Friday, August 24, 2007

The Dog Ate My Friday Random Simpsons

My trip to Honk Kong happens one day sooner than I thought, so no time to grace you with my witty insights. It's fan participation week! That's right, you tell me how good these episodes are.

P.S. I am not a crackpot.

1. Strong Arms of the Ma.

2. Burns' Heir.

3. Brother from the Same Planet.

4. Bart the Lover.

5. The Last Temptation of Homer.

6. Marge on the Lam.

7. G.I. (Annoyed Grunt).

8. Marge's Son Poisoning.

9. A Streetcar Named Marge.

10. Like Father, Like Clown.

There's some classics in there. Burns' Heir is one of my favorites. Get to it!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

You know what I love?

Air travel. It's just great. There's nothing that happens in an airport that can make me frown. Why is that? Because if I look unhappy, I may be arrested.
“Specially trained security personnel” will be watching passengers for “micro-expressions” that will reveal treacherous agendas and insidious intentions at airports around the country. These agents, who may literally hold your fate in their hands have been given a lofty, Orwellian name: "Behavior Detection Officers."

TFA does a good job running down how idiotic this is, and points out one of the BDO's strategeries:
Here’s where it gets really absurd. Apparently, these Behavior Detection Officers work in pairs. One scenario is that an officer might move in to “help” a passenger retrieve their belongings after they’ve been screened. And then the officer will ask where the passenger is headed. If the passenger’s reaction sets off alarm bells in the officer’s well-trained mind, another officer will move in and detain them.

Yeah, after standing an an hour long line to get through security some stranger comes up and grabs my bag and asks where I'm going. How could you do anything but smile and answer honestly?

Are you sitting down?

Sometimes you see something pop up on Google news that completely shocks you.
Blame the National Enquirer for the big bombshell of the century, the Vegas big cat act of Siegfried and Roy have finally announced they are gay.

I don't think I've been this surprised since KD Lang came out.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons: YouTube Edition

Now, I haven’t been the best Jew. But I did rent Fiddler on the Roofs, and I will watch it! Until then, have some Simpsons.

I had so much fun using the Canyonero video last week that I decided to do all YouTubes this week. Sure, it's probably illegal, but Rupert's a cool guy, right? He'll get it.

1. The Itchy and Scratch and Poochie Show. My knob tastes funny. 7/10

2. Bart on the Road. Ah, the classic spring break episode. 9/10

3. And Maggie Makes Three. Story of Marge getting pregnant with Maggie. Good show, but not as good as the others from the sixth season. 8/10

4. Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass. N/A

5. Tennis the Menace. N/A

6. Treehouse of Horror VIII. Damned French. I knew it was them. 6/10
7. A Tale of Two Springfields. I did see this one. Wish I hadn’t. 2/10

8. Homer the Heretic. Awesomely awesome. I predict it will make this guys’ Top 5. 11/10

9. A Star Is Torn. N/A

10. Marge in Chains. Another classic. Good Troy action. 11/10

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Respect the streak

A moment of rememberance, please. Fifty years ago on this day was one of baseball's greatest moments:
During an August 17, 1957 game, Ashburn hit a foul ball into the stands that struck spectator Alice Roth, wife of Philadelphia Bulletin sports editor Earl Roth, breaking her nose. When play resumed, Ashburn fouled off another ball that struck Roth while she was being carried off in a stretcher.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons

Hullo? Anybody still there? What’s wrong with you, man? Well, if you bothered to show up, the least I can do is Simpsonify your Friday, in a somewhat random fashion. To the Bee Mobile!

1. The Simpsons’ 138th Episode Spectacular. Probably the best clip show of any show ever, considering it was hosted by Troy McClure and featured several unaired clips. One of the deleted scenes was Krusty trying to get a spot on a hemorrhoid infomercial: “How about one of the "after" guys? Aah. Ohh, that's better. I can ride a bike again!” I use that line all the time. 8/10

2. Skinner’s Sense of Snow. Craptacular Christmas episode from 2000. A freak blizzard hits Springfield, trapping some kids along with Skinner and Willy at the school. Homer and Ned set out to rescue the kids, but in pretty much the only funny part of the show, they hit a fire hydrant and become completely encased in ice (“Stupid ice! I knew I’d die encased in something.”). They then start to hallucinate on the carbon monoxide fumes entering the car. 4/10

3. Faith Off. The chalkboard says “I will stop phoning it in,” which really feels like what they did for this episode. Bart becomes a faith healer (and sings an awful, awful song), and Homer kinda sorta goes back to hang with the nerds from the University. Boo. 2/10

