Thursday, May 31, 2007

Song, Get Out Of My Head

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
Total eclipse of the heart

Introducing Two Buck Schmuck


Today I start a hopefully somewhat regular feature.

Late last millenia I had quite the lovely time reporting on the dregs of Hollywood after it had dripped from the first-run moviehouses on to the sticky floors of the Davis Theater.

A few things have happened since my Davis Theater days.

1. The Davis, while still cheaper than many moviehouses, cannot really be called a "cheap theater" any more.
2. I live nowhere close to the Davis any more. I live really, really freaking far away "nowhere close".
3. I got wall-to-wall freaking kids.

In a crazy mixed-up way, rather than having my blog report on my idiosyncratic behavior, my blog is now working its own influence on my behavior.

I'm going to try and visit my new neighborhood cheap theater, the LaGrange, for the occasional 9:00pm weeknight shows, after the kids have gone to bed. The LaGrange is $2.00 per show. I'll go see a movie and then review it, most likely being entirely too snarky. Hence, the title "Two Buck Schmuck".

There's something I really enjoy about going to Le Cinema to see a shoddy piece of work for a low price, and afterwards taking pot shots at it. And, hey, if the movie turns out to not suck so bad, then I saw a good movie on the cheap.

Initial Impressions of the LaGrange
The LaGrange's lobby is kinda grungy, with dirty, threadbare carpet, similar to the Davis I fondly remember. The soda on tap is Royal Crown, the faithful, cheaper alternative to Coke and Pepsi.

I can't really give a good impression of the theater where I saw the movie, as it was dark when I arrived. It was Theater 1, which I'll call the Curvy Theater. It's narrow (though not *too* narrow) and the seats all form a curve, as this theater was probably the right side of a larger theater which at some point was split into smaller rooms.

A Snack Dilemma
I had considered sneaking in a bag of plain M&M's into the movie, while still buying a soda at the LaGrange like a good, proper theatergoer. However, since this was the start of a potentially long and beautiful relationship, I decided that I should just go ahead and purchase my M&M's there.

To my dismay, the LaGrange only carried the reviled Peanut M&M's. I told the youngish concessionaire, "Hey, I really want plain M&M's, so I'm gonna go buy some, then come back, but don't worry, I'll buy a soda." -- I figured the assurance that I would buy *some* kind of concession would mitigate the fact that I would be bringing in something from the outside -- and, hey I was being straight with him. He paused, shrugged and said, "Okay." I know what you're thinking -- "wow, that was Joe Camel smooooth."

The Movie
Okay, so I had three choices -- Premonition, 300, and Shooter.

The 9:10 showing of the Sandra Bullock film Premonition was thankfully canceled due to "technical difficulties" according to a posted note. So between 300 and Shooter I opted for Shooter, because I didn't want some muscular dudes screaming at me for an hour and a half.

I have seen one movie by Shooter's director Antoine Fuqua, the overrated Training Day, where Denzel Washington grabs the viewer and shakes them until he receives an Oscar (it worked!).

I like this director's name, if only for the fact that I can say for his new movie, "What the Fuqua were you thinking, Antoine?"

This is an action movie which feels very similar to a 1980's action movie (particularly the 1985 movie Commando) but tries to play it somber instead of playing up the cartoonish elements that made the 1980's action movies cheesily enjoyable.

Don't get me wrong, there's some freaking cheesy moments here. The name of the protagonist (Mark Wahlberg) is Bob Lee Swagger. OH MY GOD. Why couldn't his middle name have been "BigBalls"? There are some choice scenes with Bob and his dog, where his dog opens a refrigerator and retrieves a beer for him. No, it didn't then proceed to pull out a bottle opener, pop the top and pour the contents into a frosty mug. That lame, good-for-nothing dog.

Bob's love interest is played by an actress who is introduced with nipples in a white tank top. Later on, she is held captive in bra and panties. Now that's something exploitative they didn't do to Alyssa Milano in Commando. Granted, she was only twelve.

A couple character actors pop up in this movie that I generally like, but didn't like in this movie. Ned Beatty is wasted as a Snidely Whiplash-ish senator. Near the end of the movie he's crawling away from Bob Swagger on his stomach. No, there was no anal rape involved.

Elias Koteas, who has perhaps the most wondrous name ever (say it with me -- E-li-as Ko-te-as) plays a reptilian crony of the big bad guys, but not an interesting one. I feel that directors should let this guy improvise in whatever roles he plays. He'd probably come up with something interesting. Aside from having his arm shot off, he doesn't have a lot to do here.

Danny Glover has a horribly stinky part as an ex-Colonel evil guy, but I don't like him that much as an actor (two words -- Predator 2).

My main problem with this movie wasn't the cheese, the predicatable plot, or the bad characterization. I realized I find it hard to root for a character that routinely shoots people in the head from a long ways away. You can try to portray the target of a sniper as deserving his or her fate, but still, the sniper is picking people off, literally blowing chunks of their brains out.

Seeing this movie made me think of soldiers getting killed in Iraq, and the sniper shootings in the D.C. area from a few years back.

There is something really cowardly, non-action-movie-heroic about picking people off while you're hiding. I'm sure it's a very valuable military strategy, but I didn't really root for Mr. Swagger as he amassed an impressive body count.

And don't get me even started on the ending. It's too late! I've already started! During most of the run of the movie, Bob Swagger is the suspected attempted assassin of the President of the U.S.

He gives himself up and is granted a five minute discussion with the US Attorney General. His sniper rifle (which was supposedly used to attempt to kill the President) is in the room where he is meeting with the Attorney General. An FBI agent who he hooks up with during the course of the movie is also present.

To prove his gun was not the gun used in the assassination attempt (he had removed some sort of firing pin from it making it inoperable), Bob has the FBI agent secretly gives him a bullet for the rifle, which he then uses to aim, point and shoot at his FBI buddy. In the office of the Attorney General. Well, he sure as hell would be tackled down to the ground for that, right?

Nope. The Attorney General, then convinced of Bob's innocence, lets him go. Not only that, the AG basically implies to Bob Swagger that he should kill the people responsible for framing him because justice does not always work. THIS IS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SAYING THIS.


This review will be too late for most theatergoers, perhaps even too late for DVD-renters.

If it's not too late, I'd say you'd be better served by Commando.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Are Other Illinoisans Finally Getting Bugs?

I saw some news reports on the teevee last night which indicated parts of Chicago and its outlying suburbs are finally starting to see cicadas emerging.

