Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year Ending Media Circle Jerking Time

Year Ending Media Circle Jerking Time

If there's a single most valuable commodity in the entertainment industry is positive hype. You could film 22 minutes of an old man sleeping in a recliner and still make a smash hit TV series if your commercials are good and you get some critics to rave about it. The secret of this is that positive hype is actually reciprocal. A critic who raves about NBC's new sleeper comedy hit "Immobile Box Full of Crayons" will actually receive publicity just by getting quoted in TV and print promos. Do it enough and he'll find himself getting asked to make guest appearances on morning news shows, drooling incoherently over the latest incoherent drool to come out of Burbank. Before he knows it this will lead to having a job writing script treatments for one of the network sweatshops.

It isn't just TV either; the music, movie and especially gaming industry all survive and prosper in part thanks to the efforts and adoration of the press. So I figure I better get in on this dog and pony show. For far too long I remained aloof from this sort of rat race. I've decided instead to tear down all of the things that I wasn't talented - or whatever the opposite of lazy is - enough to accomplish myself. That era is coming to an end. I'm hitching my wagon for that wild ride to super stardom and I intend to spend the entirety of this update heaping praise on everything from Danny Bonaduce to Hannah Montana.

Since I've been neglecting these duties for so long, I hereby authorize any media outlet to apply the quotes in this article to their movie, music, book, game, or TV show. I will leave them intentionally vague so they should suit your purposes well. The only distinction I will make is to separate them by the type of media they should apply to. Don't worry! If you find a quote in the TV section that you would like to use on the jacket of an Oprah book club novel about a transvestite surviving breast cancer, feel free. I aim to please.


"[Film Title] is a tour de force unparalleled in our time. Even eight thousand years from now the hyper-evolved future humans will look back on [Film Title] and wonder how their primitive forebears created such a masterwork."

"It's a good thing tickets to this movie are only nine bucks where I live, because I would be willing to kill children indiscriminately just to see the first ten minutes again."

"Emotionally wrenching, haunting, and hilarious. Watching this movie is like living the entirety of your life, only with more stunning CGI effects and the incomparable Ben Affleck."

"The ultimate date movie! This film doesn't just get you laid; it actually makes tender love to you on the sticky floor of the theater."

"A triumph of the human spirit over our robotic oppressors."

"Will Smith is the greatest action hero alive today. His intricately crafted "Aw Hell Naw" takes a keen mind to unravel, and you will be thrilled the whole way!"

"[Director's Name] has done it again with [Film Title]. I haven't loved the medium this much since I mistook a pile of film reels in a dark projection room for a coiled prostitute."

"[Film Title] helped me realize why America is so great and the terrorists will never win. They just hate us for our freedom."

"Many simpletons would mistake [Film Title] for more elitist art house crap that makes about as much sense as installing break lights on a bowling ball, but the truth is it's a journey of the imagination through a surreal dreamscape that speaks directly to the existential soul that unites us all in our collective triumphs and tribulations."

"Who knew that Ed Asner had the voice of a songbird?! Newsflash: he does, and it's a falsetto that will make you weak in the joints."


"Forget oxygen, forget water, [Book Title] is all you'll need to survive this year."

"[Book Title] is the best historical fiction about Abraham Lincoln killing Julius Caesar that I have ever read. It's even better than 'Ides of the South: How Lincoln Burned Rome'."

"A clone made from the recombinant DNA of William Shakespeare and James Joyce could not write a more thought provoking book on maintenance of the Toyota Camry 95-99 than [Author's Name]."

"[Author's Name]'s witty observations serve the more serious tone of the rest of the material quite well and help to keep the reader riveted to the page-turning studies of blood diseases in livestock."

"I never knew just how much [Loose Political Alliance] hated America until [Author's Name] managed to clear things up with several anecdotes, a few facts taken out of context, and thousands of baseless accusations. The most amazing part was all of the exhaustive research that the author selectively quoted to emphasize the correctness of his viewpoint."

