Friday, January 29, 2010

In The Land Of Spooning

The one-armed man is king. Unless he is so unfortunate that not only is he one-armed, but happens to sleep on the same side of the bed as he's missing an arm. In which case he is but a peasant.

But a one-armed man who has had the missing arm replaced by a robot laser cannon is once again king. Unless, of course, he lives in the land of people with robotic rocket launcher arms.

In which case he is target practice.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Financial Samurai Draws His Katana

... And spares my neck with this review/giveaway.

My Torrid Romance With Yo Gabba Gabba

There's this kid's show called Yo Gabba Gabba, and if you're around my house for any length of time you'll hear high-pitched whining. "Please, can we watch Yo Gabba Gabba? Come on! Pleeeeease!"

The whining comes not from my 3-year-old son Luke to me, but from me to Luke. Because the show is awesome and he can't seem to realize it, instead being obsessed with watching Howl's Moving Castle over and over, sprinkled in with inferior half-hour dramas such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Special Agent Oso, Jungle Junction and Dinosaur Train.

I should be grateful that he's not into Barney or Telletubbies, I guess, but I want to watch Yo Gabba Gabba more often and I have no excuse to do so unless it's with Luke. I guess I'll have another shot with soon-to-be 1-year-old Emma.

Yo Gabba Gabba has it all. Celebrity guests, random sketches in which John Waters does drawrings on white boards, and original music from popular bands.

The show is an acid trip that begins with a jumpsuited, ever-peppy dandy named DJ Lance Rock opening up a briefcase in which four toys emerge and become giant, talking costumed freaks. I will leave the character descriptions to Wikipedia:

# Muno - A male red one-eyed cyclops who's friendly and first appeared in "Play". He's the tallest and is somewhat clumsy (which in one case, was much to Toodee's chagrin) and he has a close bond with Foofa. He is also the band's guitarist. In 'Family' his family makes an appearance.

# Foofa - A female pink flower bubble character who's thinking happy and first appeared in "Play". She loves rainbows and unicorns and can play the tambourine.

# Brobee - A little male green monster character who first appeared in "Play". He is curious and in one episode, he is tired of being short. Plex accidentally makes Brobee DJ Lance-size and Brobee soon finds that being big isn't very fun for him. He is the drummer for the Gabba band. He is also, apart from Gooble, the only character who is able to frown.

# Toodee - A blue female cat-dragon character who likes to have fun; she first appeared in "Play". She has a close bond with Brobee and plays the bass guitar for the Gabba band.

# Plex - A yellow male robot fellow who first appeared in "Play". He is really smart and usually gives the lessons to his friends and is a fatherly-figure to the gang. He can play the keytar.

# Gooble - An unhappy creature similar to Muno who first appeared in "Happy" for the Super Music Friends Show. He cries all of the time.

The best thing of all about this show is its music. Anyone who's known me for any length of time knows that I pretty much hate music as a whole, given that of every song ever created, I only like 195 of them. But I adore almost every song that appears in Yo Gabba Gabba, especially the recurring theme that the cast harmonizes whenever someone's having trouble.

The lyrics go "Keep trying! Keep trying! You'll get it right! You'll get it right! Keep trying! Keep Trying! Don't give up! Never give up!' followed by "You did it! You did it! You got it right! You got it right!"

I can't tell you how often I've played this song on my mental MP3 player to encourage me in my struggles.

Other spectacular musical selections include "March March Robots," a song about marching robots, "Electricity," a song about electricity, and "You Are My Robot Friend," a song about friendship between man and robot.

I guess I need to just break down, go it alone and start mainlining Yo Gabba Gabba DVDs like a crackwhore on a crack binge. But I lack the strength and determination to try such a thing, and thus I wait for Emma.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Video Games I Have Dropkicked

It takes quite a bit to push me into rage overdrive, but once I'm there look out -- I'm capable of heinous feats, such as drop-kicking video games.

Only two games have managed to drag me to this Hulk-like point of WWE-style vengeance: Super Mario RPG for Super Nintendo and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask for the Nintendo 64.

