The Unified Space Epic Theory

What if, true believers, what if?  What if instead of the lackluster Alien sequels that we were saddled with (beginning with Alien3) we got a more Starship Troopers-style invasion pic? Just imagine a full-on war, here on Earth: Colonial Marines in grand, pitched, shoot-em-up battles with hordes of xenomophs. It would’ve been quite a spectacle, and would’ve looked sickeningly gorgeous in CG. Those big piles of zombies in World War Z? Imagine thousands of leaping, skittering aliens; tails thrashing, secondary mandibles biting, and now and then one gets blown to bits and soldiers get showered with acid. The utter chaos of it all, the thrill, the terror, the underlying message about the futility of war…it could’ve been great. Would humanity survive? Or would the alien menace simply overwhelm the stalwart armies of mankind? A pity that we’ll never get to see how such a dramatic and potentially tragic conclusion would’ve played out.

 

Unless we already have.

 

What if the post-alien fate of humanity has already been told via two different sci-fi television series and a classic film? I will now present to you a tale which I believe to be a completely plausible multi-level saga. Follow along. Be patient, because this shit gets good. Good and deep, just like shit gets sometimes. Yeah. Okay. I didn’t need to actually type that. Okay. Good. Moving on.

 

Our story begins on Earth. Either Ellen Ripley or another one of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation drones manages to deliver a few viable xenomorphs to our fair planet. And as they do, the damned things get loose. They run amok and cause a great deal of trouble for the humans that are still here on this rock.

Like, SERIOUS trouble.

Like, SERIOUS trouble.

 

Still here?” Did you read that correctly? Yes. Yes, you did. This brings us to our first Easter egg. You may have heard the fan theory about how the Weyland-Yutani corporation (the Alien franchise) exists in the same world as the Tyrell Corporation (Blade Runner.) Most of it is simply fanboy conjecture, but then Ridley Scott chimes in and basically confirms in an interview that the heads of those two mega-companies did indeed know one another. Interesting.

 

Okay, sorry. Focus. In Blade Runner, most people with the means to do so have gone “off world.” Those that remain on our spent husk of a planet deal with smog, pollution, constant drizzle and greyscale everything. Now, notice we never see much of Earth in any of the Alien movies? Ripley lives in what might be tenement housing, or even a block of company-made dormitories. Maybe the world outside is the same bleak cityscape whose streets guys like Deckard patrol. Of course, we humans aren’t the only sentient beings that inhabit future-Earth. There are the skin-jobs. Replicants made by the Tyrell Corporation, and equally-lifelike synthetics produced by Weyland-Yutani.

 

Still with me? Okay.

 

So, the aliens go nuts and are on the verge of wiping out what’s left of humanity, or at least the shreds still clinging to our turd of a planet. So the rest of the humans take off. Get out of Dodge. Split. And who do they leave behind?

 

The robots. Replicants. Artificial persons.

I don't...oh, jesus.  Did I miss the last shuttle off-world?  Fuck.

I don’t…oh, jesus. Did I miss the last shuttle off-world? Fuck.

 

Those thinking machines of various mechanical and genetically engineered construction stave off the aliens until the rest of us can get off-world. Just maybe everyone is getting off-world because of the alien invasion. Whatever the case, the plan is to let the aliens run out of human hosts and die, so that mankind can return and resume our civilization. (Think WALL-E only much darker.) Only it doesn’t work out that way. The bio-mechanical xenomorphs, as we’ve seen in the sequels, can adapt to whatever host organisms are present in any given environment. Perhaps even bio-engineered skin-jobs. Eventually, the aliens are just too numerous. The replicants are faced with one final option: take off and nuke the site from orbit. And by “site” I mean THE WHOLE DAMNED PLANET.

 

I’d imagine it would come down to some sort of group decision, maybe a cadre of inner-circle synthetics who finally made the call. And what if one of them was modeled after the son of corporation founder and head genius Eldon Tyrell? Maybe he has a similar name. And maybe over the centuries that followed mankind’s exodus, the spelling of the last name changed (much like Shawn, Sean, or Shaun. Emory and Emery. The various Mac and Mc spellings of Scots and Irish surnames.)

 

Yes, Eldon Tyrell’s legacy is Galen Tyrol. One of The Five. The Five sentient mechanical beings who at one point were more human than human, even capable of sexual reproduction. The Five that nuked our planet in order to finally destroy the alien menace.

But you've gotta admit: kick-ass shirt, you gods-damned toaster!

But you’ve gotta admit: kick-ass shirt, you gods-damned toaster!

 

And what of humanity? Of course, most ended up living on Kobol or Caprica. But another group, the REAL “lost tribe” found their way to another system (or systems.) There, as on Earth, the monolithic corporations seized power. There, like on Earth, the rich were able to live life flush with the latest technology. Others, not so much.

 

In fact, some folks keep using the old tech of Earth That Was. For example, this anti-aircraft gun…made by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.

See that logo?  Top center? Keep in mind, this is Mal Reynolds' gun from the battle of Serenity Valley.

See that logo? Top center? Keep in mind, this is Mal Reynolds’ gun from the battle of Serenity Valley.

 

All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.

 

ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE:

 

There’s a very Asian feel to Deckard’s Blade Runner city. Much like the preponderance of Chinese influence in the world of Firefly. And when Anders becomes the “hybrid” in BSG, the walls show cascading symbols that seem to be either Chinese or Japanese in nature. And maybe Kara Thrace isn’t painting the Eye of Jupiter in this piece…

Sidebar: she is NEVER getting her deposit back.

Sidebar: she is NEVER getting her deposit back.

…but rather this…

 

 

That's Chinese for FRAKKIN' TOASTERS!!

That’s Chinese for FRAKKIN’ TOASTERS!!

 

 

Kara Thrace.  No power in the ‘Verse can stop her. And finally…FINALLY…while there are several toy spaceships that make an appearance during a shadow-puppet theater show in the Firefly episode “Heart of Gold” (like, is that the Enterprise at the top?) the circled ship could be a Colonial Viper, yes?

Also pictured: at least one of your mom's dildos.  ZING!

Also pictured: at least one of your mom’s dildos. ZING!

 

 

Okay, maybe a stretch. However, in the original Battlestar Galactica re-imagined mini-series, the following ship does a fly-by outside the doctor’s window there in Caprica City. Huh. Wouldja look at that?

 

 

Or, again...one of your mom's dildos.

Or, again…one of your mom’s dildos.

 

IN CONCLUSION:

 

There will be folks that pick this apart and do some sort of timeline reckoning and poke numerous holes in my theory. Fine. It’s just silly fan stuff, and that’s one of the wonderful things about the sci-fi community; the endless debates and comparisons. Bottom line: it’s all good. Literally. There are some wonderful stories and grand mythology out there. Dig in and enjoy ‘em all. And expand upon them! This sort of conversation could go on forever! Was the Predator that came to earth in the near-future Los Angeles here to hunt Aliens? Were they already present? Perhaps they actually began life here on Earth! Bio-engineered by Weyland-Yutani and shipped off-world to incubate on another planet, another system, far enough away to pose no danger to mankind.