You may want to consider checking out some online maps devoted to showing cicada hotspots.

Chicago Tribune map

Lake County Forest Preserves map

Unfortunately, these maps are reporting just on stuff entered by people online.

What would be really cool is if cicadas excreted some unique set of chemicals that could then be sensed by some satellite and then there could be detailed, accurate maps of the bugs, and, and, and, and we could all be wearing hoverpacks, flying over the cicada parks and then, and then cicadas would launch at you but you'd have your anti-bug laser pistol handy and.... oh well.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Dorky And Dangerous Meme

Okay, this has been brewing in my head a bit.

I don't know that this classifies as a "meme" (I actually have no idea *what* makes a meme a meme, honestly).

I would like you to share your favorite Dungeons and Dragons story. Ideally, the story should involve a character of yours, and will entail you describing events in the game you were playing. If it makes a better story also talking about the "real world" that your D&D game is transpiring in, that's fine.

You can provide helpful informative details in your story, but try to write under the assumption that your readers have memorized the Player's Manual, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master's Guide. If they don't know what a vorpal blade is, that's their problem, not yours.

Assuming you have a story to share, here are some things to consider.

Why You Might Consider Posting Your Story
1. D&D adventures are, after all, ripping adventure yarns. Who doesn't love a ripping yarn?
2. Chances are there will be no one else with your exact story. This is a unique life experience that can brighten someone's day.
3. Share your exploits -- did you take on a Beholder? Damn!

Why You Might Consider Not Posting Your Story
1. You play(ed) D&D? Ewwwwww.

Okay, here's mine.

First off, I haven't put in tons of active duty in D&D campaigns. Most of my D&D experience has been through computer games, particularly the wonderful game Pool of Radiance.

My brother, who is several years my senior, would occasionally get together with some of his buddies and play D&D. At age nine, I'm sure I was a drag to a group of teenagers rolling the 20-sided. Still, one time they let me play with them.

My name was Hydrox the Cookie. I was a Gnome thief. And I was terrible.

I believe the DM of this particular game was of the "asshole" variety. At one point I was talking to members in my party, and I said something along the lines of, "We should kill that guy." Of course, since I was saying this, the DM interpreted this as my character saying this. And since my character was in a crowded street, some NPC heard me say it. Call the constables!

I think I was the only person that got caught in the ensuing scuffle with the law. I did put up a fight, but I was quickly knocked unconscious, and woke up in jail.

When I woke up in my cell, which was barren, except for a bench hanging off the wall, there was a mean rat staring at me. I didn't have a weapon and I didn't have any armor. So, what the hell was I supposed to do? It moved toward me and I kicked at it. It bit me for a couple hit points of damage.

I proceeded to get into a very uncool hissy fit. I tried kicking it again and missed. My brother was starting to get very angry at me. The rat bit me again and I went to zero hitpoints. Bang! I was out of the game. I believe at this point tears might have been welling up in my eyes.

My brother shouted, "Why didn't you just jump on the bench?!"

I said, "I don't know!"

And then I had to go to bed.

The next day, my brother informed me that I had not died, but had merely been knocked unconscious by the rat. He said that I later rejoined the party. At this point my character was played by the aforementioned "asshole" DM. Apparently, I was wounded again in an encounter with a displacer beast. But, our party prevailed and we defeated the monster, getting a generous amount of treasure in the process.

My take? A +1 dagger that extended to a +1 short sword when a button on the handle was pressed. A goddamned magic switchblade.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

1989 The Number Another Summer!

So, I'm tapping myself on the shoulder for a music meme I have not been tagged for.

I'll say Bubs tagged me because I'm always bothering him with my own memes. Okay, Bubs, take a chill pill, I'll do it, I'll do it.

Using the songs listed by Pop Culture Madness during the year of my 18th birthday (1989), I haveta pick out five and get all misty about them.

I'm limiting myself to the songs listed on the website for 1989. One or two is no problem, but picking five may end up causing me some permanent glandular damage.

1) She Drives Me Crazy - The Fine Young Cannibals
I looove this song. Rolands Gift's voice is sooo high. The drums on this are so trebly and tinny. The song seems so simple, yet it's just damned wonderful. I liked the video a lot, too, for what it's worth. I just searched for the director, whose name is apparently "Philippe de Coufle". I remember a New Order video he did ("True Faith") fondly, as well. From the site I found, it indicates he only did these two.

2) My Prerogative - Bobby Brown
Hell, I like this song, too. I love the cheesy synth horns. I love the refrain, "Everybody's talking all this stuff about me, why don't they just let me live." I know he's seen as kind of a running joke to many, but every time he's reported as being in trouble, in my mind I hear this song. I love the snotty way he says, "I can do what I wanna do." I love that he's using the word "prerogative" in a dance song. I am downloading this now, goddammit.

3) Baby Don't Forget My Number - Milli Vanilli
I don't unequivocally like this song, but I find it hard resisting singing along with the lines "I have been looking high, I have been looking low." I also like it when the "Bah-bah-bah-bah-baby's" are being thrown down.

Okay, I'm starting to panic now. I barely got out the Milli Vanilli, and I HAVE TWO MORE LEFT TO GO.

4) If You Don't Know Me By Now - Simply Red
I didn't really know this song too well when it came out, but I did like that "Holding Back The Years" song. I really enjoyed singing it in my own uniquely bad soulful manner. But, I have really enjoyed this "If You Don't Know Me" song in another context.

5) Jesus, what, I haveta do a freaking Roxette song? Or a Paula Abdul song? Or Michael Damian with that "Rock On" song? Richard Marx? Mike and the Mechanics? How about I pick the Billy Joel song, "We Didn't Start The Fire"? I think the song is about how #1 hits have always been terrible, and it didn't just start in 1989. Thanks, Mr. Joel!

UPDATE: For the record, I thought I was limited to only Billboard #1 Hits. There apparently is another "Most Requested Hits" page at Pop Culture Madness which contained lots of songs I love -- "Bust A Move" by Young MC, for example.

Goodbye Renée and Kenny

I love reading the odd magazine once in a while, as does my wife. I'll sometimes pick up a copy of Entertainment Weekly or Premiere.

My wife prefers the more celebrity-oriented magazine.

The funny thing is, we don't make these kinds of purchases that often. The magazines will lay around the house for a week, then they'll be spirited to the readin' basket in our upstairs bathroom.

Whatever moments that were captured in these disposable catalogs of celebrity have now become monumentally important, if only for the sheer fact that I read about them on a weekly basis.