4. Marge Simpson In “Screaming Yellow Honkers.” Another 10th season clunker. Marge gets a Canyonero SUV, becomes a road rager, etc. But man do I love that Canyonero. At least I love the commercial for it, which was in a different episode. 3/10

5. The Homer They Fall. Here we go. Homer discovers his thick skull prevents him from being able to be knocked out. Turn out Moe used to be a boxer (“They used to call me Kid Georgeous. Then they called me Kid Presentable. Then Kid Gruesome. Finally, Kid Moe”), and he convinces Homer to become a boxer (“Homer, of all the crazy ideas you've had, this one ranks somewhere in the middle.”). Lots of great Moe stuff here, way way better than the episode where he gets a face lift. 7/10

6. Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife. Wow, it took all the way til no. 6 before we got an episode I haven’t seen. N/A

7. Treehouse of Horror XVIII. Another no-see. I didn’t even know roman numerals went that high. N/A

8. Treehouse of Horror III. Perhaps the best ToH ever, and that’s with me mostly not caring for the second story. First story: A take-off on a Twilight Zone episode in which a doll comes to life with the aim of killing the guy who bought it, Homer buys a Krusty doll for Bart and, well, you get it. So many good lines. We’ve got “It comes with a free frogurt!”, “My baloney has a first name, it’s H-O-M-E-R,” and Patty’s illuminating line, “There goes the last thread of my heterosexuality.” Second story: King Kong, with Homer as the ape and Marge as the lady whose name I always forget. Kinda dumb, kinda lame, not many good lines. Third story: Definitely the best ToH segment ever. Bart finds a book in the Occult section of the public library and tries to bring back Snowball I, but instead he brings back all the town’s dead as zombies. “Is this the end of zombie Shakespeare?” “Dad, you killed zombie Flanders!”/”That was a zombie?” 10/10

9. The President Wore Pearls. I thought this one was going to be the one where we see into the future, and Lisa is the president and Bart is her Billy Carter-esque brother. I was wrong. N/A

10. The Principal and the Pauper. Well, at least I seen it. Turns out that Skinner’s an impostor; the real Skinner was supposedly blown up in Vietnam, and our man (real name Armin Tamzarian) took up his identity. As is often the case with the 8 through now seasons, there are lots of little bright spots, but just not enough to string it all together. One of the good moments is Skinner/Tamzarian’s new job, trying to get guys to go in to see a nudie show: “Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Capital City's nakedest ladies. They're not even wearing a smile. Nod suggestively. Yes, six, count 'em, six gorgeous ladies just dying...for your leers and cat calls. Yowsa, yowsa.” 4/10

That’s what we got. Feel free to tell me in the comments how much you agree with me about ToH 3. You got a better choice?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Eight Simple Rules for Dating Myself

Mr. Furious has shamed us about our recent lack of posting, and as punishment tagged us with the latest annoying blog meme -- "Eight Random Things You Probably Don't Know About Me."

I'm tempted to answer on behalf of the group, but a lot of those secrets I've sworn to take to the grave. So I'll address myself and let the others bare their troubled souls themselves. (A warning to parents: I-Rod's admissions should not be read by anyone under the age of 18.)

Here goes:

1. My first job was as a fry cook at Burger King at the ripe old age of 15. My co-workers liked to call me "the white kid."

2. I once had real aptitude and ability in mathematics, but it bored the hell out of me and I never explored it further than I had to for my college requirements. These days, I'm lucky if I can balance a checkbook correctly.

3. I'm a lifelong Chiefs fan, which means that I haven't experienced the thrill of victory since 1969, three years before I was born. When "Hank Stram" embodies your team's highlights, that's a sad, sad thing. On the bright side, courtesy of HBO's Hard Knocks series, I'm now getting valuable insight into the Chiefs training camp and an up close look at the impending disappointments of this season.

4. I'm the best parallel parker on the planet. I've had strangers roll down their windows to congratulate me on getting into an impossible spot. Jealous?

5. I had a string of car accidents as a teen -- t-boned by a pickup truck into a parking lot; hydroplaned into a fire hydrant; spun out on an icy patch on a back road, etc. etc. Like my namesake says, though, "Fifteen accidents and not a single fatality!"

6. I've probably seen a couple thousand rock concerts in my time, and as a result, I'm really looking forward to some awesome Pete Townsend style tinnitus when I grow older.

7. I'm a crossword junkie. I can do a Monday crossword from the New York Times in about four minutes, and the wife and I do the Sunday puzzle in pen every week. We usually wind up Googling for the opera clues, but other than that, we're unstoppable.

