Archive | January 2016

The Science of Snack Foods

You know why Sun Chips come packaged in those opaque bags? I think it has a lot to do with that near baby-shit brown coloring of the chips themselves. Had they been packaged like normal snack foods, you’d see them behind that little window in the bag and think “Those look more Earthy than the name implies. Perhaps more like the contents of the colostomy bag found attached to a mummy. I am an American, and demand that MY Sun Chips look more yellow, as the sun itself,” and then Neil Degrasse Tyson could step in and reclassify the snack as something else, because that’s what astrophysicists do, obviously.

And don’t even get me started on the potential of a sixteen show series from Michio Kaku that would dig deeper into the mystery of the off-colored “red giant” chip, or the even more rare stellar collision, wherein two chips have merged into one unit (occasionally, there’s like five PLUS in some globular cluster, forming this nebula of not-quite Sun Chippy-goodness that you avoid because it’s more like the weird characters in Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks than some food, and you just can’t bring yourself to touch it, but can rest assured that some talent-less hack would have stolen the entire premise for a shitty cable series like some eighty years down the road).

That said, try a little fucking harder, Sun Chips. I demand accountability from my snacks. Now, about this “Milky Way” bar, and the obviously sloppy anatomical research by the “Butterfinger” people…

Thinking of You

Exchange out of context, passive-aggressive edition:

“Every time I hear a ‘Dumb Polack’ joke, I immediately think of you.”

“We have something in common! Every time I hear the opening bars of ‘Disco Inferno’ or ‘It’s Raining Men,’ I think back to when we went to watch your Dad ride that long pink float in the parade and your mom cried a lot.”

Titanic Number Two: The Remnant

Oscars on your mind? Me neither, because I work for a living. But that didn’t stop me from crafting a little Movie mash-up for you. I’m a giver, after all. That said, enjoy this blended mash of Titanic and The Revenant. I call my treatment Titanic Number Two: The Remnant.

All I ask is that you sticklers suspend your “timeline” and “historical facts” bullshit for this overview. This is a movie. They’re meant to entertain. We have books and whatnot for “facts” and “historical preservation.” Go read one.

A Gilbert Grape-era Leo is in steerage aboard the Titanic, which is transporting French carnival animals to the US, because the American ones don’t smell enough to be taken seriously (also, Chris Rock needed a paycheck, and his reprising of the whole Zebra voice-over role really adds a Jar-Jar Binks quality that many dramatic films seems to miss lout on). While a stowaway, Jack Grape befriends a bear, and the bear shares his food, and Jack draws pictures of it in fecal matter (whose, exactly is never discussed) on the walls as dramatic music is played. Stanley Kubrick can guest-direct this scene as an homage to his own work, that self-important hack. Eventually, a bored First-Class passenger wanders to the lower decks in search of adventure and trendy bohemian-looking trinkets to steal from the dying, or to trade items from the cheese cart with the near-dying. Leo meets this girl, and they do it in front of the bear. Sex back then wasn’t all that romantic. Hell, these two do it right there, and Jack even draws a picture of it using fecal matter, the source of which is known this time.

The Titanic is taken hostage by a group of Russian paramilitary types, and their poorly-drawn map (stolen from a Dora the Explorer activity set) guides them straight into an iceberg, placed into the script so that the Liberal director can voice his opinion on global warming by killing eleven hundred penguins (again, suspend your geographical knowledge). As the boat sinks, Jack chooses the girl over the bear as sex with her proved slightly less painful. However, the bear survives, making its way South through Canada (in the two movies it takes to cast many, many cameo appearances) to find Jack, where it wreaks a revenge similar to Misery, but all Smaug the Dragon-like, assuming that he were breathing poo instead of fire.

Leo gets help from three penguins who survived the original wreck by latching onto his nipples (to explained in the Director’s Cut), all voiced by Liam Neeson, and they capture the bear, and skin it for a rug in their new home.

Credits.

In the alternate ending, we learn that the whole thing was a dream, taking place in the subconscious of Jack’s alternate personality.

More credits.

The Chains of Acceptable Absurdity

All of this “racial equality” talk surrounding the Oscars really got me thinking. While I can agree that some feel slighted, it’s the prevailing attitude of “my personal feelings and cause are the most important thing in the world” which always leads down the same path toward “screw logic and making sense,” and that’s not always a good thing. I mean at least not in the sense of accomplishing anything, anyway.

