Sunday, February 29, 2004

Virtual Stapler

This is one of those random, stupid, funny websites that you don't see much of anymore. It's called Virtual Stapler, and it's pretty much what it sounds like. Try it next time you get bored.
Categories: random-lynx

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Flashback Friday: Heartbeeps

This week, we venture beyond the world of television to the world of movies. I feel this is an important story to tell, the forgotten story of Heartbeeps.

The year was 1981. I think my first encounter with Heartbeeps was an article in a kid's magazine that profiled the robots in the movie. The article focused on the fact that the movie used "real robots." In retrospect, this was technically true, since two of the main characters were mechanical. But at the time I thought it meant (and I think was intended to think) that the movie used living, breathing robots. I mean, technically the Muppet Show used "real robots," but nobody would call that an innovation. Whatever.

I remember being absolutely in love with this movie, even though I never actually saw it when it came out. I watched the commercials with rapture. I even cut out an advertisement in the newspaper that had photos of the robotic characters, taped it to my wall, and just stared at it for ages. Don't ask me why Mom never actually took me to see the movie in the theaters. I'll have to ask her.

Eventually, the movie came on WHT and I actually saw it. I'll be the first to admit it was not a great movie. For those who haven't seen it, it was basically Romeo and Juliet with robots. In the future, two robots fall in love and run away from their owners, chased by a robotic cop which was more like a tank that talked. The ending was way too depressing for a kids' movie, which is probably why it failed in theaters. I think the only reason I liked it is that I like robots.

I think it's an important movie, though. Andy Kaufman played the male robot and with all the newfound interest in him, I was surprised that nobody mentioned it. Of course, it was a flop, but it was also out-of-character for him. The bold, vulgar, in-your-face comedian played a sweet and loveable robot in a kids' movie. I'd like to know why he did it and how it fit into his life.

The movie is mostly forgotten, except for a webpage dedicated to it and this X-Entertainment review. I need to see if it's at videostores yet. I really did love that evil tank. Cool makeup, too.
Categories: entertainment, flashback

Friday, February 27, 2004

Batman Flies Again

I had heard they were working on a new Batman movie, but I didn't know it had gotten off the ground. Apparently it has, because "Batman: Intimidation" starts filming next month. According to an article in, the movie will star "Christian Bale as Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred the butler, Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard (Wayne's mentor), Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Katie Holmes as a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne." It looks like it'll be a Year One sort of thing with Batman just starting out fighting Ken Watanabe as Ra's Al-Ghul. I could go for more Batman, but who the heck is Christian Bale? Oh yeah, he was the smarmy racist guy in "Shaft." So good news, another Batman movie is coming. Bad news, another Batman movie is coming. At least Joel Schumacher isn't directing it.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

White People

I found out last week that one of my co-workers is albino. That's right, I had to find out. When I was a kid, I knew a guy named Eli who was an albino. I always wondered how his life turned out, being so different. Well, we've gotten to the point where an albino can look perfectly normal. The co-worker has dyed her hair red, wears colored contacts, and puts on five layers of makeup every day on her face. The result is that I never would have known she was albino if she hadn't told us. You can't stop science...can't stop it...

Categories: misc

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Shearer Interviews "Dead in Two Months" Star

This week, Harry Shearer interviewed the actor in a failed reality-show called "Dead in Two Months", where an actor pretends to be dying in two months. It's hysterical. I'm pretty sure it's a satire, because it's pretty scary if it's real. But it is an awfully realistic interview...

Monday, February 16, 2004

Triumph Goes Too Far

Believe it or not, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog has started an international incident. Conan O'Brien went to Toronto last week and sent Triumph out onto the streets. Of course, Triumph promptly went around insulting people. Unfortunately, his insults about French people sparked cries of racism. Now Canadian politicians are demanding an apology. I, for one, think it's terrible what Triumph did and he absolutely owes an apology to the frogs.

