Monthly Archives: February 2009

Televitriol

Typically, this blog is a lovefest.  I mean, that’s the point isn’t it?  To revel in the bits and bobs that make up my pop-culture obsessions.  It just doesn’t seem right to be critical or negative in these pages.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty that I’d like to bitch and moan about.  I read the papers after all.  It just seems contradictory to do it here.  Plus, it’s February–a month that Hallmark tells me is designated for nothin’ but love.  But, now that Valentines Day is just a blip in the rear-view mirror, maybe I can at least celebrate someone that really excels at hating things. That counts as positive energy doesn’t it?

73.  Charlie Brooker

He hates things so articulately.  I could never ever compete with his cynical skills–or his carefully inserted f-bombs and.  I love reading his bile.  The art of hating something is a delicate one, you understand.  Hate, as Yoda knows, can cloud your judgement–make you stumble over your words and leave you–the hater–in a vulnerable position for retaliatory attacks.  But Charlie Brooker has proved himself to be one of the most erudite misanthropes to hit the airwaves and the papers.

Charlton Brooker, a uni dropout originally from Reading, England–began his career in media as a cartoonist for Oink! comic magazine.  He also penned and illustrated a strip called “Cybertwats” for PC Zone magazine.  I wish I could type both the words “Oink!” and “Cybertwat” into my resume.

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Right back at 'ya.

He’s since moved on to satirizing worthy targets in both The Guardian newspaper and his own television show “Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe”.  Charlie Brooker is a recent find for me.  I remember that a friend of mine, Paul, actually recommended that I check out some episodes of “Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe” about a year ago and I never did.  Finally, one day, an episode of “Harry Hill’s TV Burp” came on and I confused that terrible program for “Screenwipe”.  It was shit.  Hammy shit.   It actually made me second-guess Paul’s sense of humor.  It was only recently, when my pal Stu also recommended Charlie Brooker to me that I connected the dots.  Paul didn’t recommend Harry Hill…it was this guy, Charlie Brooker!  Paul, who never knew that his taste in the comical had been knocked down a peg in my estimation, is back in the upper echelon of my ‘funny’ friends.  I’m sorry that I ever confused your predilections, Paul–if you’re reading this.  Meanwhile, just because I enjoy “You’ve Been Framed”, as narrated by Harry Hill does not make me a hypocrite.  The laughs there belong solely to the water-skiing squirrels and the trampoline accidents and NOT Harry Hill.  I think that clears my name of any inconsistency relating to this past I Love Things That Are Great entry:  Exhibit A

Anyway, Charlie Brooker also has a hand in producing other shows like the recent “Dead Set”.  Unfortunately, I can offer no commentary here as I haven’t seen that.  My romance with Charlie Brooker is fairly new.  Give me time, people.

A collection of Brooker’s Guardian columns can be found here:  Brooker Columns

I’ve been enjoying the backlog of them during breaks between actual bits of work at my day job.

Captain Cranky-face, I salute you.

Captain Cranky-face, I salute you.

Here’s a couple of clips from his television program.  A pretty decent library is available on Youtube.  It was very difficult to make selections as I was greatly amused by most of the videos I’ve seen thus far.  But, after much deliberation with my desk-mate, here are two pretty excellent clips.  This first one examines one of my most favorite shows to hate on and seethe at, MTV’s “My Super Sweet Sixteen”:

This next one is perhaps a bit more Brit-centric as some of you Yanks won’t have seen the ads that he is raging at.  Still, trust me when I say that you’ll get the gist.

Just because I was so torn, I’m going to give you a link to a third clip.  It’s a bit longer than the other two (which are a tasty morsels, running about 3 minutes in length).  But, I’d like to share it with those of you who might now be smitten with Charlie Brooker.

This clip holds special appeal for me.  I’ve been trying to write a bit in my stand up for years about how British people will watch anything.  I just can’t make it work.  And yet, the joke practically writes itself.  I mean, BBC runs a show called “The Trees That Made Britain” in Prime-time.  Prime. Fricking. Time.  And yes, it’s just about trees.  That’s not a metaphor for a colorful family or a codeword for a special section of law enforcement, or a sit-com about park rangers or anything.  Just trees.  So, your guess is as good as mine as to why I can’t write a flippin’ decent joke about it.  Mercifully, Brooker has done it.  Now I can put those efforts to bed as this subject has been sufficiently mocked.  Bad British telly, you are in good hands.

Clip found here: British Telly Exports To US

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Filed under comedy, Comics, Literature, People, TV

Roasted Animals

I’d probably update this blog daily if it weren’t for the existence of today’s great thing (and others of its ilk).   I hope you know that it’s only because I’m out researching/enjoying things that are great.  It’s not because I’m a big movie-going, T.V.-watching, comic-reading, snack-eating, video-game-playing sloth.

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Not me.

Truthfully though, if I wasn’t so in love with other people’s cool shit, I’d probably be ten times more productive.  But what are you going to do…I’m only human.  I need to live!  I need to see “Step-brothers” and eat more Ho-Hos!  If you cut me do I not bleed?  If you put a film magazine in front of me do I not read it cover to cover instead of focusing on my work?  Some people are born into greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them.  Me?  I just am completely distracted by all the greatness around me.

