Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Despite being a Secret-Stash-stalking, sailboat viewing, 37!-shouting Jersey-born Kevin Smith fanboy (who does not include Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back or Jersey Girl, and has misgivings about Dogma, as most fanboys and girls will agree), I hadn't actually watched all of these episodes until recently. So in this episode, our loyal clerksters for whatever reason (the plot of the cartoon was incidental at best, and useless at worst) end up coaching a little league team. In the process, the give the TR some of the best screen time it's had since the filming of the original Amytville Horror House.
Did you see the error? No, it's not that the town isn't ridiculously in love with the little league world champions. Admittedly, that was a pretty proud moment for the TR as I watched the victory with several other proud Riverians in the Sears in the Ocean County Mall, perhaps the perfect venue to honor the town. But it got a little out of hand when they were signing autographs at the mall and the town named Rt. 37 after them.
The problem is, there's no apostrophe in "Toms River." That's right copy editors; it's a horrible abomination to punctuational decency, and you'll just have to deal with it. The town is named for Old Indian Tom, and yes, it was his river at one point. But for whatever reason, the apostrophe was lost over the years, and now the river is made of multiple Toms. I'm kinda shocked Kevin Smith got this wrong, as he only grew up 40 minutes away. Could this disregard for the rules of civilized sentence structure be the catalyst for the dozens of signs in Seaside that misspell words like "fried" (fryed), "zeppole" (any number of massacres, from zepolie, to zepolle), to the worst, "sausage" which for years was listed as "suasage" on the Midway Steak House sign. If you have an appreciation for grammar, spelling or punctuation, you best close you're better off closing your eyes walking down the boardwalk. Actually, that's probably good advice for anyone.
I have never been much for strip clubs as it turns out my body is allergic to chlamydia and self-loathing. I've been to two strip clubs in my life, both in situations I had little to no control over. The first was in a place I think was called Daydreams in Philly. This was entertaining for about 15 minutes, most of which involved watching the frat boy party rise to Defcon 4 status to guard their cooler full of beer cans. It is BYObeverage, after all. We were there for a bachelor party after a night that also involved a minor league baseball game where my friend got to tackle a man in a giant shark mascot costume (on "accident" he says) and a trip to Dave and Busters, all while tooling around in a rented party bus with a DVD of Girls Gone Wild. This was also my first exposure to the Girls Gone Wild series, which according to the commercials I'd seen, would be full of girls revealing their breasticles. And that's exactly what it was. And. Nothing. Else. It's humorous in dudes-laughing-and-gawking sort of way for about 6 minutes, then you realize it's just an hour of girls lifting their shirts off. It's got sort of a clinical quality to it by a few exposures in, like all these girls thought they were being inspected by a benevolent street doctor. "Yes ma'am, could you lift your shirt please? Yes, two nipples, no scars. Thank you, everything seems to be in order here." Then there's a scene of a girl pouring a pitcher of iced tea on herself for about 10 minutes, because I assume her shirt was tea-wash only.
At the strip club, I got punched in the back by a naked woman, and when I turned around she pointed her breasts at me and had this look in her face like, "Well??" So I reluctantly handed her a dollar to make her go away, feeling wholly like I had just been the victim in a thoroughly disguised mugging. Then Mike Fraas found $5 on the ground and he and I spent the rest of the night looking for dropped cash on the floor. He found like $20 and I found nada. I was so desperately hoping to recover some of the deadly $20 cover charge (plus the $1 mugging).
The other time was last summer in Louisville, Ky. at yet another bachelor party, though this trip was more spontaneous. After many shots and many brews, the party forced the strip club issue and suddenly I'm sending an inquiry to google text message (an absolutely fantastic service, even when you're not searching for naked women, fyi) looking for the address for this place. Of course it was on a Thursday, also known as amateur night at the club. Two of us were at the bachelor party after traveling since like 6 in the morning from Jacksonville to Louisville, so I was about as interested in the out-of-work actresses on stage as I was in the $9 beers. I actually leaned up against the wall and fell asleep for a few minutes.
The strip club is a high-pressure sales situation not unlike when you take one of those time share tours and the people don't look like they're going to let you leave unless you agree to buy an Orlando villa you probably won't pay off before Disney is purchased by Rupert Murdoch. We were lucky to get out of there.
Then yesterday I made my return to a strip club, though this time was much different because: a) it was in bright sunshine; and b) it was for work (I swear). The other reporter and I are trying to track down some leads in the missing persons case that directed us to the seedy underbelly of Hilton Head. We struck out though because, apparently, strip clubs don't open until at least evening time (who knew?). I've heard the clubs here are seedy even by nudie bar standards, and staffed by European girls who look like they caught in a net and brought over to America in the hull of a ship. This was after searching for an alleged prostitute at a sushi restaurant. This little rock, it turns out, might have a darker side than anyone ever thought.
We're going back there today. I'm not bringing any money this time.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
It's the circa 1990 Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, and it shared the honor of Battle of the Network Stars and 9/11 of being simulcast on all the major networks.
I had a hockey-stick-to-the-face blast of nostalgia when I stumbled across this today. I have a very specific memory of sitting on the stained gray carpet ("I told you to keep your food out of the living room!") on Cable Avenue woah those many years ago watching this on the bulky ginormous television set that was probably someone's vision in 1985 of what household appliances would look like in the 21st century. Apparently no one had the foresight to envision that televisions might actually get flatter, and less silvery.
