Sunday, August 10, 2014

An Open Letter To White People With Dreadlocks

Source
Dear White People with Dreadlocks,

What are you doing? What are you thinking? Do you even know why you decided to put on this ridiculous (for you) hairstyle?

Dreadlocks are not pigtails. They are a profound cultural statement. There is literally no other hairstyle on Earth more identified with a specific racial group than dreadlocks, the one you decided to adopt. Even within African American culture, wearing dreadlocks speaks volumes about your African heritage, and possibly even your love of the Caribbean and reggae. What do dreadlocks possibly say to the Caucasian community? That you listen to too much Bob Marley?

I don’t even understand why you would go to all that trouble. Dreadlocks on African Americans occur naturally, just by braiding our naturally curly hair and keeping it tightly wound. You have to keep tangling it, and not washing it, and putting super glue in it or whatever it is you do to get your straight hair to make dreadlocks. It’s not worth it.

More than all of this, white people wearing dreadlocks just cheapen the whole thing. It makes you look silly, and makes everyone else with dreadlocks look silly. On behalf of the African American community, I’d like to say stop. Just stop. Wash your hair and move on with your life.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

KidsTalk: TURBO Makes No Sense

Turbo is a very frustrating movie. It’s very well animated, the voice work is great with stars like Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, and the script is okay, if you don't mind the patchwork of story elements obviously lifted from other movies like Ratatouille. But it has a fatal flaw that made it hard to watch: the premise.

Turbo is one of those “x dreams of being a y” stories where “y” is something outlandish, like a rat who wants to be a cook or a pig who wants to be a sheepdog. But Turbo is about a snail who dreams of winning the Indy 500. I don’t mean driving a race car in the Indy 500. A snail driving a car would kinda make sense. I mean, running in the Indy 500 himself, despite the fact that he has no wheels or even legs, and no one actually runs in the Indy 500.

Of course, the moral of the story is that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, but I think Turbo proves the opposite. A snail who wants to win the Indy 500 makes about as much sense as a mouse who wants to become the world’s tallest building. It’s a dream that doesn't make any kind of sense. It’s just not going to happen. This is the kind of idea that should have made someone take a step back to re-think the basic concept. But instead of acknowledging the impossibility, the movie goes through a tortured path to try to make it happen.

While wishing upon a star, Turbo falls into a racing car’s engine and gets soaked in nitrous oxide. The combination of nitrous oxide and a toxic soda he drinks gives him super-speed. I can accept that, sort of. What I can’t accept is that it also gives him other features of a car, like headlights, a car alarm, and even a radio. As funny as it is to see his eyes popping to Snoop Dogg’s tunes, I couldn't help thinking, “How is that even remotely possible?” But I digress.

With his newfound speed, Turbo befriends a taco store clerk (for some strange reason, maybe to draw in a Latino audience) who believes in him and wants to make the dream come true. They go to the Indy 500, where an Internet video of Turbo racing the track leads to a groundswell of support to allow Turbo to race.

Now, here’s where it gets really sticky. They repeatedly try to explain why Turbo can enter the race by saying, “There’s no rule that says a snail can’t race!” Well, no, there’s no specific rule that says a snail can’t race in the Indy 500, but there are specific rules on exactly what kind of vehicle can race in the Indy 500. Emphasis being “vehicle.” Specifically, the rules state only open wheel automobiles can race, and Turbo has no wheels. End of movie.

But no, they go ahead and Turbo gets his race. I’m probably not spoiling it to say he wins, but it all felt really hollow. I mean, I’m used to nonsensical stories in kids’ movies, but Turbo simultaneously tries to ground the story in reality while clinging to a ridiculous premise. I just couldn't buy it.

Kids liked it, though, so I guess that’s all that matters.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lion Greets His Rescuer: The Real Story

I saw this video on Facebook with the following text:

The woman in the video found the lion, injured in the forest, on the verge of death. She took the lion home with her and nursed it back to health. Later, when the lion was better, she made arrangements with a zoo to take the lion. Some time passed before the woman had a chance to visit the zoo. This video was taken when she walked up to the lion's cage to see how he was doing. Watch the lion's reaction when he sees her!!
The story is almost completely wrong. The woman's name is Ana Julia Torres. She's a professional wildlife rescuer. She did find the lion, but at a zoo where it was being mistreated, not "injured in the forest." She nursed it back to health, but not at her "home." She runs an animal shelter where Jupiter the lion (its real name) is being kept. It hasn't been years since she's seen it. She continues to take care of it, because she sees it every day and it greets her this way. I don't know why this video is being distributed with this made up story when the real story is so much better.