Pictured: deleted scene from Alien VS Predator

Pictured: deleted scene from Alien VS Predator

Was the rainy, grey nature of our planet in Blade Runner the result of some last-ditch effort to terraform our own homeworld after it was ruined by pollution and greenhouse emissions? Is that why it looks so much like Acheron/LV426? Constant drizzle and gloom? In an alternate timeline, did a synthetic (sorry, artificial person) begin Star Fleet, because Commander Data? Is Earth an offshoot (lost colony) from some race in Star Wars? And did THESE GUYS…

Very good.  Now turn to your right.

Very good. Now turn to your right.

Inspire THIS GUY?!?!

HOORAY, TOASTERS!

HOORAY, TOASTERS!

This has all happened before, this will all happen again. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

 

 

My head hurts. G’night, all.

 

 

 

 

 

The Story So Far.

 

Most episodic television programs begin with a “previously on…” montage of scenes that lead right up into that evening’s episode.  Tigh and Starbuck have an argument, Baltar has a conversation with Six, and so on. Maybe it’s Rick and Daryl running through the woods, Carl doing something stupid, and then a closeup of Maggie screaming “RUN!” Whatever. Sons of Anarchy, Burn Notice, The Blacklist. Lots of programs use that storytelling technique.

Wanna hit Starbucks?  Nah, she's out playing pyramid. ZING!!

Wanna hit Starbucks?
Nah, she’s out playing pyramid.
ZING!!

 

Other shows just go right into the latest episode, basically telling the viewer “If you don’t know what’s up, we’re not going to slow down and fill you in. Keep up, already.” Breaking Bad was great at that. Before the titles, you’d see Walt up to some sort of nonsense in the desert, or Mike doing something shady, or some seemingly unrelated shot: a pink stuffed toy, charred and water-logged, floating in a swimming pool. The writers and directors on those sort of programs usually do a masterful job of weaving it all together by the end of the episode. (Or by the end of the season, at least.)

Does this look a little pink, man? ZING!!

Does this look a little pink, man?
ZING!!

 

The point is, I’m not sure what sort of show this is. (I know it’s not a show. It’s a blog. I get it.   I’m not stupid. WHY YOU ALWAYS GOTTA CALL ME STUPID?!) But I do feel like filling you in before I begin the next episode. Because the next episode is a must-see, can’t-miss rollercoaster ride of thrills and excitement! The San Francisco Chronicle raves “Totally engrossing form start to finish” and the Indianapolis Star writes “It’ll have you guessing right up until the very end!” My mom adds “IT’S A BLOG!! SHUT UP AND GET ON WITH IT, ALREADY!”

 

Okay.

 

 


We OPEN on a dusty western street at dusk. Smoke or some other haze almost totally obscures the sinking, orange blob of sun, distorted and watery through the ripples of heat from the desert below.

 

IN THE DISTANCE, a vehicle approaches towards us down a twisting dirt track (editor’s note: in the first draft, this was a DURST track, and Limp Bizkit played underneath for the whole scene. You can see it in the DVD bonus features, although you won’t really want to.)

 

A MAN (We’ll come to know him as TURNER) stands in the street, facing the approaching vehicle. TURNER wears Wayfarer sunglasses and holds a smoldering, half-smoked MARLBORO CIGARETTE with about an inch of ash on the end.

TURNER doesn’t seem to notice, his vision fixed on the approaching car…or beyond it. It’s hard to tell, because, you know…sunglasses.

 

TURNER takes a drag of cigarette, and exhales slowly.

 

TURNER: Mo-teeeeeee-ya…

 

He tosses the butt to the ground.

CLOSE on the heel of his cowboy boot as he grinds the cigarette into the dusty street.

 

In the BG we see the car more clearly: it is a tan-and-cream colored late-model sedan, like a Lincoln Mark V. The hood ornament is a mounted longhorn steer’s horns.  (editor’s note: in the original shot, the car actually seems to hover about a foot off the ground, while the theme from Twin Peaks plays underneath the scene.  Also, for some reason, the bull’s horns are replaced with twirling chains of chocolate-covered cream-filled long johns, but since no one could remember why it was written that way, this portion of the script was written off as simply “drugs” and forgotten.)

 

CLOSE on TURNER as he smiles.

 

We PAN DOWN the length of his torso, coming to HOLD on the ridiculously large, chrome revolver on his hip as he UNCLASPS the leather strap holding it in place. (editor’s note:  originally, producers wanted the revolver to be two silver-dollar pancakes stapled together.  No one knows why.  Everyone involved in the creation of this episode was terribly hungry.  And tripping balls.)

 

TO BE CONTINUED!


 

 

Well, no. Not really. But damn it, now I have to wrap it up. Guess I’ll have to fill you in next time. It’s a really good story. No, it is!

 

See you next time on “TURNERWATSON.COM!!”

 

(That doesn’t make any goddam sense.)

 

 

Listen, Watch, Read.

Listen.

I wanted to wait until we had the kinks worked out before I told you about my new podcast.  Since that will likely never come to pass, I figure what the hell.  Besides, it’s all in the reflexes.  Long story short, my buddy Joe Schultz has been hankering to do a podcast for a while now.  So he went and bought a bunch of podcasting stuff.  I mean, who knew there were such things?  Not I.  He asked if I’d help.  I agreed.  Now we have one.  It’s called “The Velociraptor Incident” which is an inside joke of sorts related to my termination from my previous radio job.  Don’t worry about it.  Just listen.

Here’s the page link: http://directory.libsyn.com/shows/view/id/thevelociraptorincident wherein you can check out all the episodes.  (And by “all” I mean “both.”  Work in progress, people.)

Or just click on this direct link to the latest episode: http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/3065768

But wait!  There’s more!  Say you’re a fancy-schmancy iTunes person.  We’ve got you covered, as the podcast is available for free on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-velociraptor-incident/id918855698?mt=2

 

So there you go.  I’ll warn you, the language (especially in our rambling, juvenile, self-indulgent first episode) is NSFW at times.  Again, work in progress.  But give ’em a listen when you get a chance.  Thanks.

 

Watch.

I’m always behind on things.  Like, I never watch television when it’s on.  I rarely watch “live” shows.  I always catch them on Hulu or Netflix or, in the past, on DVR.  I have two rambunctious boys who demand a lot of time, there are always sports and school things to take care of, and of course, getting down with the old lady and drinking too much.  It all takes up so much of my precious time.  Plus, I don’t have cable.  So there’s that.

Anyway, the wife and I have been binge watching and catching up on some shows.  We started “Orange is the New Black” and found it to be really good.  Sure, it’s a chick show, but I dig it.  Well done, all around.  If you haven’t seen it, I would describe it as “Private Benjamin Goes to OZ.”  (That’s the Oswald Correctional Facility, not the place with the yellow brick road.)  And of course, we follow The Blacklist on Hulu the night after it airs on NBC.  Basically, it’s like watching DVR’d shows, and that’s nice.

