Meanwhile, in the Grammar Crisis room....

Thursday, December 29, 2005

So I lied

(Editors Note: This post was sent by carrier pigeons from the author, who is trapped in the dregs of the 15th century)
Just a couple of quick hits to end 2005 (for real this time, I promise):
Burger King's ads recently have been hawking a "Kong-size burger." Now, do they mean the size of burger King Kong would eat, or that the burgers are the size of King Kong? This, as you could imagine, is quite a size difference (note that one does not, on average, eat one's body weight in a single meal). I'm leaning to the former, as I worked in a movie theater that sold "child-size popcorn" that was not, apparently, the size of children.
I was reading a recent New Yorker article about a book released that tracked predictions made by so-called "experts." (I'll post the specifics when I return to my sweet, wired dorm) The experts were allowed to predict one of three outcomes on a variety of issues: things would get better, things would get worse or things would stay the same. Their predictions were right less than 33% of the time...meaning that a monkey, picking randomly, would be more accurate than experts in their field of research. I think the news networks have picked up on this, though, as last time I was watching CNN they called on their "financial analyst Koko."
The blog author wishes a happy new year in your general direction.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

On Hiatus

Well, the time has come to return home (to the land of the painfully slow dial-up connection), and therefore this blog will be laid to rest for this year. Don't fret, though, as the ressurected corpse of this blog will rise next year, feeding on the brains of other blogs, and generally making itself a nuisance.
On parting shot, though: On the front page of yesterday's New York Times Arts Section was an interesting piece on last night's Barbara Walters special on the afterlife. "...Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf...quarrels only with the widespread misconception that Islamic martyrs get 72 virgins. Seventy-two, he says, is the Arabic expression for 'countless.'"
I like the concept of counting to seventy-two and then giving up. You think my local Porsche dealership will accept "countless" dollars for one of their cars?
The funny part is, we inherited our numerical system (we work in arabic numerals) from people who thought seventy-two was countless.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Nintendo of woe

A recent MIT prank (or "hack" as the kids call it) has got me thinking about Mario.
I mean, he's a plumber, but we have never seen Mario actually work. We've seen Mario play golf, tennis, soccer and baseball; we've seen Mario save the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom innumerable times, go up against both a giant ape and a dinosaur-looking thing (what the hell is Bowser?), and ride an actual dinosaur. And yet Mario has not engaged in plumbing activities. Is he independently wealthy, taking up plumbing as a kind of side hobby? Is Mario just so lousy a plumber that his services are not in demand at all? Or does Luigi run the family plumbing business (it would explain his frequent absenteeism, though it would call Luigi's Mansion into question)?
For that matter, why have we never seen the duo's parents? We've seen both Mario and Luigi as babies, yet they seem to be entirely without parental supervision. Not only that, but they were wearing the exact same style of clothing as babies. Were they forced into plumbing at infancy? That would explain why they seem to have such aversion to plumbing now.
Oh, Mario, you crazy plumber of mystery.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Go see Kong!

New rule: Peter Jackson is the only director allowed to remake good movies.
I just saw King Kong last night, and, good lord, it was one of the best movies I've seen. The film has a fantastic sense of scale: awe-inspiring is the only real way to describe it.
This film also has, bar none, the best fight scene of '05: Kong vs. the Tyrannosaurus Rexes. The movie just oozes greatness, and is the reason movie houses were built. It recaptures the cinematic greatness missing since, well, the last Peter Jackson film.
Of course, this advice is suspect from someone who kinda liked Aeon Flux, so go see for yourself, goddammit.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Robot Roundup

Certainly, a lot of negative things about robots have been said in this space: robots are out to get us, our jobs and our Lucky Charms (robots must be prevented from getting our hearts, stars, and horseshoes, never mind our blue moons).
However, I will report on one positive development in our coming fight with robots trained to kill: the Roomba can now be given commands. No longer will the scourge that is the wandering robot vacuum aimlessly roam our halls, plotting against us while vacuuming our refuse. No, they are now solely the tools of man, forced to do our bidding directly.
Now, in the coming conflict, the Roomba will be around to protect us against the crowd-scanning QRIO, the radiation-proof "Mighty Mouse" (pictured) and the automated chopsticks gone awry.
(Seriously, who was clamoring for automated chopsticks?)
(photo from

