Friday, November 29, 2013

Master Blaster runs Barter Town!

So when the aliens come and burn our cities to the ground in the name of the Shadow Proclamation, and reduce our society to the technological level of the stone age so that our deranged species never contaminates the galaxy with its congenital assholery, remember that this, this, is the reason why.
Oh don't pretend we didn't have this coming...
Above: Stupid idiots fighting
over useless crap. Yeah America!
No really, if you didn't click on the link, here it is again. Click and despair for you've just witnessed one of a litany of violent crimes committed today by and against people participating in the closest thing we have to a real life Thunderdome. Yeah, today was the annual bullshit that is Black Friday and once again, it was bloody. Shootings, assaults, taser-ings. Yes, taser-ings, if you lied about clicking on the link above, that's what you would have seen, a woman using a stun gun on a fellow shopper. What were they even fighting about anyway?

If you can call it living...
No, you know what? It doesn't matter. On a scientific level there is nothing, no dispute that could reasonably arise in a retail setting between strangers that would justify the punches, kicks and voltage these two were throwing. Someone cut you in line? Yeah, ok, that sucks, but move on. The person ahead of you bought the last Buttercream Mint 3-Wick Candle at Bath and Body Works? You know what? You'll live. What is wrong with us as a civilization that we kick off the holiday season every year with a casualty list?

Unless the women in that video are Immortals and are cursed to wander the Earth battling each other with the victor taking the other's head and with it their power, there is no goddamn reason grown-ass adults should be resorting to tasers.
 Although saving 40% at Forever 21 does feel amazing.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just the tip?*

Women can have short hair? I don't
know what to believe in anymore...
So remember a few days ago when a server at a New Jersey restaurant was tipped with some anti-gay bullshit instead of, you know, money as is traditional? Yeah. Dayna Morales was waiting on a family at the Gallop Asian Bistro (think P.F. Chang's but somehow less authentic) when the mother said: "Oh I thought you were going to say your name is Dan, you sure surpassed us!" Morales was understandably offended, but refrained from spitting in the family's meal because she's a better human being than most of us.

Above: Awfulness.
Then, after they left, Morales found the following scrawled on the check: "I'm sorry, but I cannot tip because I don't agree with your lifestyle & how you live your life," because clearly someone is unaware of the internet and it's ability to disseminate outrage at incredible speeds. Awful, right? Oh, and I feel the need to point out that it's redundant to say they disagree with her lifestyle and how she lives her life. Aren't those kind of the same thing? Look, it's bad enough they left a hateful message on the bill, but would it have killed them to proofread it first? And why are they writing out the ampersand, 'and' is three letters. That's just lazy. Anyway, are you ready for the shocking twist? A couple has come forward claiming to be the customers Morales waited on and insisting that they totally tipped her and that they never wrote the message on the bill.

Above: One of the terrifying shadow
people who say Morales is lying.

"[We] don't think that way...most tolerant people, I don't care what you do in your life, um, if you're a good person."

-The Anonymous Customer,
not caring what you do in your life

"You got us, the whole gay thing is
 just a big scam. We totally love pussy."

-Gay people

Why would Morales make something like that up? And what would be in it for her? I mean, other than the outpouring of sympathy, media attention and money. Oh yes, the money. The restaurant even set up a Paypal account for her, and she's collected over $2,000 in 'tips,' all of which she's donating to the Wounded Warrior Project (Morales is a former Marine). Clearly this is just another case of the LGBT community making up homophobia as part of a scheme to benefit disabled veterans, right? Typical...

