Saturday, August 19, 2006

Quote of the Day - August 19, 2006

But you're better than normal! You're abnormal!

- Fry, Futurama

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wherefore Art Thou, Anvil?

My uncle likes the Marx brothers and I had always heard that Yakko and Wakko of Animaniacs were modeled after Groucho and Harpo, so I decided to bring my new Animaniacs, Vol. 1 DVD’s to Sunday dinner so I could show him the Anvillania episode (which is suppose to be especially Marx inspired) to see just how true this was. His grand-nephew (who’s about 4) found the DVD’s sitting in a chair and, seeing that it was a cartoon, of course wanted to watch it, too. After quickly scanning my memory of the episode for any adult content that couldn’t also be found in your average Pixar movie, I said okay and we (my uncle, me, and three kids aged 4, 7, and 9) sat down to watch.

As we watched, it dawned on me that the most basic joke of the episode – the importance of anvils in the cartoon universe – probably escaped the three young’uns. Anvils were plentiful in old cartoons, but these days, not so much. Most cartoons today have too much plot for the utter randomness of an anvil. Spongebob is probably the only cartoon left that thrives on minimum plot, maximum surreality (okay, there are Adult Swim shows that fit this description, too, but they aren’t exactly anvil-friendly either).

So what happened? Did anvils just get old? Did society decide that dropping anvils on people’s heads was too violent for children’s entertainment? Has the Wheel of Morality taken over? (Or maybe the Wheel of Punishment?). Do they even show classic Warner Brothers cartoons anymore? [old voice] These kids today and their Nicktoons and their Animes. Why, when I was a kid, we had Warner, Disney, and Hanna-Barbera, and that was it! If a cartoon had violence, it involved guns, TNT, anvils, or other dangerous explosives or projectiles. None of this flying ninjitsu stuff. And no computers! You wanted computer animation, you tuned to MTV. Cartoons defied the laws of physics and common sense and we liked it![/old voice] Ahem. Anyway. We should bring back anvils. I mean, come on! Aren't there any modern icons you'd love to see repeatedly smushed by a heavy block of iron? Let's all sing the Anvil Song!

An anvil's black and shiny!
And very heavy, too!
So watch out, my chubby friend,
Or one might fall on you!

It's made of solid iron!
It weighs a ton or two!
We know you'd like to meet it.
It wants to meet you, too!

Why is our water bill so high?

My cat Ringer used to like watching the toilet flush when he was younger. He actually scared a guest when he tried to follow her into the bathroom so that he could watch it flush when she was done. As far as I know, he never learned to consistently flush the toilet himself, though I suspect he managed to do it himself at least once (we heard the guest toilet flush, but all humans were present and accounted for. We went into the bathroom to find Ringer watching the water swirl). Now if you could just combine this talent with training the cat to use the toilet instead of the litter box.

Stupid Entertainment News Media

I was in line at the grocery store the other day when I glimpsed a headline in one of those tabloids that scream at you while you're trying to make your mind wander so the wait won't seem so long. It had a picture of Jessica Simpson next to a picture of Ashlee Simpson. The headline read "Jess gains 20 pounds! Plus, is Ashlee anorexic?"

The underlying logic twisted in on itself, causing a tear in the space-time continuum. The resulting wormhole devoured two checkout counters and the entirety of aisle 5. Devastating. Now where will I get Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Lean Cuisine frozen dinners?

Monday, August 14, 2006

You Never Hated Me and You Never Will!

Cingular sux, but I love their commercial.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

No Fly Zone

There are a couple of articles that came out after the recent plot to blow up airplanes flying from the U.K. to U.S. was foiled that have me thinking that I just won't fly anymore. Not because I'm afraid of terrorists, but because airline travel may become pohibitively inconvenient and even downright unhealthy.

First, there's Andrew Cohen's blog post about banning carry-ons all together. He makes two horrendously stupid points in his argument. One, "To those passengers who worry about stolen items from those checked bags, I would say: don't travel with your jewelry, or at least don't pack it in a bag." Um, hello? Computers? Cameras? Should I just FedEx my laptop every time I go on a business trip? What about those day trips where you fly up in the morning and back in the evening? They also recommend that you not check cameras or undeveloped film because the x-ray machines could ruin your pictures. Stupid point number two, "To those passengers who bemoan the frequency of lost luggage, I would say: the airlines and airports will try harder." That makes me feel so much better. Why aren't they already trying harder? "My laptop with vitally important information was in that suitcase!" "Sorry, sir, we'll try harder next time not to lose your stuff." Trust is earned, and airlines have simply not earned that trust.

The next is not so much a single article, but the idea that all fluids may be permanently banned from airplanes. This would make airline travel unhealthy for me. When I was younger, I would get very sick every time I flew (sinus infection and/or ear infection and/or bronchitus on every family vacation - fun, fun, fun). I found that taking decongestants and staying hydrated kept me from getting sick. But when I say "staying hydrated", I mean at least a liter of water every 2-4 hours. Those little eight-ounce plastic cups they give you on the plane won't cut it by a long shot. If I can't take fluids on a plane, I'll go back to being utterly miserable when I fly. No thanks.

I understand the desire to prevent terrorist acts, but at some point, the law of diminishing returns kicks in. Although, I suppose if you make flying so incredibly inconvenient that flying becomes a rare occurance, terrorists won't bother hijacking or blowing up airplanes anymore. And then they'll give up and never bother us again.