Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Video Vednesday #30

Video Vednesday is back!  The blog is back!  I may even return to writing twice a week soon, though it's hard to find the time these days.  We'll see... We'll see...

For right now you can sink your mind's teeth into the penultimate episode of Series 2 of The Super Bros. Super Show!  S.M. gets trapped in the basement.  Baxter somehow doesn't notice.  S.M. starts losin' it as Baxter continues on with his daily life.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Video Vednesday #29

If you're a regular reader/Video Vednesday watcher, you may have noticed that I haven't been writing for a week or two.  Aside from the editing of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show, which is quite time consuming itself, I've also been dealing with some issues in my personal life.  Sorry for the lack of updates, but there were more important things than bloggin' going on.

I was starting to make myself a little crazy (crazier?) with a self-enforced deadline on releasing the episodes for Series 2 of the show, so I've decided to take a week or two off.  Also, the final two episodes of this series will require way more effort than a typical episode (or two typical episodes, as it were), so the extra time will help me out with the task.

Fear not, Video Vednesday watcher, for I've conjured up quite the substitute for this week.  A friend of mine, Mike Terlesky, did the camera stuff on The Coxton Campaign and some other projects I've been involved with.  He's very talented at what he does, and more recently he's started to gain some momentum as a writer/director.  Take a look at his first short film as a writer/director (to my knowledge), featuring myself, Don McGlynn, and Rob Klubeck.  Reunited and it feels so good!

This video may help you get into the Halloween spirit; the topic is the ever-popular creatures of the night, vampires.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Video Vednesday #28

You know how sometimes in the cheapo DVD bins you find a hastily slapped together collection of comedy sketches featuring old time comedians?  Well, Vintage Yuks Video has put together just such a collection featuring The Pancake Brothers!  You'll find all your favorite sketches, including "2016", "Maury", "The Psychiatrist", and "Best Joke Ever".  There's even a special look at The Pancake Bros. behind the scenes as they carefully plan out one of their films.

Check out the video below and start digging into the "Stacks of Laffs"!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Video Vednesday #27

Are you sick of life bullying you?  Whatcha gonna do about it, brother?  When I'm being bullied by a bully in the seventh episode of Series 2, S.M. steps in to train me.  Witness my training and my showdown with the bully!  I would mention who the guest star is that plays the bully, but that would spoil the surprise.

Also, there's a commercial for Gillespie's by the Wharf, a pizza and seafood restaurant by the sea!  Plus, extra pizza footage!  Dig it!

Monday, September 30, 2013


A Sketch by Baxter Pancake

The Setting:  A kitchen
The players:  A husband and wife

The husband is holding a small notebook and a pen.  The wife is sitting at the table looking at a folded-up newspaper, perhaps reading the Bridge column.  (Why do papers still run a bridge column?  Does anyone play Bridge anymore?)

Spicy brown?


You said you wanted mustard.  Spicy brown?  Or yellow?

Oh.  Yeah, spicy brown.

Alright.  So we've got milk, bread, tortilla chips, Italian dressing, Ranch dressing, salve, hot sau...

Wait, salve?

Yeah, that's what it says.  Salve.

Salve for what?

I don't know.  That thing on my inner thigh cleared up, so it's not for that.

Are you sure it says salve?

I don't remember writing salve, but it's right there.  Did you write that?

That's your writing.  I think.

Salve... Salve...

Could it be...

Oh wait, maybe it says Suave.

The shampoo?

Yeah, that's what you use, right?

No, I use the one with the pro-vitamins.

Oh, yeah.  And I use the one from the dollar store...

I wanted to talk to you about that...

Not now.  Not until we figure out what the salve is for.

Well, if it might be salve, and it might be Suave, maybe it's something else entirely.

Hmm... Maybe it's... Oh!  I think maybe that's just a sloppy V, not an S.  I think maybe it says Value.

Value?  Value what?

Value shrimp?  Remember when we got that value shrimp?

Yeah.  Remember the morning after when you had violent cramps?

It was worth it.

Don't get the value shrimp.

Alright, alright, we'll get the good shrimp.  I'll cross out val... Wait a minute!  It says salad!


Yep, that's it.  I don't know why I wrote salad.  Usually I put lettuce.  But yeah, that's definitely it.  Salad.

Okay, so what's all on there?

We've got milk, bread, tortilla chips, Italian dressing, Ranch dressing, salad (stupid smirk), hot sauce, Pop-Tarts, coffee, a replacement bolt for the sex swing, and mustard.  (Pause)  Spicy brown, right?

Right.  (Pause)  Oh, and good shrimp!

(Writing)  And good shrimp.  (Reflects)  The value shrimp is such a good deal though...

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Oops!  I was home all morning and afternoon yesterday and didn't realize it was Friday.  Therefore, no blog.  I'm sorry, guys.  By the time I got home from work the computer was in possession of Ginger and YaYa.  They were watching Spider-Man.  Would you deprive two ladies of Spider-Man?  Huh?  Wouldja?  Plus, the episode had Thor transformed into a frog (Frog of Thunder!) in it, so I watched it, too.

Well, the ship has sailed.  No blog.  Please accept as my sincere apology this video of The Ultimate Warrior talking about something or other and grunting a lot.  Here's a fun game you can play as you watch:  Grab a bottle of your favorite liquor and down a shot every time he says "Hulk Hogan".  If you live, I'll give you a prize (another Ultimate Warrior promo).

Check the blog next week for actual blogs and the newest episode of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Video Vednesday #26

I mentioned last Friday that I watch the commentaries on the DVDs that I especially like, and now it's your turn to watch The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show with commentary!  However, S.M. and I made the poor decision to store the entire first series on a VHS tape, and as we recorded the commentary track we discovered why this was such a bad idea.

This episode has a little bit of everything: a flashback to a simpler time (roughly two years ago), an angel, a devil, a sexy fish, celebrity cameos, a musical sequence, and maybe even a person that I'm married to.  Can you handle all that?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why Radio Sucks

I used to have a car with a teeny little hole in it that I could plug my mp3 playing device into.  It was quite luxurious having hundreds and hundreds of songs, customized playlists, and no commercials while I was commuting.  Now, however, I drive a car without that teeny little hole.  It has a CD player, but I tend to get bored with CDs, even my own mixes, after a while.  Often I find myself scanning the local radio stations.  Boy oh boy, does the radio suck these days!  Here's why...

1. Not Enough Genre Variety

This example is extreme when you're talking about the road I live on.  When I leave the house I can get a few stations from upstate New York, but when those don't come in or have commercials playing I'm stuck with about eight Jesus stations and three Country stations.  I can't even imagine that a hardcore Christian needs that many Jesus stations to pick from.  And since any Country station I've ever listened to played the same twenty or thirty modern country hits over and over, I don't understand why there would need to be three of those stations available in such a small area.

Once I'm on the highway my choices increase considerably, but I'm still very limited in actual choices, because there's three or four Classic Rock stations, three or four modern Pop stations, three or four public radio stations that all play Classical at that time in the afternoon, and two stations that play Alternative.  There's still two or three Country stations available, too, along with roughly ten talk radio stations, but I don't like listening to old white guys complain, so I don't listen to talk radio.

