Thursday, December 29, 2005

Go west, young man. Go 7 light years west.

To recap. Joss Whedon got me to watch a cowboys-in-space movie. Name of Serenity. And make me like it. I watched his cowboys-in-space TV series. Name of Firefly. Liked that, too. I even bought the damn thing. And I don't regret it.

Getting back to the original question: How the hell did he do it?

Let's start with the premise.

Assume humanity turns the earth into a dead fish tank. We have the tech to go to a nearby star system with shitloads of planets and moons, terraform those babies, and resettle there. So we do.

It's your pioneer situation. I.e.: it ain't fun.

Chances are, the pioneers would speak some garbled, rough-and-ready lingo.

M'luv, obaachan wen bungie jump dis ohio. Wat!?! Azfoo!

A mash-up of tongues a la Gaff's "Cityspeak" in Blade Runner.

Of course, nobody in the 21st century would understand a solitary slovo.

So, substituting some screenwriterish approximation of cowpie-kicking oldwesternese and Chinese stand for the future slang is the next best thing. That's what the man did.

OK, Joss. I'll buy it.

He gets away with it because -- making allowances for the fudge factor substituting comprehensible movie-type Old West talk for incomprehensible future space frontier jibberish -- his premise is believeable and self-consistent. Within that premise, he created gripping, universal human stories. The mofo's funny. Smart, too. You think he's going one way -- Pow! Zoom! He goes a different way. One surprise after another. And he can write dialog like a sumbitch.

All the clever writing in the world won't save you if your premise is shit.
The mother of all premises won't save you if your writing is shit.
His premise was golden. His writing was golden.
That's how he did it, OK.

But the rest of you.

For the love of God ... Joss Whedon is a freaking genius. Don't try to follow his example.

No more cowboys-in-space movies.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Rufus T. Firefly

OK. Have purchased aborted first season of Joss Whedon's Firefly after falling in love with Serenity a few weeks ago.

Just to be clear ...

When I saw the movie, I didn't know the movie was picking up where a dead TV series had left off. I hadn't watched the gorram series. I knew it was a cowboys in space show. Thus, I knew it would suck intergalatic donkey dong. In advance. So didn't watch it.

See, here's the deal.

I hate "cowboys in space" on a basic conceptual level.

Science fiction (SF) should be science fiction. I.e.: SOMETHING OTHER. Something outside human experience. Not the same everyday crap blown up against the hurricane fence of our everyday, shitty lives, only projected into space or other dimensions.

Which is basically all Lost in Space did ...

Department stores in space! Hippies in space! Juvenile delinquents in space! Pirates in space! Cowboys in space!

Fuck that shit. You want another shitty example of cowboys in space? Do we need another fucking Outland? The abomination of desolation itself?

Gee, High Noon was a great western movie. Here's an original fucking idea. Let's adapt it as a shitty science fiction movie! Yeah! Howzabout we set it in SPACE? With bounty hunters running around with six-shooters blasting holes in pressurized glass with an asteroid -- AND PURE VACUUM -- on the other side.

Outland Peter Hyams says "Behold, nothing up my sleeve. I will now pull a science fiction movie -- out of my ass!"

The audience gasps ...

It's High Noon in Space! Wow! How did he do that?


There is nothing, nothing that could possibly EVER get me to watch a cowboys in space movie or TV show without projectile vomiting.

But Joss Whedon did. He created a fucking WESTERN IN SPACE. And I actually liked the bloody thing. How the hell did he do it?

I don't know you. So far, I've just seen the movie. I'll get back to you on that one.

After I watch the gorram TV series.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Is it me, or does Nikola Tesla resemble Frank Zappa?

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Gahan Wilson

Gahan Wilson is my favorite cartoonist of all time. He transcends the realms of SF and fantasy.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Rough as a Cobb

Giving credit where credit is due, Ron Cobb is my second favorite SF artist/cartoonist.

A few samples ...

I hope nobody's stolen them.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Missing in Prague

H.R. Giger is, to say it up front, is one of my favorite artists. Yesterday, some mofos in Prague stole two of his paintings that were the basis for Emerson Lake and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery album cover.

