Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Magic of Podcasting

Last night I did a podcast with a friend from college and a friend of his. If you enjoy my work and would like to hear what I actually sound like in person, just listen to the latest podcast from the Basement Vagrants. Let me know if you like it and please, no comments telling me how much I sound like my father.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bringing Real Life to Sesame Street

Like a lot of kids, I watched Sesame Street when I was a little kid. By the time you're about four years old you've outgrown it but still, it's one of the first TV shows that you watch. And you can probably remember most of the characters: Big Bird, Snuffy, Grover, Elmo and of course Ernie and Bert.

Now, before I get into this whole controversy about the petition to get them married, let me just say that this never occurred to me until I was about 12. That was when Jerry Falwell was railing against the Teletubby known as Tinky Winky, insisting that he was a homosexual character. I remember a comedian suggesting that if Falwell go after any characters that were supposedly gay, he should go after Bert and Ernie.

Can you tell me how to get the hell out of this neighbourhood?

And yeah, everyone's joked about this but in all seriousness, come on, do you really think this stupid petition is going to work? They're fucking muppets, they don't have a sexual orientation. But I've seen things from the other side and thought, "Why should we stop with gay marriage for Bert and Ernie? Shouldn't this show cover other hot topic issues that younger audiences might care about?" I thought so and that's why I wrote a letter to Childrens Television Workshop, detailing some very interesting storylines which I'm sure views will enjoy.

1. Immigration-Maria and Luis decide to go on a cross country road trip but encounter some trouble when they enter the state of Arizona. It turns out that Luis has been living in the country illegally and now faces deportation! The residents of Sesame Street rally to try and get a good lawyer as well as teach children outside of North America how to keep a low profile while waiting for your fake green card to arrive in the mail.

Naturally I don't think this would work in real life because, I mean, come on, Sesame Street teaching kids to break the law? You're more likely to find an episode of Barney where he teaches those kids how to roll a joint.
This would attract the 18-39 demographic that always eludes them...

2. Hoarding-After black mold nearly kills him, Oscar the Grouch is confronted by the residents of Sesame Street about his lifestyle. It is revealed that Oscar has abandonment issues and fears losing everything of value which is why he holds onto everything...even if it really has no value. It is also revealed that Oscar hasn't bathed since the Truman administration.

This will be a great chance for Sesame Street to do a crossover with A&E's Hoarders. Plus, it'll teach children at an early age that no matter how bad you think your own life is, there's always someone on TV you can point to and say, "Holy shit, that dude's messed up!"


3. Narcissism-Elmo gets his ass kicked by people who are sick and tired of his dumb 'Tickle-Me' ass always speaking in the third person. He is encouraged to get well but also told that it will probably happen again unless he doesn't change his ways.

I don't care if I sound like a total asshole when I call for the beating and near death of a "beloved" television character. Would you want your kid to grow up always referring to themselves in the third person? No, it's annoying and you'd kick their ass if they weren't your kid. And if you say you wouldn't then you need your ass kicked.
Someone has to stop him...

4. Addiction-Everyone knows that Big Bird's best friend is Mr. Snuffeupagus, also commonly referred to as "Snuffy". But it is revealed that the nickname comes not from a shortening of his last name, but due to his addiction to cocaine. Snuffy is caught by Big Bird doing three lines of cocaine, each line a metre long. He insists that he can quit anytime but decides to go to rehab after nearly ODing outside Mr. Hooper's store.

This would be a great episode to show kids that it's OK to ask for help when you've really fucked up. And it would also show that if you care enough about your friends, you'll do anything you can to help them. Plus it would include special guest star Charlie Sheen as himself.


The way this guy spoke, you knew he was on something illegal

5. Facing Facts-I'm not sure about the rest of you, but sometimes when I was a little kid, I wasn't sure if Big Bird was a guy or just a really butchy female bird. Now it's obvious that he's a boy but since we're trying to cater to all audiences, why not just have Big Bird admit that he's a hermaphrodite?

Why not? Come on, everyone knows this one is true. You can have Big Bird admit that he's a hermaphrodite and have special guest star Lady Gaga do the same thing. That and have someone beat her up for her narcissism as well.

Oh you've gotta be kidding me. And I thought Paris Hilton was desperate for attention

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Damn Your Eyes!

This summer, most of my TV viewing has one way or another involved Gordon Ramsay. If I'm not looking forward to catching the latest episode of Hell's Kitchen, I'm watching last night's installment of MasterChef. Yeah, they're formulaic as hell (Especially Hell's Kitchen) but they're still enjoyable, mostly because the challenges are interesting, the contestants have personalities and because Gordon Ramsay is the last person you could describe as boring.

But lately, I've picked up on something on MasterChef that's just...really annoyed me. Was it the faked audition shots? Not in the least. Was it a contestant who I wanted to smack upside the head? No. In fact it had to do with one of the judges. Don't worry, Chef Ramsay hasn't done anything wrong. He's been his usual self. It has to do with one of the other judges, Joe Bastianich.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed this but the next time you turn on MasterChef, or watch an episode on YouTube, pay particular attention to the scenes where the contestants present their dishes to the judges. Joy, for whatever reason he's got, always feels the need to stare at the contestants while he's eating. I'm not joking, he will be looking them in the eye while getting the food on the utensil, navigating the utensil to his mouth, opens his mouth, chews and swallows; eyes are all the contestant.