But in the spaces between, we’ve been catching up on shows we missed the first time around. Shows like Fringe.  Yes, everyone tells me that the seasons go downhill sharply after the first couple, much like Dexter, but so far we’re still in honeymoon mode well into season two.  Still freaks me out to see Charlie Conway in X-Files mode instead of triple-deking, but he’s good.  Plus, the J.J. Abrams/Roberto Orci chemistry is strong.  Good stuff.  Speaking of sci-fi geekdom, I also finally started (and have since become obsessed with) Battlestar Galactica.  Holy shit, why didn’t I listen to everyone when this show was first on Sci-Fi?!  And an even better question:  why the hell did Sci-Fi (now SyFy) stop making quality programs and instead opt to shovel shit like Sharknado out of the ol’ television poop-chute?  I’m not even halfway through BSG, yet I have laughed and almost wept so many times…it’s like I don’t want it to end.  I know it will, but I want it to keep going.  I want it to be one of those series that wraps up after eleven years on the air when people are saying “yeah, they ran out of story after season eight.”  Then again, kudos for teling the story and getting out.  I like that, too.  Better than that Hobbit movie bullshit, dragging it out, adding fluff, and basically ruining one of my favorite stories, but hey.  That’s another conversation.  Maybe we’ll cover that on the podcast.

 

Read.

Speaking of The Hobbit, here’s my final observation/recommendation.  You must read the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie.  My gods, but this is another time when I was late to the party, but now that I’m here I don’t want to leave.  In a nutshell, I’ll say this:  if you enjoy the writing style of George R. R. Martin, you’ll dig Abercrombie.  He uses profanity, in a realistic way.  There are skulls split open and some sickening, bone-crunching moments of gore.  However, in many ways, Abercrombie is a better storyteller than Martin.  The world he creates is less treacherous and back-stabbing than that of Westeros, but the danger and scope are still there.  Like Song of Ice and Fire (or simply Game of Thrones, if you just watch the wonderful HBO series) there’s magic here, and wizardry…but like Westeros, it’s a faded, dull sort of thing.  It’s a sun-bleached poster, or thin, lukewarm coffee.   As one character puts it, magic has “leaked out of the world.”  The rest is swords, spears, armor, and brutality.  The author is obviously part of the new style championed by GRRM, less poetry than Tolkien or Salvatore, but beautiful nonetheless.  (Think “Deadwood” if it were set in the middle ages.)  Abercrombie’s characters use profanity, in a very realistic and often amusing  “shit, shit, SHIT!” sort of way. ” But what really sets this fast-paced, taut little trilogy head and shoulders above the rest are the wonderfully developed characters.  They are so very real, and so very flawed.  And often hilarious.  I literally laughed out loud many times, especially at the dry wit of Sand dan Glokta and the Mal Reynold-ian take on things delivered by Logen Ninefingers.  It’s so wonderful to see these characters grow and change and become something larger, stronger, better.  Most all of them are trying to improve themselves, trying to overcome their mistakes and weaknesses.  Most of them don’t even realize they’re doing so, consciously.  That makes the change even more wonderful.  Several of these living, breathing people think themselves condemned, victims of their own mistakes or selfishness…and some of them are.  But they all keep trying anyway.  That’s heroism.  There are many tragic moments when you say “oh, no…no, please, don’t do it…” as you realize someone is about to backslide. But you read on, hoping they make it.  You keep reading because Joe Abercrombie makes you give a shit about these people and what happens to them in the next paragraph. Chapter.  The next book.  And then it’s all over and you sit back and applaud and wish there were more.  If you love great fantasy/adventure stories, this one is a must-read.

 

Mildly Annoying

I have some pet peeves.  Nothing major, just things that drive me nuts.  For example, when I go to write with one of those clickable ball-point pens and the tip is already extended but I click it anyway because one would assume that it was retracted by the last person to use the pen and GGGGAAAAAAHHHHH!!  That horrible feeling of the plastic end of the pen scraping the paper.  That’s worse than fingers on a chalkboard.

LET'S PLAY A GAME...

LET’S PLAY A GAME…

Another peeve?  People that replace the toilet paper roll incorrectly.  The paper MUST drape over the outside, people.  There should never be a roll of paper between me and the next sheet, which seems to be hanging out surreptitiously in the shadows, leaning against the wall like some drug pusher.  “Pssst…hey, bub!  Wanna wipe?”

It's like he's mocking you.  Wipe that smug look off his face.  With your ass!

It’s like he’s mocking you. Wipe that smug look off his face. With your ass!

Such occurrences are rare, however.  Easily forgotten about until they rear their ugly, annoying heads.  The three things I’m going to mention below are things that genuinely anger me, and there’s not a damn thing to be done about them.  I think that’s why they vex me so:  it’s like the universe itself wants to hurt my feelings.  Starting with…

People In the Movies Never Say “Goodbye” on the Phone

This is something my Sweet Baby once pointed out to me, and ever since she did it has driven me up the FREAKIN’ WALL.  Here’s a snippet of made-up dialogue from oh, I don’t know, let’s say Dexter.

DEB, INTO HER CELL PHONE: Hey, Dex!  We got a lead on that Trinity Killer thing with the bathtub and whatnot.

DEXTER, ONE HIS PHONE IN THE KILL ROOM: Oh, hey!  So, what do you know?

DEB: Not much.  Turns out the killer kills people in threes.  And sometimes in bathtubs or something.

DEXTER: Wow, that sounds great!  I’ll be right there!

CLICK!  HE JUST HANGS UP!  AND SHE’S TOTALLY OKAY WITH THAT!!  WHY?!?!

I mean, as an aspiring writer, I can appreciate the need to keep the story moving.  Momentum.  Transitioning from one scene to another. Whatever.  But when something breaks me out of the artificial reality of the scene, it’s ruined.  Like when an actor is miscast.  If the audience keeps thinking “Wow.  George Clooney is actually playing Batman” instead of “Go get ’em, Bats!” then you’ve failed as a filmmaker.

"What do you MEAN our series finale sucked? Whelp, gotta go!  Bye!"

“What do you MEAN our series finale sucked? Whelp, gotta go! Bye!”

In real life, people say “bye” at the very least.  We’ve all been in the situation with our significant other that goes something like this:

ME: Okay, I’ll just stop by the store on the way home.

SWEET BABY: Okay!  Talk to you later!

ME: Okay!  I love you!

SWEET BABY: I love you too!  Have a great day!

ME: Okay, you too! Talk to you later!

SWEET BABY: Okay!  Bye!

ME: Bye!  I love you!

SWEET BABY: I love you, too!

ME: Bye!

SWEET BABY: Bye!

CLICK!  AND SCENE!!  That sort of exchange can go on and on and on, especially if you’re newly in-love with someone and neither of you wants to hang up.  Such conversations admittedly don’t move the story forward. Unless the story is a romantic comedy, the screenwriter can’t afford to spare the ten minutes of dialog to a banal kissy-faced bit of the mundane. But to assume that two people that love each other AREN’T GOING TO AT LEAST SAY ‘GOODBYE?”  That’s ludicrous.

Spider-Man.

“WHAAAAAT?!?!” you’re saying.  You’re saying this because you know I love ol’ webs.  He’s my favorite single superhero.  That’s saying a lot. I loves me some X-Men, Batman, Avengers, Luke Cage, so on and so forth.  But Spidey is the king.

So, what exactly is the problem?  The name.  Spider-Man.  Or, more specifically, the way people screw it up.  See that little dash in between the first word and the second?  That’s called a “hyphen.”  And when we write Spider-Man’s name, class, we must always remember that it’s hyphenated.

Not Spiderman.  Not Spider Man.  Spider-Man.

At least Bats can always use Bruce Wayne's steely jawline as a hyphen in a pinch.

At least Bats can always use Bruce Wayne’s steely jawline as a hyphen in a pinch.