In my world, it serves grand purpose. And that purpose is absurdity.

Demanding that someone be nominated, even when they’re not qualified in comparison to whatever the field happens to be is just another case of “everybody gets a trophy,” and that tarnishes the $10 dust collector. ANY award should be a symbol of the hard work put in to best the competition, correct? If you just give everyone praise, regardless of the quality of work presented, you wind up with a society loaded with self-important idiots. You can’t name everyone a Spelling Bee Champion… Otherwise you have to deal with some stupid motherfucker who can’t spell “probably” or doesn’t know the difference between “lose” and “loose.” Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

That said, I’ll just cave to the dumbing-down of everything, and agree that we all deserve a trophy to ensure an inflated, false sense of ourselves. And with that whole Oscars thing fresh in our minds, why not just remake a film to suit this attitude? A lesser man might look to the 1980’s and an action film or cartoon to start with, but I am not “lesser.” I’m going big.

Imagine, if you will, Roots as a racially-equal feature film. The feel-good comedy of the Summer, starring Jim Gaffigan as Kunta Kinte. Where the miniseries was biased toward having many black actors, this new version will have total equality. I mean sure, we’ll have to change most of the plot, and rewrite nearly every scene, but what’s more important? Some “story” or “everybody gets a part?” I’m thinking “road comic nails sit-com deal, but finds the contract to have all sorts of hidden clauses, and hilarity ensues as he tries to get out of the deal.” Based loosely on The Producers and Tootsie (and assorted chapters from the first three Dianetics books… I mean who has time for all of that self-analysis bullshit in the fourth?) I’ll hire Tyler Perry as a co-writer and we’ll bring the funny across demographics and whatnot. I already have the marketing tag line:

“The original had people in chains… But this remake will leave you in stitches!”

See how fucking stupid the whole thing sounds? You want to change things moving forward? Write an intelligent script that avoids racial stereotypes and pitfalls, cast it properly and produce the damned thing with some care. THAT is what will win awards; not bitching and boycotting. Besides, what the fuck have you done of any note lately, Jada? Roll credits. (stinger to feature Roger Moore as me dropping a mic and exiting the screen via levitation)*

* Consider the genius of a William Castle-esque gimmick, wherein the audience that sticks around for the stinger feels a bump on their feet following the mic drop, and they receive a souvenir microphone that plays a half-dozen phrases from the movie

 

Pulitzer Polonophobia

Help me to understand:

Self-important celebrities are boycotting the Oscars due to some inequality in the nominations based upon race, correct? That’s nearly, but not quite as weird as Bruce Jenner being nominated for AND WINNING a “Woman of” award. I would like a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary based solely upon the criteria of there not being a winner with a Polish surname in the history of the award. That is Polonophobia, pure and simple.

It’s a fucked-up world when it’s acceptable for someone to make jokes about my people, but NOT reward my people for writing jokes. I’d totally express my anger if I could get a few friends over to help me change the light bulb (I don’t want to strain my eyes writing in the dark).

That said, I am going to submit an article outlining just why I deserve the award based upon my heritage and that alone, and when nominated (and I win), the circle of utter ridiculousness will be complete. All of known reality will implode upon itself, my having done something to highlight my deserving something for nothing being the prime mover, of course. It’s very complex, this something-for-nothing stuff.

Sim Despot and His Dad

The other day, my son was playing Sim City, and I realized that it’s not only a grand metaphor, but also a fantastic tool to have handy when preparing for parenthood later in life.

“Seriously?! That’s all they do is complain!”

“What?”

“My citizens all want things, but it’s always stuff I don’t have money for! They just keep whining and complaining. Don’t they get it? We can’t afford that right now. You have a home and food and other stuff. Leave me alone.”

“This sounds familiar.”

At this point, it took an ugly turn. There was fear that the people living in his city may pack up and leave. As a parent, it’s one thing to see your kid fail. In this case, it was a moment of pride as he showed his true colors and switched from harried city planner to despotic overlord:

“How can you leave when I’ve shut down the buses?! In fact, I’ll just take the buses away. There is no escape. How do you like me now?”