So, where do I go if I like Polka, or Reggae, or Electronic that's not in the same time signature and tempo as all of the popular Electronic music, or if I feel like listening to Jazz when all the public stations are playing Classical?

When you factor in that I can sometimes scan through the whole spectrum of stations that come in clearly and not hit one that's playing a song, what's actually available for me to choose from remains almost as limited as my choices while I'm still near my house.  But still, with all the stuff playing out there, I can almost certainly find a song worth listening to.  Sometimes this is true, but just as often it's not because there's...

2. Not Enough Song Variety

Most nights at work we have on a Classic Rock station that shall remain nameless, though I will say that it's "The Home of the Classic Rock".  I sometimes used to listen to the station in my car before I had this job.  They do play quite a bit of the 'classics', such as The Who and Queen, that I like.  But they certainly have a penchant for playing way too much stuff from the 80s, way too much stuff that's down tempo, and way too much of the same stuff over and over and over again.

If I'm at work for eight hours, I probably hear The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin eight times a piece, Tom Petty six or seven, AC/DC and Aerosmith five or six.  And a big glob of 80s pussy-metal, though I'll admit I don't know which bands from that pussy-genre they actually play, because they all sound the same to me.  There's got to be more to Classic Rock than this, right?  You could fill up almost your whole day of programming with just Beatles songs, but for some reason they only have three in their rotation.  "Revolution", "Come Together", and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" are good songs, but come on!  It's the frickin' Beatles!  Are those really the only three songs worthy of being put on the air?

I'd estimate that the station only has about three to four hundred songs in their library.  While that might sound like a lot, think about listening to the same four hundred songs over and over again five nights a week.  By the fourth time I'm hearing the same Billy Squier within a few days I'm doing two things: one, wondering why any station needs to play as much Billy Squier as this one does, and two, contemplating mass murder.

It's bad, but what's worse is that this Classic Rock station isn't the worst offender.  Modern Pop stations play the same twenty hits on a loop all day and night, only interrupting the flow for 'important' celebrity news and a heap of commercials.  It's the same deal with the Country stations, except add an exaggerated or completely fake twang to the voices of the singers of each songs.  The Alternative stations are definitely the best when it comes to variety, but since just about anything can be classified as 'alternative', you certainly find more than a few stinkers in the mix.

So, there's a whole bunch of stations, but most of them are playing a limited selection of genres and a limited sampling of what music fits into the selected genre.  Surely the stations express individuality through their DJs, right?  Right...?

3. Automation

Wrong.  As a kid and when I was a teenager, I remember most stations having at least one DJ on air throughout the day.  Usually it was two DJs, sometimes even three or four.  Once upon a time it was part of the disc jockey's job to pick out which songs would get played on the radio.  That seems to have ended sometime in the 80s, though nobody noticed at the time because there was cocaine and all the movies had robots!

Nowadays, a radio station is practically just an iPod with a giant tower plugged into it.  The playlists are completely automated, randomly shuffled and played by a computer.  A friend of mine, who used to work for a radio station, showed me the software.  While the program does automatically prohibit songs from the same band from playing too close to each other, it has no way of thinking to itself, "Gee, I already played four Tom Petty songs in the last few hours, I'll give Tom (and The Heartbreakers), a little bit of a break."  It also has no way of avoiding things like "Come Together" by the Beatles playing two tracks after the Aerosmith cover version unless an on-air personality (Can they even be called DJs anymore?) notices and manually moves one of the songs down the list.

This reliance on automation is most likely why the same stuff gets played over and over again.  The evening DJ of the Classic Rock station they play at work will take the time to move the tracks around so that songs based around a theme will play in the order he chooses, but he actually said on air one time that 'the bosses' don't like when he does that.  What?  Are you fucking kidding me?  The people who own/run the station apparently prefer a completely automated list devoid of any personal touches.  In fact, once the evening DJ is done for the night, no DJ comes in to replace him.  From there on out it's just the computer shuffling tracks, station breaks, and commercials.  Oh, and random silences.  The computer likes to throw in random silences.

It used to be that the DJs were the voices of the station, providing a familiar voice for listeners to identify with and adding their own personal influence to what the radio shows sounded like.  If the on-air talent is the voice of the company, the companies today have made the choice to boldly declare that they have no voice.  They are soulless, they are corporate, they prefer to rely on machines instead of people because nobody has paid attention to any SciFi movie about automation ever.

I don't know if things will ever go back to the way they were.  After all, thinking outside the corporate box requires thought, which requires humans, which require payment, which necessitates a smaller paycheck for corporate honchos.  So that won't happen.  What I do know is that it's time for me to proofread and publish this article so that I have time to make a new mix CD before I have to drive to work.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Super Pancake Bros. Super Trivia!

This entry is for fancakes only.  If you're a nerd like me, then you buy DVDs not only for the movies/TV shows, but so you can watch all the special features.  I've learned a lot about cinematography from the Breaking Bad commentaries, how special effect shots can be achieved practically (and by practically I mean if you have millions of dollars) by watching the documentaries on The Dark Knight Rises DVD, and handfuls of editing tricks from commentaries and special features on the James Bond films.  Yep, I'm a nerd.  So in the spirit of my nerdiness, and knowing that there has to be at least a few fancakes out there who are at least somewhat as nerdy as me, I'd like to share some trivia from the first five episodes of the second series of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show.

And if you haven't seen all those episodes yet, well, what's the matter with you?

Alright, ready?  Here it comes!


We had decided on our attire for the "Robo-Fantasy" scene while it was appropriately cold for a Northeast PA autumn.  Of course, the day we filmed it was randomly about 85 degrees.  I'm surprised you can't see the sweat on screen.  Also, I borrowed my flannel shirt for the scene from my dad.

The "Tie" scene was filmed on the fly about five minutes after we came up with the idea.  S.M. was attempting to put on a tie for a different scene, and after he flubbed the job for real, I started taunting him to be a jerk, just like in the scene.  We both laughed hard enough to decided to film it and put it in the show.

In the "Mountaintop Mountain" commercial, originally I had no intention of using the stock footage shot of skier falling down, but as I was about to trim the shot I couldn't stop laughing at the dude.  I felt that I had to include it in the commercial, or I'd forever regret it.  I didn't want to regret a fake ski resort commercial.


I feel like we really nailed the interview style seen on local news shows in the "Breaking News" segment.  In fact, my character's testimony, "I seen a gang of teenagers." is taken right from an actual local news clip that I saw online.  The person on the actual news did have a little bit more to say, but essentially that's all they had to offer in the way of insight.  "I seen a gang of teenagers!"  Golly.

If you're a fan of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show from the late 80s/early 90s, then you know that not only that's where we got our title, but that going to a preview of a cartoon that is shown on Fridays was a regular part of the show.  They would show previews for the upcoming episode of Legend of Zelda.  The games are awesome, the show was... not.  We improvised the dialog for the cartoon clips I put together right as we were watching it together for the first time.

I love green olives, and I specifically included the gag of consuming way too many green olives as an excuse to eat a lot of them.  It worked out to my benefit at first, but by the end of filming those scenes I had a wicked case of salt burps.  Uuuuuuuurp!