I know it’s nit-picky.  I know.  It’s like remembering which letters to capitalize in GLaDOS.  Tricky.  But also simple.  Batman?  Hell, I think the sky’s the limit with his name.  It’s appeared on comic covers as Bat Man or Batman.  On rare occasions, we get to include the article “the.”  The Batman.  Sure, they prefer you compound-word that bitch all proper-like.  BATMAN. But whatevs.  The Dark Knight is flush with cash and ain’t care.

Please just give ol’ Spidey some respect.  Spell it right, please.  Thank you.

Bad Drivers/The Tea Party

I’m lumping these together because they are both terribly stupid, selfish, and ignorant.  They also share a love of stupid bumper stickers.  Both groups are awful people who either refuse to learn the rules of politeness and decency or just refuse to employ them.  Driving too slow in the left-hand lane (or too slow in general, as I have zero patience for people who don’t exceed the speed limit.  Seriously, people; speed.  Speed, all the time.  We’ve got places to be) or shouting about “The Benghazi” without even knowing what the hell the fuss is all about.  Mouth breathing, FOX “News” watching turds.  That’s what all of these people are, and I want to fill a landfill with their useless corpses.  Fuck ’em.  Fuck ’em all.

I'm sure he meant that in...uh...in a nice way.

I’m sure he meant that in…uh…in a nice way.

Okay, it got a little dark there at the end, but now you know what bugs me.  Of course, many of you will now use this information to completely ruin my day.  Fair enough.  When you call to gloat, just remember to say “bye.”

The Blog of Castamere

Hooooooo-boy!  You like that Game of Thrones, huh?  HAHAHAHAA!!!

I think this would be a good, responsible time to warn you:  this blog will contain MAJOR spoilers and MAJOR amounts of profanity, especially in the embedded media.  I’ll try and keep any spoilers out of here that haven’t already aired on the HBO series, but…you’ve been told.  If you’re DVR-ing this series or waiting for the DVDs, well…maybe you’d better read one of my other numerous (and totally incredible) blog entries.  Last chance.  Stop reading now, unless you know what’s up or just don’t care.

Okay, okay.  Full disclosure time (I tend to disclose a lot on this blog, don’t I?  Huh.  The secret to a clean conscience, I suppose.)  I don’t have HBO.  In fact, I don’t even have cable anymore.  But I have read all of the existing volumes in George R. R. Martin’s masterpiece, A Song of Ice and Fire.  Why HBO decided to use the title of the first book, A Game of Thrones, as the title of the series is a bit of a mystery.  I figure they weren’t sure there would be a second season, so they figured GoT was a little less unwieldy than ASoIaF.  Good call, now that I think about it.

Luckily, I did get to borrow the first season DVD set from my friend and former morning show co-host, Barry Thickk (spoiler:  that’s not how he spells his last name in real life, but hey, rock radio!!) That gave me a nice perspective, and I like how HBO found a look and tone all their own.  And that musical score?  Brilliant.  Perfect.  In fact, let’s hear one of my favorite interpretations thereof:

Now, the thing is, those of us that have read all the books? Yeah, we’re pretty much a bunch of dirty hipsters.  No, we are.  We were saying “hodor!” before it was cool.  We know what’s going to happen next.  We do.  And we love, LOVE, LOVE LOVE gloating about it.  How many times have you had a friend say (in either real life or in a blog or Facebook comment) “Oh, you like [GENERIC CHARACTER]?  Just wait until next season!” Or even more smarmily “Yeah, that story line doesn’t play out like you’d expect.”  Oh, we love it so.  Being “in the know” is so wonderfully powerful.  That’s why when Ned Stark lost his head towards the end of Season One, I laughed and laughed at videos like this now-famous offering…

When I first read A Game of Thrones, the Ned Stark scene gutted me.  Absolutely destroyed me.  My lovely wife, Heidi, watched me slowly lower the book and stare at nothing, jaw agape.

“Holy fucking shit…” I muttered.

“What?  What’s wrong?” she asked, genuinely concerned.

“They just…this guy, the main…holy shit!  They fucking killed the main guy!”

For readers and viewers alike, that should’ve been all we needed to know.  GRRM had stolen our childhood innocence.  He’d given us the much-needed slap in the face, reminding us that this world wasn’t Middle Earth or Narnia.  This world was infinitely more real, and so very dangerous.  It was a book about war, and in war, well…good people die.  It reminded me of the scene in The Princess Bride where the grandpa tells Fred Savage the bad news: the Prince lives.  Wesley dies.  The kid’s reaction, “Jesus, Grandpa!  What did you read me this thing for?!” is the same question we asked ourselves.  But, like that bedridden child, we knew we had to go on.  For good or ill, we had to know what happened next.  The difference is that Martin’s book series isn’t a fairy tale, and “true love” doesn’t make a goddam bit of difference.

Still, we hoped.  We had the faintest dream that somehow it would all work out.  That evil would be punished.  That the good guys would win.

We should’ve fucking known better.

Just like a child that must be conditioned to think or act a certain way, another hard lesson was required.

The Red Wedding.

Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ.  I’ll tell you this, people who have only watched the series and not read the books:  the book was much, much worse.

“Wait a second,” you bellow.  “You admitted that you haven’t watched all the latest episodes?  How can you make that kind of call?”

In response, I’ll offer that I’ve seen footage and scanned enough websites to get a feel for the televised version, and yes, it does seem well-shot and gut-wrenchingly performed.  But there are limitations to a teleplay, time (or lack thereof) being the most critical of those factors. In the novel, the buildup to the Red Wedding is a slowly building feeling of dread, of impending horror.  Most of it is told through Cat’s point of view, and the moment she knows what’s up, the instant she perceives what’s happening…you’re broken.  Everything after that is just devastating icing on the horror-cake.  (Actually, Horror-Cake is the name of my new black metal band.)  But you can’t look away, can’t stop reading.  Just as viewers cowered behind sheets, blankets, and couch cushions whilst watching HBO, only to peek out again and again, out of curiosity or just to assure themselves that the horror was over.  Luckily, someone put together a six-minute compilation of reactions…

And boy, the aftermath.  The sheer, internet-crippling frustration, sorrow, and hate.  Some of the best are being cataloged by Red Wedding Tears on Twitter…check ’em out and feel better about your plight:

https://twitter.com/RedWeddingTears

Here’s a wee sample:

red wedding tweets

So.  George R. R. Martin is kind of an asshole, huh?  He’s just NOT FAIR!!  Yeah.  Tough titty, kid.

But now you’re seriously wondering why you should continue watching or reading this painful series.  Let me give you something akin to hope.  I told you, no spoilers…but I can tell you this:  GRRM does have a sense of justice (COUGH! Theon Greyjoy COUGH! Jaime Lannister COUGH!) and that sense certainly manifests itself in shocking and, yes, satisfactory ways in the books and television episodes to come.  No, I will not give you specifics on certain characters.  Just know that there is a great deal of comeuppance headed your way.

But it won’t be without further cost.  Yes, there will be more heartache.  But there will also be triumph, and that is always so much sweeter after you’ve been stabbed, kicked, and thrown into the mud to die. After all, in the game of thrones, you either win…

Or you die.

Celebri-daze!!