So, today my wife comes home with some freshly-minted celebrity magazines.

To make room, I'll need to bid fond farewell to the happy nuptials of Renée and Kenny. They're still together, right?

Cicadas! Cicadas Everywhere!

The only reason why I continue posting about cicadas is because they have completely overwhelmed my life.

I'm home alone with the kids, so I decide to take them to a park a few blocks away. My daughter and my younger son ride in a wagon I'm pulling, and I'm pushing my older son in a tricycle that has a handle in the back for an adult to push.

All my other posts about cicadas were nothing, let me tell you. NOW they mean business. Now they are on the ground, on the trees, and flying around.

In the back of my mind I knew my daughter did not like these bugs, but it wasn't until she started screaming, "Cicadas! Cicadas everywhere!" that I realized that, hey, she did not like these bugs.

I know all you bug-deprived northern Illinoisans just think I am posting fictitious cicada reports to boost my hits with entomologists, so here are some pictures taken in front of my house.

The light pole in front of my house.

Closer on the light pole.

Another view of the light pole.

Yet another view of the light pole.

One of them buggers close up.

Detail of a tree in front.

The base of the tree. Who wants pork cracklins?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Brookfield Zoo Animals Love Cicadas

Apologies to the cicada-challenged people reading this.

There was a rumor going around that people could bring in 1 pound of cicadas to the Brookfield Zoo and receive five(!) bucks.

Sadly, I have confirmed with someone at the zoo that this is not the case. They are not paying for cicadas, nor are they even taking them from an eager bug-toting public.

However, there is a grain of buggy truth in the rumor. Many zoo animals are eating the cicadas.

Hey, it even made the national news!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Islamic Greeting For A Wrong Number

There was a man named Mohammed who had the phone number I have now.

From time to time, we'll get phone calls for him.

Lately, a woman has been calling us. I'm not sure if she is calling for him, or just dialing for someone with a similar number to ours.

Whenever she calls, since hers is a voice I don't recognize, I automatically just say, "You have the wrong number." I haven't understood what she is saying -- she was not asking for a person's name.

Tonight, however, I think I understood.

She was saying, As-Salāmu `Alaykum. A common translation of this phrase is, "Peace be upon you." Now, if I answered the phone, and the first thing someone said to me in English was "Peace be upon you," I don't know that I would so abruptly say they had the wrong number. I'd be kind of thrown off a bit. In my mind, that's a powerful and loving thing to say to someone, especially a stranger.

According to the Wikipedia article I link to above:

"The traditional response is "wa `Alaykum As-Salām", meaning "and on you be peace."

Should I practice the pronunciation of this response?

I don't know... I found a website, How to Greet Non-Muslims? which says that "As-Salāmu `Alaykum" should not be used as a greeting for non-Muslims. Is this website definitive? Is the exchange of these greetings between a Muslim and a non-Muslim seen as an egregious affront to Islam by a large group of Muslims? A small group of Muslims? Any?

Can I wish peace upon someone who wishes peace onto me?

What do I say?

Wrong number?

Cicada Emergence Lessening?

It might just be that it's 15 degrees cooler today, but there weren't nearly as many crunchy cicadas for me to step over on the one mile walk to my train this morning.

Could I be nearing the final stages of the cicada grief cycle?


Please note, this isn't the cicada cycle used by everyone.

For example, here's the one for Bubs:


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Splotchy Reads His Spam

For some reason, the subject line of a spam email in my inbox caught my eye.

Make your fat friends envy you

I don't know, it just clicked for me. So's I checked the other 10-15 spam emails also in my inbox for any other choice phrases.

Surprisingly, I found several gems.

1. Do you want your dick to be wallpaper for a computer? Try [product name deleted].

I honestly don't know if I want that or not. My brain almost short-circuited when I read it.

2. [product name deleted] is a penis enlargement product that will enhance your penis in length and girth without damagining your health.

I like that word, "damagining". Didn't he play for the Yankees in the 1940's?

3. [product deleted] - an extremely striking flesh loss product is made available now wherever you need it!!!

Would you believe me if I told you the product was called Shylock?

4. May 24 2007 day of the explotion.
Already 200 millions of people has read this message !!!

Didn't the season finale for Heroes already air on the 21st?

Requiem For A Physics Teacher

Inspired by Coaster Punchman's heartwarming tale of a teacher, I bring you one of my own.

None of this is made up. It's all true.

I had a physics teacher in high school named Teddy Baer (pronounced "Bear"). Yes. I know. I don't know how he made it to adulthood, either.

He didn't have the witchy maliciousness of CP's Ms. Lowmuff, but he certainly had his share of problems.

He was actually a shop teacher, who, probably due to budgetary concerns, was tapped to teach high school physics. I'm using the word "teach" in the loosest sense of the word.

I remember vaguely doing lots of quadratic equations, for purposes that elude me even to this day.

Mr. Baer had a habit of mispronouncing words, many of them being quite amusing.

There were enough of these that my friend Tim and I actually started keeping a list. Sadly, this list has been lost, but I still remember a few.

The all-time favorite of mine was him saying "Connecticut energy" instead of "kinetic energy". He said this a *lot*. I actually got a detention a couple of times because of uncontrollable snickering.

Despite having some levity in the class, I would have much rather learned a bit more about physics -- overall this class was a pretty big drag.

So, how did I exorcise the demon of Teddy Baer?

Why, with a song of course.

Click to hear --> Requiem For A Physics Teacher <--

I was just learning to play guitar, Tim was just learning how to play drums, and both of us were learning how to sing badly. Still, a nice song.

Here's the lyrics, if'n you can't understand our adolescent caterwauling.

Up there, It's Mr. Baer
He's gonna jump
He's gonna jump

In a classroom far away
There lived a man who died today
Thought he was king of all equations
But he forgot about acceleration

Mr. Baer you got no hair
But we don't care if you float on air
We think you're such an awesome teacher
But we don't if we should beseech you

Not to jump
Not to jump

Connecticut energy
Motary rotion
Can you stand
On Jupiter's ocean?
(You know you can't, Mr. Baer.)

All right
All right

Up there, It's Mr. Baer
He's gonna jump
He's gonna jump

Watch Mr. Baer do the slamming wall dance
Does he know he's got chalk on his pants?
He should be home, drinking his Coors
But instead he's falling forty floors (Oh no!)

