Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy 80th Birthday, Leonard Nimoy!

May you always know where it's at.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dilbert Creator Scott Adams Compared Women Demanding Equal Pay to Errant Children Demanding Candy

He wrote a whole post about it, in which he bemoaned men as the real victims of social injustice, then compared women to children and the mentally handicapped, and then corrected himself and said he wasn't actually comparing them, but merely saying that the way men deal with all three groups is essentially the same. And then, when people had a problem with this inane load of sexist shit, he deleted it like a coward, which apparently douchebags online think is also a way of erasing the stupid things they've said from reality.

Anyway, this is the internet and nothing goes away, so you can read his idiotic rant here.


UPDATE 11:21 PM: Obviously the smart thing to do with such an idiotic post would've been to own up to it and apologize or, you know, ignore that it existed (or maybe never have written it in the first place). Instead, he decided to entrench and dig himself in deeper by commenting on a post on Feministe and arguing that everyone who was offended by his weirdly aggressive rant in which he declared that all women should be dismissed as impossible to reason with and at least be glad that men are suppressing their natural urge to rape at all times... simply didn't get the joke.

So it's not that he feels bad that he wrote something so indefensibly dumb, it's that he didn't expect to get called on his misogyny and is angry that he has to deal with people who disagree with him. Seriously, read his comment--he just dismisses everyone who doesn't agree with him as people who are too emotional and stupid to understand the supposedly-humorous point he was making.

It's like a little kid who says something hurtful and then says "Just kidding."

Seriously, saying something outmoded and stupid is one thing, but then hiding it from the public because it made people angry and then still going on to defend it is insulting.

If you ever read any of his business books, you already knew this guy was an incredible sexist, but jeez, give it a rest, you hack.

UPDATE 8:29 AM: MC commented on this post last night and for some stupid Blogger reason his comment never showed up:

I don't think he has any contrition about this:

To quote his comment on the blog Feministe:

"Is this an entire website dedicated to poor reading comprehension? I don’t think one of you understood the writing. You’re all hopping mad about your own misinterpretations.

That’s the reason the original blog was pulled down. All writing is designed for specific readers. This piece was designed for regular readers of The Scott Adams blog. That group has an unusually high reading comprehension level."

I don't know about you, but to me, basically calling someone stupid because they are objecting to what and how you said something is never really a place of contrition.

A Compilation of Deaths In Retro Video Games

This made me incredibly nostalgic. I need an arcade, but we barely have them anymore...

Two Quick Random Thoughts

:: Starz has announced that they will institute a 90-day window between the time original series air and when Netflix will have them available for streaming. It's like someone at Starz very consciously decided to come up with a plan that would only benefit illegal downloading.

:: GE profited $14.2 billion last year, took a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, and paid absolutely no taxes, but remember: it's you insisting you should be allowed to take sick kids to the hospital without going bankrupt that is ruining the US economy.

Hey, Listen!

Thanks for sending that on, MC! And seriously, if you haven't played Ocarina of Time... wut?

Cartoon Network Canceled Sym-Bionic Titan


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Skeeter and Questions of a Muppet Canon

I've been FINALLY catching up on reading The Muppet Show Comic Book. Currently I'm reading the storyline "Family Reunion," which sees Scooter's twin sister Skeeter working backstage at the Muppet Theatre. She's a fantastic character, probably the most well-rounded and purely fun female character they've ever had with the main Muppets, and I would love to see her come back again and balance out the cast. The dynamic with her around shifts a bit, but in a fun and energetic way.

The only thing that bugs me about this story is that Skeeter is only referred to once by name, at the very end (signing a letter), per some weird agreement between Disney and Boom Studios (who was, until recently, doing an awesome job of handling the Muppet comics). Writer Roger Langridge (who is brilliant) also makes an interesting choice in framing each issue with a sort of celestial, Greek godlike version of Statler and Waldorf playing a chess-like game and introducing chaos into the Muppet Theatre. It gives the story an air of fantasy that raises the question of whether or not this story is happening in continuity--or, as Langridge much more prosaically put it, "it's as real as you want it to be." (What's weird is that, despite whatever agreement, the back of the trade paperback loudly trumpets THE RETURN OF SKEETER!)