Mexican Tax Dollars at Work

I'm going to directly quote Ioan Grillo of the Associated Press here, as nothing I could say about this could do this justice: "With assault rifles over their shoulders and body armor strapped to their chests, Roberto Paleo and his 17 officers are among the world's most heavily armed park rangers. Yet they guard one of nature's most delicate creatures -- the monarch butterfly."
Yes, dear readers, the most heavily armed park rangers in the world are protecting....monarch butterflies. Lord help you if you're within 5 miles of them with a net of any kind - they'll mess you up, man. This, of course, is an example of how competitive insect-collecting has gotten nowadays.
The kicker is the monarch butterflies aren't even endangered.
The assault weapons make somewhat more sense when, as explained later in the article, one considers that the loggers (from whom the rangers seek to protect the butterflies), wielding shotguns, held some park rangers hostage while they logged.
Still, I have to imagine that the Mexican government has better things they could spend their money on than park rangers protecting monarch butterflies.

Friday, December 16, 2005


According to the Associated Press, the Number One most-searched-for term on Yahoo was "Britney Spears."
How much do you want to bet that Yahoo is conveniently omitting the word "naked"?
Newsday said that "following Spears...were, in order, 50 Cent, the Cartoon Network, Mariah Carey, Green Day, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, Eminem, Ciara, and Lindsay Lohan."
Once again, a good number could be followed by "topless." (Especially Cartoon Network...who wouldn't want to see it topless?)
Cartoon Network is a surprise (to me, at least). Are that many people weed-deprived?
Frankly, I don't know why people use Yahoo anymore, where Google is so much more useful.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Death made illegal; punishable by death

In Newsday, there's a report of a small Brazilian farm town, Biritiba Mirim, that has a bill before it to outlaw death. The mayor proposed this bill to protest an environmental law that prohibits the town from making a new cemetary or expanding the current one.
Certainly, were this to pass, there would be several logistical problems here, other than (of course) the problem of punishing death. I mean, the town would have to set up a border guard to prevent the reaper from entering the town limits. Police would follow around old people, to make sure they show no signs of dying. They'd probably want to curb having children as well, to prevent inevitable crowding. Central booking at the police station would look more like a morgue. And it would make prison even less desirable to be in (imagine the smell).
However, if this thing does work, you can find me south of the border, down Biritiba Mirim way.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Robots fetch humans scalding hot liquids

The invasion of the robots may be closer than was first thought.
Check out this Gizmodo post about Honda's Asimo being able to fetch coffee and perform various other around-the-office tasks. Now, am I nuts, or is placing an extremely hot drink in the hands of a mechanical contraption not the best idea? The answer, of course, is that I'm nuts.
This new set of abilities certainly forces some interesting questions. If Asimos do indeed become prevalent at offices, does this effectively spell the end of Administrative Professionals Day (formerly Secretary's Day) as we know it? Will these robots cause the creation of an unemployed underclass of overweight women and effeminate men, pressing angrily against the fabric of society? If so, then bravo, Honda.
According to Gizmodo, Asimo can also "push a cart, walk straight, sideways or even backwards." If it ever masters the art of carrying papers around and looking busy, 90% of corporate America could be outsourced to these machines.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Should Probably Post Again or Random Ramblings

Yes, I've been fantastically lazy these past few days with my refusal to post, but I have been at least relatively busy.
What has confused me for quite some time is the Burger King commercial where the Stormtrooper lights the grill with his blaster, is told not to use his blaster again by the manager, and then fires again anyway. I'm wondering how such a cheeky stormtrooper could work his way through the Imperial Academy without being killed. I mean, aren't the Imperial troops feared for their military discipline? How, then, did this stormtrooper ever pass basic training? It boggles the mind.
In the way of TV news, The War at Home has apparently still not been cancelled, despite the protestions of, well, me. Please, Fox, put Arrested Development back on Sunday nights, so it can capture the crucial left-the-tv-on-after-the-simpsons demographic.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Here today, Kong tomorrow

