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

Old-Timey Movie-time Time! (Part One)

If you know me, you know I dig old stuff.  And I mean OOOOOLLLLLDDDD stuff.  Sure, I have a brand new grey felt Fedora on the way (thanks, ma!) and am a certifiable Dapper Dan man.  I don’t want “Fop” goddammit!.  This led me to a realization the other day.  People stopped wearing hats for a while.  I don’t mean “caps” like the ones worn by baseball players and hip-hop DJ’s.  I mean “hats.”  Fedoras, Bowlers, the odd Fez…hats, boys, hats! The kinds worn by men!  Real men who fought Nazis and stopped the spread of Communism!  Hats, I say! Anyway, recently the trend has started reversing itself.  Thanks in large part to Justin Timberlake and the P. Diddy set, stingy-brimmed fedoras and pork pies have moved from the fringes of hipsterdom into the mainstream.   Hell, you can get a decent lid at Wal Mart, fer gawd’s sake.  For too long Indiana Jones and Mythbusters’ Adam Savage were the only dudes you regularly saw sporting a hat with any sort of brim.  And frankly, that ain’t enough.

Feast your eyes, ladies!

And there’s a very simple reason for this trend:  hair.  Rather, hair care products.  See, Don Draper got guys interested in the side-part again.  AXE even makes a variety of pomades for the gentlemen among us to slick or comb their hair like, well…gentlemen.  Who wants to go to all the trouble of either spiking up their ‘do like it’s 1998 or crafting a painstakingly messy look out of putty and wax only to either REALLY mess it all up or even worse…GASP…cover it up with a hat?!?  Madness!

"Sorry, I can't talk right now. I've got douchebag stuff to do."

And suits…boy, do I love suits! Of course, I work as a retarded morning show rock radio DJ, so I rarely have to wear them.  That’s why I like playing dress-up.  Remembering how to tie a tie is always a great adventure!  It usually ends with me standing in front of a mirror for fifteen minutes trying to get the skinny back portion of the tie to not be eight inches longer than the front before I say “fuck it…I’m wearing a vest anyway.”  Yes, the suit is awesome.  It makes you look smart, older, respectable, classy…all the things my old Rancid t-shirt or Edmonton Oilers jersey fail to convey.  Why, with my tattoos all covered up I look a proper gentlemen!  Like a dad or something!  And let’s be honest…if you’re going to drink a martini (Bombay Sapphire for me, please) or scotch on the rocks,  a suit makes it so much better.  The inverse of this is also true:  if you have a three-piece suit and fedora, I’d best not catch you drinking draft Bud Light out of a goddam plastic cup.  I’ll box your ears, young man!

So, Mr. Bond! We meet again!

Jesus…it’s finally happened.  I am my grandpa.  Also, I haven’t even mentioned any movies.  I tend to get distracted, you see.  So let’s call this “Part One” and I’ll get back atcha later this week with the flicks, mmm-kay?  Swell!

Geek Rant: Big Bang Theory Isn’t Funny.

Okay, goddammit…I can’t take it anymore.   It’s come to this.  Listen to me carefully, people.  Listen with your ears, and hear me with your soul.  The television show “Big Bang Theory” is bad.  Really bad.  Like, terrible.  And every time I bring that up to someone, they look as if I’ve sodomized their grandma’s cat whilst wearing my Obama t-shirt.  I hear responses like “Un-fucking-MURICAN! Fuckin’-A, IT’S FUGGIN HILARIOUS!!  EAT SHIT AND DIE, FAG!” And so on.

A little back story.  If you’re not familiar with this particular network television offering, the premise of Big Bang Theory centers around a bunch of physicists and their crew of stereotypically smart-yet-socially-awkward genius friends and the hot whore that lives across the hall.  Imagine “Seinfeld” if Jerry happened to work at the JPL and Kramer was a hot blonde actress.  Oh, and in order for this comparison to work you’d have to lose all of the funny stuff that made “Seinfeld” watchable and add a big, stupid, obvious LAUGH TRACK OVER EVERY GODDAM JOKE, ASIDE, LEER, SIGH, OR AWKWARD PAUSE.  But I digress.