Categories: news

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Spam, Spam, Wonderful Spam

This website has done the impossible...found a good use for spam. Kristin Thomas creates poetry out of the headlines of the spam she gets every day, and gets surprisingly good results. Wish I'd thought of that.
Categories: random-lynx

The Google Monopoly

To those who warn Google might turn into the Microsoft of the Internet, I say it's already begun. There's a report that Google has pulled ads that criticize Royal Carribean cruise lines. If this were an isolated incident, we could excuse it, but it's not. One report shows that Nazi-related websites can't be found on the German and French version of Google and another report shows that Google blocks access to critics of Scientology. This is why I try to use other search engines besides Google (like Vivisimo), but I can't deny Google sometimes has better results.
Categories: science

Friday, February 13, 2004

Flashback Friday: Doctor Snuggles

This week, we go a little farther back but hopefully improve on last week's debacle of "SuperGran." Today, we celebrate the cartoon show, "Doctor Snuggles." I only have vague memories of this show, but fond memories. I remember getting up early on Sunday mornings (real early...maybe 6 o'clock or earlier) and watching this British show about an eccentric inventor named Doctor Snuggles. I thought he was named Professor Snuggles, but the official website corrected that. Not hard to find, actually. Turns out Doctor Snuggles' cartoon show was cancelled, but he lives on with a series of picture books.

What I remember best was the Doctor's drilling machine. It was like a submarine, except it had a drill-bit on the nose and two mechanical legs (with sneakers, of course). When he wanted to burrow underground, the machine would get a running start on the legs, then dive into the ground, burrowing with the nose. I wanted one of those so bad. I used to draw up plans for mechanical drill vehicles all the time. He had lots of other great inventions, but I can't remember them. I think this short-lived show seeded a lot of my inventor-lust when I was a kid.
Categories: entertainment

Short-Term Memory

I've been thinking a lot about the latest Adam Sandler movie, "50 First Dates," and it really bothers me. It looks like a funny premise - a guy dates a girl who loses her short-term memory, so he has to make her fall in love with him again every day. The problem I have with the movie is that it takes what was once an original idea, a character who loses short-term memory, and turns it into a stereotype.

Have we really beaten the short-term memory concept to death so much that we can use it as the premise for a romantic comedy? I remember the first time I saw the concept on SNL with Tom Hanks, brilliantly playing Mr. Short-Term Memory. Then there was the underrated Dana Carvey movie, Clean Slate. Then of course, there was the masterpiece, Memento, which explored the tragic consequences of memory loss.

Oddly enough, it seems like "50 First Dates" is based on "Clean Slate" more than "Memento." Both movies portray short-term memory loss as something that happens only at night, so the person keeps their memories until they wake up the next morning. I did read an account of someone with the real condition in one of Oliver Sachs' books. The real condition is more like "Memento," with memories that drift away throughout the day, not all at a specific time. I think "50 First Dates" trivializes what is a very real and painful condition. If the girlfriend in "50 First Dates" had Alzheimer's, it would never have been made. I'd hate to see this flawed portrayal of memory loss catch on.
Categories: entertainment

Thursday, February 12, 2004

E-Mail News: Bride or Widow?

I'm going to start posting odd news and responding with e-mails. Yes, I'm stealing this idea from Jim Rome, but if I had access to email at work, I'd be sending them to him, anyway.

So today's story is about a French woman who marries her dead boyfriend. No, not married and then he dies. No, not marrying his corpse. Yes, she went through a wedding ceremony in which she pledged her marriage to her boyfriend who had been killed in a car crash in 2002. She said it was because she still loved him so much. Surprisingly, this is legal in France if the president authorizes it, which he did. There's a law for that? Like there's such an overwhelming demand for it?

French judge1: Sir, sir, we have to do something! The office is flooded with people!
French judge2: What for?
French judge1: They want to marry their dead boyfriends and girlfriends! The place is packed with them!
French judge2: By golly, we need a law for this. Mr. President?
French President: Sure, I'll sign it. Dead boyfriend? No problem. Makes perfect sense to me.
Dear Nigel,

Marry your boyfriend *after* he's dead? Why didn't I think of that? That's quite a time-saver.