There are at least four reasons why I love “Fuck You, Penguin”.

(today’s great thing)

72.  http://www.fuckyoupenguin.blogspot.com

1. It’s updated regularly.  This is a website is one that I can rely on for daily distraction at work.  That’s better than what I can produce here on ILTTAG.

2.  It has cute animals.  Even without the hilarious and eviscerating commentary, it’s a worthwhile website for its photo gallery.  Animals are fun to look at.

3.  The ‘Fuck You, Penguin Tip-line.  Audience participation!

3. Most importantly, is its mastery of the ridiculous.  The following is straight off the page:

https://i1.wp.com/imgwtf.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/anteaters-335x450.jpg

starting it...

Apparently this photo has been floating around the internet for some time, presumably under the assumption that Fuck You, Penguin would rise to internet dominance and come looking for the anteater. Well, this douchebag’s suspicions were dead on, because clearly he thinks he’s making heads turn. I mean, seriously, Anteater, what’s with the pose? Are you in a sports montage? Or are you mid-clap in an (undoubtedly lame) rendition of “Hey Jude”? You know what, who gives a shit? At least I pick food that doesn’t involve sticking my tongue into the ground, you dirty son of a bitch.

Fuck me, anteater? No no, FUCK YOU.

If you haven’t already clicked over to the site to check it out, do so now.

fuckyoupenguin.blogspot.com

Try as I might, I can’t find out who authors this blog.  Does anyone know?   Is he/she protecting their identity for fear of reprisal from the animal kingdom?  Probably.  Still, I’d like to name-check them here.  Thanks also to my pal Ari for recommending the site.

My dream for this website is that its popularity will grow until it gets its own television show–kind of a  Fuck You, David Attenborough.  This show’s presenter wouldn’t gape in awe and fawn all over all creatures great and small as the fabled British presenter does.  He’d heckle the shit out of them.

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Pull my finger, lemur!

Won’t anyone take my ideas seriously?!

Anyway, sorry today’s entry is so shoddily short.  I need to leave work so I can get to the end of my X-Men Legends videogame.

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Filed under comedy, Nature, website

Fahrvergnugen: German For ‘Kiss My Fist!’

Advertisements are an annoying but necessary evil. Yes, they regularly interrupt your favorite shows but they also allow those programs to be given away to you for free. Plus, if there weren’t any ads, when would you get out of your favorite chair to go and pee? Me? I’ll gladly fast forward through umpteen commercials if those sponsors are paying for another Simpsons episode.

Having said that, I really do appreciate it when it’s clear that an agency has gone that extra mile to try and make their commercial enjoyable. Heck, if they catch my attention, I might even buy their product. The last time I hyped up a commercial on this blog was the Cadbury’s gorrila ad. That sure worked on me. I hardly stop eating Cadbury’s. Incidentally, they have released another entry to that ‘glass and a half full’ campaign which is just as hilarious. It stars eyebrows and good timing. Take a look.

Anyway, back to the main event. The other commercial that caught my eye recently is today’s great thing:

71. Volkswagen Ad “The Fight”

Just when you though Matrix parodies were getting old, the German car manufacturer releases this:

Unlikely Gallic ass-kicker Gilles Bellomi is the star.  I couldn’t find much about the guy though it wasn’t for a lack of trying.  I’m sure part of the problem is that i don’t speak French and can’t read what little info is out there about his past television and film credits.  What I do know is that he appeared in at least one episode of  “Law & Order: Paris”.  First of all, what a shock.  I didn’t even know there was a such a program.  That Dick Wolf must be absolutely rolling in it.  I know that there’s a London- set version coming to British tellys soon.  “Law & Order: London” is set to debut this year, as a matter of fact.  I wonder if they’ll try to do an American-length season or if it’ll just be the standard 6-10 episodes per season like other British programs.

Some good things about this commercial:

–Firstly, this spot proves my theory that everybody looks better when they are doing karate.  I’m  not saying that Gilles is unattractive–he’s fine– but all that kicking and punching sure doesn’t hurt his appeal.  His boring German engineer becomes an enigmatic superstar.

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Ask yourself, what can a roundhouse to the face do for you?

–Secondly, the commercial is clearly an homage to the ‘burly brawl’ scene from one of my favorite movie franchises, “The Matrix”.  Yes, it’s from the lesser-loved sequel “Matrix:  Reloaded”, but I stand by my investment in the Wachowski vision.  Watch all three back to back.  They’re better that way.  And try not to think too much about why The Resistance can engineer robot war-suits but not proper armor.

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–Thirdly, this ad (created by London-based agency DDB and directed by Ivan Zacharias features a killer track–MJ Lan’s remix of “Keine Melodien” by Jeans Team.  I’m desperately seeking it for my gym-going Ipod playlist.

–Lastly, since this commercial was first aired, over 100 complaints have been logged to the Advertising Standards Authority.  It’s got to be doing something right.

Viva Le Kung Fu.

