Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yo, Joe! Episode 39

Cobra CLAWs Are Coming to Town

This is the Christmas episode, and Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway worked on this, so you know (or hope) that it's going to be Marvel Comics style fun.

Unless, of course, you hate Polly. If you do, this episode is going to get old real fast.

Because we start with Polly singing "Jingle Bells" while Cover Girl, Dusty, and Shipwreck make their way back to HQ with a wagonful of toys bound for a children's hospital. That's pretty cool that G.I. Joe would do a toy drive. It's nice to see the makers of this show conscious of things like that.

Then, for some reason, the Joes are attacked by Wild Weasel, who has once again flown his Cobra Rattler straight through American airspace completely unnoticed.

Cover Girl stops to evade the shots, and when she does, Firefly appears and dumps some toys in the wagon. Something tells me it's not Cobra's way of giving to the less fortunate...

Wild Weasel breaks off his attack and flies off, so the bewildered Joes head straight back to HQ to drop off the toys. Blowtorch admires the rocking horse, something he always wanted as a boy.

Hmm... wonder if that horse will be important later...

Cover Girl is worried that the base is vulnerable to a full scale Cobra assault, but Duke has faith in the base defenses: namely, the automatic defense grid. Guy should already be worried about Cobra Rattlers getting into the States, but this is never a concern, apparently. Sheesh, this is driving me insane.

Aw, yaya, Marvin's got dinner for everyone!

But Mutt is depressed, as he apparently always is at Christmastime. He explains to Junkyard that he gets the holiday blues every year because his parents made such a fuss over the holidays that he was never able to enjoy them. Which sounds like a pretty classic American upbringing, if you ask me. I'm actually kind of dreading Christmas this year. Ugh.

Hey, it's that rocking horse again.

What the what?


Yes, a tiny little Cobra army emerges from the toys and subdues Mutt and Junkyard with embarrassing ease. He manages to hit the alarm, and Duke and the others rush outside just as the defense grid goes down. Then Firefly rushes in, hits the Cobras with a special ray, and turns them all normal-sized.

Check and mate, G.I. Joe. Cobra Commander has easily taken your headquarters.

The Joes put up a decent fight, but they're all captured pretty quickly. Season's Greetings, indeed.

Cobra's plan now is to attack Keystone City in Joe vehicles, disguised as Joes, in order to make America think that G.I. Joe has turned on the country. Then Duke makes a broadcast telling the citizens of Keystone City that they are under martial law and be made to serve G.I. Joe. Need I say it?

It's Zartan in disguise. Cobra Commander can barely keep himself from squealing with delight. He's also so pleased by Zartan...

The Commander orders the Joes hung on meat hooks in the freezer to "keep cool." Shipwreck, once again acting as the Han Solo, immediately has a plan: he swings his legs over, wraps them around a big ol' side of beef, lifts his handcuffs over the meat hook, and frees himself. After the obligatory Cobra Commander babble, he hops down and frees everyone else, too.

Destro finishes making repairs to his molecular reducer/enlarger ray just in time for the team of Joes to bust in on him. He starts firing all over the place, threatening to reduce them to subatomic nothingness.

Parrot attack!

Destro is captured, but the ray is damaged...

...and it turns out Polly's been hit, too. Tripwire shoots him with it again after switching it over to enlarge. He's going to sit this one out.

The Joes take off in the Cobra vehicles (including a CLAW; wouldn't want to make the episode's title look, um, silly) and head off to intercept Cobra. Cobra Commander is in a Skystriker with a handcuffed Duke, who is probably secretly hoping that there's at least going to be some Arena of Sport later. It just... it's messed him up, man. Duke says that the people of Keystone City will fight back. Cobra Commander says they'll die if they do. No metal off his mask, so to speak.

There's this cheesy moment where a boy sees the "Joes" attacking and says "Dad! I thought that G.I. Joe were heroes," and the dad says "So did I, son. So did I." Duke gets really upset about it, as if he can hear these people as the Skystriker flies by. That's one thing that I find really irritating on this show: the idea that people in operating vehicles several feet or miles from one another can hear each other perfectly. Destro and Wild Bill yell at each other from helicopters all the time. One time, Major Bludd said something in a Rattler and Duke replied from the ground. It's so silly.

The real Joes show up and a fight begins in Keystone City. And then this happens:

Polly, enlarged to Mothra-size, shows up and saves the day.