Friday, February 28, 2014

How To Twerk Like Miley Cyrus

This video really shouldn't make me giggle as much as it does. There's a YouTuber who calls himself "How to Basic" who makes some of the most bizarre and messiest videos you've ever seen, and here's his recreation of Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs. I know, it's uncanny how accurate it is.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Rose Zone: The Red Zone for Women

SNL created this perfect parody of the Red Zone. My wife would totally watch this.

Monday, November 04, 2013

MemeWatch: What the Fox Says

Have you heard the phrase "what the fox says" and didn't know what it meant? Want to be ahead of the curve on what the young people are doing? Then let's learn together with MemeWatch. Today's lesson is on "What the Fox Says."

You've probably heard about the phrase "what the fox says." It's from this music video: "The Fox," more popularly known as "What Does the Fox Say."



Trivia: The video wasn't actually intended to be a real song. Ylvis is a Norwegian comedy duo with a TV show, and "The Fox" was just intended to be a commercial for the new season of their show. "The Fox" is meant to be a parody of pretentious pop music with an intentionally silly and stupid premise. As one member of Ylvis said, it was just supposed to amuse Norway for a few minutes. In the process, they accidentally created a genuinely good song. No one is more surprised than Ylvis that "The Fox" has taken off.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thursday, August 08, 2013

What English Sounds Like to Non English Speakers

This short film "Skwirl" is a trip. It has a couple talking to each other in what sounds like English, even to English speakers, but it's only when you listen closely that you figure out it's complete gibberish. Kind of like what Russian and Japanese sound like to me.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Worst Martial Arts Demonstration Ever

We've all seen those demonstrations of kung fu warriors breaking boards with their fists or feet. Turns out it's harder than it looks. This just gets funnier every time I watch it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

It's Finally Ironic

Someone finally fixed Alanis Morrisette's song. It always bugged me.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Duck and Cover" Gets MST3K'd

Those old duck-and-cover videos are available on line, and I thought they were begging for the MST3K treatment. That's why I created Skeevy-D Commentary for them. Here are parts one and two

Saturday, June 22, 2013

When School Kids Name Animals

This is what happens when you let primary school kids vote on an animal's name...

Brought to you by the Havenview Primary School in Tazmania


[Via Reddit]

Monday, May 20, 2013

If Law Enforcement Treated Car Theft Like Identity Theft

Recently, we became aware of the frustrating response law enforcement gives to identity theft. It made me wonder what would happen if the police treated other crimes the way they treated identity theft. I think it would go something...like this.

POLICE: 911, what is your emergency?
VICTIM: My car! Someone just stole my car! I had my wife and kids in the car, and some guy just ran up with a gun and forced us all out and stole my car!
POLICE: All right, calm down.
VICTIM: But he's got my car! I can see him driving away!
POLICE: It's okay. We see this a lot these days. Frankly, you shouldn't have been driving around in public with your car. That's just asking for somebody to steal it. What you should do is keep your car in your garage so no one takes it.
VICTIM: But-but I need to drive my car around! That's why I have a car! Anyway, forget how it happened! The guy's turning the corner! I need someone out here! He's driving west on Elm Street--
POLICE: Okay, sir, please calm down. Here's what you need to do. I'm going to give you a website. It has a live feed of street cameras. What you need to do is watch those feeds until you spot your car. Then you can find out where the car thief is going, and tell whoever is at that location when he gets there not to let him park his car there. Then when he goes somewhere else, do the same thing--
VICTIM: What? Wait a minute, you mean I have to find this guy? Why can't you do it? You're the police.
POLICE: Securing your car is your responsibility, sir, not mine. We don't have the manpower to track down every stolen car.
VICTIM: But I can't spend the rest of my life watching a computer for my car!
POLICE: Well, there are many companies that will monitor the streets and notify you when they spot your car. The point is, you'll need to find wherever the thief tries to park your car and get the parking lot to deny him access. That way, you won't get any tickets or parking fees that he might get you charged with.
VICTIM: But he'll still have my car!
POLICE: Well, I mean, the reality is that he has your car. There's not much we can do about that. You just need to minimize the damage. If you want your car back, here's what you need to do. Go find a flashlight and start going around, inspecting every car. When you find your car, let us know, and we'll arrest the driver. If we can get there in time. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reality vs. Fantasy in "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"