Back to the Welles in a Hearst

My Jeopardy dreams are recorded in front of a live studio audience. I know this because I scanned every one of their stolid eyes. Even the ones with one eye, of which there were four.
 
Alex: “After his gat explodes and he switches his mind back to freak mode, both Nate Dogg and his buddy Warren G were in need of something else.”
 
Me: “What are ‘Dames that is sexy as hell?'”
 
Alex: “You’re tweaking into a whole new era, Brian.”
 
Me: “If the questions are a buster, I’ll regulate, Alex.”
 
Alex: “Save it, motherfucker.”
 
And then he shot me. As I lay there in a slowly expanding pool of the blood which was pumping from the wound on my neck, I couldn’t help but think “to be honest, I don’t think that Sajak would have been nearly as violent.” Then Bud Collyer stepped on my hand and whispered “to tell the truth, pal, he’d have been the least of your worries.” As he mashed my knuckles into the polished marble floor, he added “and my real name is Clayton. How do you like THEM apples?”
 
“That was sort of my hope,” I managed to say over the sound of snapping bone and tearing sinew. “Also, considering the blood loss here, it may not be MY time to beat the clock, you know?”
 
“Save it for the BONUS ROUND!!!”
 
As the crowd erupted into a frenzy, Collyer mouthed something but all I heard was what sounded like a thunderclap, and was thrust into consciousness and the feeling of my butt cheeks vibrating to the largest fart I’ve released in months. Having regained a sense of the moment, but one mysterious word was left ringing in my ear… “Dotto.”

A Light Comes On

Been having one of those weird times again where I question everything… Kind of caught between wanting to just jump ship and move on to new things, but knowing that the timing isn’t quite right yet. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m lucky to do something that I’m marginally decent at, but I’ve been seeking some sense of fulfillment, some understanding that what I do can matter.

And along comes my pal DW, and things got a little clearer.

I’m a big believer in the philosophy that you meet people or experience things for a reason, and making friends with him some years back has proven that way of thinking correct over and over. Man, you know I can’t thank you enough for the times you’ve set my head straight.

When DW had asked me some years back if we could include a few line drawings in shipments from Welder Series as coloring pages for customer’s kids, I thought “why not! It could be cool.” It offered a chance for the kids to get something they might use, and maybe spend time with Dad. The hot rodding thing all starts someplace, after all… Might be a car show for some, building a scale model at the kitchen table for others. Perhaps some kid will look back on coloring with their father one evening. And then I saw his post regarding just how those sketches were being used.

From his post:

color-them

Know here and now that every act can have some effect, whether seen or unseen, and may take place right in front of you or far away. Had I not read DW’s post, or had his customer not shared what his wife had chosen to do, I’d still be happy hoping that some kid was enjoying them. Knowing that a teacher cared enough about the kids in her care to go an extra step and inspire them is far beyond icing on the cake… It’s proof of concept that the plans we have in the works here CAN work. And “work” is certainly the key word in all of this. But it’s that sort of work that I enjoy more than anything.

Thanks to DW and his family at Welder Series, and thanks to his customer for taking that step to show his wife the coloring pages, and then to her for going that extra mile… and man, thanks for shining that light this way. I think I’d have seen it even if things had been a lot brighter all around, but having it come on when it was darker really made me appreciate it even more. And that made a LOT of things very, very clear indeed.

Stool Pigeon Flushes Cheaters in Professional Poo Design Competition Doping Scandal

Talking shit with the kid:

“What other foods come out of your butt almost whole? I mean like peanuts do. And corn sometimes…”
“Some leafy foods make it out almost whole. You could probably expect that if you accidentally swallowed a penny, maybe. I’d suppose that tinsel might.”
“You could take an artsy poop if you planned it.”
“Like bedazzling your poo? ‘Hey, I’m going to eat rhinestones and poodazzle.’ If you gag on something, it would be ‘pukedazzle.’ Worst. Activity toy. Ever.”
“We could have a contest to see who can take the shiniest dump. Or puke up something that looks like a painting.”
“We’d need a lot of legal paperwork.”
“Paperwork! That’s funny.”
“We put a link to an Amazon store and sell peanuts and corn and marbles and sequins and other stuff, and then people mix it with their food and make poo. We’d make money… on BOTH ENDS! (awkward pause for laughter that never came) Then they post a picture, and people vote.”
“You could win a huge pack of toilet paper. Or breath mints.”
“There should be controversy… Maybe we find out that a contestant is doping with Ex-Lax… or they’re bulimic: ‘Hey, that makes you like semi-pro! DISQUALIFIED.’ The headlines read ‘Stool Pigeon Flushes Out Cheaters in Doping Scandal.'”
“This is starting to get weird.”