This episode, in which S.M. is a genie, is actually a sequel to an episode of our original web show, At Home with the Pancakes.  In that episode I wished to be a sharp dresser, and S.M. granted the wish with a snazzy, long coat and a derby hat.  Then I wished for a way to make people feel positive just by pointing at them; S.M. granted this wish by giving me a giant foam finger.  And my last wish... I couldn't remember what it was and wasted my wish by wishing to know what I wished for.  You guessed it, I was going to wish for world peace.  I just can't seem to get that one right.

If you couldn't tell, we were legitimately drunk in the drinking scene.  I had actually started filling the whiskey bottle with water in an attempt to sober up.  I downed two bottles of water-from-a-whiskey-bottle.  That seemed to do the trick.  Thankfully, I didn't end up puking like in the episode.

My wish for more dance numbers in the show pays off immediately in the episode, but it also pays off again later in the series.  You'll have to watch them all to find out when!  Trust me, it will be glorious.


One of our favorite acting cohorts, Don McGlynn, appears in this episode as our Uncle Bernie.  This makes him the second person, after Maggie Pancake, to make two appearances on the show.  Not only that, but he'll be appearing again in the Series 2 finale.  Not with an eyepatch though, so don't be disappointed when you see him on there without an eyepatch.

The creepy character, Hank, that stalks S.M. did not have a name when we started filming.  He was named by Don on the spot as we were filming.

The pill that S.M. takes is filled with sugar.  Mmmmmm, placebo pill...


"The Pool Episode" came about exactly how we play it on screen; we wanted to figure out a way to do a whole episode without getting out of the pool.  Unfortunately, once we had settled on the idea, the weather was uncooperative.  It's not nearly as sunny or warm in the episode as it had been any other day we filmed at S.M.'s parents' house (which is where the pool is).  In the scene in which we discuss making a whole episode in the pool, you can see S.M. shivering and hear a slight quiver in his voice during some lines.

Originally, when S.M. hits me with the ball, I had wanted to stumble and fall off the side of the pool into the yard.  We couldn't do this due to the pool being surrounded by a large patch of gravel, so we settled on having me fall into a chair on the deck.  I love doing physical comedy and would have loved taking the fall off the side of the pool, but onto gravel?  No thanks; I'm not Mic Foley.

We didn't realize when we filmed that we hadn't actually filmed enough to fill up a whole episode, hence "The Best of the Pool Episode" commercial.  Typically I put commercials in when there's not enough stuff in the episode to hit six minutes, but too much stuff to squeeze in another whole scene.  I didn't want to do a commercial that wasn't pool-related, so the idea for a "Best of" compilation from a single episode struck me.  I thought the idea was far too stupid to ignore, S.M. dug it when I ran it past him, and now you get to watch it!  You lucky duck!  Lucky pool duck with a thermometer on the bottom!

Well, nerd, you've read all the trivia.  Now you can rewatch all the episodes with these trivia facts in mind for a much richer viewing experience.  Or just watch them again because they're stupid and funny, and it's good to take six minutes out of your day to laugh instead of worrying about all the crap you have to put up with in this life.

Until next time, Paisanos!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Video Vednesday #25

It's not even officially Fall yet, and I already miss Summer.  Normally I enjoy the Autumn season, but this year it went from being 90 to being in the 40s, which is bogus.  Let's get nostalgic for a summer that's not quite even over with, and let's do that by watching the latest episode of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show, The Pool Episode!

Yes, the concept of the episode was to see if we could film a whole episode in the pool so we wouldn't have to get out.  See the results for yourself!

This is the first episode of the new series to not feature an explosion, though you will see some splashes, which look kind of like explosions.  Also, there's SNIPER IN THE POOL!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Crumbling Pyramids

A while back I wrote about how much I was enjoying my blue collar job, but things have changed quite a bit since then.  I don't mind the actual work when I'm allowed to just do the work, but there's too much micromanagement going on.  I don't need to be told how to load a truck five months after I started the job, because if I didn't know how to do that after five months I wouldn't have the job anymore.  I especially don't need to be told how to do my job by a new operations manager who clearly lacks the understanding of how the operation works, and who doesn't seem comfortable being a manager.  I'm not sure why those two things don't disqualify somebody from being the manager of operations, but I've never been in the position to hire an operations manager before, so I can't be certain what the process is like.

What the new ops manager has done since he started several weeks ago is make my current job seem much like most of the old jobs I've had.  At just about every job I've ever worked, at some point a new manager would be hired.  This new manager would look at how things work on paper and start making decisions based on that, rather than learning how the actual day-to-day operations happen.  Essentially, this would be like an NFL team hiring somebody to be head coach because they've run a successful fantasy football team.  The person may be great at managing based on statistics, there's so much more to deal with when you're put in charge of real people who live in a real world full of real happenings and consequences.  While I'm no (insert name of a current popular football player here), I've begun to feel that management types basically look at me and other workers as if we are fantasy football players; we're just numbers on printed out reports.

Let me rewind to my first real job, meaning the first job I had that wasn't working for my dad or cutting the grass of a blind priest down the street (who would pretend to check my work when I'd finished).  I worked in a grocery store as a cashier; I was fast, friendly, and was consistently complimented on my ability to not bag groceries like a complete idiot.

All was smooth sailing while the manager who hired me was still on, but he got transferred, and the next manager decided (or most likely was told by a higher-up) to play the numbers game.  It didn't matter now who the best and most experienced employees were.  To save a few bucks, the company hired a handful of new cashiers and gave them the most hours.  Yeah, filling up the schedule with employees who were paid less money is a sound strategy for saving money on paper, but what was the end result?  Customer service took a nosedive, a lot of the new hires ended up quitting or no-showing, and then when the manager was desperate enough to give the more experienced (more expensive) workers more hours, most of us had stopped giving a shit about doing our best because we were now aware that customer service wasn't worth a damn to the company.

A few years later I found myself working in an office making phonebook ads.  Despite knowing all along that there was no future in a company that put out a pretty-much-obsolete product, I settled into the position because the pay was decent, I got a lot of vacation time, and I was good at the job.  Then came folly after folly from the CEOs and the board of directors and whatever other titles all the fat, old, white people were given by their buddies at the top.

After the CEO who ran the company when I was hired messed the fuck up so bad that the company filed for bankruptcy and was booted off the stock exchange, naturally said CEO (Dave Swanson) was rewarded with millions of dollars and a golden parachute package.  Then came the new CEO (Alfred Mockett), who, you guessed it, played the numbers game.  He began stripping down the company to make it 'more profitable' without really taking the time to learn how the company worked.  Layoffs after layoffs followed, and the employees who were "lucky" enough to still have a job were forced to pick up the slack created by the dwindling staff.  I went from having to make eight ads an hour to nine, then to twelve.  The proofreading department was cut down to the point where only a handful of ads would actually get proofread before being sent out to the customers.  Anybody with an ounce of brain could have guessed that the end result would be a higher amount of claims and a lower amount of customer satisfaction, and I'm sure the people in charge knew that, they just didn't care because they needed to figure out how to raise their own pay so they could install new patios to go with the in-ground pools of their second or third homes.  And what better way to do that than by squeezing the people at the bottom?