Here's the direct quote from Giger's website:

Missing in Prague,
$10,000 REWARD

Work # 217 and #218, ELP I and II, 1973, the cover designs for 'Brain Salad Surgery' by Emerson Lake & Palmer.
A reward of $10,000 is being offered for information leading to the recovery of these two world famous HR Giger paintings. They were last seen during the artist's 2005 retrospective at the National Technical Museum of Prague. Each painting measures 34 x 34 cm. without the frame. Despite claims to the contraryby the organizers of the exhibition, PP Productions of Prague, the paintings were NOT returned to HR Giger after the closing of the show on August 31, 2005. It is believed they are still in the Czech Republic. A reward of $5,000 for each painting, plus an all expenses paid weekend at the HR Giger Museum, Chateau St. Germain, in Gruyeres, Switzerland will be awarded to the individual supplying the information leading to their successful recovery.

Contact Les Barany, HR Giger's agent at: or

I mean. Goddamn people. I'm not 1/100th the artist he is but I treasure every sketch I've ever made. This must hurt like a stab wound to the heart.

Giger is a bridge. Through his character designs for Alien -- and, yeah, even his album cover art for ELP -- his disturbing visuals linked the cyberpunk writers of the 80s back to the New Wave writers of the 1960s. Giger was also a bridge to the perfervid visual dreamers of Metal Hurlant (Moebius and friends), repackaged as Heavy Metal in the states. I.e.: a handful of die-hard fans lived and died for that magazine. But everybody saw Alien. And the look and feel of all our dreams changed forever after we saw it.

I'm not just blowing smoke here, goddamnit. The sick yet sexy fusion of human and machine was exactly what Thomas Pynchon, Harlan Ellison were getting at. Sterling and Gibson picked up the ball and ran with it. The reason the ball was in play?

Giger showed you exactly what this perversely attractive future looked like.

In literary terms, Gibson and Sterling's skulls burst open with the viral, infested contagion of cyberpunk. Wordwise. But the image of what they were trying to say -- the fusion of humanity and machine -- had come before them in Giger's visual art. He supplied the illustrations and the visual concepts. They supplied the razor's edge fairy tales.

If Giger had never existed, cyberpunk as we know it wouldn't exist either.

It's a damn shame the gutless wonders who heisted his art don't exist.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Serenity prayer

Just saw Serenity with Andrew. Damn.

Somebody shoulda propped open George Lucas' eyes like Alex in A Clockwork Orange and forced him to watch it.

See, George? That's how it's done.

It's called a story, George. A story.

Viddy well, O my brother.

Friday, August 19, 2005

LA story

L.A. is a trip. I don't live here but have the feeling I always did. L.A.'s locations, after all, have been burned into my brain on a thousand TV shows, a thousand movies. It's a multiple exposure of deja vus.

Random scenes:

Have been staying at my Aunt's condo in Woodland Hills. First day there, I'm striding down the winding sidewalk. Striding towards me in the opposite direction, I'm greeted by two giggly girls in bikinis, some tall gawky dude with a moustache, and various other dudes holding cameras, lighting equipment and reflectors walking briskly down the sidewalk. A porno shoot. Ya think?

First day. Arrived in a fog of jet lag. Theoretically, I'm AHEAD by six hours. I've spent the flight sleeping. Instead of noon, it's early in the morning. I should be raring to go. But I spend the day napping.

Second day. A dude swimming around in the pool next to Aunt Jo's condo with a giant python.

Third day. In the parking lot, some steroided-out, excessively tatooed dude with a green mohawk riding around in circles on a pocket bike that looks like a roller skate beneath his massive frame.

Fourth day. Driving down the I-10 with my Aunt and nephew. We pass a school bus labelled "THE DREAM FACTORY" full of slack-jawed children with shaved heads and dull, vacant eyes.

Fifth day. The people in the Industry do not return my calls.

Sixth day. My friend in the so-called Industry did return my call.

General observations:

L.A. is surprisingly old and shabby. The Tower Records building looks like shit. The Hollywood Sign looks like shit. The freeways and streets are filled with kipple. The area around the L.A. Convention Center resembles North US 41 in Sarasota. This was all designed to look gleaming and shiny and superficical, but it's gone to seed. To borrow a phrase from William Gibson, it's been bladerunnered. Damn him for saying it first.

L.A. is a bizarre mosaic of micro-neighborhoods. Not just Mexican, Chinese, Columbian. Very specific and weird. Ukranian. Korean. Weird slices of that thing called China.

The freeway traffic is, surprisingly, civilized. Nobody tailgates. People use turn signals when they change lanes. Drivers stay out of the passing lane unless they're actually passing. I saw absolutely no aggressive, impulsive drivers. Compared to the I-10, I-75 is Mad Max. The lingering effect of the 1980s freeway shootings, maybe?