Yeah. That just happened.

I just... yeah.

What more do you really need to know?

Polly: "Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!"

Shipwreck: "Bah, humbug!"

Depending on who you are, this episode is either wonderfully stupid or just stupid. I err on the side of wonderful, but I'm a big Shipwreck and Polly fan.

Merry Christmas from G.I. Joe!


I Like the Way You Think, Zac Efron

Now, about that birthday present...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Reservoir Turtles

The best trailer mash-up I've seen since the fantastic Gremlins 2/Where the Wild Things Are trailer.

He Just Is

MC made this fantastic image based on this post. If this were a poster, this would be hanging in my living room. Awesome, MC!

Don Cheadle

Last night, I was flipping channels and came across "Hotel for Dogs" on HBO. I have no interest in this movie, but after getting caught up at the theater back in January or February by the longest line I've ever seen for a movie that didn't have the words "Star Wars" or "Lord of the Rings" in the title, this movie has become a weird source of humor for me and Becca. So I stopped for a second, and it must be some kind of happy ending, because everyone's kissing and hugging, and sweet jailbaity doe-fuck Emma Roberts is making out with some dude, and suddenly Don Cheadle walks up.

BECCA: Oh, fuck, Don Cheadle is in this movie? Well, now there's no chance of me ever seeing this movie, because I fucking hate Don Cheadle.

ME: He used to be so good. What do you think did it?

BECCA: His pointless, irritating, condescending appearances on ER. Ever since then, I fucking hate him.

Then, in the movie, Don Cheadle looks at Emma Roberts' boyfriend or whatever and says something like "Can I steal her for a moment?"

ME: Whoa, is this movie going to end with Don Cheadle making out with Emma Roberts? That's pretty bold. "Step aside for the Don Cheadle, baby."

BECCA: "Wut-wut? You got Don Cheadle in yo' butt!"

I immediately lose it and start laughing so hard I can't breathe.


BECCA: I have no idea!

ME: Where the hell did that come from?

BECCA: I'm like a beat poet. I don't know what's coming out, it just sort of happens, and then it's too late.

ME: Holy shit, I want that on a tee shirt. You are a fucking genius.

Congratulations, Taylor Swift

I didn't watch the Country Music Awards (though I did seethe that ABC preempted Modern Family), but I read that Taylor Swift won a few big awards. This, coupled with her surprisingly awesome Saturday Night Live hosting gig, seems to mean she's arrived.

So what really irritates me is that screechy, bitchy Carrie Underwood pulled a Kanye and stole focus from one of Taylor's wins (by talking about what a great job of hosting she and Brad Paisley were doing when Paisley tried to congratulate Taylor) and Wynonna Judd is out saying that Taylor winning these awards is "too much too soon." What is it with the country music establishment? Shit, I remember a couple of years ago when LeAnn Rimes, who won all sorts of awards when she was pretty damn young, was saying that they were giving Carrie Underwood too many awards too quickly. For all of the emotional genuineness and humility that country music fans demand of their stars, there sure are a lot of catty bitches running the place.

(Hell, at least fellow nominee Reba McEntire was wishing Taylor the best of luck and saying Taylor deserved to win on Rachael Ray last week. But Reba has class.)

Whatever happened to "congratulations"?

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

Neil Patrick Harris singing and dancing on a 2008 episode of Sesame Street as the Shoe Fairy. This man needs to be in about 12 screen musicals.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The 1987 Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship

You have to watch this.

This is the San Francisco Bay Club team competition. At first, I thought this was going to be silly and ridic. But these guys impress me. I wish I was this fit. It's just... too awesome.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Veterans' Day

I Need to Brag for a Second

Holy socks! I posted this awesome picture of a Howl's Moving Castle LEGO created by Imagine Rigby on my Tumblr page and it got picked up and reblogged by The Daily What. That rocks! The Daily What is like the BoingBoing of Tumblr! I am way too happy about this

Man, first I create an internet phenomenon (which is still going strong), and now this. Tumblr is AWESOME!

I'm James Earl Jones, Motherfuckers!

Background to this conversation: this year's anxiety problems and car accident have given me a phobia of driving in bad weather.

ME: Wow, you just got really mad. Was it the driver in front of me, or are you losing patience with how slow I'm going?

