Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Friday!

Because we always need a little end-of-the-week bemusement, I'm glad to pass along the link to Bayify any photo you have!

What's a bayifier you ask? Simple, it lets you Michael Bay-ify any photo you have, much the way he Bayifys his movies -- by needlessly inserting explosions, fancy cars, and Shia Lebouf.

Try it, you'll love it! And, of course, for your viewing pleasure, here is your humble blogger all Bay-d up:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Best/Most Stereotypical Baseball Giveaway

Baseball is known for its wacky promotional stunts. Whether it's minor league teams with crazy giveaways to get people in the door, or professional teams realizing 81 games are hard to sell out without some extra incentive, we've come to expect interesting and funny promotional items at ball games.

And usually these take on a local flair -- for example, in the past two years the Twins have given away Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau fishing lures, a pretty Minnesotan giveaway.

But apparently in San Fran, they have the promotional giveaway to end all promotional giveaways. Although it's not done by the team (and probably not even condoned by the team), ReLeaf Herbal Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco, is giving away free joints for every homerun the Giants hit.

In addition to being the only baseball promo I've ever seen that skirts federal law, it also has to be easily the most stereotype-confirming giveaway since the Yankees famous "Entitled Obnoxious Asshole" promo...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You Mean They Still Were Making Them?

Not even the powerful commercial appeal of the hipster returning en masse to the cassette ("I know it gives shittier sound and less recording space,'s totally ironic!") could stop it -- Sony has officially announced it will no longer produce the Walkman. Widely credit with being the first truly portable recorded music player, the announcement of its death probably comes about a decade late, seeing as how the iPod exists and all of that.

But still, I can't help but be a little nostalgic at the announced end of my childhood music platform. Though it's pretty similar to 8-tracks being phased out (I assume) -- there's really nothing to recommend cassettes (other than their durability, I guess) and we have a so many different and better options for listening to music today the only surprise in this is that Walkmen were still being made -- it definitely signifies I'm getting older. Although I never owned a Walkman (I was usually made to do with Mama Generico's© Occasional Tape-Playing Device), it still signifies the end of an era that will likely never be brought back. Unlike the hi-fi lovers of records or the purists pursuit of wax cylinder recordings (I have to assume those people exist), the cassette is unlikely to ever make a comeback, unless you need to convince a coma patient it's still 1985.

Possibly the bigger tragedy contained in the article above, though, is that the floppy disk has also recently been added to the long list of technology no longer produced. This is undoubtedly the bigger tragedy, because whereas I can find my Twister Sister deep cuts on mp3, I don't know that any iPod is capable of playing Odell Lake or Fraction Munchers...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Look, Somone You've Never Heard of Died

Slow day today so not much to blog about, other than the death of Alex Anderson. Who? Turns out he's the guy who came up with Rocky and Bullwinkle (among many other characters). Though his business partner took the characters and eventually created the wacky adventures we all know and love, Anderson was indeed the one who came up with the majority of the characters.

In addition to moose and squirrel, Anderson also created Crusader Rabbit. Who? Turns out this was the first cartoon ever created for television, so there's another feather in his historical cap.

This is a classic case of a someone who rather deeply influenced my life (Rocky and Bullwinkle clearly shaped much of my warped sense of the world) that I never heard of until he died. So let this be my 5 seconds of thanks to him for giving me so many hours of mirth...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Surprisingly, The Military May Have Acted Inapropriately

Recently uncovered audio evidence has allowed forensic experts to conclude there was a clear order to fire on the unarmed demonstrators at Kent State 40 years ago.

For those of you who live under a rock or have never seen a history book, Kent State was the sight of one of the most infamous and naked displays of political repression in our nation's history. During a non-violent demonstration against the Vietnam war, Marines opened fire on the protesters for reasons that are still unclear, killing four of them and wounding several others.

There was never an extensive or thorough investigation of what happened or why 4 innocent, non-violent demonstrators were killed (other than, you know, their opposition to an illegal and immoral war), but it has always been played off as the unfortunate mistake of some low-level jar heads.

But this new evidence is a pretty major game changer, if not that surprising to those of us who are a bit cynical about such things. Regardless of what happens with the Kent State Truth Commission, it's got to make us all a little bit uncomfortable that a slaughter of non-violent demonstrators engaged in clearly constitutionally protected actions was approved by the Marines chain of command...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Help With Your Fear Mongering

It is unfortunately election season, and that means one thing for any Republican or "centrist" candidate -- it's time to scare the electorate! (As an aside, I'm not saying Democrats wouldn't run a scare tactics campaign, it's just they apparently haven't figured out how).

Well, as Colbert has noticed, there apparently aren't enough scary minorities running around to get good footage of them, even though they're supposedly everywhere. This tragic lack of scary minority images has forced racist candidates across the nation to use the exact same images of Hispanics to scare us into fearing our lucrative nannying/dishwashing/janitorial jobs will be snapped up by unwashed immigrants. It's like they all share one big racist flickr account.

And, of course, Stephen steps in to make a buck and help the people out with his handy, a website to get you just the racist image you need to get people scared enough to vote for you...

(No idea why the video won't embed properly, but the link should get you there...)
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Indecision 2010 - Revenge of the Fallen -
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

That Wacky Vatican...

Fresh off of declaring that Beatles boots may not lead directly to Armageddon after all, L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's official newspaper, has once again waded into the pop culture cesspool to declare more shit A-Ok by them.