For some reason, there are no left turn arrows. Somehow, this never occured to anybody in California. ("Left-turn arrow? I do not know this thing you speak of.") Right turn on red, yeah. But no left-turn arrows. You're at the mercy of oncoming traffic.

At Ralph's, the digital screens at the checkout counter talk to you and try to sell you shit.

There are hills and mountains everywhere. They form the background of the horizon line: the blue zigzag of some mountain like a speedfreak's jittery watercolor.

Sometimes you wind up driving on a freaking hill or mountain. A momentary lapse of attention can easily kill you.

The landscape tends to be brown, not green. Stuff grows, but reluctantly. The place is, at heart, a desert. IT wants to be a dessert. The dust surrounds you like a death wish.

The San Fernando Valley at night is even more pretty in person.

The bad neighborhoods are really fucking bad.

If you felt like making a TV show, there's a lot of free, cool-looking scenery all over the place.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Brave New World

First the setting, then the story ...

The setting: The L.A. Convention Center runs roughly parallel to the 110 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles, stretching for block after block, like a vast glass and metal snake sunning itself on a rock. The place is huge — 720,000 square feet of exhibition space, 54 meeting rooms, assorted food courts, a cavernous theater and a parking garage with more levels than Dante’s Inferno. In local terms, you could easily fit the Van Wezel, all the boats at the annual Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix, the Opera House, the Arts Day celebration and all of Sarasota’s available downtown parking (and then some) inside. From July 31 to Aug. 4, Siggraph was inside.

What’s Siggraph? If you want to get technical about it, the quaintly named Association for Computing Machinery has a series of special interest groups (i.e.: SIGs). The “SIG” devoted to computer GRAPHics has a conference every year. This is it. Technically speaking, that’s all this is.

But there’s much more to it than that: Siggraph is Woodstock for nerds. Five days of peace, love and pixels. It’s a tradeshow for the vendors of illusion. Want to buy fake fire, water, skin, characters, explosions, samurais, starships or planets in a shrink-wrapped box? They’ll sell it to you.

It’s a job fair for sorcerers’ apprentices seeking employment in the illusion business.

It’s a scientific conference for the sorcerers themselves — the scientists, mathematicians and researchers who do the math behind the illusions. It’s a cyberpunk fashion show for next-wave designers.(Imagine a cross between “Zoolander” and “Neuromancer” strutting around on the runway.) For digital animators,
it’s the equivalent of the Sundance Film Festival. Siggraph exhibits the best of its work (which includes cartoons, commercials, scientific visualizations and snippets from feature films) at a series of rotating screenings. The best of the best is featured at its Electronic Theater. Being included in Siggraph at all is an honor, but it’s a screening before an internal audience of digiterati, not mass exposure. As area digital artist Bruce Baughman put it, “Siggraph can start your career, but it doesn’t make your career. You haven’t arrived. But if you’ve got the drive and ambition, it’s an open door.”

An open door is nothing to sneeze at.

Year after year, the Ray Harryhausens of ray tracing converge on Siggraph to participate. They come from around the world and across America. Many come from Sarasota; they’re either students or graduates of the Ringling School of Art and Design’s Computer Animation Department. They must be doing something

Not everybody is, at least not in America. Take away the Staples Center across the street (which was currently hosting the X-Games and ringed by in-your-face posters and pennants and hagiographic images of athletes the size of buildings) and you might think you were in downtown Tokyo or Beijing. About half of Siggraph’s participants seem to be young, gifted and Asian. Another good chunk is European, predominantly German. The schools over there are doing more than talk about the future. They’re creating it. The schools over here?

In so many words, George Lucas called the American educational system “woefully lacking” in his keynote address. He then shared his plans to take advantage of Asia’s talent base by moving Lucas Arts’ 3D animation division there. Downsizing, in other words. You could hear a collective groan move from one end of the auditorium to the other, rising up from the American animators, imagining their jobs disappear, watching sacks of money with wings flying out the window in the cartoon theater of the mind.

But Lucas is right. The jobs go where the talent is; the talent goes where the education is; America’s educational system is wasting America’s talent. The Ringling School of Art and Design is an exception. That’s why the art school’s students and alumni always makes a strong showing at Siggraph — as strong as some countries. 2005 was no exception.