8. To explain the recent lack of blogging activity, we're expecting our first child -- a little girl -- in two months. We're thrilled, of course, but a lot of my time lately has been spent bracing for the impact. That unassembled baby crib isn't going to curse at itself, people!

Alright, I know I'm supposed to tag other people, but I'm lazy -- see #8 above -- and I'm just going to tap my co-bloggers. You're up, boys!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons

It’s that time of the week again, when everyone’s thoughts turn to our favorite yellow friends. Don’t agree with my ratings? Deal with it! Or let me know about it in the comments.

1. Treehouse of Horror XVII. I generally love these episodes. Somehow, in college we turned these episodes into an excuse to drink. Wait, we did that every night. Anyway, this one is from last year; didn’t see it. N/A.

2. A Star Is Born-Again. Pretty good episode from 2003. Flanders starts dating a Hollywood starlet, and the homophobia and Hollywood jokes fly. “I’ve never met a man like you. You’re sensitive, in great shape, have a mustache, but you’re not gay”/”Oh, no way! I won’t even eat vegetables over 2 inches long!” 6/10

3. I Am Furious Yellow. Another decent outing from the blue years, this one from ’02. Bart starts writing a new comic book, “Angry Dude,” based on you know who. Whenever something makes Homer mad, such as when “When Dinosaurs Get Drunk” was cancelled and replaced with “The Boring World of Niels Bohr,” Bart animates it and sells it down at the comic book store. It ends up working pretty well as far as recent episodes go. And there’s nothing wrong with a little Stan Lee cameo. 6/10

4. Treehouse of Horror XI. Okay, I saw this one, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Part 1, Homer dies and has to perform a good act to get into heaven. Part 2, retelling of Hanzel and Gretel, with Bart and Lisa performing to craptacular results. Part 3, Lisa discovers that dolphins are very intelligent and also aggressive, and they start chomping on Springfieldians in an attempt to take over the world. This may just be my least favorite ToH. 3/10

5. Bart the Fink. Bart gets Krusty arrested for tax fraud, so Krusty fakes his own death by crashing in his plane (named “I’m on a rolla gay”). Lisa and Bart track him down and convince him to come back. Best line: “What good is respect without the moolah to back it up. Everywhere I go I see teachers driving Ferraris, research scientists drinking champagne. I tried to drink a Coke on the bus, and they took away my pass!” As Krusty might say, meh. 5/10

6. Regarding Margie. From last May. No clue. N/A.

7. Lisa the Greek. Lordy, a classic from the third season, which is when I think the Simpsons really started hitting on all cylinders. Lisa wants Homer’s attention, so she helps him bet on football games. When she realizes that that’s all he cares about, she stops helping him right before the “big game.” So many great lines in this one. “Well, folks, when you're right 52% of the time, you're wrong 48% of the time.”/”Why didn't you say that before!!” “an I watch football with you again next Sunday?”/”Sure! You'll find it gets rid of the unpleasant aftertaste of church.” “... and when the doctor said I didn't have worms any more, that was the happiest day of my life.”/”Thank you, Ralph, very graphic.” 9/10

8. Lisa’s Rival. Wow, another Lisa episode, this time with an assist from Edgar A. Poe. A girl moves to town who is Lisa’s age but is a little bit better than her at everything. To make her look bad, Bart sabotages her science fare diorama of The Tell-Tale Heart by replacing it with a real cow’s heart. Ralph’s display of mint-condition Star Wars toys wins first prize. “Pre-packaged "Star Wars" characters, still in their display box? Are those the limited-edition action figures? It's Luke, and Obi-Wan, and my favorite, Chewie!” But show-stealer of this episode is the Homer plot, wherein he gets a haul of sugar from a jack-knifed sugar truck and hoards it in his back yard. “Homer, I really appreciate you making dinner, but this food tastes a little strange.”/”That's because I've loaded it with sugar!” But then Homer’s pile is swarmed by honey bees, causing the local beekeepers to come running, Adam West stylings and all. “You see, bees usually make a lot of noise. No noise -- suggests no bees!” 10/10

9. Behind the Laughter. Kinda cute mockup of one of those behind the scene shows, where the characters talk about the problems on the set of the Simpsons. Kinda cute, but not really cute. 6/10

10. Bart the Murderer. Another great one from year 3. Bart starts tending bar for Fat Tony. Bart tells Tony that Skinner is a problem, and the next thing you know Skinner’s gone missing. The government gets Tony to squeal, and the judge is just about to sentence Bart to death when Skinner appears. He had been trapped under a pile of newspapers in his garage (which some call a car hold). Like I said, great show, but would you look at the time? I’m all out. Score this baby yourself!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Why the internet is great: Bacon Edition

I love bacon, but not nearly as much as this lady.