This time, it was the Simpsons, as L'Osservatore has pronounced Homer Simpson a "true" Catholic. This partially stems from his brief conversion to Catholicism (and not just for the wafers and booze), but mostly from his willingness to question the Almighty and grapple with other quandaries of faith.

The Vatican, however, remains puzzlingly quiet on his sacrilicious eating of a God waffle...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Could Have Been

With a tip of the hat to Howie, I present to you old ideas for Simpsons episodes from Bill Oakley.

As you can see, some of the ideas clearly became episodes (some pretty good ones, actually) while most were discarded for reasons unknown.

This certainly isn't some sort of earth-shattering revelation along the lines of who shot Kennedy or a detailed outline of how Bush planned 9/11, but I'm a sucker for these sort of "look at how history could be different" kind of things.

Of course, considering that the Simpsons has given me my outlook on life, philosophical and political views, and most of my education, maybe this is an earth-shattering reveal of an alternative historical timeline...

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Less Than Lovable Losers

The Detriot Lions are slowly becoming the Chicago Cubs of football. The franchise has been so poorly run (especially regarding anything ever said or done by Matt Millen) and the losses have piled up so high, that they're starting to beocme everyone's second favorite rooting interest. Even I, as an ardent fan of a divisional rival, have cheered for the Lions to finally win a game or even two and get out of a rut so horrible and so long it caused Barry Sanders to retire in his prime rather than have to continue playing for this franchise (which is such a crime against sport that the team should have been taken away form the Ford family at that very moment). The point is, they're so shitty and such a non-threat, that everyone can feel good cheering for them, knowing they'll never be good enough to challenge their favorite team in any way.

Well, the Lions finally not only won a game, but won it big, blowing out the more recently acquired sad sackery of the Rams. But the highlight the game had to have come Lions corner Alphonso Smith jumped a route and finished his pick 6 off with the Carlton. Thankfully someone not only captured it, but set it to the appropriate Tom Jones song:

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Amatuer Sociology Makes It Mark

In an interesting turn of events, a Pennsylvania judge rejected a plea offered to a white man on the grounds that a black man would be unlikely to get the same plea bargain. And he was probably right -- the charge was fighting with an officer while resisting arrest, for which a 3 month probation was offered as a sentence. Although we obviously don't know how this would have played out had the defendant been another race, we do know that minorities, especially African Americans, and especially African American men, are generally treated far more hrashly in the courtroom than their white peers.

Of course, this argument didn't fly with our judicial system, so the judge recused himself and was replaced by a white judge who accepted the plea. Sigh...

And just in case you're wondering if race truly does color (no pun intended) our view of people, check out this especially offensively racist political attack ad (complete with handy comparison to Jesse Helm's infamous white hands ad). The more things change...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sports and Race and Stuff

Race is a ridiculous filter to use in any facet of life, but one of the most obviously idiotic uses of it is in professional sports. If you watch any televised sports, you'll quickly notice players can only be compared to other players of their own race. Adam Morrison, for example, was always compared to Larry Bird, even though their games have nothing in common. But they're both white, and you're definitely not going to compare and up-and-coming (at the time) white player to somebody whose black, no matter how ridiculous the intraracial comparison may be.

Another way it's used is to differentiate between "hustle and intelligence" and "feel for the game." You'll especially notice it if you watch a black quarterback play against a white quarterback -- the black quarterback's bad passes are "poor decisions" compared to the passes that "just got away" from the white quarterback. While the white quarterback makes "good decisions," the black quarterback makes "instinctual" plays.

"Heart" is also something white players seem to have in spades, but not black players. Case in point -- Danny Woodhead. As the folks over at Deadspin point out, it's not so much that he's small and plucky, but maybe that he's white. They do a great job of pointing out the many black players who are smaller than Woodhead who have never been described as inspirational little engines that could who play with heart and are heroes to all.

But maybe race has nothing to do with it...

Monday, October 04, 2010

Your Required Womens International Basketball News

Not in the mood to bother trying to find the link right now, but not too long ago I read a great article about why women's athletic leagues make a big mistake when they try to sell their sport with sex. Unfortunately it's not enough that this is really regressive sexism, but it also doesn't work in drawing fans -- when the WNBA, for example, pumps out posters of their players in sexy outfits, the pictures are popular, but this doesn't translate to any greater reach for the league.

And it's not too hard to figure out why -- sexualizing women's athletics may draw eyes to pictures, but it doesn't make people see women as competent or successful athletes. And it certainly isn't very likely to get young women interested in taking up the sport, thereby depriving the league of growth potential through their possible future talents. Other, more successful, programs to get people interested in women's athletics focus on making the sports more exciting or accessible.

This is why the recent announcements of FIBA's proposed changes to women's international basketball are both exciting and terrible. On the one hand, FIBA is considering lowering the rims to increase inside play and bring dunking beyond the limited realm of Candace Parker into the sport in general. This is the good kind of change -- the kind of change that makes the game more exciting and interesting to the casual fan.

On the unfortunate other hand, FIBA is also considering raising the hemline on women's shorts to more accentuate their feminine bodies, or some dumb ass shit like that. Because the only reason international women's basketball competitions don't get more viewers is because those damn basketball shorts aren't sexy enough. I know the reason I tune into the NBA is because those guys wear properly sexy shorts...

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Comic Everyone Needs

Looking for a little light and frightening weekend reading? Why not try the Michelle Bachmann comic, chronicling her rise from completely insane ideologue to completely insane ideologue/United States Representative.