TV Shows

"If you have one ounce of love for the smash hit series 'Fish Police' in your marrow, then you'll share my adoration for [Show Title]."

"Get ready to ice up your funny bone, because [Show Title] is going to give it a serious workout! Who could have guessed that real life crime scene photos could be so hilarious?"

"[Network Name] has a hit on their hands with [Show Title]. This original and biting commentary on the social interactions of three male and three female friends is sure to leave America in the best kind of stitches. My favorite character is [ditzy blond], will her antics ever cease?!"

"[Show Title] proves that reality TV still has some life left in it. I was amazed with the attention to detail during the Revolutionary War segment where they were forced to drink vintage British tea out of a boiled hog uterus."

"[Show Title] is an engrossing drama of a genius and complexity not seen since Fox's powerhouse programming duo 'Farts Across America' and 'Ass Helicopter'."

"[Lead Actress] makes a stunning debut as the titular character in [Show Title]. It's heartwarming to know that a sassy and incredibly attractive single mom with a mysteriously huge apartment and vague parental duties can still get by in this crazy workaday world we live in."


"I enjoy listening to songs about things that happen to people that wear cowboy hats and [Yokel's Album Title] is an example of the best the genre has to offer. Packed to the ten-gallon brim with twangy homespun tales told in halting song form, this compilation of greatest hits is just what the only doctor in town ordered."

"In the overcrowded genre of barely-legal gyrating female pop stars who sing childishly about their shallow relationships, [Artist's Name] really distinguishes herself by wearing the shortest and tightest hot pants in the industry."

"Hip-hop has a new hero, and his name is [Artist's Name]! With unassailable street cred and more ice on his body than a Cro-Magnon man frozen in a glacier [Artist's Name]'s new album [Album Title] is sure to please."

"Whoever claims rock is dead hasn't listened to [Album Title], the latest release from numetal thrashers [Artist's Name]. This blazing mix of techno, rap, and rock fuses Baltimora with Biz Markie and proves that their styles should have been married long ago."

Video Games

"I have not ejaculated this much playing a game since an Operation Wolf stand up overturned onto my groin."

"The [latest graphical buzz feature] in this game is so intense that it not only rendered me sterile, it rendered my unborn grandchildren sterile."

"[Game Title] combines the best elements of 'Pool of Radiance' and 'Ken's Labyrinth' to create a game that's much more than the sum of its parts. Think 'Lara Croft's Populous II'."

"This series continues to deliver and the intense action will leave you out of breath. This ain't your grand pappy's Kasparov Teaches Chess."

"[Developer] can do no wrong in my book, but [Game Title] exceeds even my great expectations. The CD smells like delicious donuts and just viewing the autorun caused shivers of ecstasy to race up and down my spine. The installation was pure bliss and my first five minutes of actually playing [Game Title] forced me to lie down lest I be overcome by a case of the vapors."

My obligations to the entertainment industry fulfilled for the year, I will once again be returning to my normal cynical content. Look forward to more pointless rambling in the year to come!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

This Holy Night We Flood the World with Bees!

This Holy Night We Flood the World with Bees!

It’s Christmas Day! Did you enjoy unwrapping your gift cards today? How about all that Ham..... Tamales, have you’ve had your fill already? What to do now. You could spend the time with your family or you could flip them the bird and go to the movies and watch Alien vs Predator or something equally as bad. It will more than likely be the only thing open where english is the primary language anyway. But why throw away money on a movie ticket and some popcorn when there is much larger things you could do to make you feel like a better person and help change the lives around the world. I speak of course of donating to chariety. It helps you sleep easy at night. Especially when you realize how large your carbon footprint actually is.

So it’s time to start your charity motors up, people. I know you’re busy sucking down sugarplums and unwrapping nostril groomers (hint hint) from your girlfriend, but I’d like you to take a moment out of your holiday routine to remind you of something more important: all over the world, people are dying miserably because of your greed. Right now, even as you’re reading this, some child with a giant head and what seems like an abnormal number of ribs is far along in the process of dying of poorness. You know that Battlestar Galactica bathrobe you bought for your brother? If you had used just one tenth of that money to buy this little third-world moppet a salt lick or a couple fingers of gruel, he’d be not dying right at this instant.