Weeeell...according to the local NBC station who interviewed them, the couple's customer receipt proves that they tipped Morales...unless it totally doesn't prove anything. The thing about a customer copy, at least in my experience, is that it's just another copy of the bill that you can take home. You can write whatever the hell you want on it.
I'm on to you Redacted...
Hell is for murderers, shitty tippers
and people who carry their dogs
around in their purses.
Not to jump to conclusions here, but couldn't the mystery couple have dug up their copy, filled out a generous tip and called channel 4? But then why would they do that? Sure, it's possible that Morales or someone other than the couple who came forward could have added the message after the they left, but the restaurant's copy still doesn't include a tip, so even if they're not homophobes they're still assholes for not tipping on a $93 bill. Blamo. Case closed. Mystery couple are definitely gaycists, bad tippers or both. Either way there's a warm spot in hell for...

Iron-clad proof...well, aluminum foil-clad, but the
extra strong kind, like Reynolds or something.
...wait, wait, hang on, there's more. The couple also gave channel 4 a copy of their credit card bill showing a charge of $111.55 to the Gallop Asian Bistro, which the reporter then waved at Morales and the restaurant manager demanding an explanation, because journalism is alive in America. And as we all know, there's no way someone could have faked a shitty xerox of a bill you can print out at home. So what's the deal? Is Dayna Morales a liar out to prey on people's sympathies? Are the anonymous shadow people just a couple of homophobic douchebags? 

We may never know, but I think the lesson here is remember to tip your server with goddamn money and not whatever rude, bigoted comments leap to mind. It'll make you seem like a better person and help to avoid whatever bodily fluids your server might see fit to introduce into your meal as a means of retaliation.
That practiced smile hides a boiling sea of hatred for you and your request for extra napkins
after she totally just came back with that water you asked for. Like, she asked you if there was anything
else and you said no. What, were the napkins a surprise? You'd better tip. You'd better tip well.
*What? I'm saying just leave the tip, what did you think I-really? Get your mind out of the gutter...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ach! Breaking up is hard tae dae...

"No please, don't go...we totally love your 
contribution to the UK's music scene..."
Hey, are Scotland and England calling it off? Lookit this. Scotland will be holding a referendum next September on whether or not to become an independent country. Why the hell would they want to do such a thing? Some feel that an independent Scotland would be better of economically, have full representation in the EU and according to Doctor Who, they'll even get their own starship. Critics argue that Scotland isn't as economically viable as they think and that no one can even understand what they're saying most of the time, and you know what? They can keep their stupid bagpipes.

If you're anything like me, your understanding of Scotland is pieced together from Scrooge McDuck, Scotty from Star Trek and that movie Braveheart by noted racist and homophobe Mel Gibson, so bear with me as I lay down some hastily researched, wikipedia-based history.
Of course if Ducktales is as accurate as I think it is, Scotland can
rely on globe trotting billionaire ducks to shore up their economy.
Above: hot merging action.
Scotland and England had sort of a love hate thing for hundreds of years before finally going steady in 1603 when Queen Elizabeth died and her cousin James the VI of Scotland became James the I of England. Yeah, that's right, his cousin died and he got an entire country because monarchy is ridiculous. Anyway, since nothing about history is ever simple, England and Scotland remained two separate countries until the 1707 Acts of Union when they finally stopped acting all coy and changed their status to 'politically unified.' I guess England and Scotland had an open relationship or something because at some point Wales joined in, then Ireland for a little while and then just North Ireland, and that's cool. I mean, I'm not judging.

Of course they were also fighting to
own people, so seriously, screw them.
But when you have to throw in another country or two just to spice things up, it can be a sign of a deeper problem. Look, I know that things change, and sometimes a devolved parliament just isn't enough to make things right. Don't get me wrong, we're all really hoping they work things out, but if they don't at least they'll know they tried. Besides, 300 years is a pretty good run and you have to admire how civilized the whole thing is. I mean a referendum? We fought a war last time part of our country wanted to split-up.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Today in Baldwins who need to stop talking...

"I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words but clearly I have-and for that I am deeply sorry...What I said this week, as I was trying to protect my family, was offensive and unacceptable."