So what is the area art school doing right?

The story is the story.

Ringling’s once-and-future talent earns a strong showing thanks to strong stories. Not all the digital animators at Siggraph (from America or anywhere else) can boast that. Some create pretty, abstract patterns with no stories; some simulate tornadoes; some offer stories that look cool and make no sense. Ringling’s students and graduates offer tales that make you laugh, cry or both with a beginning, middle and end. They’re as good at the technology of narrative as they are at Lightwave and Maya. Why?

Mary Craig, the art school’s assistant director of marketing and communications, considered this question. During the conference, she was in charge of Ringling’s booth on the exhibition floor, handing out colored and monochromatic M&Ms when she wasn’t handing out answers to questions like the above.

“Because they’ve been taught,” she said, “every Ringling student gets a grounding in the humanities in our first-year core program. Storytelling is a big part of it. They know the mechanics. They know the history. They have that foundation.”

It shows. You can see it in Joshua Beveridge’s slyly comic “Things that Go Bump in the Night.” The visuals are gorgeous, but the filmmaker never forgets that every frame is telling a joke. You also can see it in Jeff Fowler’s Oscar-nominated digital cartoon short, “Gopher Broke.” The tale of greed and frustration is stripped to essentials, as elegantly told as a sonnet and laugh-out-loud funny.

Beveridge said, “People have the wrong idea when it comes to animation. It seems like a loose, spontaneous, fun thing to do. There’s nothing spontaneous about it. My four-minute short took more planning that anything I’ve ever done.”
He said that Ringling not only taught him not only how to tell great stories — it taught him to do it on a deadline.

“The job has to get done,” he said. “The instructors never let you forget it. Telling a great story is the heart of your job as an animator. That’s the reason story is pushed so hard. Your instructors tell you again and again: Everything rests on one idea. No matter how talented you are or what wonderful tools you have, it all rests on that one idea, and the simpler the better. That’s another thing a lot of people don’t understand. They think a simple idea is easy. Simple is hard. Stripping a story down to its essence and telling it in a few minutes is very hard. That’s what you learn at Ringling. The process is miserable while you’re going through it. When you get through it you realize, hey, your instructors were right.”

Beveridge graduated in 2004. “Things that go Bump in the Night” was his senior thesis at Ringling — and the reason he’s now working at Sony Imageworks.
Fowler graduated from Ringling in 2002. He is now an animator at Blur Studios out of Venice, Calif. That’s where he created his featured cartoon short in 2004. He’s equally grateful for the storytelling edge the school gave him.

“People hurry into computer graphics before they know what to do with it,” he said. “But the story has to come first. That’s one thing the computer can’t do for you. The curriculum at Ringling always stressed that.”

Fowler spoke highly of the talent on Ringling’s Computer Animation faculty: Jim McCampbell, its department head, Karen Sullivan, the department coordinator ... Deborah Healy ... Jamie DeRuyter ... and other names lost in the crackling blur of a borrowed So-Cal cell phone. He spoke just as highly of his fellow students.
“It’s both collaborative and competitive,” he says. “Your fellow students look good, it drives you to look good. You also help each other look good.”

They do. Ringling’s animation alumni look good — out in the real world, where it counts. They’re doing great work, but they’re usually doing it somewhere else. The big digital production studios aren’t in Florida. Florida’s economy remains rooted in tourism and real estate, not technology. As a result, year after year, Sarasota’s world-class art school sends out another crop of world-class talent to someplace else in the world.

But that’s another story.


‘Gopher Broke’ is a tale of need and greed Chuck Jones would be proud of. A gopher (as wily as any coyote) is looking for a free lunch. Thanks to a pothole
and a few unsuspecting truck farmers, he finally gets it. But it’s more than he can swallow. Nominated for an Academy Award in 2004. Featured in Siggraph’s Electronic Theater. Animator: Jeff Fowler.

‘Sal and the Great Frustration’ introduces a nonagenarian who’s puttering around on a motorized wheelchair but roaring down the road in a ’20s roadster in his mind. Featured in Siggraph’s Electronic Theater. Animator: Andrew Malesky.

‘To Air is Human’ concerns a man who’s a rock star in his mind. His air guitar addiction has cost him his house, his job, his girlfriend. Out on the streets, he still rocks on. Featured in Siggraph’s Computer Animation Festival. Animator: Christopher Bancroft.