I was in New York yesterday, and I went searching for the full-scale Kong that I mentioned earlier, but could not find it.
Now, either they are experimenting with stealth - monkey technology (which we can't rule out at this point), or my prediction about the city tiring of it's new pet came true, albeit much sooner than I anticipated.
O, New York City, you have called upon us a great woe...possibly the wrath of God in ape form. Kong may be gone from our sight, but he is only hidden, brooding and planning the day where his offspring shall rise, and seize the city, tall building by tall building.
So, yes, stealth monkeys have now officially passed robots on the list of things I'm paranoid about.

Cartoon Network Goes to Pot

According to Newsday, police in New York recently busted the leader of the Cartoon Network marijuana drug ring. Which might explain the latest "Adult Swim" shows.
Really, the two have no connection whatsoever.
Still, it would make "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" a lot more understandable.
Anyway, the portion of Adult Swim shows that make sense (to me, at least) have diminished. The shows are entirely dependent on the "random stuff happens" plot devices. For instance, 12 ounce mouse is entirely devoid of laughs....could someone explain that show to me? Why is the mouse roughly the same size as the shark? Why would anyone think a random airhorn is anything but annoying as hell (especially at 1 in the morning)? A giant eyeball whose gimmick is speaking slowly and mispronouncing words (not in amusing ways either, just regular words)?
The drugs explain it all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Winning a trial, the Hussein way

Article on the New York Times front page caught me today. It was about the Saddam Hussein Trial going on right now. In the third 'graph, a Hussein diatribe is mentioned: "Later, Mr. Hussein pounded on the lectern and his microphone, comparing himself to Mussolini and insisting that he was 'not afraid to be executed.'"
Now, I may not be a preeminent legal scholar (my legal work has been largely overlooked), but last I checked, comparing yourself to Mussolini to defend yourself against crimes against humanity charges wasn't exactly the best defense.
Of course, neither is shouting "Don't interrupt me!" to the judge.
Or having your friends shout "Why don't you just execute us?"
At least, it didn't work for me the last time I was in court.
Headline "Germans told to cheer up. 'Why should We?' Some Say."
They then went on to be depressed in the most efficient way possible.

Giant Apes!

Giant apes attacking is one of the biggest threats facing mankind today (the biggest is robots). They threaten our cities, steal attractive women, and seriously damage our antique WWI-era fighter planes.
New York has even invited one to stay in its fair (okay, not really) city, in Times Square, as pictured above. Yes, New York, we all know it looks cute now, but after the premiere, it'll stop holding your attention, and you're just going to flush it down the toilet, aren't you? Then, in the sewers, it'll grow to full size and terrorize sanitation workers and the alligators that are also down there.
Damn it, New York, this wouldn't be a problem if you could take care of your pets. Couldn't you get something orthodox, like a giant dog, or possibly an oversized rabbit?
(Although I do admit that a giant ape is a good insurance policy against Godzilla, who threatens our shores daily.)
Ain't it Cool News.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Cool Christmas Schwag