-Alec Baldwin, noted actor 

Maybe he could get one of his brothers
to act as a decoy, like a stunt Baldwin.
I mean, what else are they doing?
Ok, I think Alec Baldwin did intend to hurt and offend someone: a photographer named Carlo Allegri, who, in fairness, was shoving a camera in the actor's face. Of course, this begs the question why is Allegri so desperate to get pictures of Alec Baldwin? Do we really need more pictures of him? I mean he's on TV, or at least was until this, so we know what he looks like. Also, the he's probably a little edgy after the recent stalker thing, so maybe it's a little understandable that people chasing him and his family around with a camera kind of pisses him off.

Incidentally, when will he be
issuing an apology for that one?
But what does any of this have to do with gay people? Is Alec Baldwin just a raging homophobe? Maybe? I don't know, I'd like to think not, I think he's pretty funny when he's not spewing a steady stream of anti-gay vitriol, but it's hard to tell anymore when every couple of weeks he starts going off on the LGBT community like he's using the Westboro Baptist Church protest signs as cue cards. And even if he really doesn't hate gays, he is still a tremendous dick for rolling out homophobic slurs on Allegri. I mean, I know he made The Shadow, but he's not an idiot, and he should goddamn know better. It just makes him the asshole no matter how right he is. Don't get me wrong, Baldwin should absolutely be calling Allegri all kinds of horrible things, it's just that there is no reason to trash gay people in the process. The English language is rich with insults, and if you put a little thought into it, you can easily tailor-fit the perfect invective for any occasion.

Shit-merchant. Human-parasite. Fuck-stick. See? Those are all excellent things to call celebrity photographers and they don't hurt anybody but the intended target. It's the difference between a surgical strike and carpet bombing.
Above: Fuck-sticks.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Beards: They're not for everybody

Let me start off by saying that I disapprove of cancer. I wanted to make that clear before I tell you that I shaved this morning.
Beard: November 3rd 2013-November 17th 2013
"...we hardly knew ye..."
Oh, wait, I think I just got how
pornstaches connect to diseases...
This happens to be Movember (aka the less portmanteau-y No-Shave November), a month long celebration of the mustache. Kind of ridiculous right? More so when you consider that our culture devotes 30 days to mustaches and only 28 to Black History. Ok, so it's not really about the mustaches per se, but calling attention to men's health issues, which is totally a worthy cause. The idea is that men quit shaving in order to raise awareness of diseases, especially forms of cancer that affect only men. And that's cool, although I'm not entirely sure what mustaches have to do with raising awareness of men's cancers. I mean, they make me think of hipsters, cops and 1970's porn stars, not diseases.

Nice face, mind if I make myself at home?
Also, I think they look kind of stupid, at least on their own, without a beard. I'm not trying to be a jerk or tell other people how to run their lives or anything, but for real, shave or don't. I just don't get why some men shave almost their entire face but then select this one section to leave full and bushy like a wayward caterpillar decided hang out on their upper lip.

I guess the mustaches, as a symbol of manliness, are a reminder that male humans exist and by extension have diseases. But is the medical field really in danger of forgetting about a segment of the population they worked so hard to make capable of getting erections well into their 80's?
"Women? I suppose they probably have health issues as well,
but who can tell with all that menstruating and skirts?"

-Every doctor before like 1985
People say they grow on you after awhile.
What? No, clearly I'm not better than that.
Of course, I wasn't going to grow just a mustache and really my first foray into serious facial hair was mostly about laziness. Laziness and curiosity. I was beard-curious, if you will. After all, I am a grown-up, and it was about time I saw what beards were all about. It turns out, they're not for everybody. If you are one of the give-or-take 50% of the human race incapable of growing a bristly, full-face fuzz jacket, I can tell you that you're not missing out on much. They're itchy, food gets stuck in them and people keep stroking their chin and saying things like: 'so, growing a beard, huh?' Like they're Sherlock Goddamn Holmes.