After a few months of this new 'strategy', we received an announcement that our work would be outsourced.  The slimeballs actually had the gall to say that the new employees in the Philippines were faster and made less errors.  Of course, the slimeballs didn't know enough about their own company to realize that we were able to access the ads made by the new employees, including the history of how many times the ads were sent back due to errors.  We knew it was bullshit.  Despite the motivational posters the infer that making quality advertisements is somehow akin to climbing a snow-covered mountain or surfing, I was served with more proof that the people in charge of these companies really don't care at all about putting out a quality product.  They care about lining their own pockets no matter what they have to destroy to do so.

And that brings me to my present situation.  Working the hours I was getting when I first started at the warehouse just barely provided me with enough pay to get by.  Then along came the new manager, ready to play the classic game of Figure Out How to Save the Company Money and Fuck Your Employees and Your Customers Because We, the CEOs, Need More Than Nine Million a Year.  (I think the board game version of F.O.H.S.C.M.F.Y.E.Y.C.B.W.CEOs.N.M.T.9.M.Y would have been more successful with a less clunky title [and if people still played board games].)  My hours (and my coworkers' hours) have been cut to the point where it almost doesn't make sense for me to have a job.  The end result: we all care a lot less about doing a good job, because our reward for doing a good job was to have our hours cut.  The same strategy has yet again led to the same outcome; managing by statistics, rather than by earning the ins and outs of the company, have led to a decrease in customer service and employee loyalty.

Oh, so what about the title of this article?  "Crumbling Pyramids" refers to an analogy that I think sums up why so many companies are failures and why the economy is in the toilet.  Think of a company as a pyramid; you've got the CEO/President/Whoever-is-in-charge at the top, the middle-management types in the middle (where else would they be?), and the employees that do the most work for the least amount of money at the bottom.  Now, those at the top decide they need more than what they're "earning", so they do what most of them do and start squeezing the people at the bottom.  And this creates a top-heavy pyramid with a giant, bloated top being supported by an ever-weakening base.  A pyramid built this way is bound to crumble, and each one eventually does.

Our companies will continue to fail, our economy will become evermore turd-like, and the pyramids will keep crumbling so long as the greed is left unchecked.  You want happy workers?  Pay us wages we can live on.  You want loyalty from employees?  Stop cutting our hours to replace us with people specifically hired because you can pay them less.  You want a successful company that plays a part in rebuilding our tattered economy?  Stop lying about delivering quality products and services and start delivering quality products and services.  Stop sitting at your desks on your fat asses and running the companies based on reports; get up and walk around the floor.  Talk to your employees.  Learn how things actually work, not just how they look on paper.  And stop being so damn greedy!  If you can't be satisfied by a few million dollars a year, then quit.  Take all of your cronies and your important-sounding-but-not-really-important job title holding friends with you.  The less you suck out of your companies and our economy, the more there will be for the rest of us.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Link Pancake 45 RPM Experiment

I know, I know, I said this would be up last night.  But when I got home we had company.  I drank quite a bit, was up until well after the sunrise, and finally fell asleep in a chair staring at my beautiful wife and beautiful son.  You can't hold that against me!  Alright, on with the article...

Link is almost two months old now; time to start exploiting him for my own creative pursuits!  He's heard music in the car and in the house, and he's heard me beatbox, but I've never sat down with him specifically for the purpose of seeing what kinds of jams are his jams.  Until now!!

A quick history lesson: Back before there was such a thing as an mp3, before the internet, before even CDs, when people still lived in caves, there was a more primitive way of distributing music.  Albums used to come out on big discs made of vinyl, and singles were released on smaller discs called 45s (because of the speed you play them at, 45 revolutions per minute).

I like collecting records for a few reasons.  One reason is that I like old, musty stuff.  I'm not sure why, but I do.  Another is that you can find a lot of stuff on vinyl that you just can't find anywhere, even on the world wide web.  Yet another reason is the cost.  Shopping at places like Good Will, I've found many lost treasures for reasonable prices.  I can get a single (and its b-side) for half of what I would pay downloading a song from the iTunes store or other online music merchants.  Yeah, I'm thrifty, I'm proud, and now I'm putting my collection to good use.  Time to see how Link reacted to five discs I selected from my collection!

(In case you're unfamiliar with any of the songs, or you just feel like hearing them, click on the song titles!  I highly recommend the first four!)

1. "Rock Around the Clock" - Bill Haley and his Comets

Most people know this song.  It's one of the early hits that put Rock & Roll on the map (they keep track of popular music with maps, right?).  What a lot of people don't know is that "Rock Around the Clock" was actually the b-side to a different track, "Thirteen Women".  Back in the 50s (and up until the 80s), DJs used to play the music that they liked or that listeners called in to request.  Now they play what the corporate music machine pays them to put on their automated playlists.  Good grief.  Anyway, the b-side became the hit because DJs preferred it and played it instead of the actual single.

I thought this was a good place to start the experiment.  Link was being somewhat fussy as I put the needle to the vinyl, but he became calm when the music started.  Music calms the savage baby, so they say.  He pumped his fist a little bit to the song, and then he accidentally hit himself in the face.  There was a lot of hand movement throughout the rest of the song.  He tends to move his arms around a lot regardless of what's going on, so I can't know for sure if he was reacting to the music.  But he did seem to be pretty happy while Bill and his boys were rockin' around the clock.

2. "Folsom Prison Blues" - Johnny Cash

Everybody loves Johnny Cash, right?  Well, Link isn't much of a fan.  After Johnny introduced himself, the crowd loudly cheered, and Link was a little frightened.  Then he spent the rest of the song being indifferent and entertaining himself by sticking his tongue out.  Does this mean that Link will never shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die?  Only time will tell.  I'd say there's a 50/50 chance of that happening.

3. "Mary, Mary" - Run-D.M.C.

Next up I switched gears with Run-D.M.C.'s sort-of-cover of The Monkees "Mary, Mary".  Really they just sampled the guitar riff and Micky singing the title, then rapped some original rhymes, though they still credited Mike Nesmith as the sole songwriter on the disc.  That's class.

Link was confused by the record scratching noise.  He looked up at me as if to say, "Is this really a thing?"  Yes it is, Link.  After the initial period of confusion ended, Link started pushing with his legs as if he wanted to stand up.  So I helped him stand up, and he kind of bobbed to the song a little bit.  Or maybe that was just his legs giving out; they're not strong enough to support his body weight yet, though he is really good at scooting across the floor.

Towards the end of song he hit me in the face.  Proof that Rap is the devil's music, and it makes children violent!  Video games, too!  People were never violent until Rap music and video games were invented!!!

4. "Right Place, Wrong Time" - Dr. John

This is one of my personal favorites.  When I put the song on Link's forehead crinkled up like he was trying to recognize it.  Then he leaned back like, "Ah, this takes me back!"  He was doing some finger dancing to this song.  He seemed to dig it quite a lot.  When I mentioned this later to my fellow truck-loader, Bernie, he said, "That means he's gonna be a cool cat."

Bernie was partially correct.  Link already is a cool cat.  He was making tiger noises today to prove it.

5. "Party All the Time" - Eddie Murphy

Before he was known for starting a taxi service for transvestites, Eddie Murphy was a comedy superstar.  At the height of his popularity he could do pretty much whatever he felt like, and for some reason he felt like recording "Party All the Time".  And for some reason I own it.