For a little kid whose life rotates around the Saturday morning cartoon schedule, seeing all your favorite characters on one 27-minute spectacular special is like walking into your bedroom and finding all the Transformers and Voltron characters installing a moonbounce where your bed used to be.
Not since Who Framed Roger Rabbit? had such little mind-bending fantasy world amalgamation been accomplished. When you're a kid, you like to think that all the TV characters are friends (um, at least I did). The cartoon-all stars proved it, and proved that
they're all fairly pedantic conservatives.
The cast included, according to Wikipedia:
* ALF: The Animated Series: ALF
* Alvin and the Chipmunks: Alvin, Simon, Theodore
* DuckTales: Huey, Dewey, and Louie
* The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger
* Jim Henson's Muppet Babies: Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy, Baby Gonzo
* The Smurfs: Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Hefty Smurf
* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Michelangelo
* Garfield and Friends: Garfield The Cat
* The Real Ghostbusters: Slimer
* Looney Tunes: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck
Thanks to shows like this, and the very special episode of Saved By the Bell where we learned caffeine pills are the No. 1 killer of students in California, the nation's drug problem immediately ceased and was never heard from again. I wonder if cartoons today would endeavor to do something similar now, but tackle something like meth or jenkem that is actually threatening today's youth. Never mind the fact that shows like SpongeBob and My Gym Partner's a Monkey were clearly created by people who've never not been high.
SPONGEBOB: Hey! Let's do something silly!
KID: Get the eff away from me before I jab this homemade meth lab in your eyes.
JIMMY NEUTRON: UR doing it wrong.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Also, how many college students are really beating down the door to see Hardball live when he doesn't have Obama as his guest? I can't imagine many, unless of course most people assumed it was Darrell Hammond doing his impression of Chris Matthews, which is infinitely more entertaining (and informative) than real Hardball.
So again, why do people watch cable news? Because it's easy. It's the informational equivalent of microwaving a big, greasy burrito at night rather than settling in to cook a healthy meal. You know you should spend the time to cook, but that burrito is right there, and you know it'll taste OK, even if you'll be regretting it later.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Mooch slips by the school system's post-Columbine zero tolerance policy
Can't follow all the action and plot twists every day in "Funky Winkerbean?" We read it, so you don't have to.
Friends sitting at a bar eat pizza and inform Darin that his marriage, which is entering its sixth year, is becoming way too serious for their liking. Mooch has somehow upset someone with the power to not only ban him from MySpace, but also cyberspace as a whole and any hypothetical universes that may or may not exist. This is due to Mooch's record of arson, for which he has no regret.
Mooch goes on to admit he has commitment issues, except for his desire to move in with Darin in a same-sex partnership that may be legal sometime after he turns 90. At this point, a flannel shirt will be used as a drool rag, his friends inform him.
Pete then asks the friends to follow through with their earlier commitment to help him move comic books, which none of them care to do, even though they were just fatted with pizza and beer. Mooch enacts sweet revenge on his alleged friend by stealing from his prized collection. Apparently, all this time Pete has had on his hands a tremendously valuable first issue of "The Amazing Spider-Man." This is later revealed to be a filthy lie.
On Sunday, due to what can only be assumed are the magical properties of a girls' championship trophy that just arrived somewhere unrelated to the storage unit Pete, Mooch and Darin were in, Superman and Supergirl appear. It is reveled Superman is kind of a sexist jerk, and ironically looks like Stan Lee of Marvel Comics.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
From Maxim (wait .. really? Maxim? Jessica Alba must have been spread eagle on this page somewhere and I just missed it) comes a fairly clever jab at the U.S. economy via the video games we used to buy when the economy wasn't in the crapper and we could afford such things.
They made an exchange rate for various video game currencies as compared to real products you could buy in the non-digital world. For instance, 1 rupee from the Legend of Zelda is worth about $3. Or maybe more once you consider the astronomical Hyrule taxes levied on nearly all products to ensure the princess is constantly in flowing pink dresses. Maybe you should spend some of that tax on castle security there, your highness, so I don't have to constantly be saving your ass from a guy who's making a mockery of your rotating-door jail system propped up by a culture of corrupt wizard elders. I mean, c'mon!
read more, via Maxim.
Newspaper misspellings will kill you faster than heart disease
Our new loyal pizza parlor employees is tasked with closing shop for the night. He speaks aloud to himself about how this will be a good learning experience. We learn that this business serves a product that causes severe heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
A newspaper article about a robbery at the pizza restaurant was framed and posted on the wall. The protagonist decides that the crime of misspelling the restaurant’s name in the newspaper is on par — or perhaps worse than — the actual robbery that occurred. An old Space Invaders machine is discovered in the basement. It runs on quarters, and playing it requires existence on a temporal plane, our character reminds us.
He then has a hallucination of generations of young people eating pizza, only to realize he is actually still just alone with his thoughts. He reminisces about a mural on the wall that depicts Europe. The mural’s artist was required to paint on the wall and fill space, as artists often do.
This character still has coats that smell like salted meats thanks to that time he lived above the restaurant. On Sunday, there’s a dance party at which no one speaks. It is unclear if this dance party is a hallucination caused by heart medication.