Imagine a coarse, uncomfortable wool sweater stapled to your jaw and slowly creeping down your neck. That's the beard-experience. Can't say I recommend it. Although I guess on the upside you can pretend you're a Viking or that you live in Middle Earth or something, so there's that...
I don't know, maybe it's just me. These guys seem to be enjoying their beards.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Grand Theft TARDIS!

"Shut up tardis!"
"No, you shut up, you're a tardis!"
Hey, get this: the son of some guy who may possibly but by no means certainly came up with the Doctor's TARDIS back in the 1960's is suing the BBC for all the money ever! The suit comes conveniently close to the series' 50th anniversary and I can't help but wonder if maybe there's a connec-I'm sorry, what? You don't know what the TARDIS is? Really? Why are you even reading this? You know, I should probably just let you keep wondering if maybe it's some kind of stain remover or a name nine-year-olds call each other, but that wouldn't be very neighborly.

Here, nerd primer: The TARDIS is the Doctor's time machine on Doctor Who. It's a magic blue box that's bigger on the inside and travels through time. I say magic because, let's face it, Doctor Who contains about as much real science as a Texas science curriculum. I mean, the Doctor is great and all, but Neil deGrasse Tyson isn't exactly on the writing staff.
Oh don't look at me like that. Your time machine is powered by whimsy
and was once repaired with tea...TEA! Could you be any Britisher?
Good thing they didn't go with
Future Universal Co-orbital
Kinetic Electron Device
The iconic, yet incredibly stupid sounding name stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space, which isn't so much a name as it is a bunch of seemingly random words one of the writers strung together. Which writer? Well, that's sort of the issue here. Stef Coburn, who's suing the BBC, says his father came up with the blue police box idea and the name TARDIS. However, according to this story on io9, the production team had already decided that the chameleon circuit would be stuck on 1950's blue police box before Coburn was hired.

Coburn is also suing the mall Santa for
toys he says he was promised in 1964.
Ok, so who's right? Nobody's really knows. Coburn contends that his father had granted the BBC 'informal permission' to use the TARDIS, but that when he died, the rights reverted to the estate. Ok, great, but did Anthony Coburn really invent the TARDIS concept? According to Stef, his father came home from work one day and told him and his brother about the TARDIS, but unless hazy childhood memories are admissible in court, I suspect he's pretty screwed.

It's all about the 'lizabeths...

"The only ends I wish to accomplish...involve bringing about the public recognition that should by rights always have been his due, of my father James Anthony Coburn's seminal contribution to Doctor Who, and..." wait for it, here come the money part: "...proper lawful recompense to his surviving estate." 

-Stef 'Surviving Estate' Coburn

Proper lawful recompense is, of course, a shit load of money. Specifically back royalties for every time the BBC used the TARDIS, mentioned the TARDIS, thought about the TARDIS. Everything: television, books, comics, video games, oh, and just so you don't think Coburn is a dick, you should know that he's also giving the BBC the option to just stop using the TARDIS altogether. What a guy!
I suppose the Doctor could simply fix the TARDIS's chameleon circuit, then it could look
like anything: a doric column, a Kenmore washer/dryer combination, even a Pinkberry.
That is, assuming, the BBC gives me some of that sweet, sweet lawful recompense...
Stef Coburn (center) seen here being related
to a guy who worked on Doctor Who once.
Look, if this really is about Stef getting recognition for his father's work, then more power to him, but between the timing and the crazytown amount of money the TARDIS is worth, this kind of smacks of a desperate cash grab. I mean, I'm all for the intellectual property rights and protection of an writer's work, but the show was a collaborative effort that ran for decades and involved hundreds of creative people. Even if Anthony Coburn did shout 'TARDIS' in a production meeting 50 years ago, does that really entitle his kid to millions of pounds?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Galaxy Just Got M-Classier!