When the song came on Link seemed intrigued.  The look of intrigue on his face was quickly replaced with his angry Godzilla brow.  He was not happy about this last selection.  He tried to stand once more, though presumably it was to make an attempt to walk out of the room this time.  Since he can't stand or walk, he settled for comforting himself by sucking on his hands until the song ended.

I can't say I blame him.  Eddie actually has a decent singing voice, and the song is catchy as hell, but that doesn't excuse the super-80s-corniness of the whole ordeal.  And nothing excuses Meet Dave.

I'm quite satisfied with how the experiment turned out.  I'm looking forward to doing a second one in the near future to see what other groovy sounds Link is hip to.  I hope you've enjoyed reading the results of the experiment, and I apologize if you've now got "Party All the Time" stuck in your head.

Friday, September 13, 2013

(Preview of) The Link Pancake 45 RPM Experiment

I'm not going to have time before work to write out the whole article, but here's a little preview of what will be up on the blog later tonight.  Today I played some of my 45s for Link.  What will his reactions be to...

1. "Rock Around the Clock" - Bill Haley and his Comets

2. "Folsom Prison Blues" - Johnny Cash

3. "Mary, Mary" - Run-D.M.C.

4. "Right Place, Wrong Time" - Dr. John

5. "Party All the Time" - Eddie Murphy


Find out later tonight!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Video Vednesday #24

Psychedelic!  That's what kind of trip S.M. goes on after he follows my advice and takes a pill.  Like most people on psychedelic drugs, S.M. farts, meets up with our Uncle Bernie, and gets stalked by a mysterious killer.  Who is the killer?  Will S.M. survive with mind and body intact?  Will I finish my Sudoku puzzle?  Find out when you watch today's episode!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Plan B: Hands of Steel

I mentioned last week that I wanted to do some more writing about b-movies, and over the weekend I came up with the idea to offer up some choices as alternatives to Hollywood blockbusters.  Thus, "Plan B" has been birthed out of my thought canal...

So, you didn't have an extra eight dollars to buy a movie ticket or an extra thirty to buy popcorn and a soda-bucket while Man of Steel was in theaters this summer; I didn't either.  So, you got Netflix to watch the new season of Arrested Development, but they don't have Man of Steel on there yet; I know where you're coming from!  So, you haven't watched the bootleg copy of Man of Steel that your friend from work let you borrow because you've been watching the new season of Arrested Development; are these getting too specific to my own life?  Alright, I'll skip any more examples of reasons you haven't seen Man of Steel yet.  Hell, I haven't seen it since I wrote that blog months ago talking about how I haven't seen it yet.  But I have seen Hands of Steel, and you can too!

First, let's do a little plot rundown...

Man of Steel:  From what I can tell based on trailers and the IMDb summary, essentially the newest Superman movie is about Clark Kent's journey to discover himself, which involves working on a fishing boat, which is how most of us discover ourselves (I discovered myself working in a riverboat casino, but I always try to put my own spin on things).  Well, if you're longing to see a human-looking metallic being on a journey of self-discovery, but Man of Steel is too mainstream for you, then your best option is...

Hands of Steel (aka Atomic Cyborg, aka Vendetta dal Futuro):  An evil business man (played by John Saxon, who is in like 1/3 of the hundreds of b-movies I own) has a cyborg programmed to assassinate a guy who is some kind of revolutionist/ecologist or something.  After pulling his death-punch to only almost kill the guy, the cyborg, Paco, goes on a journey of self-discovery, chops wood, arm wrestles some truckers, and falls in love with the owner of the hotel/bar/restaurant where he's staying.

I'll start with a slightly negative aspect of the movie.  I'm not sure if the film, which came out in 1986, is supposed to be taking place in a dystopian future or if it takes place in 1986.  It's hard to tell; they do drop some hints about dystopian stuff, but then again, everything looks like the 1980s.  Double-then-again, a lot of filmmakers in the 1980s seemed to think the future would look a lot like the 1980s.  Gag me with a spoon!

Anyway, despite the time-period-confusion, the movie gets off to a quick start.  Paco, the man of steel with hands of steel, realizes that his human side is still at least partially in control when he defies his programming and critically injures the scientist-or-whatever instead of killing him.  He hit him hard enough to leave a fist-shaped mark on his chest, but I suppose he could have hit him hard enough to put his fist right through the man.  Even cyborgs have hearts.  Our cyborg hero now finds himself on the run from both the police and some goons that work for his employer.  He flees to Arizona, where he is taken in by the film's leading lady, who happens to own a hotel and happens to need a helper, which is good for Paco, since he has no money.  He agrees to work for his room and board, chopping and stacking an incredible amount of firewood in like 10 minutes.  (This film was actually not the inspiration for the wood chopping man who wishes he was a robot scene from the new series of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show, as I didn't see this film until after we had filmed that.  It's just a coincidence, albeit one that makes me very happy.)

Paco is just starting to enjoy his new lifestyle of doing chores (that don't include punching people to death) when trouble shows up.  'Trouble' starts with T, and also has an R, a U, and an E, and so does 'truckers'.  That's right, some rough-neck truckers show up to raise a ruckus, make unwelcomed advances toward Linda (the hotel owner), and arm wrestle.  It seems arm wrestling is a big deal in this particular part of Arizona.  One of the sleezo truckers gets into a verbal altercation with Paco, which escalates into an arm wrestling altercation.  The truckers put some money down on their boy, who is no match for Paco's cyborg strength.  Paco wins the purse, shares it with Linda, and sends the truckers away with their tails between their legs.

The truckers later return with the arm wrestling champion, and despite the fact that they trick Paco into getting tied to a tow truck (long story) and drag him around the desert before leaving him for dead, Paco returns and beats him in the most dangerous of arm wrestling matches: one where there's a glass case under the contestants arms, and not just any glass case, but one with a venomous snake inside!  Paco shows his heart once again, sparing his opponent from being bitten by the snake.

So, things seem as if they've worked out for the best, but Paco's past has caught up with him.  His former boss and his goons catch up with him, attempt to have him killed by a female cyborg, shoot at him with a missile launcher but miss over and over again, and finally settle on kidnapping Linda, who is now aware that Paco is a cyborg because she walked in on him tuning up his cut-open arm.

By the by, you may be wondering about the police who were also trying to catch the attempted assassin.  The police work is about as lousy as the acting done by the people playing the police.  It takes an "expert" about half the movie to figure out that the fist-shaped mark on the victim's chest was made by a fist.  Once they discover that the guy was nearly punched the death, they come to the obvious conclusion that only a cyborg could have punched so freakin' hard, and they've got a lead!

From here we launch into the film's climax, with Paco, the evil businessman and his men, the police, and some truckers all jumping into the mix.  I won't spoil the ending, but I will say the filmmakers did go for a bit of a cliche ending, which disappoints me when I watch a b-movie.  Not that it was bad, because the evil businessman has a big laser.  Big laser!!

Alright, so maybe you'd still like to see Man of Steel after reading this; I'm going to watch Superman's latest flick when I get the chance, so I can't blame you for that.  But if I haven't enticed you to check out Hands of Steel with the mention of cyborgs, arm wrestling truckers, and a big laser, then I don't even know what you're doing reading this, man.  You can check it out here if you can't find a copy of it on a cheapo DVD set like I did.