Holy crap…it’s almost been an entire month since my last post, and that one was a throw-away quickie.  Been busy, folks.  My radio station has been slowly transitioning to a new location, kids are busy, I’ve had shows like Best Ink Season Two to watch (TEAM TERESA!!!!) and Far Cry 3 to complete (with the GOOD ending, thank you.)  So I figured I’d jump back in with another Hollywood Nooz style entry.  If these things keep doing well, I’m going to have to create an entirely new blog for this stuff.  That way NOTHING will get updated.

Without further ado…

CROWE JOINS THE SHOWE!!

Powder blue is the new tangerine!

Powder blue is the new tangerine!

Buoyed by his recent critically acclaimed turn in the big-screen adaptation of Les Miz, gruff-but-loveable Kiwi Russell Crowe has stunned the music world by agreeing to appear as part of this summer’s hottest ticket:  the eagerly-awaited tour of pop diva Britney Spears.  Brit decided to forgo any more reality-TV judging gigs in order to wow live audiences with mediocre lip-synching, and decided to bring out the big guns!  “I always loved Russell as ‘Wolverine’ but had no idea he could sing!”  As for what drew the burly, bearded, boy-band wannabee to the tour, Russell admitted that he initially “thought ‘Les Miz’ was just a flick about French lesbians and professional wrestlers.  Imagine my shock when it turned out to be this gay Occupy movie!  Loved it. And the outfits?  FABULOUS.”

KIEDIS IS KIP!

Modern-day D'Artagnan Kiedis answers questions at the "N4pole0n" press conference

Modern-day D’Artagnan Kiedis answers questions at the “N4pole0n” press conference

Staying in the world of music, we were excited to hear the bombshell that Miramax dropped last week when they announced another gritty reboot, this time of fan-fave cult film ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ slated to begin pre-production in the next few weeks.  The newly re-branded ‘N4pole0n’ already boasts Jon Hamm and Jennifer Lawrence as part of the cast, and at the press meet-up it was announced that the coveted role of Kip Dynamite would be going to none other than Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis! “I’ve acted before, so it’s not like I’m completely out-of-sorts” said the star of Point Break and that one Charlie Sheen film.  “Plus, with my history of drug addiction, I feel like I can convey the proper gravitas and self-torture that the role of Kip demands.  I’m, like, totally stoked, dude.”  The Jim Jarmusch-helmed drama should hit theaters in time for the Holiday 2014 season.

GAME OF CLONES!!!

We may finally have an explanation for what’s taking author George R. R. Martin so long to finish his sword-and-sorcery epic ‘A Song of Ice and Fire!’  It may have very little to do with the ongoing HBO adaptation; even as the smash-hit ‘Game of Thrones’ sails into its third season, another GRRM project seems to be taking up most of the author’s time.

Perhaps now it'll be 'Between Two Dramatic Turns!'

Perhaps now it’ll be ‘Between Two Dramatic Turns!’

It seems that over the last dozen years or so, Martin has kept an intricate journal of his life.  Now Paramount is keen to reap some of that ‘GoT’ cash, and has optioned the diary for a big-screen biopic starring Hollywood funnyman Zach Galifianakis as a young George R.R. Martin.  Pre-production is already underway, with Galifianakis doing location shoots in Harlem and San Salvador.  The ‘Hangover’ star told us about what drew him to the project: “Well, George is a shabbily-dressed fat guy.  And since John Goodman is way too old, that pretty much leaves me.  Now, please…just leave me alone.”

Clutter.

Many years ago, my brother and I used to “jam” in my mom’s basement.  I’d riff some Barre chord punk riffs on my reverse-headstock Aria Pro II, my brother would pluck away on his Fender bass.  We weren’t any good, of course, but that didn’t matter.  It was therapeutic.  Now and then, our buddy Danny would join us. Danny lived up the street and was essentially another brother.  One day we discussed getting an actual punk band together, and what we should call it.  The winning entry, in my opinion, was Danny’s suggestion of “Clutter.”  He said it represented the disorder of our music and the varying styles we would surely incorporate into our live shows and albums.  I thought it was wonderful.  But, as you can’t download our music on iTunes and I’m writing a blog in my spare time instead of banging groupies and dodging rehab, “Clutter” the band never took off.    But that name is still a good one, so I’m using it for this catch-as-catch-can blog entry.  Thanks, Danny!

First up: This…

D'awww!  Some Indonesian kid made his own Mushroomhead band member!

D’awww! Some Indonesian kid made his own Mushroomhead band member!

That right there is a little voodoo keychain guy that my Sweet Baby got me on one of her travels because she knows I miss surfing.  She’s a good ol’ gal, that wife of mine.  Anyway, the other day I noticed something horrifying.  Apparently, my little surf guy was a proud member of Hitler’s Waffen SS.  Take a look at the board…

Gott in himmel!

Gott in himmel!

Sure, it’s probably supposed to be a lightning bolt, like the legendary Lightning Bolt surfboards surfed by the likes of Gerry Lopez at places like Pipe.  Probably.  Or maybe this is supposed to be a promotional piece for “Surf Nazis Must Die.”  Either way, I’ll betcha green money that some little Indonesian kid fucked this shit all up.

Speaking of things I didn’t notice at first…the other night was a windy, blustery, snowy one in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  I sat alone in my loft and fired up the ol’ Netflix, choosing (for the 346th time, I believe) John Carpenter’s amazing, classic, incredible 1982 sci-fi thriller “The Thing.”  (Trust me, there really is no better dead-of-winter movie.  None.)  Anyhow, my friend and fellow blogger Blake (The Beard Gospel, Poptopia Madness, reviewer for Nerdspan, etc.) pointed this particular Easter egg out to me, so I waited eagerly for the last few moments of this film to see it for myself, and…I’ll be goddammed.  I’ve been watching this movie for over thirty years now and never caught it.  Peep this…

“Okay,” you say. “What’s the big deal?”  Here’s the big deal: SPOILER ALERT!!  SCROLL TO THE NEXT BIT IF YOU DON”T WANT TO HAVE A THIRTY-YEAR-OLD MOVIE THAT YOU SHOULD’VE ALREADY SEEN RUINED FOR YOU!!

The big deal is that Childs is The Thing, although technically he could be one of several “Things.”  Did they all get blown up?  Maybe.  MacReady was able to escape, so what if that final creature-combo that looked like a Super Mario Dragon Plant mixed with the worst sort of Greyhound rescue ever at Red Lobster didn’t include Blair?  Or Garry? Nauls?

Back to the point. How do I know that Childs is the creature?  We can’t see his breath.  MacReady’s is steaming and swirling with every word, encircling his head with clouds of cheap scotch-scented respiration.  Childs is in within three feet of MacReady, and yet…nothing.  Nary a wisp. He’s not a real human. He’s waiting to either freeze again so that when the rescue crew comes to the research station, they cart his remains back to the mainland where he will thaw and get into an amazing street fight with Rowdy Roddy Piper over whether or not to put on glasses that let him see (ironically) the alien invaders as they really are…or he straight up kills MacReady and assumes his identity.  (Although my money is on Mac.)

kurt

Remember, when you mess with Mac, you also mess with Snake and Jack. Just fair warning, pard…

Next subject:  Burn Notice.  Yeah, I know. I’m late to the party.  The wife and I basically started watching it this last fall because Netflix.  Boy, is it good.  I don’t know what I expected.  Maybe I figured it’d be a revamped Silk Stalkings or that stupid syndicated show wherein Hulk Hogan drove a powerboat around the Florida panhandle or whatever.
"Terry?"  Really?  Also: there are three discs in this box.  Three.  how...how did this come to pass?!