BECCA: It's the guy in front of you! Asshole spun his tires! Here I am trying to show you that it's alright to drive in the rain and that you're going to be fine, and here's some shit-for-brains spinning his tires in front of you because he slammed on his brakes way too fucking fast. And now you're going to be all like [whiny voice] "See, the weather is terrible and I'm about to slide out of control!"

ME: Well, the love I feel at your concern for me is somewhat mitigated by the whiny voice you apparently picture me with.

BECCA: Please, I can't do voices, that's how everyone comes out sounding. [whiny voice] "I'm Janes Earl Jones, motherfuckers!"

ME: [laughing my ass off] I kind of doubt that James Earl Jones announces himself that way, but now I totally want to hear it!

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Basically it's The Karate Kid with spelling bees. Not to simplify it too much, but you pretty much know the beats here from any other sports movie. Keke Palmer is very good as a girl from a poor neighborhood who, with the help of professor played by Laurence Fishburne and the support of her mother (Angela Basset, very good as always), becomes a champion speller. I know this sounds like I didn't like the movie at all, but I actually enjoyed it very, very much. But it's also a little familiar. ***1/2 stars.

Corinne Griffith in an excellent performance as a British lady in the Napoleonic era who has an affair with Lord Nelson. Melodramatic, as many silent pictures can be, but very gripping and sweeping. There's some excellent scenes of a naval battle, but all pales next to Griffith, who is just exceptional in this film. ***1/2 stars.

For this one, I have to refer you to Roger Ebert, who says everything about this film with much more skill than I ever could. It's a masterpiece, one of the best films I've ever seen about the human condition (and human conditioning), and I find it hard to believe I've never seen a film by Alain Resnais before. I know it's not very critical of me to simply defer to someone else, but this is Roger Ebert, and he really does have a great grasp of what this film is about. Excellent, simply excellent. **** stars.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And I Think to Myself... Super Mario World

This is by the same genius who did the Legend of Zelda video I posted a couple of months ago.

Links Because I'm Sick Today

Taking it easy and minding my own buzzness, so here are some links I've been holding on to.

:: The worst thing about all this? You can’t determine if a show has “jumped the shark” at least until the next episode, you wasteoids. That’s what the phrase means, that this was the moment that the show went downhill. So when people are online five minutes after the show airs rampaging about sharks and Fonzies, you already know they can’t be trusted.

:: I've decided that, at long last, I believe the entire Kobayashi Maru test to be complete BS. (After reading what Jaquandor has to say, I totally agree.)

:: When you hear the tea bag protesters lament that "this is not the America I know" or that they "want America back," what you are really hearing are the mad bleatings of people who don't actually love the nation. They love their shit and are afraid they won't be able to buy more shit or that someone will take their shit, even though it's more than likely that the shit was bought on credit. It's stubborn and childish. To love America is to know that it has to grow up.

:: 6 Natural Disasters That Were Caused by Human Stupidity (And they don't even mention mountaintop removal.)

:: 5 Corporate Promotions That Ended in Predictable Disaster

:: A Millennium Falcon full of Yodas! (Way more awesome than I would have expected, but I'm an old fuddy-duddy.)

:: Have some more of By the 10s! Marvel Two-in-One, Marvel Team-Up, Human Torch, and not one, but two installments of Famous Funnies!

:: Zoom Out (A nice art series, very creative.)

:: Big Trouble in Little China Drinking Game

:: Not a Journalist (TheMom takes a good look at the credentials of today's "journalists.)

:: At the end of the day, I'm just trying to lead a good Christian life. That means going to church on Sunday, following the Ten Commandments, and fighting what I believe to be a sexual abomination through a series of petty actions and bitter comments made under my breath. Sure, I sometimes wish God would just reach into my heart and give me the ability to treat all people with, at the very least, the decency and respect they deserve as human beings. But unfortunately for that new couple who moved in three houses down, He hasn't yet. (Spot-on satire from the Onion.)

:: Robots!

:: If Men's Magazines Were Honest (Probably NSFW.)

:: 7 Horrifying Moments from Classic Kids' Movies (I especially agree on Pinocchio.)

:: Some might argue that the only edition of Monopoly that needed to be made was was the original Monopoly. If you're Hasbro, or USAopoly, you might argue that there need to be as many editions of Monopoly as there are grains of sand on every beach on the goddamn planet. The world is practically littered with Monopoly editions now, not being able to go four feet without bumping into a game board. Here now we look at a mere 22 of these editions that did not need to be made for any reason.