Mr. Baer you got no hair
But we don't care if you float on air
We think you're such an awesome teacher (Word!)
But we don't if we should beseech you

Not to jump
Not to jump

More Lost Season 4 Spoilers

1. Introduction of a new group of people, "the Other Others".
2. Smoke monster revealed to be a sentient vinyl copy of The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart.
3. Desmond gets visions of Locke contracting Bell's Palsy.
4. The remaining female cast of Deadwood show up on the show, as members of a shipwrecked jugband.
5. Two words -- hair gel.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lost Season 4 Spoilers

1. Everyone (excepting Sawyer) grows a full beard.

2. More structures are uncovered on the island.
Among them:
a) A Denny's
b) A used car dealership used by the Others to practice infiltrating the castaways' ranks.
c) A Wrestledome containing the dessicated corpses of Dick The Bruiser and the Von Erich Brothers.

3. The mysterious Other Mikhail not only survives, but appears dressed as Shirley Temple and speaks in a thick Cajun accent.

4. The show sucks twice as much as it did in Season 3, which sucked twice as much as Season 2, which sucked twice as much as Season 1.

Hot and Icky

So, despite being aware of the imminent arrival of numerous cicadas yesterday and today, I decided *not* to mow the lawn this past weekend.

And, now I just get off the phone with My Lady and she says I need to sweep the sidewalk in front of the house when I get home, because there are so many bugs on it.

If there are that many cicadas on the sidewalk, there will be double that in each square foot of our yard.

It is going to be one hot, icky grass trimming tonight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Is It Really So Strange?

Tell me if this is strange, won't you?

Whenever I eat ice cream, I take whatever empty receptacle I have eaten the ice cream from -- be it a bowl, or a Ben And Jerry's pint, what-have-you -- and I fill it halfway with milk, then drink the milk.


At least it's not eating olives from the nostril of a racehorse, right?

The Cicadas Are Here!

Superman Meme

My purposefully vague yet disturbing contribution to a Superman Meme.

Ah, what the hell. One more.

Unclaimed Blog Titles That Are Better Than I, Splotchy

Grab them while they're available, folks.

1. Tits and Chocolate
2. Gob of Spit
3. Does This Smell Funny?
4. Help, I Have Lost My Testicles!
5. The Paris Hilton - Lindsay Lohan Lesbian Subterfuge
6. Nothing But Toes
7. Ahh Homonyms
8. My Children Are Repeatedly Embarrassed By Me
9. Steve Buscemi's Teeth
10. Aye, Splotchy

How Do You Stay Current?

Hi, I was just wondering how y'all keep current with any blogs or news websites that you regularly read.

I've only recently been investigating the wonderment that is RSS feeds.

I've been using Google Reader for the last few weeks, but might be jumping that ship for Bloglines.

What are you using?

Where The Hell Is Bill?

Well, maybe he went to get a sideways haircut
Maybe he went to get a stri-pehd shirt
Maybe he went to get some plastic shoes
Maybe he went to get some funny sunglasses

Where, where the Hell is Bill?

Well, maybe he went to get an Air Force parka
Maybe he went to get a Vespa scooter
Maybe he went to get a British flag
Maybe he went to go Mod Ska dancing

Where, where the Hell is Bill?

Well, maybe he went to get a mohawk
And maybe he went to get some gnarly thrash boots
Maybe he went to go ride his skateboard
Maybe he went to see the Circle Jerks

Where, where the Hell is Bill?
Where, where the Hell is Bill?
Where, where the Hell is Bill?
Where, where the Hell is Bill?

Monday, May 21, 2007

An Open, Non-Humorous Letter to Johnny Depp

Hi, Mr. Depp. I can't imagine how you stumbled upon this page, but I am glad you did.

I have loved all the movies I have seen by Roman Polanksi, and The Ninth Gate is no exception.

Since as an actor I imagine you probably have some degree of empathy for the characters you play, I wanted to ask you some questions about the ending of the movie.

How do you feel about the fate of your character?

Where is the character going?

What is the character becoming?

Is the ending positive, negative, neither?

What does the ending say about the character's journey from a cynical bookseller to ... something else?

I'm not so much interested in the physicality or mechanics regarding where the character is now, more interested from a spiritual, metaphorical perspective.

Anyone that is not Johnny Depp, please also feel free to put in your two cents.

For the record, I liked the ending.

More Stiglets

Hi, more Stiglets for your reading pleasure.

I'm not supplying audio for these, but I think you get the drift.

douchebag - doochbag
Thank you, previous user of my IP address!

vitiligo - winnebago
"archipelago" is also an acceptable alternative. A friend of my wife has this. I could never remember what it was called, so I just started saying "winnebago".

Dilaudid - dubadill
Someone I know was in the hospital on this medication. I actually was calling this "dubadill" seriously -- I had a mental block preventing me from using the right word. But, hey, it's a stupid pharmaceutical name, why the hell should I be able to remember it?

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Blogger's Hyperbola

Over the last few weeks I have come to the realization that life on the blogger's hyperbola isn't so bad.

I'm now at peace with, in fact somewhat excited by, the fact that I am writing via a mechanism that is not only occupying space, but is also moving through time.

On what I have done with my website, many of the things I have written are really more of the moment. When one puts up a non-blog webpage, it seems to gain some sort of timeless permanence, which is somewhat unearned if you never update it.

I have a page devoted to Chicago's lovely Hooker Motels like The Stars. A couple months ago, the new owner of The Stars contacted me and asked if I wanted to take some pictures before he knocked it down and built some condos. I went with my friend Tim to take some pictures. I even uploaded them, but have yet to create a link from the The Stars main page on my site to these new pictures, or even indicate that The Stars is now closed.

I did a series of movie reviews at a neighborhood cheap theater, but the last review was done in January 28, 2001(!) The new owner of the Davis contacted me a year or so ago to ask me to take down my webpage, because my page was coming up higher in Google than his page, and it was somewhat critical of the conditions there. I never took my pages down, mostly due to laziness (maybe a little pissiness was in there, too).

And, my Currently Spinning page? Well, it's current for September of 2000.

If these pages were part of a blog, they could slowly fade into my archives, and I wouldn't feel guilty that I wasn't keeping them current. Looking at many of the pages on my site, they would be better served by a blog than a regular webpage.

And if there really is something I want to not fade away, I could take a cue from Samurai Frog, who creates posts summing up a particular topic and then creates a link to these metaposts from his main page. I actually read a lot of his older stuff as a result of his linkage.