I was thinking, though--as other, poorer comic book universes force you to do these days--about what, exactly, the Muppet continuity is. One of the things I've always liked about the Muppets is the conceit that the characters are the "real" performers, and that the projects they've worked on have been just that: projects. I love that The Muppet Movie uses the device where the Muppets themselves are watching a movie they've made about themselves, which Kermit assures Robin is "sort of approximately" the real story of how the Muppets started.

The Muppet writers themselves have had fun over the years with the idea of "real" Muppet continuity. I remember when I was a kid reading Muppet Magazine (how I wish I still had those!) and the clashing in Kermit's editorial and Piggy's advice column over whether or not the two were actually married since, in The Muppets Take Manhattan, Piggy switched the ministers. ("I thought Gonzo was going to play the minister.")

The "Family Reunion" story brings up two lingering questions, then: did Muppet Babies actually happen "in canon" and whatever happened to Skeeter? Michael Frith, the great Muppet artist, was quoted in another issue of Muppet Magazine as saying that Skeeter grew up to be an explorer and was never seen again after an expedition to the jungles of the Amazon (and the comic alludes to her career exploring the globe). The comic book also reveals that she's an assistant to a world famous private eye.

As for Muppet Babies really happening, that was a fantasy sequence in The Muppets Take Manhattan, which is just a movie the Muppets starred in (again, editorials in Muppet Magazine) and which spawned a cartoon series. So Muppet Babies isn't "real" as far as a Muppet canon goes, I would assume.

Of course, none of this really matters, does it? The idea of canon is philosophically interesting, but the story is much more important. What I'm more interested in is that Skeeter makes a great addition to the Muppet troupe, and I really think the people currently in charge of the Muppets should think seriously about making her part of the actual group. How about Karen Prell to perform her? Or Fran Brill?

It's long past time for this character.

Elizabeth Taylor 1932-2011

2011 has claimed another of my favorite actresses of all time. The first news story I saw this morning was that Elizabeth Taylor has died. I know she'd had health problems pretty much her entire life, but it still saddens me that she's now really gone. I have nothing to say about her personal life or her marriages or whatever; really just that she was perhaps in my top 5 of the actresses who most moved me with her performances. She may have been my wife's favorite actress, actually. Just some sad news this morning.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy 80th Birthday, William Shatner!

(Darn, it cuts off right at the end. But it's still good. And it's the only one I can find and I love this song.)

The Meme-orites

The questions here are taken from the defunct TV Tuesday blog.

1. What is your favorite "Classic" TV show?

Star Trek. Close second, M*A*S*H.

2. What character from a "Classic" TV show would you like to be?

Captain Kirk, of course.

3. On which "Classic" TV Show would you have loved to have a walk-on role?

I've actually never given that any thought in my life. But probably Star Trek.

4. Can you remember a line you liked from a "Classic" TV show?

Yes. (What, you want an example? What am I, a dancing ape in a circus?)

5. Which TV doctor would you choose to remove your appendix?

I was going to say Hawkeye Pierce, but then I remembered the time he was drunk and Radar's illusions were shattered. So instead I'm going to say Dr. McCoy, because it would probably just be a chewable pill or something.

6. Which TV doctor would you not let touch you with a 10- foot pole?

I always despised that Dr. Malucci on ER.

7. Which TV doctor/hospital would you choose for the best medical care?

I don't know, it seems like TV hospitals are always on the brink of failing. (DRAMA!)

8. Everyone knows nurses run the hospital. Who was/is your favorite TV nurse?

I always thought Chuny Marquez from ER was hot as hell. I would love to have a Latina nurse to play with take care of me.

9. Do you consider yourself a "fan" of reality TV?

As a genre, it's not much. I don't sit around thinking 'Oh, man, I hope there's a new reality show for me to watch, because I need a new edited TV version of reality!' The genre doesn't automatically interest me on its own, but I'm not opposed to watching them. Currently I'm watching Teen Mom 2 and Kitchen Nightmares.

10. What's your "can't miss" reality TV show (or shows)?

Teen Mom 2. I really need Kailyn to just be alright, after her ordeal with her asshole baby daddy and his extremely disappointing parents.

11. What reality TV show do you suppose the devil plays on the TV in Hell as punishment?

Pick anything from VH1. What the fuck do I care what Scott Baio's doing with his life? Every micro-celebrity from the 80s is not someone worth following around with a camera, guys.

Oh, or Bridalplasty.

12. If you were given a free ticket to be on any reality show, which one would you choose?

Beauty and the Geek, but I'm too old for that now. I just want to hang out with Playboy models.