Terry? Terry?!? Okay. What if all this time, the Hulkster was really just Terry Bradshaw with a paste-on Fu-Manchu?!? It would make so much sense…

Anyway, it struck me the other day why I enjoyed it so much (Burn Notice, not that “Terry” Hogan crap.)  The writing is decent, the locale is spectacular (seriously, as long as there is a Miami, there will be crime dramas and such) but it’s really the cast.  Man, what a cast.  It reminds me of Firefly, in that it’s the grand total of all the pieces…that’s what makes this thing shine.  Change one character…say, the mom from Everybody Loves Raymond instead of Sharon Gless…or Tom Selleck as Sam…and the whole thing falls apart.  Sure, characters come and go, and it took about a season before everything gelled so perfectly, but imagine Bruce Boxleitner playing Jayne Cobb.  “Did that almost happen?!?” you shocked fanboys scream, to which I simply whisper back “No.”
Ladies and gentlemen, the Hero of Canton!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Hero of Canton!

But here’s my semi-legitimate fear:  I really hope this show doesn’t end up being like LOST or something.  Seriously, consider this theory that I just came up with:  what if Michael didn’t actually get burned in the pilot episode.  What if he got SHOT?  What if the whole show is either in his mind or in actual purgatory?  That would explain why he has trouble leaving, why he’s surrounded with the only people he’s ever really cared about, and why he’s compelled to help others.  He’s trying to earn his way NOT back into the service of the CIA, but into heaven.  It’s very possible that in the final episode of the series, Michael sacrifices himself for someone else and the show ends with him standing in a bright, white light as the voice of Morgan Freeman welcomes him home.  Or even better, Sam Axe is actually wither God or THE DEVIL!!! Does that make a lick of sense?  No. But tell me it wouldn’t fuck with some heads.
Thanks for reading, all.

Beatin’ Them Wintertime Blues.

Look, I don’t just like wintertime:  I LOVE it.  I really do.  The brisk air, the clothes that cover my fat, the snow…it’s all really awesome.  It is.  But here’s the thing:  for the last nine years I’ve lived in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and our winters can be trying.  I know, I know, there are worse places.  A friend of mine hails from Fort McMurray, Alberta.  It starts snowing there in goddam SEPTEMBER.  In my defense I’ll point out that for the three years before living in Da Fort (as it is sometimes called) I lived in New Bern, North Carolina.  Carolina ain’t Florida or Hawaii, but one story sticks with me about my time in NC.  My lovely wife Heidi and I were at the gym, using side-by-side treadmills or something, watching the television.  The local news was reporting that there was a two-hour school delay the following morning…for snow.  The thing is, and this is what caused Heidi and myself to look at each other and giggle at these poor Carolinians in raw, Midwestern condescension was that NOT A SINGLE FLAKE HAD FALLEN.  They were delaying school over a forecast…FORECAST…two inches of snow.  Possibly.  We guffawed until a friend native to the area remarked that they literally had no salt trucks in the county and probably no more than a handful of snowplows in the entire state. It made sense.  Indiana does not post hurricane evacuation routes, and I’ll bet most people in New Mexico don’t carry flood insurance, so…yeah.

My Sweet Baby.  On a boat.  In the Caribbean. I feel better now.

My Sweet Baby. On a boat. In the Caribbean. I feel better now.

The point of this whole intro is to underscore how different the snowy tundra of Northern Indiana is to the mild barely-frost-covered winters of North Carolina.  And while I was very grateful for the prospect of a White Christmas again, I’m afraid that this winter has been harder than most to bear, probably because it’s been so damn mild.  “Wait…WHAT?” you ask, all perplexed by my contradictory statement.  It’s true.  A few weeks ago it was 60 degrees in Ft. Wayne.  I’ve used my snowblower maybe twice this season.  There wasn’t any hockey for the first half.  It just hasn’t felt like winter, and the motto I like shouting at my friends and family is “shit or get off the pot,” usually yelled as I sit reading on the toilet, not actually defecating.  (Makes your legs fall asleep, so it does.)  So I’m ready for this “season” to be over.  No snow?  Fine, then.  Turn up the sunshine, baby.  Break out the shorts.  And if that ain’t happening just yet (fuck you, Punxsutawney Phil!  YOU LIED TO ME!!) then allow me to offer these tips for getting through the mid-winter hump.  They work.  Trust me.

Video Therapy

This encompasses all manner of stimuli.  The go-to, easy method is to browse Netflix for shows and movies that are set in a warmer, preferably tropical, location.  This winter the wife and I have begun watching Burn Notice, and love it.  Not just because the characters and story are fun and smart (and Bruce Campbell.  ‘Nuff said, baby) but because all the transitions/cutscenes are footage of Miami.  People on Wave Runners, beach umbrellas to the horizon, and tons of eye-candy.  I mean, they oughtta call it “Butt Notice,” amirite? And for the ladies, well…Michael Westen is often shirtless.  But I’d also recommend “Point Break” or “The Endless Summer” along with episodes of BAywatch or even that one show where Hulk Hogan had a powerboat.  But don’t stop with the TV and movies.  I have played the holy hell out of “Far Cry 3” not only because it’s fun and immersive, but let’s face it…you’re on a tropical island that could be anywhere between Hawaii and Papua New Guinea.  Gorgeous, and you can imagine you’re actually swimming in warm azure waters (while trying not to get shot.)

Hi, ladies!  Want some yogurt?

Hi, ladies! Want some yogurt?

Audio Therapy

This is easy.  Got some Bob Marley on your iPod or Pandora channel?  Crank that shit up, mon.  Now, personally, I try to avoid this when it is the absolute dead of winter with the sun going down at 4:30 in the afternoon and a foot of snow on the ground.  When I do chance it,  I hear a voice made of cold, frozen tears tell me “Your magic will not work here.”  There definitely has to be a proper setting.  Daytime, perhaps.  Or when the first snowmelt begins.  Then, the music is a catalyst.  It’s a power-up of epic proportions.  And if there’s an unusually mild and sunny day, one where you briefly consider cracking the window on your ride, and you just happen to throw on anything by Sublime or Jimmy Buffett, then no power in the ‘Verse can stop you.  Feels good, man.  Let it flow.

Of course, listening to Marley or Sublime sometimes makes me want to, uh...what were we talking about?

Of course, listening to Marley or Sublime sometimes makes me want to, uh…what were we talking about?

Aroma Therapy

Perhaps the most powerful of these methods is the one most closely connected to memory.  Scent.  Smells. Aroma.  A long time ago, I even blogged about how powerful your olfactory senses are and how a whiff of perfume can send you right back to the night you lost your virginity, or how sniffing a roll of cloth tape can transport you to the hockey locker room.  For me, the smell of a bar of surf wax is magical.  It is EVERYTHING that I love about the beach.  Likewise, when I go by the Yankee Candle display and smell their line of summer/tropical candles..holy shit. Makes me wanna cry.  Coconut?  Coconut/Lime?  Beach Walk?  Seaside Resort? Surf’s Up?  Coral Sand?  Tropical Mango?  Coconut and Lime?  GAAAAAAAHHHH!!! Even the old-school, simply named “Ocean Water” makes me swoon. And in fairness, there’s not much better during the month of December than all the spice/mint/pine/cookie/pumpkin/hearth fire scents.  But after, oh, let’s say January tenth, THAT SHIT HAS GOT TO GO!!!  SO LONG, CRANBERRY CHUTNEY!!  HELLO, BEACH PARTY!!  There’s one more bit of therapy I have for you, and it’s not really a good idea, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.  We’re all adults here, right?  So let’s just get this elephant out of the room already…
Like actual summertime, many Yankee Candles apparently smell like booze.  Awesome!