Anna Nicole Smith
Categories: news

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Penny Arcade: Bob

I stumbled across this Penny Arcade cartoon. I think it's hysterical, but I had to edit it to show it to you. Even still, I don't recommend showing it to anyone else. But's that funny. Here's the editted version of "It's Bob."

The Big Show

I'm sorry I taped over that episode of "WWE Smackdown," because in retrospect it was pretty good. They did a Royal Rumble, which is probably one of the greatest ideas in wrestling. I told you about it, where every 90 seconds a new wrestler enters the ring and the only way to lose is to get thrown out of the ring. Well, very quickly the ring was jammed with seven or eight wrestlers, all beating the crap out of each other.

But there was a moment that is so classic it should be in a clip show. Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Takishi, all of them are pounding each other. The clock counts down and everyone is counting along with it. "5...4..3..2..1!"

And then we hear the song, "Weeelllll....well, it's the Big Show!"

The crowd goes nuts. And I swear, every wrestler in the ring freezes. They all look at the entrance with a mixture of fear and horror. And the Big Show comes out and starts walking down the path towards the ring. Not running, walking! And all these big, tough wrestlers that were flipping and punching each other start backing away. It's a wave moving to the far side of the ring, the wrestlers cowering in terror at the prospect of the Big Show coming at them.

Then they start yelling and gesturing, obviously making a plan to work together. As the Big Show steps up to the ropes, the wrestlers are united in a common goal...keep Big Show out of the ring. They all rush and start pushing, shoving, punching Big Show as he struggles to hang onto the ropes. He's got seven guys all piling on him.

Then Big Show just sweeps his arm out and sends all the other wrestlers flying like bowling pins. He climbs into the ring and just starts beating them all down.

He didn't win, though, and yeah, I know it was all scripted, but it was a great moment. The Big Show is the man all other wrestlers fear. He's cool. Andre the Giant would be proud.

Low-Budget Ghostbusters

I was just at the video store and saw a van parked in front of it. It was just your average van like you used to find before the SUV, the kind that might be owned by an exterminator or FedEx company. But it was different. It was painted all white and had a row of red lights on the roof, like an ambulance. And just in case we didn't get it, the owners had spray-painted in crude lettering on the sides "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!"

I'll be the first to admit that it didn't look much like the original Ghostbusters ambulance, but it was close enough. At least they had some imagination. They wanted a Ghostbusters ambulance and they got as close as they could. I give them points for trying.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Was Dr. Atkins a Fat-ality?

Okay, the war over the Atkins Diet has now come to a head. There are reports circulating that Dr. Atkins was clinically obese when he died (almost 300 pounds) and suffered from heart failure. Of course, the Atkins people are challenging that report, saying that he just gained fluids from the coma he was in before his death. And it turns out the report was released by a vegan group who got it from a doctor who shouldn't have had the report in the first place. But can you really gain 60 pounds from fluids? I wouldn't be surprised if Atkins was a phony. Eat less and exercise, people.

Batman Returns

Would you believe they're going to make a new Batman animated series on Cartoon Network? It'll be called "The Batman" sort of like "Enterprise," set three years after he first dons the costume with his meeting his villains for the first time. If it's anything like the animated series (which was ten years ago...time flies), it'll be awesome. It's not airing until fall, but set the VCR.


I think I've finally found a good and free audio program. Check out Audacity, an open-source audio editing program. Let me know what you think.

Monday, February 09, 2004

E.T. II: The Lost Sequel

I found a story treatment that claims to be written by Steven Spielberg in 1982 for "E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears," a sequel to the original E.T. It's only a few pages long and after reading it, I'm glad they didn't make it.

The treatment describes a race of evil aliens, carnivourous albino versions of E.T.'s race with red eyes and big fangs. Kid you not. They land on Earth in the same forest as E.T., and have been doing all sorts of evil things like cattle mutilations and caging specimens. Now they're looking for E.T. for no apparent reason.