Sorry if I’m bumming you out, but I have good news: with just a small contribution, you can help! Well, you can’t help the kid from the previous paragraph. That kid is dead now, so forget about him. He died because you were reading a website on the internet instead of sending him money. That’s fine, though. There are plenty more dying people to help, so let’s get on with it before-- oh, whoops, another one just died.

This Christmas, I want you to give ’til it hurts. I want to give ’til it’s covered with painful welts, in fact. I’d want to keep giving until its throat swells shut due to anaphylactic shock.

You may have heard of Heifer International, a charitable organization that improves the lives of poor people around the world by giving them goats and cows and stuff, which they can milk or eat or cut open and crawl inside of for warmth. One of their many animal-charity drives involves setting up bee colonies, which seems like the perfect project to throw your money at.

Why Give Bees?

The beauty of donating bees is that it works whether you’re good or evil. There are two ways to look at it:

A) You are paying $30 to help a family increase their crop yields and earn extra income through the magic of pollination.

B) You are paying $30 to prank the fuck out of some poor people by foisting a swarm of angry bees on them.

Bee-giving is good for the world, but you can feel like an asshole while doing it. In fact, you can feel like a supervillain. Each $30 bee contribution buys 12,500 bees (I actually called and checked), which means that the combined weight of this charity option could potentially flood the developing world with millions of bees. On this holiest of nights, we shall darken the skies of the world’s poorest nations with deadly swarms of nature’s perfect killing machine.

How Give Bees?

To participate in our charity bee drive, just follow these easy steps:

1. Visit this page to order bees directly from Heifer International.

2. Click "Add to Cart" and proceed to checkout.

3. After you enter your info, you’ll see an "Additional Information" area. In the second dropdown menu, select "Other Organization," then enter "Something Awful" in the text field below it.

4. Say if you’ve donated! Post a comments to me that you’ve donated. The Bee number will be tallied up to better track the level of this insane global villainy.

Let’s forever end poverty everywhere in the world through the miraculous power of bees! Or, if you’re evil, let’s cause thousands of potentially fatal bee stings in the countries whose medical care systems are least qualified to treat allergic shock! For only 0.08 cents a day, you can instill the fear of bees into a child who already had finding food and shelter along with fighting off sickness as things to worry about.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last Minute Holiday Shopping Still Needs Some Law and Order

The Holiday Gift Giving Season Needs some Law and Order.

It's the last weekend to go shopping for the Holidays. What the fuck were you doing with your time that you've waited this long? Well, enough questions on what you were doing. More along the lines of what will you do now? Don't forget to pack a cyanide pill with your wallet as I'm sure going two miles near a mall or shopping center this weekend will bring you to the point of insanity.

This last minute gift shopping leads to the easy out. That is, folks just grab the closest random crap on the shelf that isn't blocked by shopping carts and call it a day. This can lead to some pretty bad gifts. Sure you try to justify them to yourself as it being something the person may like if they open themselves up to it but it's just something that will get turned into one of the three R's; Returned, Regifted or Recycled.

I have had my share of terrible gifts. Enough that even though I know you total strangers will give me nothing for Christmas, I still feel the need to write out a helpful guide to point you away from getting anyone any of these things. That and I also wanted to comment on these because they were just so damn insanely out there that I felt the need to get an audience while I lampoon them. So enjoy while I talk about awful gift ideas!

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Field Kit

Who is letting their kids watch CSI that there would be enough interest to market a personal field kit to anyone? I get the idea. You want to get your snot nosed brat from playing that blasted ol' Playstation wii 360 and get into something educational. But exactly is this going to teach them? Perhaps how to enhance their digital photos. I can't wait to hear some 12 year olds discuss if the semen stains on the victim were left postmortem and what blunt object was used to kill them. It's like clue, only with more dead bodies!