So, what I am trying to say is, fellow denizens of the blogger's hyperbola, I salute you.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Things I'd Pay 5 Bucks For

1. Rights to use the word bef*ckered.
2. An openly hostile interview subject on Inside The Actor's Studio.
3. Spider-Man 3. I paid $9.50 to see it. It was worth $5.
4. Charlie Rose wrestling a greased hobo.
5. Rainbows, smiles and happiness.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Velveteen Cockroach

Take an impending bug invasion, and reading bedtime stories to my kids, and what do you get?

Synergy, baby.

There was once a velveteen cockroach, and he was really splendid. He was brown and blotchy, with long feelers and skinny little legs. On Christmas morning, he sat wedged in the bottom of Boy's stocking. He was a gag gift from Boy's weird uncle.

There were other things in the stocking, nuts and oranges, a toy engine and a velveteen rabbit, but the cockroach was the best of all.

But Boy thought the cockroach was ugly, and dropped him in his toy box. Boy played with Rabbit for two hours. Then Aunts and Uncles came to dinner, and the cockroach and the rabbit were forgotten.

For a long time, the cockroach lived in the toy box. He was naturally shy, and being a cockroach, all the other toys shunned him, especially Rabbit. Even the toy horse, who was usually nice to everyone, wouldn't talk or look at him.

One day, the Rabbit asked the horse, "What is REAL?"

The horse said, "When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

One evening, when the Boy was going to bed, he couldn't find the dog that always slept with him. Nana was in a hurry, and grabbed Rabbit for Boy from the toy box.

"Here," she said. "Take this bunny. You can sleep with him." And she put Rabbit in Boy's arms.

Nana also saw Cockroach. "What a disgusting toy," she thought to herself. She took him and threw him in the trash outside. Nana did not see that Cockroach bounced out of the trash onto the dirty ground.

Boy and Rabbit grew very close. They did everything together. Sometimes they would walk past Cockroach, who was getting dirtier and dirtier, and was very, very sad.

As time went on, and Rabbit was very happy, he didn't notice his fur getting shabbier and shabbier. For the cockroach, who still lay on the dirty ground, sadness gave way to hate.

One day the boy grew very ill. Nana took the rabbit because the doctor said it was full of germs, and threw it in the garbage when Boy was sleeping.

Cockroach looked at Rabbit. In a dirty leg he picked up a tiny shard of glass. Cockroach crept toward Rabbit, who was starting to cry because he missed Boy.

With a quick slash, Cockroach sliced Rabbit from his neck to his tummy.

"Barrgggghhhhhhhh!" said Rabbit. He was dead.

Cockroach grabbed Rabbit's carcass and pulled it over his insect body. As Rabbit's pelt settled onto Cockroach's head and back, a tear dripped from Rabbit's fur on to the dirty ground.

From where the tear fell on the ground, a mysterious flower grew. A blossom opened and a lovely fairy stepped out.

"Do you know who I am, little bunny?" she asked.

Cockroach was quiet.

"I am the toy fairy," she said. "I take care of toys that children have loved. When they are old and worn and the children don't need them any more, I make them Real."

"You were Real to the Boy," the Fairy said, "because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to every one."

She waved her wand, and in a flash, Cockroach was real!

"What the?" the toy fairy said. "Rabbit? Rabbit? Hmm. This usually works." Fairy shrugged her shoulders and disappeared in a shower of sparkles.

Autumn passed and Winter, and in the Spring, when the days grew warm and sunny, boy was in his kitchen.

"Agh!" Nana cried. "A cockroach!"

Boy grabbed a dictionary and smashed the bug into goo.

But he never knew that it really was his own Cockroach, come back to look at the child who had first helped him to be Real.


Cicada In The Hole!

For those in the Chicago area, look forward to being blessed with many, many bugs in the very near future.

From the Chicago Sun Times:

Those planning weddings or family reunions this spring may want to watch out for May 22.

That's the date, a prominent cicada researcher is estimating, that the little red-eyed bugs will emerge in the Chicago area. Specifically, the evening of May 21 and early morning hours of May 22.

Some may emerge a few days earlier and some stragglers may crawl from the ground a bit later depending on sunshine and shade, but the May day is "the big day,'' said Gene Kritsky, an entomologist and author of several bug books, including Periodical Cicadas: The Plague and the Puzzle.

More here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Arcade Quiz Answers (He's Got A Gun!)

Answers for the third(!) quiz!

For heaven's sakes, don't look at the answers before you sample the questions.

Gun 1 - Berzerk

One of the first games to use voice synthesis. Definitely the first game to use voice synthesis to say "Chicken! Fight like a robot!"

Gun 2 - Wizard Of Wor

What, you say this game is visually similar to Gorf? Why, how observant of you. It was created by the same company, after all.

Gun 3 - Elevator Action

I know, I know, it don't look like much. But this game is awesome with a capital 'awe'. Take a look at me killing a guy with my ass. Suh-weet!

Gun 4 - Rolling Thunder

A very enjoyable game. Lots of jumping, hopping through stacks of tires, going in and out of doors, and, above all, killing people with your gun.

Gun 5 - Narc

A pretty darned violent game. The bad guys spew blood as you fill them with hot lead. You can also cause a shower of body parts with a shot from your trusty rocket launcher. You can even shoot vicious dogs!

I'm guessing that the background visuals in this game originated from pictures taken in and around the Chicago area, though the game designers played a little fast and loose with the pictures once they were digitized.

Note the background in the picture is the Addison stop of the Red Line. This is the stop right next to Wrigley Field, and, unlike how it is portrayed in the game, is not an underground stop.

Another little thing to note --

see how the Addison sign says "B Station" -- the Red Line used to have "A" and "B" trains and "A" and "B" stops, supposedly to improve the speed of the train service. This was discontinued about a decade ago.

Next (and potentially last) quiz... mano-a-mano!

Screw Punctuation "Rules".

According to The Blue Book of Grammar and Education:


Rule 1: Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes.

The sign changed from "Walk," to "Don't Walk," to "Walk" again within 30 seconds.
She said, "Hurry up."
She said, "He said, 'Hurry up.'"


First off, it's nice to see the Blue Book people finally branch out from the used car market.

Secondly, I have been aware of this rule for a long time, but I just can't stomach it in certain circumstances.

He said, "Have a nice day."

Okay, the above sentence makes sense -- I don't mind having the period inside the quote.

The problem, however, was his definition of "nice."

Agh! I hate it! Why is that period in the quote? The quotation marks are acting on the word! Not the sentence! Punctuation, get out of my quotes!

