that it's a pipe dream. Between the retirement of the shuttle program and increasing public apathy towards space exploration the closest that kid is going to come to boldly going is serving drinks to rich people in the space port VIP lounge or loosing their space luggage. It seems like kind of a bummer.

Above: Branson, seen here with a
naked woman he paid to cling
to him while he water skied.
Here's what the British billionaire had to say:

"Virgin Galactic's mission is to democratize space, eventually making space travel affordable and accessible to all...Space Race allows us to extend this opportunity of a life time to as many people as possible...through direct experience and television viewing"

-Sir Richard Branson, one of the people

I'm not sure this is 'democratizing space' so much as it is making contestants compete like gladiators for our amusement whilst promoting Virgin Galactic.

Look, I'm all for space exploration, and making it more accessible to everybody, but holy shit, isn't it like really hard to be an astronaut? Astronauts train for years and have to be at their best both physically and mentally, is a reality show really the best way to discover who has the right stuff? 
Flavor Flav tried unsuccessfully for three seasons to find true love
on reality TV and he's Flavor Flav. What hope is there for Space Race?