8.8 billion. Billion, with a B and an illion. That's how many potentially habitable planets there are in our galaxy alone, according to a new study. So what in the name of Space Jesus are we doing just sitting around, not spooling up the FTL?  
"Yeah, seriously you guys, what's up with that?"
                                      -Space Jesus
"I'm sorry Steven, but according to my 
calculations, yo mamma really is so fat."
Scientists used data from the Kepler satellite to extrapolate a reasonable figure for how many Earth-like planets exist in the Milky Way. According to their super-hard science math, there are something like 200 billion stars in the galaxy, 40-50 billion of which are like our sun and of those they think one in five have terrestrial planets in the Goldilocks zone (or as I like to call it, the Canadian Zone). That means between 8 and 11 billion potentially inhabitable planets. Of course, this is science, so we're going to have to rein it in a bit.

'Potentially habitable' is along way from actually habitable and full of aliens waiting for us to teach them about this thing we hew-mons call 'love.' Still though, this is pretty exciting. With 8.8 billion worlds out there, even the most preposterous Star Trek episodes seem suddenly plausible. Gangster planet, Nazi Germany planet, it's all on the table.
A world that's exactly like Earth except the Roman Empire
never fell and everybody speaks English? What the hell. 
This is why we can't have nice things.
But as rad as this all sounds, these billions and billions of class-M planets are still really, really far away. And while NASA's working on telescopes that can sniff out breathable atmospheres, I think it's high time they got cracking on a warp drive. Like, right now. Let's face it, we've seriously screwed the pooch on our planet. Between things like Fukushima, the Pacific ocean garbage pile and the fact that most of our coastal cities are going to require snorkels in the next few decades, we're going to have to start looking for a fresh planet.

Just listed! This unique fixer-upper is located in the Goldilocks zone of
a G-type main sequence yellow dwarf star and features 7 continents,
5 oceans and its own moon. It has room for two polar ice caps (not incl.)
and is priced to move. Don't let this one pass you by! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Let's take trains!

Dear Planes, 
Fuck you.
Sincerely, Everyone over 5'4"
I don't like flying. It's just not for me. My problem with it is based partly on the fact that it involves helplessly hurtling through the air in a metal tube filled with flammable liquid, while hoping to hell the pilot didn't have the fish. Also, I kind of resent having to pay $60 more for 32 inches of what the airline calls extra legroom but I call not having to spend a five hour flight wishing my knees would stop filling up with so much fluid. I am however a huge fan of parachutes. A backpack that keeps you from splattering at 122 miles per hour? Great! Like, I'd never go skydiving or anything, but after watching this, I totally want one.

More amazing even than this.
No really, actually click on this one. I know you and I have this little game where I say hey, click on this! and you don't and then I end up describing it anyway. And yes, that's what's about to happen here but for really and for true, this is the one you want to click on. It's that amazing. It's video of two groups of skydivers whose planes collided in midair. Since we hew-mons can't do anything without taking a photo or a video and putting it on Facebook, every single skydiver was wearing a helmet cam and holy shit.

 ...and look way more badass.
The incredible part is everyone involved in the incident and subsequent hell-rain of Cessna parts survived. Everyone. How is this possible? Sorcery? Good guess, and sorcery would certainly do the job, but it turns out they survived because they were all wearing parachutes, which begs the question: why can't I have one when I fly? I would gladly trade one of my carry-on for the piece of mind that comes with knowing I can bail out at the first sign of trouble. Instead we get floatation devices for some reason.

What the shit is that? When has a floatation device come in handy during a uncontrolled plummet from the sky? Never, that's when. And if you just said Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, shut up, because that scene where they use a raft to cushion their jump out of a plane was that movie's fridge nuking.
Above: Mola Ram pulling the beating hearts from his victims
while they watch is 100% more believable than the raft scene. 
Yup, his name's Uranus.
Ur- followed by -anus. Deal. 
Anyway, the news over the last few days has been a particularly depressing parade of shootingsracists and spying, I think we should all take a moment and thank Uranus, god of the sky, for sparing these brave skydivers who, for reasons I can't begin to fathom, leap out of planes for fun. Like seriously, they jump out of planes just for the hell of it. What is wrong with them?