MAKE HIM STOP! I'M PEEING MY PANTS! AGAIN!!

It’s funny to me that most of the people who find it odd that I don’t DVR every episode of “Theory” are not what I’d call “geeks.”  In fact, most of them are softball-playing frat boys or golf-addicted pseudo-jocks.  It’s like they know I’m a geek and expect me to love this piece of network crap simply because “well…them guys are all nerds like you!”  Brilliant. And therein lies the problem.  See, this show was created by Chuck Lorre.  Remember that guy?  He’s the creator of a show you may have heard of called “Two And A Half Men.”  Yes, the show with John Cryer and, oh…what was his name…the other guy? Gosh, can’t seem to remember.  He kind of disappeared after gracefully exiting the show.  Huh.  Anyway, “Men” is a huge success, and is based on the same formula that’s been used for television comedies for, well… EVER.  The Odd Couple, Three’s Company, Gilligan’s Island, House…the list goes on and on.  When it works, it’s comedy gold.  When it doesn’t…it’s “Big Bang Theory.”  God, even the name of the show pisses me off.  See. it’s a physics-related phrase that also has the word “BANG” in it, like “boy, we half-dicked science nerds sure would like to BANG a real female vagina…wait!  There’s a hot chick across the hall that would never even look our direction in real life, but now she’s woven into our lives to create sexual tension and give everyone something to masturbate to!”  BAZINGA!!

Bazinga.  Don’t even…no.  Not going there.

Yes. We know.

Comedy.  That’s what this show needs.  You know what this show has instead?  “Jokes” like these.  Seriously, here are some honest-to-god quotes from the show.  Try not to bust a gut…

“Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and as it always has, rock crushes scissors.”  BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! GET IT?  STAR TREK!!

 “A fear of heights is illogical. A fear of falling, on the other hand, is prudent and evolutionary.” WOOOO-HOOOO!  HE SAID “EVILOUSHUN!”  GEEKS ARE SOOOO FUNNY!!

“I don’t know how, but she is cheating! Nobody can be that attractive and this skilled at a video game.” I KNOW, RITE?  CHICKS CAN’T PWN NEWBS ON “NUKETOWN!”

“A neutron walks into a bar and asks how much for a drink. The bartender replies, ‘For you, no charge.’” Okay, so that one’s actually pretty funny.  Damn it.

The point is, these jokes are written, I’m guessing, by non-geeks who lurk on Reddit or have friends who’ve bought t-shirts from J!NX, and then try and write to an audience they don’t really “get.”  It’s like Michael Richards writing to the Spike Lee crowd, only with much less hatred.  But now the show has become wildly popular with the non-geek crowd, in part, I think, as a response to the fact that geeks are taking over the world.  Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gates, the Google guys…they are our new overlords.  The Large Hadron Collider makes CNN now and then when the CERN guys make a breakthrough.  Movie stars are seen wearing “Portal” shirts.  For a non-geek, the paradigm has shifted and maybe they’re just trying to catch up.  In which case, maybe I’m over-reacting.  Maybe I should welcome the frat boys who have traded in their Hollister shirts for a “Halo” or “Gears of War” t-shirt.  It’s a start.  (When I see them sporting “Team Fortress 2” or “Deus Ex” shirts, I’ll be impressed.)

SOME of you have got to get this...

In the meantime, me and the rest of the nerd, dorks, geeks, and wonks will be watching OUR shows.  Galactica, Dr. Who, Firefly, Mythbusters, and Arrested Development.  Some of those shows are obviously no longer on the air.  Maybe when the “Affliction” crowd catches up, those shows will be given another chance.

With a laugh track, of course.