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My Favorite Pill-Popper

Years from now, when the ice-caps have melted, somebody has found a word to rhyme with ‘orange’, and Larry King has finally retired, we’ll have a better understanding of the cultural impact of video games and the impression that they’ve had on all of our wasted lives. In the annals of video game history, you’ll have your classics and you’ll have your trash. What are our masterpieces? Of course, people will shout “GTA!” and” Final Fantasy!” and other games of recent memory. But what about our ancient video game history? I’m talking pre-SNES. What were the real fire-starters? Which of those franchises have real staying power and could still blister your thumbs today? A game that I USED to think was brilliant? Kangaroo–partially because I like kangaroos. A game that I KNOW is brilliant as it has lasted the test of time?

70. Pac-Man

Pac-Man’s gumballish visage STILL adorns hoodies and wristbands in the window display at HotTopic. I’d argue that these are even worn without irony unlike most 80’s throwbacks. A Pac-Man hoodie is worn with reverence. Respect the Pac. (Or his big yellow face will eat your ass).

A little history here, in 1980, into a sea of ‘space-shooters’ (like Space Invaders and Galaga), was Pac-Man born. He was programmed into life by Namco designer Toru Iwatani

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I eat your dead!

Why a game about a binging yellow face who is under the constant threat of the paranormal? I suppose people were tired of blasting meteors and needed a new format. So, why not? Plus, Japanese designers are nuts. I mean, look at Donkey Kong .

What is a Pac anyway? Well, it comes down to a translation issue. What we know as Pac-Man is known as Puck-Man or ‘pakku man’ in Japan (paku-paku is an onomatopoeic phrase for the noise of a rapidly opening and closing maw). Pac-Man is the animated embodiment of a big hungry face. He’s a lover, a fighter, and an eater.

The maze construct of the game was developed as a way to broaden the appeal of video games beyond the typical connoisseur (teenage boys). It worked. They pulled even more players in when they pulled a rib out of Pac-Man to create his female bow-brandishing counterpart, Ms. Pac-Man.

Ms. Pac-Man has always reminded me a bit of the sexy anthropomorphized green M & M.

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Do I know you?

Anyway, since the introduction of Pac-Man the arcade game, there have been over 30 branded spin-offs like Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Baby, and Pac & Pal. Interestingly, for the Ms. Pac-Man version, new mazes were introduced , more intermission scenes were created, and the movement of the ghosts was randomized. Improvements! Ms. Pac-Man was originally an unauthorized spin-off but as it was viewed by many to be the best in the franchise, a deal was struck to legitimize the product–pleasing nerds everywhere.

Incidentally, the cartoon that aired following the global Pac-Pandamonium revealed Ms. Man’s first name to be ‘Pepper’.

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Sisters! ...I'm hungry,

Pac-Man, even today, has the highest ratio of recognition of any video game mascots–higher than Mario and Luigi if you can believe it. And The Mario Brothers had a movie starring Bob Hoskins. Bob Hoskins! How does Pac-Man do it? How does he beat that Hoskins factor? It could just be attributed to the fact that good old Pac has been around a bit longer. But I think it goes beyond that. Pac-Man is available on almost every gaming platform (much like Tetris). Grandma’s can play it on their cell-phones for crying out loud (if they’re the type of active hep-cat granny that HAS a cell-phone). You can’t beat that kind of repeat exposure and the loyalty of the blue-haired set. The game is simple, cheap, and available. Plus it teaches you about the benefits of eating fruit and pretzels.

Almost as instantly recognizable as that big egg yolk are his villains, the ghosts. Their names are Blinkey, Pinkey, Inkey, and Clyde (though in the Ms. version Clyde is named Sue). Their character traits (yes if you look closely enough they do have them) are Shadow, Speedy, Bashful and Pokey. The cartoonish poltergeist are a perfect marriage of silly and freaky–like Flavor Flav.

Other ways that Pac-Man has managed to stay relevant include the novelty of ‘Pacmanhattan’. Developed by NYU students (I couldn’t be prouder), Pacmanhattan is a large scale city-game that treats the Washington Square area as the board and asks its players to make aggressive and defensive movements based on communications from cell-phones. You can read more about it and watch some clips here:

PacManhattan

And look here, Madrid recently erected this Pac-Christmas tree. Neat!

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Feliz Navidad!

Perhaps one of the coolest homages though, is this video for The Go! Team’s song “Junior Kickstart”.

I’ve never rooted for Ms. Pac-Man more than when watching this video nor been more devastated when she’s ultimately cornered.

I only wish I had another quarter to revive her.

Still, that wicked video is only bested by this super-awesome replica of a Pac-skull designed by Le Gentil Garcon and Fransois Escuilia.

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Scientific!

I want one.

Now, before you get too anxious about all this talk and no play, here’s a link so that you can join in the fun. Pac-Man Games On-line The game, if you’re any good at it, might seem like it’s endless, but once you get to board 256, the programming gets messed up and the board gets all garbled…making it impossible to continue. So, that’s when the party’s over. The first person to make it that far, and with a perfect score, was true American hero, Billy Mitchell. To do this, he played continuously for six hours. Billy also makes his own brand of hot-sauce. So, as far as I know, he’s awesome in every way. I salute you Billy.

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nom nom nom

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