Maybe Man of Steel has better special effects, a better story, and better actors, but when any of my friends have talked about the movie I haven't heard any mention of a scene where a cyborg and a human arm wrestle over a glass case with a deadly snake in it.  No, sir or ma'am, you'll need to watch Hands of Steel for that.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Past, Present, Future

Guys!  Just like at the end of the most recent Super Pancake Bros. Super Show episode, I blew it!  All week I've been behind a day because of having Monday off.  Every time I woke up today I thought it was Thursday.  Not that it would have mattered; I was (and still kind of am) exhausted from a hectic week of depriving myself of sleep to get the new episode done, having bad timing with Link where he would wake up right when I was ready to take a nap, and a hellish night at work on Wednesday where all the dealerships decided to make up for not getting deliveries on Monday.  I swear I fit more stuff in one truck than can fit in a truck.  I still don't know how I did that.

Anyway, I'm going to work early today, and I didn't really leave myself enough time to write a full-on blog entry.  So, I'm thinking maybe I'll just spend a few minutes to think about what I've done on the blog and what I'd like to do moving forward...

I've written about such a wide variety of topics.  The most popular have been my blogs about Batman, James Bond, facebook, and my wife's incredible ability to say insane shit that makes me laugh.  I wish some of my more importantish rants were more popular, but hey, I'm writing for myself just as much as I'm writing for everybody else.  So what will I be writing about in the near future?

Some of it will be more of what I've been doing.  More stuff about video games, more "Too Much Technology" entries, more Ginger Files, more Buttnerd Files.  More rants too, including an upcoming rant about how way too many dots connect from Monsanto to our government.

Vhat about Video Vednesdays?  Don't vorry!  That vill still be happening, too!  I'll be showing the new series of Super Pancake Bros. Super Show episodes until all ten of those are out, then I'll be reverting back to posting different videos from various projects I've been involved in.

Oh!  I've also got something in the works called The Link Pancake 45 RPM Experiment.  It's probably not hard to imagine what that's going to be about, especially considering my previous writing about my record collection, but I'm proud of that title so I wanted to put it on here.  Yeah!

I'm also planning on writing some more about b-movies.  I've been watching a lot of them lately while feeding Link.  How can I not write about films with such titles as Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon or The Undertaker and His Pals?  (Not WWE's The Undertaker.)  The world needs to know about such gems.  And by "the world" I mean "the handful of people that read my blog regularly".

As far as what else I may choose to write about goes, I'm open to suggestions.  And I hope I get some from my faithful readers!  What do YOU want to see on this blog?

Alright, this was sort of one of those 'cop-out' blogs where I didn't actually write about anything, but if you didn't notice, I sprinkled links to lots of other stuff throughout the whole thing.  Muldoon from Jurassic Park once described me as a "clever girl!"  (I had long hair at the time, so I can forgive his mistake.)  So, if you feel ripped off or like you got cheated out of a real blog entry, check out some of those links; I'll bet you missed at least one of those, and now is your chance to make things right between us and catch up!

I'll see you in the future!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Video Vednesday #23

S.M. is a corporate genie, but he just got canned.  With only 12 hours of genie power left, S.M. grants me three last wishes in "The Final Three".

This marks a first in Super Pancake Bros. Super Show history:  I had to cut the opening credits own to just the opening "bookend" (Hey, Paisanos!) and the title of the show.  The original cut of the episode was 9 minutes long.  Each episode is 6 minutes (the idea being that if you watch a whole series it takes an hour), so I had a lot of cutting to do.  After hacking and chopping as much as I could, using some Frankensteinesque editing techniques, I was still about 30 seconds over time.  The only thing I could figure to do was cut the opening.  Is this interesting to anybody besides myself?  I do like to ramble about editing...

Anyway, if that last paragraph didn't bore you to death, here's the 3rd episode of Series 2 (the 13th overall)...

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day!  Put them white clothes away.  Unless you're a douche that always has to wear the white shirt/white hat combo.  Then, by all means, keep alerting the rest of us that you're a douche so that we don't have to waste time talking to you.

Anyway, I'm dealing with a triple-whammy right now.

First Whammy:  I'm trying to edit a nine minute rough cut of the next Super Pancake Bros. Super Show episode down into its six minute run-time.  That's hard!  I'm about to put a pot of coffee on...

Second Whammy:  I thought it was Sunday for most of the day, so I put no thought into a blog.

Third Whammy:  Ginger found the first season of CSI: Miami in a box of free stuff.  So, we've been watching that for a good chunk of the day.  I'm not joking.  And David Caruso takes a lot of meme-jabs on the internet for the constant sunglasses on/sunglasses off thing he does in the show, but fuck the internet, he's a good actor.

Alright... So I'm copping out on writing a blog.  Well, this is like a third or at least a quarter of the length of what I sometimes write.  But anyway, it's Labor Day, so I don't have to write.  I don't even get paid for this shit!  Deal!

Happy Labor Day!

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Blog About Nothing

Late this morning I opened up my Blogger page to start writing.  It is 4:30 now and the blank page is still staring into space.  I would say it's staring at me, but I just finally sat down.  Here's the story of how my day went so far, and why this was fated to become a blog about nothing.

Ginger left the house before noon to apply for some jobs and do the grocery shopping.  That left me here with my 5 year old, YaYa, and my 1 month old, Link.  Normally this would not be a problem, and I'd have plenty of time to write, but Link has not been feeling good so he's been quite fussy.  Usually he wakes up, takes a bottle, lifts weights for half an hour, smokes a cigar, and goes back to bed.  But today he will only take a little bit of a bottle at a time and is only sleeping in shorts spurts, not leaving me enough time to write.  Also, YaYa is trying her hand at nuclear fission, and I have to keep putting down what I'm doing to help her find the atoms that she dropped on the floor.  Kids!

I had given YaYa her lunch, I had fed Link while watching a bunch of Buster Keaton shorts, and I had eaten lunch, too.  Everyone had a full belly and was content for the moment.  I sat down to write, though I hadn't really settled on a topic yet.  I knew I didn't have much time to write, so I considered the first thing that popped into my head, which was Shemp Howard, my favorite Stooge.  (I guess if I was a Ghostbuster, we would have battled a giant Shemp at the end of the first movie instead of Stay-Puft).  I figured another Stooge-related post would be okay after the heaviness of my rant on Monday.  But before I even had a chance to commit to this idea, Link started raising a ruckus.

Flash forward maybe an hour or two.  Time hasn't really existed for me today.  I had another chance to sit down, and by this time I had thought about one of my favorite types of stories.  I enjoy any type of book or film in which a character is transported into an alternate dimension, world, or what-have-you.  I was going to write up three reviews/recommendations for some b-movie favorites that fall into this category.  Of course, I couldn't remember the name of one of them, just the plot and that Richard Kiel was in it.  But before I even had a chance to start digging through my massive b-movie collection to find it, Link started raising a ruckus.

I was now aware that I was running out of time to get this done before I had to leave for work.  I settled on putting some of my poetry up on the blog, though I haven't seen the little notebook I write my poems in for months.  I started searching for it, but the only thing I accomplished was bumping my head on a beam in the attic.  After a brief fit of cursing and muttering I gave up on the poetry idea.  I decided to settle on a new idea.  But before I even had a chance to start brainstorming...