When I was a kid, I used to watch Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. I used to wonder why he would talk about the Neighborhood of Make Believe where he would have his puppets and the trolley. Why not just have the puppets and trolley, instead of making a big deal about how he used his imagination to do it? No other show did.

Now I have toddlers, and they watch shows like "Lunar Jim" and "Dora the Explorer," and are always asking, "Is that real?" "Is this real?" And I have to explain what is real (yes, porcupines are real), and what's not (no, people can't breathe on the Moon).

I realized that Mister Rogers knew that children struggled to understand the difference between fantasy and reality, and that TV shows could blur the line. That's why, on his show, he always made it clear what was make-believe and what was real.

Thank you, Mister Rogers.

Monday, May 06, 2013

The Best Marriage Proposal Ever [Video]

Seriously...if I saw this in a romantic comedy, I would have thought it was too over-the-top.

  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

News Nuggets 2/25/2013

Seth MacFarlane hosted the Academy Awards. Some in the audience were put off by the fact that he performed most of the show dressed as Matt Groening, and kept interrupting the show with random skits from Saturday Night Live.

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop died at 96. Shortly afterward, President Obama announced his promotion to Undertaker General.

Secretary of State John Kerry defends liberties, saying Americans have a "right to be stupid." The American people would have responded with outrage, but were too busy watching American Idol.

HP sold its webOS operating system to LG Electronics. Many consumers responded with, "What's webOS?"

See you next Tuesday.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sports Illustrated Almost Killed Kate Upton

I enjoy Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. I have no problem with women in skimpy outfits. But this time, Sports Illustrated has gone too far. They had the bright idea of taking pictures of the girls in every continent, and one of those continents happened to be Antarctica. How do you take swimsuit photos in Antarctica? There were ways to do it - use a backdrop of Antarctica or use a more substantial swimsuit or have the girl in a swimsuit and a parka over it. Or at least, have a heater off-camera to keep the girl warm. I mean, surely you wouldn't put a girl out in the ice and snow with nothing but a skimpy bikini? Or even put her out there topless? I mean, people die in those sub-zero temperatures all the time.

Well, that's exactly what they did to Kate Upton for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2013 issue. Kate Upton has described how they would put her out there and she almost died. For real. She lost her vision and hearing, which is the first stage of hypothermia. All so we could get some nice pictures of her. As much as I enjoy the photos, it's not worth it. It really makes me wonder what kind of safety protocols they had for her or if this was just a stupid idea that no one had the guts to shoot down or think of the consequences.

Of course, the counter-argument is that she didn't have to do it. It's not like she was a prisoner. She could have just said "no." But we all know the pressure she's under. I mean, Sports Illustrated made her career. If she turned them down, she probably would never do SI again. And maybe she gets a reputation of being difficult. She also probably figured they would have ways to protect her, which they apparently didn't have. Also, she's only 20 years old. The point is, while Kate has a lot of responsibility for this, it's all SI to blame.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy Demolition Day 2013!

Happy Demolition Day! BOOM!

If you're not a follower, then here's the deal on Demolition Day. In the aftermath of Valentine's Day 2007, I proposed a new holiday for men only. February 22 became Demolition Day, a day that celebrates destruction. What do you do on Demolition Day?

1) When you greet someone, instead of saying "Hello," yell "Boom!" To get the full effect, lunge at them and throw up your hands.

2) Throw a party with the traditional Demolition Day meal of beer and pizza while you watch action movies where stuff blows up. Any Rambo or Terminator movie will do.

3) Build a gingerbread house and decorate it all fancy and beautiful. Then at midnight, you and all your friends smash it to pieces with sticks or bare hands. If you really want to get fancy, use a bomb.