"We followed our instincts. We just jumped. And we watched everything falling around us...Our concern was not to get hit by anything. We were in free fall. All we could hope for, at that point, was to fall faster than those wings and somehow get away from them."

-Mike Robinson, skydiver
and goddamn lunatic

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Let's (Still) Boycott Ender's Game!

So remember how we were all going to boycott Ender's Game? And then when anyone asks 'so, what did you think of Ender's Game?' we were going to sniff derisively and explain that we didn't see it because we don't support movies written by homophobes.
Then we were going to mention that we were into A Song of Ice and Fire before
it went all mainstream. And they'd be like: "A Song of Ice and Fire? What's that?"
And then we'd just shrug and walk away, smug in our superior nerd cred.
Ok, so this gay guy probably
knows how to make a hurricane.
Don't remember? Really? It was like four months ago. Here, meet me halfway, read this. I'll wait. See? Yup, boycotting Ender's Game was going to be great. Was. You see, so far it's been my understanding that seeing the movie would, however indirectly, be exactly like giving that Omega-Level homophobe, Orson Scott Card more money to print up his flyers about how hurricanes are God's punishment for gay people, but, it turns out that this might not be the case after all. I mean the thing about the author getting a cut of every ticket sold, not the hurricanes. I'm pretty sure gay people don't cause those.

Above: Orson Scott Card
Photo credit: The High School
 yearbook committee.

Anyway, it seems that Orson (really, his parents named him Orson, I guess they somehow sensed his douchiness even then) Scott Card sold the movie rights off ten years ago. According to The Wrap, some authors opt for a guaranteed paycheck instead of the riskier but potentially more profitable cut of the box-office.

"It changes with every deal depending on the stature of the property and the author, how the picture is financed and balancing all that out to decide if an author wants upfront cash versus backend participation."

 -Jason Dravis, some guy who represents authors

Ok, so Orson heard the phrase 'backend participation,' clenched and just signed the rights over then and there. Great, let's go see the movie, free of guilt. After all it's not like the novel contained any of Card's vitriol, and the movie's cast and crew don't share his views. So what's the problem?
Pictured: An astronaut experiences some 'backend participation'
with a Bugger in a comic book prequel about the Formic Wars.
Spoiler alert: The sequels mostly suck.
Paying to see a movie based on Card's work might not be exactly the same thing as handing the Family Research Council or NOM $10, but if the movie does well, doesn't that increase the likelihood that the studio will want a sequel? Movie makers love sequels, no matter how ill-advised and there's like a ton of Ender-verse novels to draw from. Does Lionsgate (the studio that made Ender's Game) own those already? If not, wouldn't they have to give him more money if they want to do Ender 2: Electric Buggerloo (working title)?

Maybe he meant one of those visually
stunning, thrill-a-minute migraines that
doesn't let go until the end? 
And another thing: doesn't the news that Card gets exactly $0 if we go see the movie feel kinda suspect coming only days before the release and only after some seriously mixed reviews started trickling in? This guy called the script a 'cut rate Top Gun for 'tweens, and compared watching it to a migraine. So if this thing about the author's pay is true, why didn't Lionsgate mention this back in July instead of spending the last four months trying to disassociate themselves from his politics and throwing lavish benefit galas? Now it just looks like damage control for a mediocre movie.

Look, I've never thrown an apology gala myself, but it just seems like bringing up this little fun fact about the film's royalties earlier would have been way easier and less expensive. Also, seriously, a goddamn migraine?
You know Orson, if people have to throw galas to apologize
for you being such a tremendous dick, you're doing something
seriously wrong in life. Maybe it's time to reevaluate.