November 15, 2013

Fifty Shades of Acyclovir

When you really think about it, this story isn't all that surprising.
Two Belgian university professors decided to apply their knowledge of toxicology screenings to the 10 most borrowed books at the Antwerp library.


While the experts found that all 10 books contained traces of cocaine–enough so that people who touched the books wouldn’t feel the effects, but might test positive for the drug–they also found something pretty gross: Fifty Shades of Grey, your weird aunt’s favorite mainstream erotic series, tested positive for traces of the herpes virus.

First of all...gross, Belgium. Really, really gross.

Second...I shudder to think what we would find on a book in a library in New York or Dallas or any other major US metropolitan area.

Third...Books are for reading, people. Not some coke-fueled herpes party.

November 14, 2013

Movie Review: Star Wars (1977)

“The Jedi are extinct, their fire has gone out of the universe. You, my friend, are all that's left of their religion.” – Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing)

Director: George Lucas

Writers: George Lucas

Producers: George Lucas, Rick McCallum and Gary Kurtz

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Major Stars: Alec Guinness, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing

I’m not going to discuss the plot here because, well, if you don’t know it by now you’ve either been in a 35-year coma or are an alien who has just landed on Earth. Whatever the case, go rent the DVD and see it now.

I led off with that quote from Tarkin for a reason. Contrary to what many people still believe, this wasn’t the first film in a trilogy about the growth of Luke Skywalker into a Jedi warrior. It was the first film in a trilogy about the redemption of Anakin Skywalker. And no one who saw the first film when it came out in 1977 ever saw that twist coming either.

I don’t even know if Lucas meant for it to happen. You read through the myriad rough drafts of what eventually became Star Wars and watch the film itself, and you never doubt for a moment that Luke became the centerpiece of the tale. And yet, by the end of the original trilogy the emotional center of the film is decidedly Darth Vader. And that says a lot about the universe the original film laid out, its flexibility and potential for depth.

Star Wars was a film that no one really saw coming. Fox moved it back to May from the summer because they were fearful Smokey and the Bandit would crush it. Only a handful of theaters originally wanted to run it; Fox had to strong-arm theaters into showing it. They threatened to withhold another film of theirs – The Other Side of Midnight – unless Star Wars was also carried.

From that it became a genre-defining film, the film that opened the door for sci-fi to come into the mainstream. Make no mistake; if Star Wars had been a bust the sci-fi genre would’ve been set back immeasurably in the film industry. Would Close Encounters of the Third Kind have been released that November if Star Wars crashed and burned in May? Does anyone take a chance on Alien in 1979?

It was also a cultural phenomenon that has been equaled only by Harry Potter, in my opinion. And in some ways, Potter still comes up short. Parents and children alike were lining up to see Star Wars again and again. Kids bought those action figures as soon as they hit the shelves. They were so popular that the manufacturer, Kenner, had to ship empty boxes with vouchers that could be redeemed for the figure in March of 1978. If you weren’t around for it you can’t even imagine how crazy it got.

And I must admit that likely colors my opinion of the movie to a degree. Let me put it this way; a year and-a-half later in November of 1978 they ran The Star Wars Holiday Special on CBS. This was one of the most insane things to ever run on television. A variety show with the Star Wars cast, Wookies galore and Han Solo straight-up murdering a stormtrooper (I shit you not). Lucas hates the thing; it has only aired once and Lucas won’t let a DVD come out.

November 13, 2013

This is ironic...right?

The concept of irony has been so misused and abused I'm not even sure what the Hell qualifies anymore.* But I am pretty sure that a video of a Neo-Nazi finding out he is part-black qualifies. Especially when he is trying to create an all-white town in North Dakota.

Do yourself a favor and watch the video. The best part isn't the racist's reaction to the news. It is the black lady sitting next to him with what is one of the best laughs I have ever heard in my life.

The next best part is finding out that Cobb requested the test because he thought science would make him 100% white. And when science declined to go down that road, Cobb decided it was bunk. Which gives me an excuse to finally use this picture


* Thanks a lot, Alanis.

November 12, 2013

Best Trailers for the Last-Gen Games

Nice little piece over at Kotaku about best video-game trailers of the current (soon to be former) generation of video games.

They have some obvious choices there. The Borderlands was an instant classic. The Beatles: Rock Band trailer is an artistic masterpiece. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim was epic in its feel with the pseudo-Norse chorus in the background. And the ad for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, despite the controversy around it, was really well done.

But they missed a couple. So please allow me to submit them here.

First are the trailers for the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. They're better than the last couple of movies hands down. Here they are combined into one long trailer.

But my favorite is for a game that is in limbo. Prey 2 marries the idea of a human-turned-interstellar bounty hunter chasing down a target to the tune of Johnny Cash's remake of Rusty Cage. And the result is amazing.

That's some solid stuff right there.


Site of Future Awesomeness

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Site of Future Awesomeness

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