No!  Not Link this time.  Mama Pancake returned home with a trunk full of groceries.  She stocked up because our cabinets have been looking kinda bare, so the bags were rather heavy.  Once more I had to put the blog aside.  Now that I'm done moving all the heavy shit from the car into the house, I have to get ready to go to work and move heavy shit from the dock into trucks.  At least when I lift heavy stuff at home I'm not being micro-managed by a living ulcer, but on the other hand, I don't get paid when I do it at home.

Well, that's that.  This is all I have time for.  I typed this up at a furious rate, and I don't even have time to proofread it, so forgive any typos or nonsensical thoughts you may have come across while reading.  (I might proofread it when I get home, if I remember.)  Alright... Done!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Video Vednesday #22

The Brothers are back (again)!!  Here's the second episode of Series 2.  In it you will see that S.M. and I are fucked, man, in "Crisis".  We also have our fingers on the pulse of society, and we prove it with our local news "Special Bulletin".  If you crave action, danger, and action, we've got that in the trailer for "Death Time Charlie"!  And if anime is more your thing, don't miss "Pancake Bros. Teen Robot Action Time!!!"  Oh yes, we crammed all that into one episode.  What are you waiting for?  Watch the damn thing!

Monday, August 26, 2013

American Pride

USA!  USA!  I was a big fan of pro-wrestling growing up, and I still enjoy watching DVDs of the 'classic' era of WWE (WWF) and WCW.  There's always been a stereotype of wrestling fans as ignorant hicks, and unfortunately sometimes the crowds play up to that stereotype.  One of the dumbest things I've ever seen is when an audience broke out into a "USA" chant during a match between Japanese and Canadian combatants.

But today I'm not writing about wrestling; I've done that before (and I may again, but not today).  Today I'm writing about 'American Pride', and my reasons for thinking that it's bullshit...

Similar to the "USA" chant, people like to display their American Pride on their automobiles.  One of my favorites is the "These Colors Don't Run" sticker, which is often faded, ironically.  The best I've seen by far (and I think I've mentioned this on the blog before) was the "United We Stand" sticker I saw on somebody's truck.  The sticker was right next to a Confederate flag.  Apparently this person was unaware of what took place during The Civil War.  But reading is for nerds and queers.

Speaking of which, did you know America is rated 17th in education amongst developed countries?  We pride ourselves on being the best country in the world, but if what I know about ranking systems is correct, 17th is not the best.  17th is far from the best.  That's like 16 slots behind the best, by my calculation.  People are petitioning online to get Ben Affleck fired from the role of Batman.  I'm not really satisfied by the casting announcement, but how about spending all that time and energy petitioning the government to put less money into the military and more into education?  How about petitioning to get GMOs banned so we can eat poison-free food for a change?  If people were half as concerned about the legitimate issues this country is facing as they are about what Miley Cirus did at the VMAs, we'd all be better off.

Our media is part of the problem.  The focus always seems to be on celebrities, sex scandals, sports, and viral videos of cute kids or animals.  "News" in our country has become a 24-hour-a-day, money-making entertainment conglomerate, the opposite of what news is supposed to be.  The cable news networks, rather than seeking out the truth to benefit their viewers, have built up an "us vs. them" mentality.  They wait for a rival network to make the slightest gaff so they can pounce on it and thump their chests proudly.  Can a news team that spends most of their time scrutinizing another news team really be doing their best to report important, relevant information?  Important, relevant information doesn't garner enough ratings, which means less advertising, which means less money.

Money is another problem.  I'm not a socialist or a communist or anything else along those lines.  I don't believe all of the nation's wealth should go into one giant pot to be distributed equally to everyone.  But I do think it's ridiculous how much money CEOs and other snake-like individuals make.  I used to work for a company called Dex One.  When one of our CEOs (Dave Swanson) sank the company into bankruptcy and got us booted off the stock exchange for continuously maintaining a stock price below a dollar, was he shamefully called out for his actions and fired for doing such a shitty job?  Nope!  He was rewarded with a 17 million dollar bonus package (on top of the millions he was already pulling in) and jumped off the crashing plane of a company, free to float away strapped to his golden parachute.  So, a guy who destroyed the company made more money as a bonus for destroying the company than I would have made if I worked for them my whole life.  If I was a werewolf (I'm not admitting to that!) and I worked there for 20 lifetimes, I still probably wouldn't get anywhere near that much money.  And I knew how to do my job.  But in the end it didn't matter anyhow, because my job was outsourced.

Having my job outsourced certainly doesn't make me unique in this country.  Talk to a random handful of people and I guarantee at least a few of them lost their jobs the same way.  People in this country have the gall to complain about the unemployed and the welfare cases, but none of them are willing to take a minute to think about what's causing so much unemployment and reliance on welfare.  Barking "Get a job!!" isn't a solution, because the people who are hiring pay laughable wages.  When Henry Ford revolutionized the automotive industry he payed his employees double the country's average wages, building up the middle class and providing a better life for those lucky enough to work for his company. Fast forward nearly 100 years.  I work for a car company, let's call it Adzam so I don't have to name names, which is actually in a partnership with Ford.  At the end of the week, after five days of coming home drained from busting my ass, I don't bring home enough money to pay my rent and all of my bills.  People look at the past as if its people were unfortunate souls without modern conveniences like iPhones, 24-hour drive-thrus, or Snuggies.  But if you look at it from the same angle as me, you can see that we've sure gone downhill in the last 100 years.

I know there's no magic solutions to make all of our problems go away, but living in ignorance is not only making life worse for all of us who are here now, it will have negative consequences that will ripple into the future.  For the sake of your grandchildren and their grandchildren, open a book!  Dig for the truth!  Demand more from our so-called leaders!

I really don't know how to fix everything that is broken in our country, but I can point to a precise starting point: admitting that USA! USA! isn't #1.  Once we all come to terms with the fact that we've fallen embarrassingly behind in education, production, and even social progress, we can start taking the steps to make things better.  You can't start working your way to the top if you're deluding yourself into thinking you're still the best.  America needs to admit to itself, and the world, what it really is: a nation birthed in the blood of an indigenous people, built by slave labor, ruled by hypocrisy, and maintained by hysteria, finger-pointing, and false pride.  Only after we admit this can we become determined to be something better.  If we continue to rest on our laurels and pretend we live in a fairy-tale wonderland, we'll continue sliding downhill until, inevitably, we meet the same fate as many once-great civilizations before us.

Our 'leaders' certainly aren't going to make us a better, stronger nation.  It's up to the people.  I'm just hoping there's an off week where the Kardashians, the royal baby, and Mike Tyson don't do anything "newsworthy", so everyone has time to read about matters that actually have consequences.  Maybe I'm pipe-dreaming.  Anyway, I'd love it if we'd put a hold on 'American Pride' until we actually had something to be proud about.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Practical Lessons From The Three Stooges

Spread out!  I've been a Three Stooges fan for about two decades.  Before Sony/Columbia finally released all of the short films (there's 190!) on DVD box sets, I had made it one of my life's missions to collect all 190.  I got pretty damn close, taping over 120 of them from various TV showings over the years.  (Remember recording programs onto VHS tapes in the pre-DVR days?  We lived like neanderthals!)  Lately I've been watching the DVDs while feeding baby Link, and it set my mind a-wonderin' about why I haven't written about those three (actually six) knuckleheads.  Well, today is the day that I rectify that situation, and I'll do it faster that you can say Ticonderoga, if you can say Ticonderoga.