Just imagine his jaw moving up and down...up and down...

Come on, Joe, surely you have better manners than that. I mean, yeah, I know some people might excuse it as an attempt to put the pressure on the contestants. But here's the thing, I think that trying to cook a perfect dish to reflect a certain theme with a specific group of ingredients within a certain time frame against several other chefs who may be equally or more talented than you while being judged by two highly acclaimed chefs and a well established restaurateur with such a lucrative grand prize at stake is pressure enough.

Plus, is that how you eat dinner when your wife makes you dinner or you eat at a friend's place? Do you sit across from them and stare at them like a really bad Bond villain? Sorry, but it just doesn't seem like good table manners. And I don't care if there isn't a table on MasterChef, the staring is just creepy.

"Are these scallops...undercooked, Mr. Bond?"

Men, imagine you're at a urinal. All of a sudden some guy takes the one right next to you and while he's bleeding the lizard, he stares at you. He's not looking at your dick, he's looking at your face. No emotion on his face, just big wide eyes, trying to size you up while he's pissing as well. You'd be a little uncomfortable to say the least.

Look, I have nothing against the guy, he's very knowledgeable and very successful. Just...stop looking at people when you're eating their food. It's like you're trying too hard to stand out and hope some executive at the Food Network offers you your own show. That or you're worries the contestants are going to take the food from you.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

When Star Wars Doesn't Make Sense Part III

Last month was a good month for the blog considering it got the most traffic since July of last year. It seems that a lot of people really like the Star Wars posts I do, so I thought I would do a third edition of things that don't make sense in Star Wars. This is partially inspired by clips of a RiffTrax I saw, making fun of Episode III that and I don't want to take a long time getting my next post out.
...I never had a bad thing to say about this franchise

1. Hey, Let's Fly Near the Bad Guys-Near the end of Empire Strikes Back, Leia, Luke, Chewie, Lando and the droids have escaped Cloud City in the Millennium Falcon and are being pursued by the Empire. Leia goes into the cockpit and points out to Lando and Chewie that there is a Star Destroyer close by. So naturally they decide to get the hell out by jumping to lightspeed.

But it turns out the Empire was two steps ahead of them and deactivated the hyperdrive before they left. Thus, no lightspeed. So while Chewie tries to fix things, Lando decides that the best place to take the Falcon is right next to the Star Destroyer. And I'm not kidding. There's a shot where the ship is about maybe two meters from hitting the Star Destroyer. Lando, you do know that the Empire wanted Leia, Chewie and Luke as prisoners and now that you've escaped and have no means of escape, you're probably going to want to keep a least a lightyear away from anything Imperial. And to think the Rebel Alliance makes this man a general someday.
Do not want!!!

2. Bring balance to the Force?-All throughout the prequel series, we kept hearing about how Anikan was supposed to be the "chosen one" and bring balance to the Force. But was it ever explained what the hell that meant?

They also said that it was part of the prophecy. OK, what prophecy? Who made it? How was it going to come about? You know, George, you could have done yourself some favours by secretly watching a few episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Whenever some prophecy was to come about, they explained who made the prophecy, who it involved, what was to happen right then and there. It didn't leave you guessing for a whole season and then never explain it.
Are you sure it wasn't 'bring blandness to the Force'?

3. Yeah, Obi-Wan and Yoda Were Full of Shit-Remember how in ESB Luke leaves Dagobah to rescue Han, Chewie and Leia from Darth Vader in Cloud City despite the fact that Yoda and Obi-Wan are insisting he complete the training. It's pretty clear they're making it sound like Luke is a boxer with just a few amateur fights who wants to fight Manny Pacquiao.

And they were right. Vader clearly outclassed Luke and eventually chopped off his hand. So it's clear that he needs more training. But first he rescues Han from Jabba in in Return of the Jedi. Once he gets to Dagobah he finds that Yoda is dying but he knows that he needs his help to finish the training. But then Yoda says, "No more training do you need."

Now I don't know what kind of training Luke was doing between movies; for all I know he picked up a copy of How to be a Jedi Knight in Just 16 Weeks by Kit Fisto. But either in the last movie or right now, it's clear that Yoda is full of shit. Last time he was almost on the verge of tears, pleading with Luke, "No, go you must not! More training montages we must complete!!!" But when he comes back he just brushes the training aside. "No better will you get now. Downhill from here your skills shall go."

So there really was no need to stay was there? I mean, yeah, Luke could have honed his skills a little bit but...it probably didn't make that much of a difference.
Kit Fisto, the only Jedi with a name that sounds like a foreign sex move

4. How to Train Your Jedi- And I'm sorry, what the hell was involved in Luke's training that got him up to speed in just a few days? Granted, we don't know how much time he spent with Yoda but...it sure wasn't a long time. Jedi training takes years of practice.

Look at Phantom Menace when the Jedi council believes Anakin is too old to begin training. Hell, Obi-Wan was probably in his twenties and still just a padawan. Even in Attack of the Clones we see kids who look like they should be in preschool already practising with lightsabers. Which probably makes the Jedi Council look like they have the same ability to safely raise a child as Casey Anthony.
Yeah, let's put the five year olds within arms length and have them swing giant laser swords which can maim or sever limbs.