She has taught me much. For example, did you know there was a resistance movement against the Baconator?

There is such a thing as bacon cotton candy? Good thing I ended my boycott of South Carolina because I'm smelling a road trip.

Now that I think of it, there are so many things that can be improved with bacon.

Newt: Low-Income Children Not Worth $1.00

It doesn’t exactly get top billing on CNN, especially when Lindsay Lohan might be drunk somewhere, but the house and senate are looking at bills to expand the Children’s Insurance Program (CHIP), a state-federal program to provide health insurance for the kids of families that are too poor to afford private health care but too “rich” to be on Medicaid (i.e., 200% of the poverty level). The house is suggesting a $50 billion expansion over 5 years; the senate says $35 B over 5 years (right now we’re spending about $5 billion a year on it, and it helps insure 6.6 million kids). Both bills would pay for the increase primarily with an increase in cigarette taxes, though the house also includes a reduction in Medicare payouts to private health care providers.

I know you’re not going to believe this, but the party of family values is dead set against the expansion. Oh, I’m sorry, they’re not against expansion: the president has graciously proposed an extra $5 billion over 5 years. The Congressional Budget Office predicts it’ll cost $14.4 billion just to keep CHIP funded at its current level, what with constant skyrocketing health care costs, so W’s basically offering a massive cut to the program.

But he’s an idiot, you say, no reasonable person is going to oppose a little funding to insure poor kids. Certainly no one who ever wants to win an election again (like Medicare and Social Security, the CHIP program is hugely popular with regular people). Well, you’re half right: enter the Newt!

This effort makes the left's intentions exceedingly clear: Through tax increases, political payoffs, and a slow bleeding of private health insurance, they seek to push the American people into Washington-controlled bureaucratic health care.

Yeah, that Washington-based health care, that stuff sucks. I mean, nothing that Washington does about health care is ever good. And I knew the left was behind it.

H.R. 3162 masquerades as a children's health insurance bill, but it actually sows the seeds of eliminating private insurance as we know it. And it begins by driving the private sector and all its innovations out of Medicare.

Okay, so one tiny exception to the Washington-based-health-care-is-crap thing: Medicare. Medicare isn’t totally awful.

If the budget cuts alone are not enough to drive private insurers out of Medicare, the policy changes to the program will surely be. One prohibits private insurers from offering alternative plan designs from traditional Medicare, meaning that many if not all the benefits outlined above would be illegal. But the left does not stop with Medicare.

Hmm. Sounds like Newt is saying that not only is Medicare tolerable, but it must be protected at all costs. And is Newt saying he’s against budget cuts? Dude, you’re off the reservation here.

But Newt doesn’t stop there. He warns us that this house bill contains a massive tax increase for all Americans, not just the smokers (who, by the way, cost us buttloads in health care costs). Perhaps the largest tax increase in history, right, Newt?

The left will say that this new tax increase amounts to little more than $1 on every senior and insured American and is hardly worth complaining about. But have you ever heard of a tax that wasn't increased? Remember that the top income tax bracket was only 1% at its inception. It reached 94 percent during the 1940s and stayed at 91 percent until the mid 1960s.

What the hell? You’re bitching about a $1.00 tax to insure millions of poor kids? That is freaking sick, man, sick. But at least you’re back on the reservation. And great job with the taxes-only-increase example. If the top income bracket was 91% in the 60s, it must be around 150% by now, right? Except that it’s 35%. Another homerun, Newtie.

Let's get real. CHIP is a massively popular program that helps millions of kids get the health care they need. A relatively small increase in funding would insure millions more. Of course it's not a perfect program, but revisions over the years have made it better and better. You'd have to be a heartless jackass who hates children to be against this bill. I wonder how the voting will turn out. . .

Update! The house passed the bill, largely on a party-line vote. Dig it:

But in the end, the Democrats had weapons that were just too powerful -- a promise to insure 5 million more children who otherwise would have no access to health care, adding to the 6 million children already covered -- and the backing of Republican and Democratic governors, the American Medical Association, AARP, the March of Dimes, the Catholic Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and even cyclist Lance Armstrong. And the prospects are good in the Senate, where a key Republican, Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), said, "It's difficult for me to understand how anyone wouldn't want to do this."
So pretty much everybody but the house republicans supports it. Oh wait, there's one other guy who's got their back. President 26% has threatened to veto it. Very compassionate of him.