Meanwhile, Elliott is still waiting for a reply from E.T., and the communicator has been reacting to the signals from the evil aliens. Elliott and his friends head out to the forest and are captured. This time, the aliens talk telepathically, and the leader of the evil aliens is named Korel. At this point, we discover E.T.'s real name is Zrek. The aliens torture Elliott, trying to find Zrek, but Elliott can't help them. As he's dragged back to his cell, E.T. (or Zrek) comes waddling in like the cavalry in an Old West movie. He opens all the cages (somehow), reprograms the Evil alien ship to leave (somehow), and then E.T. leaves on his own ship after many hugs and kisses.

I'm assuming Spielberg had plans to add more to this story, because as it stands it is barely more than I described. It's more like a one-hour Christmas special than a two-hour movie, and Lucas can attest to how badly those turn out. And E.T. doesn't show up until the end. It's so horrible that I wonder if it's even real, but it is. I'll bet Spielberg wishes it had disappeared twenty years ago.

NOTE: This post has been expanded to include the review (05/23/2009).

The Michael Jackson Collection

Ever wonder what the police pulled out of Neverland Ranch? Well, they've released a heavily-edited list which still gives some insight into the case. A digital camera? Videotapes? A letter? It's all coming together...

The Hilton Tape

Okay, I thought I knew the whole story about Paris Hilton's tape, but I found this article and it baffles me. All along, I assumed Rick Salomon (the guy on the tape) released the tape to embarrass Paris Hilton. But now I find out Salomon is suing the Hiltons, claiming they released the tape to promote "The Simple Life." But Paris Hilton is suing the company that is trying to sell the tape. So if Paris didn't release it and Rick didn't release it, then who the heck did and why? Hmm...I wouldn't put it past Nicole Richie.
Categories: entertainment, Paris Hilton

Opus Returns...Offline

Did you know that Berkeley Breathed has brought back Opus? That's right, he's started a Sunday-only comic strip featuring Opus from Bloom County. Unfortunately, it's only available in newspapers, not online. While that's frustrating, he has a letter on his website that explains he needs to build up sales in newspapers before he can give the strips away online. I can't argue with that logic too much...but I do miss Opus.

Nothing So Strange

Remember "Nothing So Strange," that movie I was talking about that is a fake documentary investigating Bill Gates' assassination? Well, it's coming out on DVD on February 13. I hope I can rent it. That sounds like a real mind-bender.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Didn't Anybody Notice the Naked Man?

In all the hoo-ha about the Super Bowl exposure, it seems that everyone forgot about the streaker who ran onto the field before the second half. This interview says he's upset that the singers stole his thunder. Turns out he's a "professional streaker" who's done this sort of thing before, but the Super Bowl was the Mt. Everest. I think if it hadn't been for the controversy, this might have been the big story. Gotta give the guy props...he snuck out, wore a fake referee uniform, and even had the decency to cover his genitals with a football. Some people could learn from that...

Controversy Equals Popularity?

If certain artists think they can improve their record sales by pulling a sexy/shocking stunt, they should talk to those who've been there. Britney Spears kissed Madonna at MTV awards, but her latest album "In the Zone" has still only sold $1.8 million "roughly as many copies as her second album 'Oops, I Did It Again' did in a week." As for Christina Aguilera slutting up her image, her last album is "barely double platinum." So I doubt the little stunt at the Super Bowl will help that singer's sales. In fact, there's evidence it might even have hurt as it's generating a lot of negative buzz.

Saturday, February 07, 2004


I found a good place to store images for blogs or whatever. It's called Photobucket.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Flashback Friday: Supergran

Okay, this might be a little too obscure, but I felt the bar was raised after last week's "Great Space Coaster." So let's go to Supergran...

It must have come on one of those UHF stations we used to tune in. You remember "Supergran," right, about a British grandmother who becomes a superhero? Even with my memory, I know this was a bad TV show. But I also remember the theme song, and I think it's pretty good. There's a place with the lyrics if you can't remember. Pretty edgy with the use of the word "fairies." Here's a comprehensive BBC page about the show, but it didn't do much for me. Next week, we'll do better.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Virtual Frenchmen

There's an article in Wired about the AI controlling battle sequences in "Lord of the Rings." They used an experimental program that gave each soldier its own individual personality during battle sequences, making sure they were realistic and not canned actions. The AI was so good that some of the soldiers even made the smartest choice of all; they ran away from the fights. I didn't know they had French soldiers in Middle Earth...