Both games frustrated me so much (Super Mario RPG for its nigh impossible end boss battle and Majora's Mask for a ridiculous late-game mission that forces you to trade unrealistically high amounts of inventory items to zombie characters in order to pass through) that I yanked them out of their respective machines, opened my door and punted them out of the house and into the street, never to be seen again.

I'm not sure what happened to the games. Perhaps passers by picked them up, only to be cursed by their presence as I was. Perhaps cars ran them over, sending their withered souls directly to hell itself, from whence they came.

I eventually somewhat got over my hatred for Majora's Mask and downloaded it on the Wii via the Virtual Console service. I'm still pissed at Super Mario RPG, though, especially since my friend Magill beat the end boss in front of me. And thus that game remains undownloaded. Some wounds never heal.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reviews and Miscellany

Rainy Day Saver reviewed Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel. Her write-up is here. And Live Cheap news did the same here.

And a public service announcement: sign up for Bargain Babe's email list to win a bunch of prizes this week.

My New Career Path

Forget this writing stuff -- I was always destined to be a magician. This I discovered the other day when I dazzled my 3-year-old son, Luke, with a spectacular trick of my invention: I showed him a quarter, rubbed my hands together and made it vanish. Then I pulled the quarter out from behind his ear, making him giggle with delight.

Sure, shake your head, thinking you know how I did the trick. It's more involved than you'd think. I didn't, as you might expect, hide the quarter between two fingers, then pretend like I pulled it out of his ear.

I vanished the quarter thanks to actual magical powers bestowed on me via a deal I made selling my soul to a dark demonic lord Magikor I encountered by playing either Ouija Board of Chutes & Ladders (don't remember which).

As for pulling the quarter out of his ear (the deal with Magikor only gave me the power to make quarters disappear, not find them behind kid's ears), I had to do some legwork. As the boy slept I conducted amateur surgery on him, creating a kangaroo pouch behind his ear, which I used to slip the quarter into once it healed up. So the fact is, the boy had an actual quarter behind his ear for several days before I pulled the magic trick.

Thus emboldened with my powers, I hereby announce my retirement from all things writing in order to become a full-time magician.

When I take this act on the road, I'll need to think of a few more wrinkles to round out my act. Because let's face it, making quarters disappear will only dazzle the crowds for the first 90 minutes or so.

I'm thinking I'll start small, first as a house act for a fried chicken joint. Perhaps Lucky Wishbone in Tucson or Raising Cane's in Vegas. I will set up shop in the back of the store and perform such Copperfield-esque showstoppers such as making entire plates of chicken strips disappear as diners are either distracted by my lovely assistant or asked to close their eyes for three seconds as I stuff my face.

Weight management will be an issue if I'm consuming so much fried chicken, so I'll need to ingest some tapeworms in order to maintain my statuesque physique. Exercise is out as a weight management option because no one wants to see a magician on the elliptical or leg press -- it ruins the mystique. Plus, gym time takes away from PS3 time.

Once I get extremely famous, all the cliched things will start to happen to me. I'll get all egotistical, bang Fiona Apple, start doing smack to take the edge off and stare at myself in the mirror, wondering how success and money have driven me to the edge of the void.

So I'll take the next logical step: Starring in TV specials that have nothing whatsoever to do with magic. In one episode I'll lock myself inside giant fishbowls of ice in Times Square, and in another I'll hold my breath for 45 minutes. The show will be called "How Exactly Is This Magic Again?" and it will rock.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Which Wonka Death Would You Prefer?

If you had to choose one way to be maimed and murdered in the manner of a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory child, which one would you take?

To recap:

-Charlie Bucket: Given the Willy Wonka empire, but also control of a dangerous, untested glass elevator that violates FAA regulations, or whatever the British version of the FAA is, if it has one, then collides with a stealth jet aircraft 17,000 feet above London.

-Violet Beuregarde: Eats an Everlasting Gobstopper that blows her up into a giant blueberry, after which she is rolled away to be "juiced," meaning squeezed until all the blue, fermented blood splatters out of her.

-Mike Teevee: Shrunk into a tiny version of himself and granted the ability to go in and out of television shows and presumably movies, but most likely not in HD. He meets his end when he wanders onto the episode of Sanford and Son just before it's canceled.