‘Things that go Bump in the Night’ is a sly, comic tale of childhood terror that moves from primal scream to primal scene as a child discovers there are more disturbing things in the world than the monster
under your bed. Featured in Siggraph’s Electronic Theater. Animator: Joshua Beveridge.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The elephant in the room

My nephew Eric turned me on to Banksy. Nom de freak of London graffiti artist -- had never heard of him before. Here's a painted elephant he dropped on LA.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

California Split

California, well, y'know. State of mind, mind roams around seeking evidence California qua California, the quadditas of it. So, a burger store named FAT BURGERS. The poster advertises:




Which seems to fit the bill. Of course, the universal/particular thing is all illusion anyway. Is no California, even in California. Or California is is everywhere. Just a mental game. But passes the time.

So AJ and I wound up in at museum called THE GETTY which is probably called something more, but that's what everybody calls it. Spectacular architectural extrusions, intrusions up on a hill, accessible by tram. Modernist, of the Sara School type, with just the hint of gleaming gold tooth of postmodernism, the odd skylight to nothing here and there. Rembrandt exhibit currently, the painter, not the tooth-whitening paste. Religious portraiture, the familiar self-port of Remb as Saint Whatever, the apostles, Mary, the suffering mary, the Really Really Suffering Mary, you know. AJ not impressed, likes the architecture better. Rembrandt, sure. But it's not the BEST Rembrandt. That's the Night Watch, Rembrandt. And, by LA standards, perhaps is no big deal. By the shit I have to see on a weekly basis in Sarasota and write about with a straight face, rube that I am, I was impressed.

Eric has impressive collection of vinyl LPs. Clockwork Orange, Walter Carlos before he chopped his yarblockoes and became Wendy Carlos. Tull's Passion Play. Early comedy, Carlin, Cosby, Flip Wilson, yet, but no L. Bruce.

Got my flipfone celfone, finally. Siemens, sounds bloody obscene but is actually German. Comes in plastic conchshell case you have to scissor open. Kraut brochure inside shows multiculture people, black guy with dreads, svelte curlyhaired chick looks like Alanis Morissette, black girl throwing hands to air in delight, a cutechick upper case Y, some white guy who seems to be clutching his groin with the surfer hang loose symbol, none are actually holding fones, they seem to be dancing, FREEDOM, you see, this is your WELCOME guide to T mobile, dancedance, freefree happyhappy hip fun.

Inside, the Germanic rigor asserts itself ...

Activating your T-Mobile Service.

After you have inserted your Smart Card and charged your battery by plugging the charger into the phone and power outlet, you are ready toa ctivate yourservice. It will take abgout 15 to 20 minutes, so allow some time for it.

[Please note. They're not asking.]


* Your name, address, telephone number, Social Security number, curent driver's license, and date of birth for receipt check purposes.*

* Your preferred billing address, if different than above.

* Smart Card Serial Number** (printed on the box label).

* IMEI Number*** (printed on the box label).

* Agent Code (found on your service agreement).

* Your choice or rate plans and features. Your Customer Care representative will give you your mobile number and walk you through setting yp your service. You will soon be ready to use and enjoy your GSM phone.

*** the asteriskeses extend to important particulars. The fone itself requires a certain assembly. The Smart Card has a pin card you poke out "with thumbs on both sides of the card." A Germanic diagram tells you how to put it in your fone. Feeling lucky, I did. Assuming I didn't break it, I will call you tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Autistic Savant

Fascinating vid about functioning autistic savant.

For some reason I can really relate to this guy.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

This sucks ass on a deep philosophical level.

Disclaimer: I was never a fan of the original Star Wars movies. To me, it was fantasy in science fiction drag. (Or as a friend put it, mental masturbation.) Lucas created an unholy marriage of cheapjack SF movie serials and John. W. Campbell’s mythology. Granted enough THC, it was occasionally entertaining. But bad movies crowd out good movies. Lucas’ splashy, ripped-off adolescent crap sucked the oxygen out of the room for intelligent SF on film for years.

So, not a Star Wars original trilogy fan. No.

But it had its moments. 

The new trilogy is much, much worse. 

The Force is a result of, uh, mitochlorians in the blood stream? Yeah, explain the mystery. That’s always good.

The Jedi have to be celibate. OK. Sure, there’s nothing like a complication to budding romance that makes no freaking sense whatsoever.

Jar-Jar Binks?

Anakin built R-2 in his basement?