If this kit doesn't come with a big book of Gil Grissom's witty one liners to use whenever you find a dead body, it would be a crime. A terrible terrible crime. If that's the case, someone better get the field kit ready cause I feel like killing whoever dropped the ball on that one. Also look out for the CSI: Miami field kit. It comes with sunglasses that need to be removed whenever you get to a "crime scene" and it comes in an orange-ish color case. There's also a CSI: New York field kit, but no one ever plays with that one so don't bother.

This gift is terrible for many reasons. If you have a kid, don't let the watch CSI. If you have someone who has a strange obsession with death that would lead you to think this would be good gift, you should just head over to the Los Angeles County Coroner since they actually have a gift shop. Remember the day you identified that dead body or dropped off the dental records with a shirt and a lapel pen! That's a discussion in itself best saved for another time.

I'm waiting for whatever Without A Trace will try to market towards the kids market. How about some Dexter plastic sheets for kids? Now that'll sell!

Exclusive Police Officer Knife Replica Honors Those Who Serve and Protect!

What better way to show your sensitive side than with a deadly weapon. It's like saying, "Hey, I'm sensitive, but not so sensitive that I won't stab you in the gut if you even so much as suggest that I'm gay, because I'm not gay. I just like really gay art."

While I'm an avid opponent of stabbing in general, I would seriously recommend giving this knife as a gift to anyone who has the potential of going off their rocker and stabbing someone. It just seems appropriate to me that such a poorly conceived symbol of justice be co-opted for the dreadful business of stabbing. If this knife ended up a murder weapon, then it would truly be art.

For some reason this is labeled as a replica. I guess police really do carry these things around, which seems impractical, but I'm never one to question the law. I don't know if the miniature gun on the knife actually fires, or if those little belt pouches the knife is wearing contain any useful crime fighting instruments. I would hope so, otherwise why on earth would they even be there?

Even if you did some have family member who seemed off the beaten path and had some samurai sword fetish, would you really want to supply them with a knife? You do realize YOUR prints are now on future exhibit A, right?

AQUA DOTS (My first GHB Lab!)

I sometimes question the existence of a God.. Ok, not really. I seriously don't believe in that big fairy tale. But if I did, this would be that sign that he has one hell of a sense of humor. This was Toy of the year. On paper, it looks pretty neat. It's dots and water. What could go wrong? As we found out in just one of the many recalls this year, a whole lot!

The comedy behind this toy is that the dots that make up the toy of this, when consumed by stupid children who like to eat anything and everything, act much like the date rape drug. I'm sure this could be a better way to transition to the game of playing Doctor for young children, but it seems that parents didn't really want their kids preparing themselves for the future club/dating scene.

On the other hand, compared to the mass amount of toys being recalled because of lead these days, Aqua Dots seems like the safer alternative. What's the worse that can happen? Your kid gets knocked out for a couple of hours and you get to do whatever it is you wanted to do without the need of a baby sitter. Win/Win! A whole lot cheaper than buying NyQuil to buy you some alone time with the significant other.

SPEED STACKS or simply plastic Cups...

Seriously... What the fuck! What kind of shitty gift is this. Cross that, what kind of shitty toy is this? Christmas time or any other time. What the hell is this abortion of a toy? It's cup stacking and it's claiming it's a sport. I'm sure you can put the words Competitive in front of anything but it wont make it a sport. It's plastic cups. Green plastic cups. That's not a toy, those are party supplies. The two wouldn't have any use as a gift anyway. No one will want to drink from cups used to stack anyway. You don't have to be Monk to be deathly afraid of drinking from these cups.

Imagine little Timmys mindset on Christmas day. He's hoping for that Guitar Hero III and he unwraps this. You might as well go around the mall screaming that Santa isn't real as that's the only way you can shatter someone's Christmas any worse. I'm sure you would get a better reaction having them open up some underwear or a poorly made sweater than you would get after giving this awful gift.