Like actual summertime, many Yankee Candles apparently smell like booze. Awesome!

Tanning Therapy

I might as well call this “cancer therapy.”  You know this, right?  You know that there’s a decent chance that not only is your skin going to dry up like a stale pork rind, but you stand a better-than-average chance of melanomas and other potentially hazardous/deadly health concerns, right?  We’re clear on this?  Okay.  Okay, I thought so.  Just wanted to make sure.  But here’s the dirty little secret: sometimes that ultraviolet light is good for you.  Or at least “not so goddam terrible for you.”  Quick story: I worked the overnight shift at 103GBF, a radio station in Evansville, Indiana for about a year or so.  It was dark when I got home around 6:30 every morning.  I wouldn’t leave the house until at least three in the afternoon, meaning that in the winter months I had maybe…maybe…two hours of sunlight.  I fought depression.  I felt like a vampire.  And then someone mentioned the “Light Therapy” that doctors have recommended for people in places like Alaska or Siberia that are affected by the appropriately-named SADs.  Seasonal Affective Disorder.  It’s a real thing, and part of the treatment is basically putting your head under an ultraviolet light, tricking your brain into believing that it’s being bathed in lovely sunshine and kicking in some seratonin or whatever and making the “blahs” go away.  Another friend in the conversation mentioned “sounds like a tanning bed for your head!” And BINGO!!  GREAT IDEA TIME!!  I booked myself a couple of sessions in the ol’ cancer closet at a local gym and…now, bear with me here…I felt 100% better after one session.  It was sort of a revelation.  I’m also willing to consider that maybe the “treatment” was all placebo:  I thought I would feel better, so I did!  Whatever.  It’s like people with colitis learning that nicotine can help keep their symptoms at bay and then have to wrestle with the idea of either smoking cigarettes or spending a fortune on (and becoming addicted to) nicotine gum.  Not an easy choice.  Another motto I love to scream out at passers-by is “Everything in moderation.”  A glass of wine a day is beneficial.  A box of Franzia is not.  I’ve read articles about how kids today are vitamin-D deficient because over-protective parents slather 100-SPF sunblock all over their kids.  As a result, NONE of the sun’s rays penetrate, resulting in deficiency.  Like Ramirez sang to Connor MacLeod, B-A-L-A-N-C-E.
But aren't seals already sort of, um...brown?

But aren’t seals already sort of, um…brown?

That being said, I think we’ve had enough of you, Winter.  Thanks for coming by.  Four months is plenty.  Buh-bye.  Good seeing you, old friend.  Don’t forget your hat. (Of course, everyone is invited back to check out my forthcoming blog entitled “Jesus, Summer…Why You SO HOT?!?” to be published sometime in July.  Balance.)

SHARKS!!

If you know me, if you really know me, you know that I love sharks.  It’s not quite an obsession, but it might be an addiction.  I mean, I L-O-V-E those “Men in Grey Suits” as they call ’em in Oz. (And by “Oz” I mean “Australia.”  Or “Straya” as some call it these days.)  I have been a fan of these apex predators since childhood, but figure I would’ve fallen in love even if I hadn’t seen “Jaws” when I was about six or seven.  What sort of parents let their young children watch what is essentially a seaborne slasher film?  Awesome ones.  Anyway,  my younger brother and I started collecting plastic and rubber shark toys and re-enacting scenes from the movie with our Star Wars and Adventure People figures.  There’s something endearing about two towheaded kids in the basement yelling “HE CAN’T STAY DOWN WITH THREE BARRELS!  NOT WITH THREE BARRELS, HE CAN’T!”  Yes, “Jaws” remains one of my top-three all-time-favorite movies (probably my #1) but it goes beyond that.    Something primal makes me want to be an amateur marine biologist or oceanographer, just to learn as much as I can about these silent, deadly, beautiful beasts.  I mean, I have a tattoo of a Megaladon tooth on my left arm, fer crissakes, and (to date) not one single Star Trek tattoo.  That’s saying something, folks.
Holy crap...how come I never noticed thisprior to writing this damned blog?!?!  IT'S THE THINGS I LOVE!!

Holy crap…how come I never noticed this prior to writing this damned blog?!?! IT’S THE THINGS I LOVE!!

And then, 26 years ago, one of the most amazing events in television history debuted:  Shark Week.  Holy hell, it was like Discovery Channel had been monitoring my dreams and watching me masturbate (I’ve got some…issues, people.  Don’t you dare judge me) and conceived the perfect week-long block of programming.  Shows about sharks.  Documentaries, Mythbusters episodes, etc. all flew out of the screen and landed in briny glory at my feet. You could tell back in those days that Discovery didn’t quite know what it had, and likely didn’t grasp how significant this annual (as it turned out) gem would be.  Nowadays, Shark Week is arguably the most recognizable feature of the network’s programming, perhaps running a close second to Adam & Jaime’s Mythbusting exploits.  I speak for a lot of folks when I say that I treat Shark Week the same way I treat the McRib.  I know that it’s only going to manifest for a short time and then be ripped away again, like a wailing child from a mother’s teat.  Actually, the McRib has helped me through many a lean, long winter between Shark Weeks, simply because I imagine that I am Bruce and the McRib is Quint’s delicious torso.  I am a bit morbid.  Don’t you dare judge me.
Ba-da-bap-bap-BAAA!!!  I'm lovin' it!

Ba-da-bap-bap-BAAA!!! I’m lovin’ it!

About that whole “maneater thing.”  Peter Benchley (author of the novel upon which the Spielberg movie was based) has since bemoaned the fact that his book and subsequent film made a target of sharks.  People demonized them even further, and took to the seas to hunt and, well…slaughter as many of these amazing animals as they could.  It really did get grim there for a while.  Add to that shark finning, which had been a tradition in many parts of the world and is (thankfully) becoming harder and harder to practice legally, and life hasn’t been too good for the pointy-serrated-toothed set.  And then, wouldn’t you know it?  A stingray goes and kills Steve Irwin.  Guess who rays and skates are related to?  Yep.  Sharks.  Goddam it, they can’t catch a break.
(Artist's rendition.)

(Artist’s rendition.)

Fortunately, Discovery channel and others have been diligent with their education efforts and shark conservation has become a real thing.  Shows like Discovery’s rival Nat Geo’s “Shark Men” have been educational (if a bit boring) and there are even great apps for shark lovers; I highly recommend the “Shark Bible” app from the Google Play store.  While I was a bit disappointed to find that it wasn’t the actual Bible re-written to include more stories about Jesus swimming with sharks and tickling their bellies and such, it’s an exhaustive volume of details on just about any species of the class Chondrichthyes.  Goblin shark?  In there. Black Tip?  In there.  Cloudy catshark?  Yep.  Got it.
Well, I , um...it seems I must stand corrected.