:: When did the whole world become Roxie Hart in Chicago? I hate people. Please make it stop.

:: I don't buy into the Lady Gaga myth. As "shocking" as her outward appearance is, if you listen to her music, you'll hear how innocuous and silly it is. She's not saying anything radical or important that warrants the facade she puts forth. It just comes off as laughably desperate to me. "Look at me! Aren't I outrageous?" No. Not really, actually. (Thank you. I don't get the point of Lady Gaga, other than to sell sorta bland records. She's like a somehow more empty and soulless version of Madonna, the fake artist who never had a stance on anything unless it would shock the most amount of people.)

:: But it’s not always so easy to forgive and forget. Sometimes a celebrity’s actions are so egregious that it’s difficult to simply let it go. At those times, we are left with a difficult decision – do we separate the artist from the art and condemn the man while supporting his work or do we throw out the baby with the bathwater? (Great column on something that's been bugging me lately. I can't declare my love for Roman Polanski's films without being told I'm supporting a rapist, but the world deifies Michael Jackson.)

:: The 10 Least Essential Works of Bruce Campbell

:: [Paul] Haggis had his car stolen from him one night, and like most sane people who are robbed at gunpoint, he went home and wrote a sympathetic screenplay about his attackers. In Haggis's case, "sympathetic" means he turned them into Heckle 'n' Jeckyl, and wrote everyone in the film to be shrill, stupid stereotypes hiding their prejudice under a thin veneer of sophistication. (I love Cracked's article about the 5 Most Unintentionally Racist Movies About Racism especially for explicating all of the same reasons I despise Crash.)

:: The first strange thing about this video is the fact that the interview is being conducted by none other than Smilin' Stan Lee. That's right, folks: It's the co-creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Hulk asking the creator of Badrock and Shaft to explain how he managed to pull it off.

:: Color Design in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (The quality of this animated classic has been dismissed by animation scholars; this is a great article about the color design and how it made this special a perennial.)

:: 8 Things Disney Parks Have Banned

:: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Josephine Baker (Amazingly, I'd never heard she was a spy before.)

:: Tweets from My Criminal Trial

:: Or, to put it simply, moderate is no longer conservative enough for the GOP. Conservative is moderate. Scrawl-with-your-own-shit crazy is conservative. So, essentially, the only way to be fringe on the right is to want to blow shit up, and even then it depends on what the target is.

:: ...if your religion and your church and your minister is against same sex marriage and extending civil rights to gays, lesbians, and transgendered folks then you are too . It doesn't matter if you say you're for same sex marriage, if your church is against it, then so are you. If you proclaim your love for gays and you say you want them to be able to get married, but if the religion you follow is against it, then so are you.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Three Rowlfs

I have to admit, I don't really get the humor value of the "three wolves howling at the moon" meme, but I do appreciate this variation on it.

Muppets make everything better.

Thanks for sending this over, Richard!

H.R. 3962

Having advocated so much for a public option, I felt I should comment on the resolution that was passed by the House of Representatives.

I think, like most legislation, there are good and bad points to this.

On the one hand, 36 million more people will be insured or become eligible for Medicaid. There will be money for this. There will be measures to control the costs of Medicare and we won't be subsidizing private insurers in Medicare Advantage. Most importantly, I think, it prohibits denial based on pre-existing conditions, begins dozens of health prevention programs, and has what I think more of as the seeds of a public option.

But on the other hand, it carries with it essentially a ban on insurance plans that cover elective abortion. It will be one of the most far-reaching national restrictions placed on abortion, a legal medical procedure, in decades. And it has the potential to be used by insurance companies as a means of legally discriminating against low income Americans.

So while it is a massive achievement that we even have a health reform bill in America, that it actually passed in the House, and that it's as far-reaching as it is... it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that it also forces women--especially poor women--to pay a high price on a private matter of conscience. It's as if, at the last second, someone decided that if America was going to get health reform, it was going to be at the expense of women and their legal rights.

I think it's a legitimate reaction to be disappointed that we've appeared to come so far, only to take yet another step backwards when it comes to peoples' rights.