The problem, however, was his definition of "nice".

Ah, my rage is receding.

I'm just announcing here, that I am not abiding by this rule foisted upon us by unaccountable grammarians!

Screw you, "jerks"!

Dynamic IP Addresses and Wikipedia

Had kind of an interesting thing happen to me when I was visiting Wikipedia earlier today.

I actually have an account there (used it once to correct the glaring, horrible error that the Lizard first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #6, *not* #7!).

Despite the fact that I have an account there, when I visit the site I am never logged in.

So, imagine my surprise when I see that there is a message waiting for me.

I click on the message. The message was intended for the IP address I am currently using.

Now, realize that most Internet users don't have "static" IP addresses. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) usually has a bunch of IP addresses reserved for their use. When you connect to the Internet, your ISP will just assign you an IP address at random. This is often referred to as a "dynamic" IP.

From time to time (I'm not exactly sure what prompts this), your IP address will switch.

Wikipedia allows editing by members of their site, but it also allows edits anonymously. Instead of logging your ID when you edit a page, it logs your IP address.

Apparently the miscreant who last had my dynamic IP address had a little fun with the Lincoln-Way East High School page.

I just want to go on record that I would have spelled it "douchebag" not "doochbag".

In Memoriam

The less you know about this video before you see it, the better.

My reasons for posting will become apparent.

Bad Dream Firing On All Cylinders

I guess if you have a nightmare, you might as well cover all your bases.

Last night was one of those glorious dreams.

1. I was wandering around at college, after having gone back to school to start a new career. But, I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing there.
2. A relative of mine got shot and lay on the ground, all bloodied.
3. I tried to help this relative, then realized I had traveled from the future and was in danger of meeting myself, creating a time paradox.

Splotchy Considers An Award

Here are some award ideas I am bandying about, inspired by the Thinking Blogger awards.

"Stinks At Frogger"
"Ball Hogger"
"Testicle Flogger"
"Asshole Jogger"
"Unscrupulous Snogger"
"Window Defogger"
"What's An Augur?"

These awards will be handed out without concern for content, style, or correct spelling/grammar/punctuation.

To receive one of the above awards, I only ask that if you some day meet me in person, that you address me as Sir Thaddeus Wifflestein.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I Sometimes Heart The British English Language

Just a short list of things I adore about the Brits and their language ways.

1. color = colour
2. elevator = lift
3. "Bangers and mash"
4. "Sticky wicket"
5. "Cheers" as an informal greeting

And things I don't like:

1. cookie = biscuit
2. fries = chips
3. "git"
4. "shagging"
5. Any British turn-of-phrase that was popularized by the Austin Powers movies.

Jerry Falwell Died Yesterday

Is that a reason not to listen to Buddy Holly?

No, I didn't think so.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Help Tanya Espanya ID a Song

Just so this doesn't remain buried in a comment, fellow blogger Tanya Espanya needs you.

As of now, no sound sample of Tanya humming or singing has been provided.

Here's the info she does have for you to go on:

What about that "I Love New York" from the 1970s? I can't find it anywhere and it's not that one by some clown Steve Karmen.

Anyone? Just me then?

I love New York...what a great sensation...(Or something like that...I don't know...I was 7.)

I spent some time trying to figure this one out, but (obviously) failed.

Won't you please help?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Arcade Quiz (He's Got A Gun!)

All of these games share a common theme.

They all have protagonists which take care of business the American way, with a gun.

I'll give you the year the game came out, Fellow Travelers Of The Internet.

Gun 1 (1980)
I didn't realize how many chunks of silence there were in this game. This game has some harsh, unfriendly sounds. And that smiley face bouncing towards you? That's the grinning maw of death.

Gun 2 (1981)
This game might be a tough one to identify. You might have even forgotten that this game existed, but when you see it hopefully you'll have an "a-ha" moment. If not, you might want to contemplate what you are using those brain cells for, anyway.

Gun 3 (1983)
Here it is, my all-time favorite game. Full disclosure -- you don't just have a gun at your disposal to eliminate your enemies. You can also kill them by jumping on them with your ass.

Gun 4 (1986)
This is another very fun game, one which I suck at, and wish I was just a wee bit better. It's really fast-paced, and has a lot of energy and excitement. Well, within the world of mid-80's videogames it has a lot of energy and excitement, at least.

Gun 5 (1988)
I was kind of leaving videogames at this point for the magical world of reality, but I did play this a little, mostly because the graphics were kind of advanced for the times. Here's a hint -- two (count 'em, two!) people mention the name of the game in this sound snippet.

Are these quizzes over yet? I thought we were almost finished.

UPDATE: Answers are now available here.

Buddy Holly Did Not Die Today

...nor was Buddy Holly born today.

Is that a reason not to listen to Buddy Holly?

No, I didn't think so.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Deepest Gratitude From My Addled Brain

Oh, man.

Johnny Yen has cured my mystery song woes. I knew 1-3 already, but 4 was given to me by Mister Yen.

Here's song excerpts from all the mystery songs from my last post.

Mystery Song #1
The Rock-A-Teens - Woo Hoo
The 5678's played a cover of this in Kill Bill Vol. 1, but this version is still by far the best.

Mystery Song #2
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers - Little Bitty Pretty One
This one of my favorite songs from the 50's. Frankie Lymon did a couple other nice songs -- "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" and another personal favorite of mine, "I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent".

Mystery Song #3
Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street

Mystery Song #4
Clarence "Frogman" Henry - Ain't Got No Home
Ahhh, finally I have a song to replace the fragment in my head. Apparently this song was in the movie Casino, which annoys me, 'cause I own it, and one would think this damn song would have popped out at me. Ah well. Thanks again, Mr. Yen.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sympathy Ear For The Radio Nurse

I have what I think is kind of a cool idea for a website, but I doubt how much use it would be for people. I know it would sometimes really come in handy for me, at least.

Here's the void it would fill. Have you ever had a piece of a song, a melody in your head, but you didn't know where it was from? It's one thing if you have a scrap of lyrics that you can take to Google. But, what if you don't know any of the lyrics? What if the song doesn't have any lyrics?

There are already some services out there to help you. SongTapper purports to be able to identify a song simply by the rhythm you tap with your keyboard. 411-SONG and Tunatic have you feed them an actual sample of the song, where they will, through some matching algorithm and a giant database of music samples, determine the song you are trying to identify.