Well, I , um…it seems I must stand corrected.

Now, the big question you’re asking:  why the hell should I care what happens to a bunch of fish?  Especially ones that bite people?  Ahem. I’m sure you’ve heard the stats about how you’re more likely to be struck and killed by falling coconuts (150 deaths annually)  than sharks (4.2 deaths annually.  WORLD-WIDE.)  Okay, maybe you don’t care because you never go to the ocean anyway.  (BTW, that boggles my mind…the number of people I know that have never even seen than ocean, ANY ocean, much less set foot in one.)  Okay, smarty pants, then how about this:  apex predators are good harbingers for the state of their particular environment.  In other words, look what happened when we killed off all the wolves.  The deer and rabbit populations exploded, spread disease and ate a bunch of crops.  Hunting becomes not only a luxury but a necessity, even going so far as modern-day “group kills” at National Parks.  Now imagine you kill off all the sharks.  Great!  All the tuna we can eat!  Except it’s not just tuna.  It’s craptastic fish you’d never want to eat.  It’s zebra mussels clogging ports and working inland to muck up reservoirs and our locks and dams.  It’s a million seals in New York harbor, requiring a massive seal-kill just to get to the port (ask anyone who’s been to the wharf in San Francisco about the sea lions that took over.) It’s smart-ass dolphins and squids running around like THEY OWN THE GODDAM PLACE.  It’s horrible.
NOTE:  I do not in any way condone homophobia or discrimination.  I support gay marriage.  I love gay people.  But this shit is funny.

NOTE: I do not in any way condone homophobia or discrimination. I support gay marriage. I love gay people. But this shit is funny.

So do your part.  Get involved.  Boycott places that serve shark-fin soup. (So far, I’ve only found one in Indiana: the Oriental Inn Restaurant in Indianapolis serves it at $12 a pop, which apparently feeds two.)  Stay away from deep-sea fishing charters that go on “shark hunts.”  Or at least make sure that they use the whole damned shark, not just stuff it and mount it.  I mean, come on: do like the Native Americans.  Use the meat for shark steaks, the jaws for tourist schmaltz, the cartilage for old people’s joints, and the skin for any number of things including (but not limited to) cool suits for Ray Liota and Joe Pesci (which is odd, because “Pesci” looks like it means “fish.”  Weird.) And keep swimming, folks, because Shark Week is only 188 days away…
countdown

Point Break Breakdown

Yeah, I did it.  Pulled out my worn DVD copy of Point Break.  Watched it.  It was awesome.  It is always awesome.  My wife?  She don’t think it’s so awesome.  In fact, she says “Why you wanna watch that thang agin fer da ate-hunnert time, foo?”  (It’s true.  My wife is a crude stereotype of various ethnic and regional caricatures.  I love that about her.)

Yet another stereotype!  I'm rollin'!  (Like a rolling pin.  Get it?)

Yet another stereotype! I’m rollin’! (Like a rolling pin. Get it?)

Her point, delivered in some made-up patois, was that I tend to watch the same movies over and over again.  This is in part because A) there aren’t a whole lot of good movies out there that bear repeat viewing B) Netflix doesn’t update their selections nearly often enough for my tastes and C) flicks like Point Break are popcorn.  Not terribly fulfilling, but they’re awesome in a pinch.  You can always throw a bag of Pop Secret in the ol’ microwave, and you can always find a movie like Point Break on one of the cable networks even if you don’t have access to a DVD copy.  Perfect.

Real subtle, Spike.  Really. Also?  Maybe just change the name to "PENIS TEEVEE!"

Real subtle, Spike. Really. Also? Maybe just change the name to “PENIS TEEVEE!”

But upon my most recent viewing of the epic tale of young FBI agent Johnny Utah (ed. note: if you haven’t seen Point Break and/or don’t know the plot synopsis or principal characters, then you won’t get much out of this blog, as I have little time to recap the subtle intricacies of the whole tale.  Sorry!) several points leapt out at me, like daggers of the mind (actually nothing like that, but I’m on a roll and LOVE parentheses.) For example:

I seriously don’t think Busey ever learned his lines.  At all.  Was most of his performance ad-libbed?  Not a bad guess.  For example, watch the scene where he’s in the car and Utah is about to get pummeled by the Surf Nazis.  He either can’t remember his lines, never learned them, or was distracted by something off-camera.  Terrible.  (But brilliant, because it’s Busey.)

LOL! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING!

LOL! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING!

At no point does Utah ever ask (or even wonder, it would seem) what the hell Bodhi does for a living.  I mean, kid…wake up.  You’re investigating a bunch of bank robberies.  The chief suspects would appear to be surfers.  And here’s a surfer who has a multi-story concrete-bunker mansion full of candles and pictures and fire-eaters and stoned chicks and it’s pretty much right on the beach and HOW THE FUCK DO YOU AFFORD THIS PLACE, BODHI?!?!  ALSO, WHAT IS YOUR REAL NAME?!?! JUST IN CASE IT’S ON SOME INTERPOL WATCH LIST OR SOMETHING!

This guy wants to be Flea.  He is not.  Also, his hat is a shirt.  Radical.

This guy wants to be Flea. He is not. Also, his hat is a shirt. Radical.

Keanu and Swayze were teammates before this movie.  Yep.  In the classic (actually pretty bad) hockey flick Youngblood.  Keanu didn’t have a huge role.  He was one of the goalies on Patrick’s Hamilton Mustangs and I think he was supposed to be Québécois.  Or retarded.  Maybe both.

See?  Goalies are CRAY-ZAY!!!

See? Goalies are CRAY-ZAY!!!

Lori Petty was fucking huge in the 90’s.  This flick, Tank Girl, A League of their Own, In The Army Now…then…what?  Where did she go?  Also, is she a lesbian?  If so, that’s a waste, because she’s hella cute and has amazing eyes and a sexy little voice.

Oh, yeah.  She's starring in "The Rachel Maddow Story."

Oh, yeah. She’s starring in “The Rachel Maddow Story.”

“Hide the shit!” is one of my favorite lines in any movie, and it’s been used in a bunch of them.  I also like to yell it loudly when I have unexpected guests arrive at my door, just in case it actually IS the cops and they’re coming for my shit.

"We know you're in there, Watson!  We can hear you doing weird hair stuff!"

“We know you’re in there, Watson! We can hear you doing weird hair stuff!”

You know I love and am fascinated by quantum mechanics and such.  As an amateur quantum physics aficionado, let me assure you that there is no way Utah’s surf board would’ve fit in his Shelby Mustang, even with the windows down.  Dude.  Like, not ever.  Simply not possible.  The board seemed to be about an 8′ funboard with chunky rails.  The only possible way to do it would be to put down the windows on both driver and passenger sides and stick the board straight through. The problem with this configuration, of course, is that there would be no way to drive the car.  Unless you had a little midget with a periscope, in which case maybe the car would get going so fast that there would be lift created by the board sticking out on both sides and the Mustang would actually end up airborne!  A flying FBI surf-mobile!  Fuck, I hope they make a sequel and it includes a midget-driven primer-covered flying FBI surf mobile.  God damn, I can smell the Oscars…

Get Dinklage on set NOW!!!

Get Dinklage on set NOW!!!