-Augustus Gloop: After a near-drowning in a lake of chocolate, get sucked into a drainage pipe, where he remains stuck until the acids from the chocolate erode his lower appendages until they dissolve, rendering him a shapeless blob of caramelized nougat.

-Veruca Salt: Dropped into an egg sorting mechanism that correctly judges her a bad egg and incinerates her, her last words being an incomprehensible shriek of doom.

The correct answer is Mike Teevee, because at least before he died he got to be on TV, and all that matters is grabbing as much fame as you can before you get snuffed out by one of Wonka's diabolical plans.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

In Praise Of The Fried Seafood Platter

It is said that man cannot gaze upon heaven until he dies. Well, that's not entirely true, because one way to see paradise is to click on this link.

That's right, baby. I'm talking about the best and most impossible to eat meal known to mankind -- the Red Lobster Fried Seafood platter.

It's well-known that there is no physical way to cram all this food -- accompanied, of course, by the standard seven biscuits and three refills of cherry lemonade -- into your belly in one sitting. But the beauty of the dish ("dish," in this case, meaning "manhole cover") is that the leftovers are every bit as delicious the next day. Such is the power of the Fried Seafood platter that it can withstand the rubberizing annihilation of the microwave and yet still retain its delicious integrity.

It is unknown whether Red Lobster's illustrious Cheddar biscuits taste OK the next day after a microwaving, because no human has managed to leave a Red Lobster table without devouring every last crumb. The biscuits rank among the highest order of chain restaurant breads, trailing only Carraba's and Macaroni Grill in the pantheon of perfection.

The shame, at least for those who live in Tucson, is that Red Lobster is all but impossible to get into, so starved is our landlocked populace for sea food. The best my city has to offer is a slew of subpar-at-best Mexican sea food eateries, which make you fairly certain that "sea food" is Spanish for "cat meat."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Word About U2

Those who know me well might question why I left U2 off my list of 10 Types of People Who Just Need to Stop. They might wonder whether I've softened in my stance about U2 music being wretched dog excrement, or if I was simply forgetful.

The omission does deserve some clarification, so onward. The reason U2 did not make the list is because I refuse to grant them more popularity by referencing them with the noble distinction of being included on my list. The notoriety could get to their heads, and let's face it, if there's anyone who doesn't need yet another reason to be conceited it's U2.

You might scoff at this maneuver given the fact that I'm devoting an entire post to them here, but you'd be overlooking the fact that this is a SECRET post which I intend for nobody but my utmost obsessive stalkers to read.

I will not post a link to this on Twitter and Facebook as I do my other posts. I will not beg coworkers and family members to read it, as I often do, and I most certainly will not talk about this post in casual conversation. Sure, it will go on Google Reader -- you can neither stop Google Reader nor even hope to contain it -- but last I check I only had like 4 subscribers, so I think my secret's safe there.

If you have stumbled onto this post, you are most likely a member of the FBI in charge of reading everything posted on the internet. So I say to you, good sir or madam, I am confident that since you are a man or woman of refined musical taste such as mine, and thus despise U2 just as much as I do. So top of the day to you and good luck on your further reading for the day.

Tucson Weekly review

A gentleman with a very long name and excellent taste in books reviews SOASS here.

Financial Times Mentions Me

But says he doesn't have time to read the book. What, he doesn't have a bathroom floor to dump it on> At least he cares enough to drop an Amazon link in there though.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

10 Types People Who Need To Just Stop

1. Dog walkers who refuse to use leashes.
2. Bikers who think they're too cool to hold on to handelbars.
3. Door to door salesmen.
4. Producers who invent spinoffs to the following shows: CSI, Law & Order, The Biggest Loser, NCIS and Stargate.
5. Jay Leno.
6. People who don't watch late night TV yet are still angry at Jay Leno for getting his rather than retreat quietly into the night.
7. Massachusetts voters.
8. Neil Rackers.
9. NBA players during the regular season.
10. Bruce Springsteen.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Think This Makes Me A Disgusting Person

I am getting over a cold, which ended for all intents and purposes more than a week ago. It was a doozy. Fever and chills for a couple days -- since when do colds come with fevers -- accompanied by constant nose running and aches. Now the cold is gone, yet its fingerprints remain because every time I cough really hard, I cough up some projectile phlegm that occasionally jumps out of my mouth and onto a Kleenex, making me flush with joy.