13. What shows would make up a perfect night of TV viewing for you?

Well, from the TV shows currently on and following the usual primetime format, I'm going to say we start off at 7 (I'm Central time) with How I Met Your Mother, follow it with Parks & Recreation (Ron Swanson is my spirit father), Modern Family at 8, The Big Bang Theory at 8:30, and finish off with Castle in the 9:00 hour. That would be a fun night of TV for me.

14. What show(s) would you cancel without a moment's hesitation?

None. As bad as they are, every show is someone's favorite. It's much easier for me to just not watch them than wish any ill upon them.

15. Is there a show (previously canceled or just no longer airing) that you'd bring back, original cast and all?

Farscape! And Veronica Mars. Where's my Veronica Mars, Joel Silver, you woman-hating bastard!

16. You get to create one show to put on the schedule, with any stars you choose. Who and what would it be?

Mine and Carl's old standby: Faded Blues, a cop drama starring William Shatner and Adam West as retired detectives brought back into the fold to solve their one unsolved case. Also starring Billy Dee Williams, the coolest man alive, as the chief. And I have a great idea for an episode where Andy Griffith plays a kindly old pornographer.

17. Is there a game show (past or present) you think you would do really well on, as a contestant?

Jeopardy. But I suppose on some level everyone thinks that.

18. Is there a game show you think is the stupidest thing you've ever seen?

I still can't figure out the overcomplicated garbage that is Deal or No Deal. I hate Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (so fucking slow) and for some reason Press Your Luck really irritates the shit out of me.

19. Is there a game show you watch, but don't like to admit to watching? (A guilty pleasure!)

No. Pretty much just Jeopardy.

20. Who is your favorite game show host? Who is your least favorite?

Say what you will, I always liked Anne Robinson and her no-bullshit attitude on The Weakest Link. And I don't watch The Price Is Right, but when I saw Bob Barker in other stuff, I always liked him. My least favorite? Richard Dawson. Uber-sleazy.

21. Who is your favorite (past or present) TV cop?

Barney Miller.

22. Which TV cop do you think was the most crooked, or the most inept?

Chief Wiggum, but (usually) hilariously so.

23. Which TV show had the best ensemble cast of police officers?

Barney Miller. I never get tired of it.

24. You need to hire a bodyguard for yourself. Which TV cop do you choose?

Super sexy Kate Beckett on Castle. I'd love to have that sexy bitch to play with protect me.

25. Who is your favorite stand-up comedian of all time?

George Carlin.

26. Which one could you do without? (Not your type of humor, or just plain stupid!)

Fucking Dane Cook sucks.

27. Which comedian do you think has gone on to have a great career aside from doing stand-up?

Well, Steve Martin's certainly done well for himself. Did you ever read Pure Drivel? It's a collection of his columns and one of my favorite books ever. (Also a great book: Shopgirl.)

28. If you went to a comedy club on amateur night, and they gave you some jokes and a microphone, would you go onstage?


29. Who is/was your favorite TV mom?

I know she's not strictly a TV mom (or wasn't when I was a kid), but Maria from Sesame Street is who I wanted to be my mom when I was a kid. She was so perfectly motherly, and she was (and is) my favorite.

30. Was she a realistic mother, or more of a TV fantasy type?

I guess I answered that above.

31. Which TV mom did you find the most unrealistic? Or if you’d rather: creepy – sappy – mean – you choose the adjective, and you name the mom.

Does Kate Gosselin count as worst TV mom?

32. No disrespect to your dear old mum, but which TV mom did you think it might be neat to have as your own?


33. What show would you like to see brought back for an hour or two episode, to see how the characters are doing now? (This should be a show that it might be possible to do a reunion on.)

Part of me would love to see a Freaks and Geeks reunion/update, but I'm not sure Judd Apatow would do it justice these days. (Seriously, Funny People was awful, and no one but Judd wants to see a movie about the supporting characters of Knocked Up.)

Hey, how about a Veronica Mars movie? Where's my fucking Veronica Mars movie?

34. Pick a show that could not realistically be brought back for a reunion, because some or all of the cast members are gone. What if they could have done a reunion before it was too late? Name the show you'd most like to see.

I don't know. Some kind of TV version of M*A*S*H Goes to Maine might have been fun. Then again, it's not a bad book, but not as classic as M*A*S*H.