In its way, that's the story of civilization. We keep advancing technologically, but I don't see where we've progressed very much as people. I read about someone killing their own child in the name of Christianity because they think the kid is possessed, or a 15 year-old girl getting raped by 10 men and boys while 20 others looked on and took pictures with their camera phones at the homecoming dance, or people going on shooting rampages because they just can't take the stress anymore, or the idiotic debates over whether or not gay people should be allowed to have rights, or people protesting health reform by comparing state health coverage to the Holocaust--and there are even elderly people who are doubtless on state-run Medicare and Medicaid in the crowd supporting this idiot--and I think it's a miracle that any kind of health care reform could ever get passed in the United States. Because civilization is hanging in place by a thin thread, anyway.

There are a number of people online talking about how the Democratic Party leadership has betrayed everyone. My answer to that is that they were never beholden to constituents, anyway. Politicians will always be beholden to corporations, which is why most of the laws they pass are going to be to benefit and protect corporations. I've said this over and over: no one is looking out for you. If you feel betrayed by the Democrats, vote them out of office. Vote out politicians who defend the right of corporations to do whatever they want and treat us however they want and to contribute to campaigns.

Vote for the rare politicians who advocate term limits so that these people will quit taking our tax money and working three days a week and voting for their own pay increases and enjoying the same lifelong free health care that many of them fought hard to deny other Americans. Did you know they announced to day that there are 237 millionaires in Congress? That's 44%. These are the people who make laws to keep you in poverty and under the thumb of the people who pay them the real money: corporations.

Progressives, Barack Obama laughed you off long ago. So did Nancy Pelosi. Obama is a moderate if ever there was one. I think that progressives mean well, but that they are ultimately not going to get serious about taking a stand in Congress. Despite what they said, they were never going to vote against this bill, even with an anti-abortion amendment and without the single payer amendment. No politician really wants to take a stand, and ultimately, the progressives are just as spineless as the more moderate Democrats are.

No one in politics wants to be accountable. And that's the problem with American leadership. Weiner caved. Obama will, too. He's been trying to soften the blow for some time. He may have conviction, but I honestly don't expect him to stand firm on it.

The government itself needs to be reformed.

So, while I don't think anyone can deny that H.R. 3962 is an important step in health reform, it sets women's reproductive rights back and created a toehold for the anti-choice movement in American policy. It's a steep price to pass the bill.

Kristen Bell Mondays

Cracked Topics: Kristen Bell: "Kristen Bell is an actress with the uncommon ability to act. She is best known as Elle on NBC's 'Heroes', even though 'Veronica Mars' ran for three seasons and was adapted from Raymond Chandler's lost notes for 'Nancy Drew - Die, Die, My Dean'." (It goes on from there; if you're a fan of Miss Bell, click the link and read the article.)

Carl Sagan Would Have Been 75 Today

Thought it was worth mentioning. One of my personal heroes.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Song of the Week: "Hocus Pocus"

My mom sent me the link to this video last night, and it is prog rock at its finest. I've only ever heard one track by Focus before ("The House of the King," which they use as the theme to the brilliant series Saxondale), but this shows me I need to hear many more. Live in 1973, this is absolutely my kind of music.

Twilight Summarized by a Smartass, Chapter 18

So the "bad" vampires show up at the baseball game, one of them (James) smells Bella and sets his mind to tracking, hunting, and killing her, and Edward panics and makes plans with Alice and Emmett to hide Bella back in her original hometown of Phoenix. And that's pretty much all that happens.

There are only three significant things that jumped out at me.

First, that the Cullens are so quick to rally and protect Bella, despite how much Alice and Emmett don't like the idea of Edward dating a human. So that was kind of nice, I guess.

Second, that Bella actually considered Charlie's safety when Edward was driving off and trying to whisk her away to safety. (Well, relative safety.) Suddenly Bella loves her dad instead of acting like choosing to live with him is the biggest inconvenience of her life.

And third, that Edward actually shuts his whiny emo mouth and listens to Bella for a change. I'm not sure if that's growth or not, since Alice and Emmett have to convince Edward that Bella's whole plan--she's going to go back to Phoenix with Alice and Jasper and hide out from James--is the best thing they can do. (Although, frankly, I preferred Emmett's plan of just killing James. Anything to get this shit over with.)

And that's pretty much it. So here's a video of moments from the RiffTrax (aka MST3K) version of Twilight that made me laugh my ass off. This is probably the only way to watch the movie.