A ripoff of The Searchers. Again?

A ripoff of the chariot scene in Ben Hur? Lovingly rendered in video game CGI with no hint of blood, sweat, dust and reality?

A complicated plot nobody gives a shit about concerning a conflict with Count Dookie and the Trade Federation which reads like a badly written summary of the 30 Years War?

I suspended judgment and disbelief for the first two installments. They had their moments, too.

But, as I said, the third sucks ass on a deep philosophical level.

The dialogue is so bad I want to hit myself in the head with a brick like one of the Gumby brothers on the old Monty Python show.

Anakin turns to the dark side. His motive is never really explained.

EMPEROR: Turn to the dark side.
ANAKIN: Yeah, all right.

If George Lucas had asked me –

Take a page from David Brin, who detects fascist/elitist tendencies in Star Wars. The Emperor informs Anakin that the Jedi are planning a coup. The Jedis think they’re superhuman – entitled to rule. The Emperor (like Julius Caesar) is a ruler of the people. Anakin doesn’t believe him. The Emperor stages a Reichstag fire – and blows up the Imperial Senate, planting evidence to implicate the Jedi. Padme is critically injured, in a coma. Anakin goes into a rage – and then betrays and destroys the Jedi.

Lucas didn’t ask me.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Tennesee Pride and Prejudice

It is said it's best not to know how laws and sausages are made.

Here's why.

"For flavor and taste we add Y-9D."

Mr. Odum says best not spill any of that there Y-9D on the ground. Any of that stuff leeches into the cemetary, we's gonna have a mess of them zombies. Just like we had at the last plant.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Loose Stool

Oh my God, sez somebody I thought had a higher IQ. Ya gotta see this video. It proves 9-11 was a conspiracy, yatta-yatta. If you watch very carefully, you see the second Twin Tower go back and to the left, back and to the left. It'll change your life.

So, OK. He hands me a copy of the DVD. I watch it. Yeah. It's life changing all right.

They prove 9-11 was a conspiracy with the same kind of rubber logic that proves the pyramids were built by an alien Masonic lodge. Lotsa question begging, assertion disguised as fact and circular reasoning. "Jet fuel fire isn't hot enough to melt steel. But the steel melted. Therefore it was a controlled demolition!"

But, for now, let's forget all this "fact" stuff. And, lets be clear, I'm no fan of George W. Bush. Bush's adventure in the Middle East is kind of like the Three Stooges showing up with saws and hammers and saying "Hi! We're here to fix your house!"

Facts aside, let's deal with mere logic.

A) Bush and friends are Machiavellian masterminds when they plot this elaborate Rube Goldberg scheme where they're switching planes, blowing up the Pentagon, the Twin Towers, disposing of witnesses, you name it. It all comes off without a hitch like a Mission Impossible episode. Bush is David Copperfield. He's Houdini. The whole fucking government is in on the conspiracy. Nobody talks. Nobody blows the cover story. It all goes down with flawless perfection and Bush and pals get the war they want.

And then, suddenly, these Machiavellian masterminds turn into the Three Stooges.

MOE: Where's Bin Ladin?
LARRY: I thought you had Bin Ladin.
CURLY: He was here a minute ago!
LARRY: Hey, Moe. They're looting the museum!
MOE: Shut up you knucklehead!
LARRY: Hey Moe. I think that girl likes me.
MOE: Which one?
LARRY: I dunno. They're all wearing veils. But she gave me this IED.
LARRY: Yeah, you know. (holds up bomb) So she won't get pregnant.
MOE and LARRY: Nyah, nyah, nyah!

B) These Machiavellian masterminds neglected to plant phony weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I mean -- here they are -- they're putting controlled demolition charges in the World Trade Center, they spirit the unlucky passengers of Flight 92 to the Tennessee Pride meat packing plant in the dead of night. But -- once they get the war this shit was designed to create -- it's beyond the ability of these ninjas to plant some Plutonium or Sarin Gas at a convenient Iraqi location where our troops will "discover" it?

C) If it is a bloody frame job, why doesn't Bin Laden post a video saying: Hey guys. It's a frame job. I hate the Americans, but I have nothing to do with it. The Koran allows righteous jihad against the unholy, but not the slaughter of the innocents. I would not do such a thing. Clearly, this is the work of the unholy, immoral Americans. This is a pretext for war. For their unholy war ... I.e.: he'd get more points for denying responsibility than taking credit. He's taking credit. QED: he did it.

