Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Getting Old" or "I Learned Everything I Need To Know From Jeff Feagles"

If I was ever pressed to give my pick for greatest video game of all time, it would take little thought to come to my conclusion: Tecmo Super Bowl, the 1991 release for the NES.

I think it says something that a low-budget football video game coming up on it's 20 anniversary still inspires countless fan sites and a major yearly tournament. But even more than this, it seems no matter where I go, I'll always be able to find at least a dozen guys who have an old Nintendo in their basement with Tecmo at the ready. It's like a default game -- the ownership of a Nintendo implies the ownership of Tecmo.

And I can't even begin to catalogue the thousands of hours I've spent on the 8-bit gridiron, listening to a hypnotic midi soundtrack one note at a time. And sure, it could be slightly unrealistic -- kickoffs spend well over a half minute in the air, a defensive lineman could go from nearly sacking the quarterback to chasing down the team's fastest wide receiver, and my single game rushing record with Barry Sanders is somewhere in the 800 range (though I feel like Barry in his prime might have been able to pull that off).

But even though Tecmo lives on, it's players do not. Several notable players (Derrick Thomas comes to mind) who ruled Tecmo have already passed away, and countless others are already enshrined in Canton.

Yet some stuck around...until today. Jeff Feagles, the NFL's oldest player, looks set to announce his retirement this Friday. Now normally the retirement of an old journeymen punter doesn't cause me to pause and reflect on my life, but this is different. If I'm not mistaken, Mr. Feagles was the last Tecmo player to still be playing in the NFL.

And sure, it's amazing (even for a punter) that his career has lasted 20 seasons. And I knew this day was coming eventually. But still, I can't help but feel like part of my childhood died with that announcement. You can't really feel old when the players from a video game you played as a small child were still there on the t.v. every weekend. But now, I might as well be hoping Sode Popinski makes a dramatic return to the world of international prize fighting or accept that I'm getting older...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Less Thing to Worry About

One of the better little Simpsons moments of all time is when a comet is threatening to destroy all life in Springfield (evacuation being impossible due to a missile knocking out the only bridge out of town). As the panicked residents turn to whatever they can for solace, Flanders of course is in church listening to Rev. Lovejoy explain the comet's wrath:

Lovejoy: Judgement Day is upon us. I warned you the Lord wouldn't stand for your minidresses and Beatle boots. But it's not too late to repent your sins and be embraced by the Almighty...

Flanders: (frantically trying to unzip boots) I've resisted these for thirty-five years. Why did I wear them today?

Well, Flanders and the rest of us need worry no longer, as the Vatican has now officially given the thumbs up to the Beatles (though they remain conspicuously silent on the "bigger than Jesus" debate). While Beatle boots weren't specifically included in the announcement, I think we're safe to assume they're ok by association...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rejected Fortune Cover

Comic book artist Chris Wares was commissioned to do the cover of Fortune's annual Fortune 500 issue, chronicling the richest of the rich corporations. However, his cover was deemed just a little to satirical/realistic for the folks at Fortune.

A look at the hi-res version lets you see why: while CEOs shower themselves with money and dance atop their corporate conglomerate, houses are underwater, people line up at the Milton Friedman check advance, and our neighbors to the South toil away in a shop labeled "Fabricia de Exploitacion."

This is the first I've heard of Mr. Wares so I'm not really sure what else he's done, but I am sure he's got some pretty hefty cojones to submit this to Fortune in the first place...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Another Lazy Blog Post

When things start to pile up, they really start to pile up. And unfortunately, blogging is on the very bottom of said pile. But I have not forgotten you, dear readers, for I give you this:

Hot on the heels of instant rimshot, may I humbly present to you A Button For Any Occasion!

Need the theme song to Benny Hill? Got it! Need an evil laugh? Got it! Need someone else's voice to tell a coworker to fuck off? Got it!

Be careful about clicking on that link, though, as it is guaranteed you will spend at least the next 15 minutes of your life pushing buttons to hear funny sounds. Of course, there are worse things to do with your time, but I just wanted to warn you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lite Blogging: Half the Calories, Yet Full Flavor

Been too busy to blog lately, but here's some neat-o stuff I've stumbled upon:

--The 10 scariest charts of the recession.

-It turns out the rich didn't fair so badly, but the rest of us got screwed. I'll give you a minute to pick your monocle up out of your morning tea, as it no doubt dropped from your eye as you gasped in shock at that amazing discovery.

--A big-ass meteor went over Iowa.

-Continuing the theme of cool shit only happening in Iowa once I've left, a crazy meteor/government suppressed UFO craft lit up the night sky in one of the craziest things I've ever seen recorded on video.

--This blog that is a lot better than mine.

-This lady illustrating life, grammar, and taco-selling ideas with mac paint. If I were clever and a girl, I'd like to think that would be me.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Disturbing Graphic of the Day

Can't figure out how to embed it, so I'll just have to link to it, though trust me, it's worth your two minutes.

The good folks over at Flowing Data have a time-lapsed map of the growth of Wal-Marts in the U.S.

Watch it and be thoroughly creeped out. It's like the opening sequence of a low-budget Micahel Crichton movie, as this horrible virus takes over the nation...

400 Top Earners In U.S. Getting Taxed Less Than You

I'm a bit late to the game in commenting on this, but recent tax maneuvering and whatnot has led to the fact that the richest 400 Americans pay less in taxes (in terms of percentage) than you do.

This is a really important point in understanding how inequality in America is reproduced. In teaching my Intro students about economic class last week, I asked them what they thought lead to wealth. One student said it had to be hard work, because "no one just finds a big sack of money and becomes rich."

And while yes, very few people literally stumble onto a bag of money, most wealthy Americans stumble into a bag of money called inheritance. In fact, the single greatest predictor of whether or not you are wealthy is whether or not your parents were wealthy. Not how hard you worked, not how smart you are, but how much money your parents left you. And it's far easier for the wealthy to leave money to their children, because they barely have to pay taxes on their vast fortunes.

And how do they get such big money in the first place? Again, rarely through skill or hard work. They get it because tax law so heavily favors them. For example, 2 out of 3 major corporations paid no taxes last year. Which not only means that you and I have to shoulder the tax burden these companies are unfairly let out of, it also means the top executives of those companies have more money with which to reward themselves for screwing us all over. Money which they then leave to their kids.

Wash, rinse, repeat. And there you have inter-generational class inequality...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ok, So This Is Rather Disturbing

Over at wikileaks, they've released probably the most disturbing footage to come out of the war thus far. If you click on the link, you can watch the video, from a U.S. military helicopter, of soldiers opening fire on some Reuters reporters and then later the people who come to pick up the dead bodies, including two young children.

There's not a lot I can add to it, other than to tell you to watch it immediately. For some more insight, Glenn Greenwald points out how this sort of thing is disturbingly common. You can form your own opinion from there...