If you have the terrible idea to get anyone this, you should just forget going to Toys 'r' us and head down to the local party supply store and buy those red plastic cups. At least with those your kid could make five bucks a cup at any given college kegger.

Even with them glowing in the dark. You're better off just getting drunk with the cups than try to fumble around in the dark with them. Yes, they may glow in the dark. Everything else around it, namely the table you're stacking them on, does not. Use the dark for something more productive if you get this gift. Crying in one of the corners comes to mind.

Spider-Man's Awesome to the Max Bike WebWorld Racers!

Spider-Man 3 was such an epic film. That fight scene with Venom in the construction site and then that really wicked bike race with the Sandman after.... Oh, you don't remember that scene? Well, neither do I since it never happened. Perhaps it remains on the cutting room floor taunting us like some itch on your gum you can't scratch. Perhaps it's better that we never saw that scene.

Let's take a few moments to figure out what is going on in this toy anyway. You have the Sandman, a character who has the power to make himself sand and some other stuff, and Spider-man, who can swing by webbing he produces out of his hands, riding motorcycles in what can only be described as Webworld Racers. Now that I think about it, the film's conclusion would have been a whole better resolved if Spidey and Sandman decided to settle their dispute on the streets, like real super powered freaks do!

I know there's crappy movie tie in products but this is just awful. Not even getting into the typical "nerd rage" but why is Spider-man even on a motorcycle? He can swing around the city. Is this some sort of attempt to make kids less violent but much more interested in illegal street racing? I'm sure the marketing for this went down with someone really happy finding out that kids like Spider-man and Motorcycles. Let's put the two together and get the ultimate toy possible! Enjoy your six figure salary, Mr. Toy Maker.

If you have to get your kid an action figure, just get him the action figure. Forget the bells and whistles as it's just pointless gimmicks. The kid is going to have a better time using his imagination creating whatever wacky situations and street races he wants to put the action figures in. I knew someone who made an epic 13 part story with a single Tie Fighter toy. This was in High School mind you. Amazing what an imagination can do. You don't even have to pay for one.

Double Dragon Figurines on "Flaming" Crystalline Bases! Or anything else as nerdy as this.

Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware that I'm geeky. Not to mention Double Dragon was a pretty fun game back in the day. There was no Grand Theft Auto during that time so it was the only way I could wander the streets bicycle kicking lesbians and whipping people. Although, there was that time when you were in a helicopter and somehow there were like 40 guys crammed into the front of the helicopter and they would come out to fight you one by one like it was some sort of clown helicopter. That was pretty great, at least up until Abobo showed up and you had to stop messing around and get serious.

What I'm trying to say is that there comes a point in life when you are in the back of a helicopter and you've just been tossing punk after punk out the open door without any hassle, then suddenly this huge dude comes out and you start to realize that you could easily wind up like one of those helicopter-defenestrated punks if you don't start taking life seriously. Up until now this has all been fun and games, but this crap has to stop before we degrade humanity any further.

This huge ridiculous sculpture depicts two dragons that are either getting ready to kill each other, or getting ready to perform the physical act of love. To be honest, it's kind of hard to tell what exactly is going on because the artists seem to be 12-year-olds with ADD. I think the dragons are either shitting fire, or the fire is reaching up to give them some kind of magical enema. For reasons beyond me, you can see a picture of two heroic humans and also another dragon in the fire. I can understand the fiery depiction of the humans, since that serves to remind the viewer that somebody out there might want to claim the mysterious sword in the middle of the figurine. I don't know what the depiction of the other dragon is for, since there are already two dragons getting ready to go at it. That third one is really one dragon too many. Fire is pretty intense by nature, so there is simply no justification for painting monsters on the side of it.

I don't know if the red or blue dragons have any plans to try to claim that sword in the middle, but I kind of doubt it. What's a dragon going to do with a sword? If that were a big thing of French bread instead of a sword, I'd wager a pretty penny that they were fighting over it. As is, it seems like it would be in the best interest of both dragons to team up and protect the sword, lest some hotheaded human procure it and then stab one or the other.