D) Or, let's say Bin Laden is a CIA stooge. A patsy. As any fan of film noir knows, you kill the patsy. He's got something on you. He might squeal. So you kill him. But he's not dead. More importantly: KILLING HIM IS NOT A MISSION PRIORITY. Therefore, we're not worried about Bin Laden squealing. Therefore he's not a patsy. Therefore, he's not pretending to be the cause of 9-11. Therefore, he did it.

Based on its own internal logic ...

The 9-11 conspiracy theory is a retarded mythology.

It's a retarded mythology that glorifies the morons at the top who've fucked up this particular challenge that history's thrown our way. Arrogance and stupidity don't explain their actions. No. They're godlike chessmasters. They're all-knowing, all-controlling, all-wise. They can't be stopped. We're helpless in their grip. There's nothing we can do.

Except watch this fucking DVD.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

R.I.P. Mitch Hedberg

Mitch done died, taking his bizarre lateral thinking with him.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

As a matter of fact, it is rocket science.

OK, kids. Here’s a fun fact that slipped through the history books.

This is one of those blindingly obvious points that makes you go “Yeah, of course,” when it’s mentioned. Except, it’s very rarely mentioned.

The American space program, from the Mercury missions through the Apollo missions, was a vast detour from the original concept.

Ah, the glorious 60s. The Cold War. How fun was that? America had a space race with the Russians to get to the moon. Everybody knows that. What everybody forgets: the original concept was to develop a – for want of a better term – "space shuttle" that could take off from the earth, go into space, return to the earth, and land. Otherwise known as a rocket plane.

We shelved that concept in favor of space capsules on top of disposable rockets that splash-landed from freaking parachutes. Which is sort of like Columbus sailing to America and burning his boats.

It was a quick-and-dirty, short term solution aimed at beating the Reds to the moon. A flag-waving publicity stunt. An ego-boost. Far as that went, it worked great. In terms of creating the infrastructure of a space-faring civilization, it was a trip to nowhere.

The shuttle program that finally emerged was a half-assed concept – not a true space plane. It’s no wonder that two of them exploded.

Now, George W. Bush has pushed NASA back in the direction of disposable rockets and space capsules that have to be fished out of the ocean like giant tub toys. It’s so idiotic I could cry.

Ah well. To prove I'm not simply raving, the above vid clip has Werner Von Braun (“I aim for the stars – I hit London”) explaining his original space plane concept. A made-for-kiddies film short from the friendly folks at the Walt Disney Corporation.


Monday, March 21, 2005

Auto erotic asphixiation dept.


A SCIENTIST is pitching a design for an electric car. Executives sit around a conference table. AUTO COMPANY CEO reacts with disgust.

CEO: Electric car? Are you out of your frigging mind? Goddamn scientists.

CEO touches button. A trap door opens. The scientist falls.


CEO: Now. How's bout we stick with my idea? Anybody got a problem with that?

YES MEN: No sir! No sir! 2+2=5 sir.

CEO: I like the way you think.

Strides to front of office, avoiding trap door.

CEO: OK! Here’s the car of the future, gentlemen. Fuck his idea. Here's my idea! The 2010 Kamikaze!

Touches HD flatscreen display. The car appears.

CEO: It doesn’t need oil. It doesn’t need electricity. It runs on food. See? Open up the hopper here, and you drop in corn, tomatoes and steaks. Listen to that engine hum!

One of the YES MEN tentatively raises his hand.

YES MAN: But …

CEO: But?

YES MAN: But won’t people starve?

CEO: Yes! And that’s the beauty of it. Take a look at this model — the next generation. The Soylent Car! It runs on people. People!

YES MAN: But won’t we run out of people?

CEO: What’s your point?

YES MAN: But who’ll drive the car!

CEO: The car drives itself.

YES MAN: But where does the fuel come from? When there’s no more people

CEO: Other cars! (touches display) See? Ta-da! The cannibal car! It eats other … Well, see for yourself!

Cannibal Cars come roaring into the room and devour the YES MEN. They scream. CEO looks on appreciatively.

CEO: It's an exciting time to be alive, gentlemen. An exciting time to be alive.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Electric car? We don't need no steenking electric car.

Rumor on the cyber-grapevine has it GM just crushed the remaining EV-1s, despite protests from electric car enthusiasts.

This strikes me as, no offense meant to retards, retarded.