I tried SongTapper, but the songs I would have submitted weren't recognized (it got the Itchy and Scratchy theme from the Simpsons right off the bat, though). And, though I realize the benefits of being able to immediately identify a song as you're hearing it, I usually find myself in the situation where I am trying to identify a song I am remembering, rather than a song that I am hearing at the moment. In this kind of situation, I don't have a sound sample of the song to submit to anyone, I just have my own memory and warbly voice.

What I'd like to design and implement is a bulletin-board type website, where people can post sound files of themselves humming, whisting, etc., out a piece of a song, for purposes of having other people on the web help them identify it.

Would this be a useful service? Have you ever had a melody or song in your head and wished there was some way to identify it? Or does this just happen to me?

I actually went so far as to buy a domain name for this idea of mine. I thought I'd call the site "Sympathy Ear For The Radio Nurse", after seeing an Antiques Roadshow that showed the first baby monitor (the invention of which was prompted by the Lindbergh baby kidnapping). That was the name of the product. I am a sucker for the pithy phrase, I guess.

I think it would be quite a bit of work to develop this website, especially with all the ideas and snags that I am envisioning. I was thinking an alternative to this could be that this blog could serve this niche. I could post sound files from myself, and potentially others, for the purpose of soliciting identification.

I'll give you a few sound samples. Pardon my crappy renditions, but these are the kind of sound files I would realistically expect that would be submitted for identification.

I know the answers to 1-3, but only after someone told me after I sang/hummed them the part. I still don't know #4. PLEASE HELP ME IDENTIFY IT. I'll follow up with samples of the real songs for Mystery Songs 1-3 for your listening pleasure.

Mystery Song 1 - This is probably very obvious now, especially after various commercials using this song, as well as it being present in Kill Bill Vol. 1. But, lemme tell you, I was in musical limbo a long time before I knew the name and artist of this song.

Mystery Song 2 - I probably have heard this song in other places, but I really noticed it when I was watching John Carpenter's Christine. I never thought to look at the damned credits to figure out what song it was. I was in a bar when a DJ cured my ignorance regarding this tune. A happy day!

Mystery Song 3 - This song popped in my head just yesterday. Thankfully, a friend of mine was able to fill in the blanks for me.

Mystery Song 4 - I know there is that Rod Stewart song, "Some Guys Have All The Luck" where there's a background vocal very similar (if not identical) to this. But I'm thinking there's some 50's song that has this. Am I crazy? If someone can answer this, all my blogging will have been worthwhile.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Arcade Quiz Answers (Wheels)

Okay, second quiz answers now. Find the questions here. Two more quizzes left. Can you smell the excitement? You might want to check your oven.

Wheels 1 - Pole Position

This was the first driving game I saw in the arcade that looked pretty cool, with a nice use of perspective. It's been done a thousand times better since, but this was the thing back in "the day."

Wheels 2 - Moon Patrol

This is one of my favorite games. It's a helluva lotta fun, and you really feel the motion and excitement as you're driving while being attacked by spaceships, molecules and clods of dirt.

Wheels 3 - Paperboy

I still think this is one damn fine looking game. It's kind of difficult throwing papers and have them hit people's porches/mailboxes, as perspective is kind of funky. Still, you haveta love a game where the young boy protagonist drops some profanity after hitting a fire hydrant.

Wheels 4 - Stocker

I could be remembering wrong, but I think that my brother was into this game. One neat thing about the game is that when you drive off the road, your car leaves dirt tracks across the grass. A dumb movie fact: in The Color of Money, Tom Cruise's character Vincent is introduced playing Stocker, so that's something, I guess. I was going to include Spy Hunter in my quiz instead of this game, but wasn't able to capture a decent sound sample. Ah, well.

Wheels 5 - Kick

This game is a lot of fun. You control a clown on a unicycle, moving him left and right with a trackball. You catch balloons on his head -- sometimes they pop, sometimes they stick to your head and you slowly build up a big hat o' balloons. One of my favorite games, though it kind of sucks playing through a MAME emulator on the keyboard, as you can't whip the clown back and forth as fast you would be able to via a trackball.

Next quiz... guys with guns (including my all-time favorite arcade game)!

Go Wrigley Field!

I haven't really paid close attention to baseball since I collected cards back in the late 70's.

Is Lou Brock still playing for the Cardinals?

Anyway, I occasionally make it out to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game, and last night was one of those nights.

I think if I followed the Cubs a bit more (which I guess would work out to a bit more than zero) I would somehow lose this kind of dazed, happy feeling I have when I'm sitting there watching a game and having a beer.

Nothing really interesting to observe, I'm just sayin'.

Mutually Assured Destruction

Revisiting all these old arcade games popped an idea in my head.

If a bar has an old school videogame, it will usually be Ms. Pacman or Galaga.

So, I made this picture for some unknown reason. I think it would be a nice t-shirt, assuming someone other than me improved upon the graphic design of it.

It's a pretty piss-poor picture, but there's a nice idea in there somewhere.

Any takers?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Wait, Wait, I Was Using That

With the introduction of popular culture, and the mass production and consumption of goods, an unfortunate side effect of all this is that many things that you encounter, and have great love and affection for, may become tragically unavailable.

In some cases, as technology advances and we repeatedly trade in one format of a product (videocassettes, vinyl) for another (supposedly) superior format (DVDs, CDs), a lot of very good stuff never makes the leap and stays in its archaic format forever.

Thankfully, there are many people out there who take matters into their own hands and make copies of beloved movies and music, and in some cases share them with the rest of us.

Still, it's nice to have a slick, pretty product of something that really moves you in some way.

Here's a short, incomplete list of stuff I wish was still in print.

The Blade: Shellville High School Yearbook
A great yearbook by Don Novello (aka Father Guido Sarducci) of a high school of sheep. Real sheep.

The Shmenge Brothers - The Last Polka - a pseudo-doc on the famous polka duo from SCTV -- starring John Candy and Eugene Levy. Probably the funniest thing I have ever seen on the teevee.

Most music that I have been jonesing for I have actually been able to find through my friend Buford T. Lawless, who somehow downloads music from the Internet through something called "bitemorebits". Buford says he would love to find a copy of the double-LP UK version of Little Figures, by the early 80's Athens, GA band The Method Actors. Oh, Buford! You and me, both!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Veni, Vidi, Ziti

1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you’re in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Lulu (Chicago, Illinois, United States)
Chris (Boyne City, Michigan, United States)
AB (Cave Creek, Arizona, United States)
Johnny Yen (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Bubs (Mt Prospect, Illinois, USA)
Splotchy(Brookfield, Illinois, USA)

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

Okay, okay. I have been living in Brookfield for two years, and I have three children under the age of 5. Consequently, I have not been the restaurant butterfly that I was a few years ago. Still, I have five restaurants that I will submit for anyone's culinary amusement.