The biggest problem for me is not that this is an utterly pathetic piece of shit, but that it's an utterly pathetic piece of shit that you can't in good conscience display anywhere. Believe me, I have a lot of utterly pathetic pieces of shit around my place. Where on earth do you put a thing like this? Unless you have some sort of Altar of Virginity built in your basement, there is no appropriate place for such a monstrosity, and this is coming from someone who has Captain Jack's broken compass up on the wall. And if you can think of a place you would put one of these, please do me the honor of punching your own stupid face as hard as possible.

You see these a lot at stores like Spencer's and that sword store in the mall that you never want to set foot in. Really, this is a terrible gift. And if you know someone who would really love something like this don't encourage them by getting them more of the same. Like a dog who just took a big one on the carpet. You don't encourage him. You grab a newspaper, or in this case a comic book, and you smack him a couple of times.

Gift Cards

While I have recieved many gift cards in the past, used them and appreciated having them. I just don't see the point of a gift card. It's not a very good gift. All you are doing is giving the store an interest free loan. When you get right down to it, you're telling the person one of many things. None of which are really anything very good.
1. I don't know you, but I felt obligated to give you something.
2. I know you, but I don't know anything about you to get you something.
3. I like you, but not enough to get you what you like.
4. I was in line buying actual items for people and remembered I didn't buy anything for you yet.

If you're going to go down that road, why send something of cash value? Isn't it better to just put some cash in their hand if that's the intent? Yes, I'm fully aware that cash seems like the person put in no effort. But is going to Best Buy or Game Stop and buying a gift card that much more effort than putting cash in their hand? Just send best wishes if you really have no idea what the person will like.

What if the store you get a gift card from isn't a store they don't shop at? You are now forcing that person into going to that place and spending money on stuff they normally wouldn't even care about anyway. I know the last few gift cards, the amount that folks have given me was not enough to cover the cost of whatever it was that I bought. So the gift was really just like 25-50% off coupon.

There's a report out that says that 8 Billion a year is lost in unredeemed, lost or expired gift cards. Not to mention the hidden fees attached to them. That's double the amount of loss from debit and credit card fraud a year in America, which is 3.5 billion. Much like that hidden twenty you find on laundry day, people lose gift cards or put them away and they can be drained slowly by all those hidden fees. Only with the twenty, when you find it a couple of months later, it's still worth twenty bucks.

The scary aspect to this is that gift cards are very popular. The same study showed that 88% of shoppers will buy two or more gift cards this season and that gift cards will average over 26.3 billion over the holiday season.

Why bother? With a gift card the person now has to drive down to the mall soon after Christmas and face the mass crowds of returns and post-season sales to find something they may like. Just give cash. It saves you the trip to the store before Christmas and it saves the person the trip after Christmas. Even if it's a buck or two, I doubt they will be offended. At the very least not any less offended than if you were just giving them a gift card.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Christmas season. I love the lights, the seasons tidings and cheer. The return of eggnog and the excuse to eat a ton of Ham and of course get sick from Tamales. I don't like the idea of being forced into giving someone something. Do it if you want to. Do it if you honestly see something the person may like the item. Don't do it because you feel obligated to do so. That's the time you get into the bad gifts. I'd much rather get a seasons greeting than get a crappy gift.

While a crappy gift shows me you had the couple of seconds to think of me, not giving me a gift offers me the ability to not have to worry about what I'm getting you. Think of it as time saved. The gift to me will be that I didn't have to waste any time trying to find you something you would more than likely hate. If I know you well enough, and you knew me well enough, maybe then the gifts would have some personal touch to them. Otherwise, I'd rather not spend my weekend driving around malls and dealing with credit card bills six months into the new year. A simple Merry Christmas and the knowledge that you do not wish ill on me is more than enough.

Merry Christmas!