This little exchange gave me a great idea for a story (which I figured best to NOT share with the kid) about a school janitor who takes a new job at a strip club, and one night someone pukes, and he can’t find the sawdust or floor dry, so he uses glitter. I can probably milk that for about a hundred or so pages as an internal monologue (or even further should I explore the side stories of what led to the vomit spill – and away we go!), but it lacks a title. Feel free to discuss.

No, It Wouldn’t Be Cool OR Plausible

Look at you, fan of the sciences: You saw that pic and re-posted the whole “gosh, if our moon were replaced by Saturn” bullshit concept. Some third-rate hack with Photoshop learned a layer technique and boogered a few planets into a poorly-framed shot of the horizon, and suddenly you’re Neil Degrasse Tyson, pondering the mysteries of the universe with regard to altering the makeup of the solar system as though it’s yours to fuck with. It’s not all about YOU. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that I can make this all about ME. That is, after all, the point of social media, right? “Look at ME!”
 
Sorry to burst your bubble, cupcake, but let’s be honest here. It wouldn’t look all neat-o with Saturn hanging there with those rings all silhouetted against a blue sky. In fact, it’s doubtful that your dumb ass would be here to see it, assuming that one approached this fucking idea logically, and realized that between the extremes of heat caused by never-ending plate tectonics and volcanic activity (not to mention the debris thrown skyward as a result), any atmosphere that could survive the gravitational pulls and releases would be opaque at best on a clear day (perhaps whatever higher power there is had a spark of compassion, and in its almighty pity sent a little functional weather your way and blew a few metric tons of poison gas and particulates out of the way). I mean we’re not even getting into the really important things like orbital shifting and irregularities that may have severely altered the processes of life and evolution, rendering your existence improbable in even the remotest sense. And then there’s the whole pesky fabric of space thing, which would have buckled, drawing the two objects into a collision. resulting in one mass, floating in (and causing) a destructive field of massive rock fragments and near light-speed particulates, which (judging from the makeup of the two planets) may have just enough energy to create something entirely different altogether.
 
And let’s say that all of that physics talk took a day off, and you managed to somehow evolve into the social sharing fuckwad credit to your family of obvious inbreeders that you are today… Each day on your wondrous ring-bedazzled moon-having planet would be many, many times the length of a current hollow iron space station moon-having current habitat (Scientology, motherfucker!). And that might lull you into a sense of false security when blocking an entire aisle as you debate between the store brand and the name brand Oreos as you text back and forth to your bros about how great the new Star Wars movie is. I mean it only took you eleven viewings, because REAL fans have to see the same shit nearly a dozen times to fully grasp the whole intricate layering of Han and Leia having bred some evil, whiny prick that talks to Voldemort in an obvious rip-off of Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy. And don’t even get me started on the whole comparison of a certain character dynamic that rings awfully close to a little chunk of the last Star Trek film. But rest assured, I still have to waste MY time on THIS planet (with an atmosphere I can see through – even if it has been poisoned by the illuminati – and solid ground and weather and an orbit that makes some sort of sense) standing behind YOUR self-absorbed ass.
 
The problem isn’t some dumb Photoshop or social share, and it isn’t even the fact of having a moon that would somehow be roughly ninety-five times the mass (or over seven hundred and fifty times the volume; although Earth has it beat on density some eight times over… and we’re not even getting into the rings and the shit-storm THOSE would cause… not unlike that bratty-ass kid of yours, orbiting around your cart and sneezing and coughing on everything) of the planet that it orbits. It all comes down to ME simply wanting to squeeze by so that I can get the fuck out to my car and inspect the latest ding from some lazy asshole who just threw a cart into the quarter panel, versus trudging the extra eleven feet to the CART RETURN with it’s wonderfully bright signage, so designed as to stand out against the blue sky which lacks what? Fucking Saturn hanging there like some childish cut-and-paste nightmare.
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