1. Moti Mahal (Belmont Avenue, Chicago)
This was the first place I ever had Indian food, and for me, still the best. I have eaten at a few Indian restaurants downtown, and some on Devon Avenue, but I swear at Moti Mahal they must lace their chicken tikka masala with codeine. I literally take all available naan (a wonderful flatbread) and wipe the serving dish this stuff comes in clean. Ahh, and the bhagan barth, the alu dum, sag paneer, oh my freaking God. And I always have a somosa as an appetizer (a fried pastry filled with spicy potatoes and peas). My wife and I have a ritual -- one of us asks "Would you like a somosa?" and the other answers "I suppose-a." Hey, we are comfortable in our lameness. Since we moved out to the 'burbs we have not had the opportunity to discover an Indian restaurant to replace Moti Mahal. I'm hoping there's some fantastic restaurants in Westmont, which has a sizeable Indian population.

2. Mayan Sol - Albany Park, Chicago
We usedta get takeout from this affordable Guatemalan restaurant in Albany Park when our oldest kids were just wee ones. We would usually get the standard steak taco dinner, the highlight for me being the sweet plantains they provided along with the tacos, beans and rice. I recently ate there again with a friend of mine and the food was as good as I remembered.

3. Manny's - Southwest of the Loop, Chicago
This is a restaurant I'll occasionally go to for lunch, as it's just a few blocks from where I work. It's expensive, but they go crazy with the Jewish deli fixings. I always get a corned beef sandwich on rye with a hockey puck potato latke, but you can get knishes, kishke, tongue, kreplach and matzoh ball soup, etc. And horseradish at your table! Mazel with the Tov!

4. J.B. Alberto's - Rogers Park, Chicago
I have eaten so much of this place's pizza that my arteries surely carry at least a few threads of mozzarella. They are only a carry out and delivery place -- no eating area. Regrettably we are out of their delivery distance. Try 'em out if you want some tasty pizza.

5. Blueberry Hill - La Grange
Finally a restaurant that it is the vicinity of my new suburban digs, that I have eaten at and can heartily recommend. A really great family restaurant that focuses primarily on breakfast. Good, quick service, tasty food in respectable portions. It's popular, for a very good reason.

3. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.

I'm too freaking tired to tag anyone else. I want Indian food.

Arcade Sound Quiz (Wheels)

Part 2 in my continuing videogame sound effect quizzes.

All of these games share a common theme.

They all have protagonists which are on some sort of contraption that uses wheels.

Wheels 1
Hopefully, the voice synthesis is a giveaway. If not, there's a picture of the game in this post (I was probably driving a little too fast).

Wheels 2
This takes place in the location where I offered a free trip to in my previous quiz.

Wheels 3
If you don't recognize the previous two games, you probably aren't going to recognize this one. It came out a little later than the above two. You can get a clue as to the game by the voice samples the protagonist throws out. This was an unusual "driving" game in that you used handlebars instead of a joystick or steering wheel.

Wheels 4
I'm not sure how many people have played this game. I do remember it from the halogen days of my youth. I'm mostly including it because of the catchy tune.

Wheels 5
This was one of my favorite games as a kid. It used a trackball. There is a Pacman sound in this game -- for some reason the Midway company thought it would be a good idea to throw that yellow freak in a couple more of their games to boost sales. This game is especially appropriate for Bubs due to his fixation on the vocation of this game's protagonist.

Post yer answers in the Comments section if you have a hankering, or just want to tell me how it would be more interesting for me to post about my busted fingernail (it's almost completely healed after falling off in late winter!).

UPDATE: Answers posted here.

Monday, May 7, 2007

"Great" Pop Music Moments in Film

#1 - Jim Carrey IS Axl Rose
The bad news is that Jim Carrey is in this clip from The Dead Pool.
The good news is that this clip is less than 2 minutes long.

#2 - Frankie Goes To Hollywood Goes To A Porno Movie In Brian De Palma's head
I saw the movie Body Double and I still have no freaking idea what's going on in this scene from it.

#3 - Jack Nicholson Poops Garbage From His Mouth
Jack Nicholson is a doctor. No, he's a doctor with a tempermental English accent. No, wait, wait. He's a doctor with a tempermental English accent who sings. Yeah, that's it.

Arcade Quiz Answers (Awww Cute)

Okay, here are the answers for my first entry in an ongoing miniseries of videogame sound quizzes.


Not yet?


No, really, I have to do this. It's that or take my meds.

Awww Cute 1 - Donkey Kong

I'm not good at this game, but I really love its sounds and music -- the nice little ditty right before you start playing a level, the sounds of Mario's feet hitting the metal girders, the happy little flourish as you successfully jump a barrel.

Awww Cute 2 - Frogger

Oh, this game... The music, the hoppity hop hopping, all so happy. This game could cure clinical depression, if only those goddammned doctors would just listen to me. However, there is a bit of darkness in the game. The sound of the frog dying when you get hit by a car (or do something similarly stupid) is quite jarring, especially in the midst of all the happiness. You can hear Frogger's death throes for yourself at the end of the sound file in the quiz. And look at this mean ol' skull-and-bones that your poor l'il froggy turns into! Oh, mercy.

Awww Cute 3 - Dig Dug

Dig Dug is another personal favorite of mine. The sound effects are secondary to the music for me in this game. One thing I like about the music, and you can hear it in the sound file I uploaded, is that during parts of the game, the music only plays if you are moving. The gaps in the music are me just poised, waiting to kick some Pooka ass.

Awww Cute 4 - Burger Time

I'd be hard-pressed to find a game I didn't suck at more than Burger Time. It would always make me nervous that this chef never seemed to be in much of a hurry to get anywhere, despite the fact that a gang of anthropomorphic fried eggs and hot dogs was trying to kill him.

Awww Cute 5 - Q-Bert

I almost suck at this game as much as I do at Burger Time. This is the one game in the quiz that doesn't have some sort of music underpinning the gameplay. It's just the bounce-bounce-bounce of impending doom.

But hey, look, Q-Bert doesn't actually die when he runs into a red ball, he just swears like a surly truckdriver!