4) This would only happen if Demolition Day took off...but wouldn't it be great if there was a building somewhere that needs to be demolished, and they broadcast the demolition live on Demolition Day? And we all counted down like on New Years' Eve and the detonation occurred at midnight? And what if there were four or five buildings being demolished at the same time all around the world at midnight, and they showed them all simultaneously, picture-in-picture? Awesome.

So join me in celebrating Demolition Day on February 22. And tell your friends. Boom!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Alicia Keys Sings the Theme Song For "Gummi Bears"

I always thought this show was underrated...finally, it gets its due.

[Via MTV]

Friday, January 25, 2013

Monkey Migraine is Dead, Long Live Nigel G. Mitchell

Last week, when I replaced my profile picture on Blogger and Disqus with my profile photo, it was kind of emotional for me. In doing so, I erased the last vestiges of my alternate persona, Monkey Migraine. I feel like I need to memorialize him.

Monkey Migraine started out back in the days when anonymity was the watchword online. I wanted to start blogging, but I didn't want to use my real name. I was sitting around trying to think of a name, and "monkey migraine" popped into my head. I'll be honest...I don't know where it came from or why I liked it so much. Maybe because my mother had crippling migraines for most of her life. I also liked the alliteration: "monkey migraine" seemed to have an odd symmetry. Also, I hate monkeys...for real. So the idea of a monkey in pain pleased me. I also imagined the logo, a monkey with little lightning bolts. And so, Monkey Migraine was born.

Over time, Monkey Migraine became more than just a user name. It became a personality. I found myself writing as "him"; wild, crazy, off-beat, obsessive, and goofy. If you look back at my early blog posts, you'll see what I mean.

But when I started writing for Geek Twins, my brother encouraged me to use my real name. I resisted it for years, but at the same time, I could see how Maurice's name seemed to make him more accessible. Also, it became harder and harder to interact with people in things like Disqus with the nickname and monkey logo. It's just not a name to be taken seriously. More importantly, I feel like anonymity is no longer the watchword on the Internet. With Facebook and other social media, being yourself is the norm.

The turning point came when I decided to self-publish my novel, Dead Links. I never even considered putting "Monkey Migraine" as the author of my novel, and it got confusing and silly to be talking about the book which clearly has my name on it while under the name "Monkey Migraine." I couldn't pretend to be someone else while promoting a book as Nigel G. Mitchell. It just all became counter-productive.

And so, by removing my Monkey Migraine logo, you can see the real me. You'll probably notice a resemblance to my brother Maurice.

Monkey Migraine Mountain will still be the place I put my more personal and bizarre stuff, but I'll be creating a new blog. We have a lot of writers who visit Geek Twins, and Maurice has been encouraging me to become a part of the online writing community. That's why my new blog is "Nigel G. Mitchell-Author, Blogger, Geek." You can follow my new blog at: http://nigelgmitchell.blogspot.com/. Hope to see you there.

I have to admit that I'll miss Monkey Migraine. But I don't think he'll miss me.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday: "Dead Links"

I'm joining the Six Sentence Sunday movement with this excerpt from my technothriller, Dead Links. If you're not familiar with it, the idea is to post six sentences from a work in progress or published novel.
The waiter's gun poured bullets into the cushions of the booth. Tufts of foam burst out of the holes to dance in the air like snow. The chatter of the Spectre ignited screams all through the restaurant, as well as the thunder of chairs toppling over and footsteps pounding from others trying to escape.

Amanda ran along the wall of booths, zigzagging to keep from giving their attacker a clear shot. A framed lithograph of an ocean scene shattered as bullets traced a ragged line across it. Glass rained down onto a screaming man sitting at the table.
If you'd like to read the rest of it, you can get the full novel at the Amazon Kindle Store.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Machine of Death: 'Alien Abduction' [Story]

The following short story was written for the second volume of the sci-fi anthology, Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die. The story was rejected, so I'm presenting it here for free. If you're not familiar with it, Machine of Death is a collection of short stories about a machine that takes a drop of blood, and prints out a card with a phrase that tells you exactly how you will die. It doesn't say where or when, and sometimes the card is so vague that you don't even know what it means, but it's never wrong. The title of every story is taken from a machine of death card. So here's my take on it:

UPDATE: I've moved this story to my new writing-only blog. You can read it here.