35. Which reunion show have you watched and thought "Wow, they should have left that one alone!"

I don't remember watching any reunion shows.

36. Which do you prefer- a "reunion" episode of the series, or a "cast reunion" where the actors sit around and talk about the making of the show?

I think both could be interesting. I certainly never wanted to see a Seinfeld reunion (not a fan of that show at all), but what they did on the last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm as a sort of quasi-reunion was very, very good.

37. What is your favorite TV theme song?

The theme from The Greatest American Hero.

38. Which song drives you crazy enough to hit mute on the remote?

It's not a song, but the opening piano strains of Everybody Loves Raymond are to me what a bell was to Pavlov's dog. But instead of salivating, I dive for the remote and change the channel as quickly as possible. I also despise that Two and Half Men "song."

39. Which song are you proud to say you remember (most of) the lyrics to???

I don't know if I'm proud to know any TV theme songs, but I remember a lot of them. I recently quipped on Tumblr that I'm going to start choosing my friends based on how much of the Adventures of the Gummi Bears lyrics they know, so let's go with that.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Centerpiece of Obama's Public Opinion

Nearly every time I'm hard on President Obama, someone brings up the health care reform as his one great triumph. I've always considered it a compromise, and I've never been happy about how it forces Americans to become customers of a for-profit industry that has every motivation to never pay your health care costs. I don't like it, and I've been disappointed in the president because of it. His one great triumph? More like his first major loss.

The fact is, we have 50 million uninsured in this country, and over 45,000 deaths a year that stem from a lack of insurance (either none at all or not having enough or even being denied the coverage you supposedly already have). That is a public health crisis. It's not about privilege or illegal immigrants or whatever else the GOP wants you to believe it's about. It's about keeping the public body healthy and productive.

The "reform" never went far enough in the first place. And now it's being further dismantled. As of this month, there have been over 1000 waivers protecting inadequate plans granted by the administration (this affects 2.6 million Americans so far; 94% have been granted, but unions are being routinely denied). They have also told states they may reduce the number of people covered by Medicaid and reduce services provided. This despite the fact that Medicaid was supposed to expand under the "reform."

The simple fact is--and many of us saw this coming--the quality of insurance is going to have to be reduced in order to keep premiums affordable. Not that premiums aren't rising, anyway (20-60%). But hey, at least you'll get less coverage for more money. And--predictably again--there's talk of employee insurance falling by 3 million people by 2019 (this according to the CBO). So the "reform" isn't likely to stop sudden premium hikes, which is one of the things it was supposed to do. It's not going to stem the time of medical bankruptcies, either (it hasn't in Massachusetts). And since the administration referred to adequate insurance as "Cadillac plans," it seems obvious to me that they're not worried about quality here.

And even according to our esteemed HHS Secretary, it's permissible to cut benefits, require the poor to pay a higher share of costs, and reduce the number of people covered by Medicaid. More than half the states want permission to remove hundreds of thousands of people. Arizona alone wants to remove 250,000 people from Medicaid coverage, and the administration isn't going to stop them.

And the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan that was established? Only 12,000 have enrolled. You know why? Too expensive.

I think it's more obvious than ever that the "reform" merely protects the insurance industry against not maximizing their profits. Where is the Senator Obama who knew single-payer was the best (and cheapest) option? Back in the past, before $20 million in campaign donations from the insurance industry. That's all these people care about, Obama included. It's not about you. Not unless you can pay.

The only thing this "reform" is going to increase is the rate of suicides in people who can't afford the high cost of saving their own lives.

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Biggest Problem with This Damn Administration

Obama acknowledged the challenge last week in Boston. “Somebody asked me, how do we reinvigorate the population, the voter, after two very tough years?” he told Democratic donors. “How do we recapture that magic that got so many young people involved for the very first time in 2008?” One answer, the president said, is to persuade hardcore liberals to swallow their anger over political compromises the administration reached with Republicans, even when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.

Translation: Democrats, liberals and progressives: abandon your principles. And why not? Obama already abandoned his (if they were ever there) to be a corporate stooge, so he's asking you to do the same thing.

"Buck up" 2012.

Should be interesting to see what happens. Obama knows he hasn't held his base together at all, and the Teatards mistakenly think that this failure translates into a desire to see the country become more conservative. Should be interesting, indeed.

Song of the Week: "Who Says"

Because I still love my Go-Go.