It's the same feeling I get after an excellent, bowl-filling trip to the bathroom, and gives me a real sense of accomplishment, that I've extracted a disgusting foreign substance from my body. Here was this disgusting gunk that was fastened to my lungs, and my body triumphantly rejected it. Sometimes I stare at the goop after the extraction and regard it with awe -- a vanquished enemy that fought the good fight before bowing to the better opponent.

I probably should go to the doctor and get an antibiotic to take care of the lingering after-effects, but I just don't have the heart for it. I know my time with the projectile phlegm is short, and I want to cherish every bit of it as long as I can.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sports Rules That Should Be

In baseball, a hitter should be allowed to bring the bat with him on the base path. As he circles the bases and the ball comes near, he should be allowed to bat it away in order to defend himself, as well as use the bat as a bayonet in order to discourage the defense from blocking bases.

The decision as to whether or not it's appropriate to bring the bat along should be at the runner's discretion. If he feels it's worth the potential benefits in exchange for the inherent slowdown, he should go for it.

Also, the sport should be co-ed. As backwards as car racing is, at least it has the wherewithal to respect gender equity enough to recognize that both sexes can compete on even ground in skill-based activities. This isn't arm-wrestling here, it's hand-eye coordination.

Tennis should also go co-ed, beyond the inconsequential gimmick of mixed doubles. Sure, there would probably almost never be female champions, but think of the great theater that would emerge if a woman ever came close. Golf, which should also go completely co-ed, has made strides in this area.

Furthermore, there should be no weight classes in boxing, MMA or any other sport. Creating little affirmative-action leagues for people of all shapes and sizes muddies things up and disrespects the little guys, assuming they could never compete with the bigger dudes so why not even try?

If weight classes stay, there should be an NFL for small, slow, weak, old guys.

As for the NFL, holding penalties should be done away with, just as blocking and charging in basketball should be tossed aside. Both fouls are subjective judgment calls that are based on the whims of officials, and both occur on almost every play, so just let the players fend for themselves and see how things work out.

Also, they should just stop with the NHL because nobody cares. Bring it out every four years for the Olympics a la curling.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Conan The Destroyer

Jay Leno did Conan O'Brien the biggest favor ever by stealing his job and pretending it was NBC's fault. Now suddenly a guy no one has watched or cared about for several years is suddenly the comic genius of our time with hordes of followers who have never seen his show, yet are willing to pen online diatribes, sign petitions and even picket corporate offices so justice will be served.

What I'm getting at, of course, is far more important than the piddling Tonight Show. Jay Leno, will you please tell the Arizona Daily Star that you want to be a general assignment metro reporter and lend me a few seconds in Conan's sympathy bully pulpit of wonder for just a day or two? I could really use the exposure. I've got a book to sell and some major self-esteem issues.

If you're not into general assignment metro reporting, perhaps you could swipe my associate editor title at the Consumerist? You could also bump me out of that gig. Or maybe even my OK! Magazine movie critic thing? How about Guy Who's Responsible For Taking Out Trash And Running Dishwasher at my house?

Come on, Jay. You know you want at least one of my jobs. And you'll only have to do my work until overwhelming public sentiment sweeps you aside and reinstates me to my rightful positions.

So will you just think about it, Jay? There's a half-eaten bag of Doritos in it for you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti's Deal With The Devil

Bag on Pat Robertson all you want, but the man speaks the truth. Haiti actually did sign a deal with the devil back in 1810, and I've managed to dig up the contract. Here it is:

We, Haitians of 1810, do solemnly swear to subject ourselves to subservience to Satan in return for liberation from Napoleon III, or whoever. In exchange, our descendants in the year 2010 will pay for this liberation by dying horribly in a massive earthquake.

Also, we Haitians are entitled to all the Twinkies we want, even though they will not be invented for 130 more years. We deserve them advance because that's going to be one bastard of an earthquake in 2010.

All parties are sworn to secrecy on this deal, and violation of this clause renders it null and void. Napoleon gets Haiti back, and Haiti must give back the Twinkies. But the earthquake still happens because Satan drove a hard bargain.




Friday, January 08, 2010