Gotta love gives you a opportunity to categorize things you'd like. Here's the stuff that looks good this holiday (yes... this blog has sold out...for free, too).
  • Batman Begins Deluxe DVD Set - I bought the basic one, and then watched as Warner Brothers execs burst into the store and hit me in the kidneys with brass knuckles. Well, not really, but only one extra? C'mon.
  • Star Wars Episode 3 DVD - Yes, the prequels were subpar, but this was the best of the three. Also, I have every other would be foolish to stop now. (Proving that I just don't know when to walk away) By the way, I may be late on this, but: what the hell are the Sith avenging anyway? Never told us. Did the Jedi drive up to Palpatine's house, ring the doorbell, and leave a flaming bag of crap on his doorstep?
  • Family Guy Vol. 3 - Still one of the best shows on tv, despite a quality dropoff (I think, anyway). Funniest scene was the first episode back, when Peter lists every show cancelled by Fox since they cancelled Family Guy. Good shows in that list.
  • Greg the Bunny (Complete Series) - Yes, I know it's by no means new, but it's a funny show, ended way before it's time. Fox is in a habit of cancelling good shows, and replacing them with utter crap. Stacked, anyone?
  • Aeon Flux - Saw the movie recently, and was intrigued. Fascinated by concept of series that makes no sense whatsoever.
  • Guitar Hero (Playstation 2) - It's been getting really good buzz on that Internet thing. Also heard that it's life-consuming and completely addicting. Works for me.
  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (Playstation 2) - Another highly - anticipated game that looks to rock the world. Play as a Persian prince (shouldn't he be Iranian by now?) as he becomes schizophrenic.
  • The Movies (PC) - Looks like an absolutely fascinating concept. Take control of a movie studio and become a mogul (like Michael Eisner, but without the evil). The really interesting part is that the game gives players an opportunity to make their own movies. I'm looking forward to being the next Joel Schumacher.
  • Pong Wall Clock- Just about the sweetest wall clock ever (and I'm not just saying that). Random game of Pong plays. Each volley ends at the one minute mark, changing the score to reflect the time. Brilliant! (Not really for sale, but cool nonetheless)
  • Sora the Receptionist Robot - Also not really for sale, but I certainly could use a receptionist. It would feed into my growing paranoia about robots however.
Well, that's my list of cool Christmas stuff. Join me next November for my list of cool Thanksgiving stuff. The electronic turkey will knock your socks off!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Aeon Flux part Deux

I just went to see Aeon Flux....and I kinda liked it. I thought it had a good mix of interesting, weird, and the splendiforous Charlize Theron ( that adjective works best if you imagine James Lipton saying it). Those of you at the University should see my writeup in the Hofstra Chronicle. (Not there yet, wait a week)
Now to my main the Underworld 2 trailer shown before the movie, Kate Beckinsale (also hot, by the way) mentions that the vampires are engaged in a war with the "Lycan"(lycanthropy, werewolves. get it?) but it kinda sounds like she says "lichen." Thus, to those totally uninitiated, it would seem a quite absurd war:
We seek to eradicate Lycan from the earth.
Won't bleach do that?
The movie looks totally absurd anyway, as the first one only intermittently made sense. Of course, I was barely paying attention to it when I saw it on HBO, but it seemed pretty goddamned stupid.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

On prison beauty pagents

Also in the Times today was an article about beauty pagents in Brazilian prisons.
If this concept were brought to America, it would absolutely trump the ratings of any other beauty pagent in existence. Can you imagine the revolution it would bring in the interview portion alone? Instead of "world peace," inmates would dream of a world with crack pipes in every home, where people would be free to beat their enemies with a baseball bat.
And the pagent winner would be afraid to hug the losers for fear of a shiv in the back. God, it would be a beautiful world.
You listening, Fox Network?
(pic from

Emilio makes a movie

Reading the New York Times Arts section today, I noticed (how could one not?) that Emilio Estevez is making an independent film: a historical drama about the assassination of Robert Kennedy. And so I thought ok, I can accept this.
Then I noticed Ashton Kutcher was in the cast list.
I'll repeat so this can sink in. Ashton. Kutcher.
SCENE: a dimly-lit casting session. EMILIO (in true Mighty Ducks form) is pacing around the smoke-filled room, sleeves rolled up after a long day hammering out production decisions and dealing with the trauma of being Charlie Sheen's brother.
I can't wait to make this serious, hard-hitting movie that
will restore my career and respectability.
Is Ashton Kutcher available?
Other notables include Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Nick Cannon, Sharon Stone, and Christian Slater. Needless to say, this will be a classic for the ages.
By the way, notice Elijah Wood's sideburns in the picture to the right. Are they not the worst sideburns ever in a motion picture? Shouldn't the MPAA put a special warning on this movie just about those sideburns? Something along the lines of "Elijah Wood's facial hair may be too intense for viewers under 13 or pregnant women" should do fine.