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

I stumbled across an ad for this movie, "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra." It's a parody of bad scifi least, I hope it's a parody. I agree that a lot of comedy leverage could come out of that kind of movie, and this one looks like it has a lot of bases covered. Unfortunately, I keep thinking of "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." It's hard to make a bad movie on purpose without getting a bad movie. The trailer's pretty funny, though.

Christmas for Men

I've never been a big fan of the Super Bowl. Not a fan of any sports, of course, but the Super Bowl seemed to me the ultimate expression of everything stupid about sports. A bunch of guys programmed into watching a pointless game commercialized to death. But this was the first year I actually followed sports through talk radio, and the first year I watched the Super Bowl from beginning to the end. And I finally get it.

The Super Bowl is not about football. It's Christmas for men.

By that, I mean that the Super Bowl is the only holiday for guys. I don't think anyone can argue that most holidays are geared towards women. Not many men I know look forward to hanging tinsel on trees or tying bows on presents. But the Super Bowl is just testosterone through and through. It's a day off devoted to eating, drinking, and screaming surrounded by other men. It's all men want out of life.

I actually found myself looking forward to the Super Bowl, so much that I seriously considered watching the three hours of pre-game coverage. I compromised by watching only one hour. And I picked the Panthers to root for, because they were the underdog (only disappointment of the game).

And I loved it. That might be because it was a great game by everyone's standards, but I know I'm going to try a Super Bowl party next year. This time, I might even hold it at my house. B.Y.O.B.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004


I don't know if you saw that episode of "King of the Hill," but either they got the idea from this story or it's art imitating life. Following on our report about the Nazi-saluting dog, we have the story of a racist police dog. It's bitten two black children in the last two years, and people are saying it's specifically targeting black children. Hard to believe, but the story points out that the second time it didn't bite a white child that pet it, but immediately went after a black child. Figures that it's a German Shepherd.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Stuck on You

I saw "Stuck on You" on Saturday and I thought it was pretty good. It wasn't necessarily the funniest movie I've ever seen, although there were parts that had me rolling. It definitely had more emotion than any other Farrelly movie, thanks in large part to the great acting by Matt Damon and Greg Kinear. Damon is incredible. He played the shy, awkward nerdy guy so flawlessly, it was hard to remember him playing the tough-as-nails spy in "Bourne Identity."

The movie did a really good job of portraying the complexity of how to live permanently attached to someone. But I think being a twin made this movie more emotional from me. The story of two twins who are trying to live different lives while holding onto their friendship...well, do I need to say how I identify with that?

On an a related note, there was an Asian girl (Wen Yann Shih) in the movie who played one brother's Chinese girlfriend. She didn't look remotely Chinese to me. I'm no expert, but I'm betting she was Filipino. I'm insulted that they thought they could take any Asian woman and pass her off as any other Asian woman, like all we look at is slanty eyes. Well, maybe they do...

Oh, and Cher looks horrible. I don't know if it's botox or a bad face lift or all of the above, but her face looked like plastic, it barely moved at all.

Game Over

There's a promising show coming on UPN called "Game Over." It's an all-CGI show about a family that lives in a world of video games. The father is a race-car driver, the mother is a Lara Croft-like action heroine, the family pet is a freaky monster, and the neighbor is a kung-fu fighter. The concept is sound, although the commercial didn't look too funny. One thing that worries me is that the kids are normal. Why go halfway? Why not make the son a skateboarder and the daughter a Barbie-like character? We'll see.

The Mother of all Superbowl Ads

It's the 20 year anniversary of the commercial that put SuperBowl ads on the map, the 1984-style Apple Computer spot. I think I remember seeing that commercial when it first aired, but I doubt my memories are accurate, just because it's been shown so many times. NPR has a great retrospective on the ad, as well as a link to the Apple website where you can download and watch the ad.

Note: Talk about revisionist history...the TV spot's been altered so that the running woman is wearing an i-Pod