I'm not here to polarize anybody with arguments about who the best Stooge was (any sap knows Shemp is the top), but rather, I'm here to share some important life lessons I picked up from Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, Joe, and Curly Joe.  As my daughter YaYa (who's become quite the Stooges fan despite typically only watching cartoons or at the very least something in color) said, "Those guys aren't very good at anything!"  Sure, every time they cook a turkey they end up stuffing it with clamshells and tin cans.  Okay, whenever they try to fix a leak they end up flooding the basement and somehow hooking the water up to all the electric devices in the house.  Alright, so they repeatedly make the questionable decision to put Curly on the top of their triple-bunk-beds.  None of us are perfect, but without the antics of the three missing links, I may not have become the man I am today, for better or worse.

By now you must be wondering what I possibly could have learned from such nonsense and mayhem.  Well, don't get excited, I'll tell you when I'm ready.  Am I ready?  Yeah, I'm ready.  Swing it!

Lesson #1: Push Buttons!

It happens pretty much every time the Stooges have to operate an unfamiliar piece of machinery; the boys randomly push every button they can until they get either the desired result or sparks start shooting out of the machine.  While this trial and error approach often ends in disaster for the chowderheads, it has come in handy quite often for me.

When I worked in an office, I was known as one of the guys who was "good at computers".  I soitenly am, but only through growing up always having access to one and learning through the trial and error (or "Push Buttons!") method.  Whenever I run into a software problem, my natural inclination is to try everything I can, including commands that I'm unfamiliar with, to see what the result is.  Usually I stumble upon a solution.  Rarely I mess things up even more (I'm a victim of coicumstance!), but there's always an ace up my sleeve (and by "ace" I mean "web search").

This reminds me of a story I heard a few years back.  I'm not sure if it's true or not, but it's a good story anyway.  An out-of-work fellow applied for a job operating a crane.  He lied and said he had experience.  He was fired on the first day while trying to learn to use the crane on the job.  He then got a second job operating a crane, this time merely exaggerating his level of experience.  He was fired after a few days when it became obvious that he didn't truly know the ins and outs (or is it 'ups and downs'?) of working a crane.  But by his third attempt at attaining (and maintaining) a job as a crane operator, he had accumulated the necessarily abilities to do the work, and he kept the job.  Trial and error.  Push buttons!

Lesson #2: Always Carry a Rag!!

Any mom or dad (or aunt or uncle or godparent or babysitter, etc.) already knows this, but you've got to carry a rag (or at least a pocketful of napkins) at all times.  Yes, I'm a dad, but I learned this lesson a long time ago from Los Tres Chiflados.  How?  (And how!)

You never know when you're going to get hit in the face with a pie, a lump of clay, or a geyser of oil.  That's why you always need a rag.  Okay, so maybe the Stooges get hit in the face with more pies, lumps of clay, and geysers of oil than the average ham-and-egger, but still, you never know.  Maybe you won't ever get a pie to the face, but a rag or hunk of paper towel will always come in handy to clean up spit-ups, spilled juice boxes, or ice cream drips (all of which can and will happen if you hang out with my brother, S.M.).  Or suppose you sneeze that newfangled way doctors are promoting, into your elbow, and you're left with a glob of boogers on your arm.  Good thing you brought a rag!

By the by, a rag also comes in handy for over-dramatically crying into, then ringing out a ludicrous amount of water from.

Lesson #3: Make the Best of Things!!!

Perhaps this one is a little corny, but that doesn't make it any less true.  One thing I've always loved about the Stooges is their eternal optimism despite repeated screw-ups.  No matter what the situation, they always make the best of things.  Let's pretend for a moment that your friend, we'll call him 'Shemp', fell out a window, and he's dangling off the 8th or 10th floor.  You and your other pal, we'll call him 'Larry', have procured a rope, and the two of you are in the process of hoisting him back up to the window.  But Shemp, ever the hound-dog, lets go of the rope when he reaches a balcony occupied by a shapely female type.  Not expecting the sudden shift in momentum, you and Larry stumble backwards and land in the bathtub with your clothes on.  What would you do?  Would you complain, or would you decide to make the best of it and take a bath, even though "this ain't Saturday night!"?  The Stooges opt for the bath (and curiously start applying soap over their clothing).

Of course, this isn't the only example of how Larry, Moe, and (Third Stooge) take the lemons life gives them and make the proverbial lemonade.  On the run from the cops or a group of men they tried to scam (or both), the Stooges will take refuge in a random building.  Once inside they may join the military, become riveters, or start art classes.  And they just roll with it, much to the annoyance of the people who normally engage in these activities without the interference of three disgraceful vagabonds.

There's a handful of films where Curly goes violently insane when he either hears a certain song, sees a mouse (because his father was a rat), or sees a tassel.  He usually can only be calmed by being tickled or eating cheese.  Most people would probably have such a person committed or put onto oodles of medication, but Larry and Moe always use this odd quirk to the benefit of the group, entering Curly into boxing matches or letting him go berserk when there's bad guys on the loose.  You could say they're taking advantage of the poor guy, and I could tell you to shut up and poke you in the eyes.  Poink!

Whether you're a casual fan who doesn't know a woo woo woo from an eeb eeb eeb, or you're a hardcore salami skull who knows that 'Gritto' spelled sideways is 'Otri-guh-guhh' (?), we can all learn a lot from the Stooges.  They're terrific!  They're colossal!  They're even mediocre!

Watch your P's and Q's, heed these lessons, and make sure to come back to the blog next week for more articles and another Pancake Bros. video (see if you can spot the Stooges influence in our work).  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Video Vednesday #21

The time has come!  Super Pancake Bros. Super Show: Series 2 begins today!  After a year of dealing with lost voices, broken hands, blizzards, false labors, and losing our family ranch to Blackjack Calhoun, SPBSS Series 2 has arrived.

This episode features "Robo-Fantasy", in which S.M. laments about not being a robot.  Also "Tie", in which Baxter shatters S.M.'s confidence as he tries to put on a tie.  And there's a commercial for "Mountaintop Mountain Ski & Resort".

I promised on The Pancake Bros. facebook page months ago that this would be the explodiest series of SPBSS episodes ever, and this episode contains the first explosion of Series 2.  Yeah!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Return of Movie Monday Returns

Are you brimming with anticipation? You should be, because Series 2 of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show premieres on Wednesday!   You can find the first episode (and subsequent episodes) right here on the blog or on our Funny or Die page.  And for Pancake news, pics, and shenanigans, check out (and like!) our facebook page.

Here's the last video in the countdown to Series 2.  It's actually the last video we put out (to date).  It's more leftover bits from Series 1 that either had to be cut for time or didn't quite fit in with the scenes they were filmed for.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Flick Returns

Here's the last episode of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show that I haven't shown on the blog.  It is the second-to-last episode of Series One.  It's definitely our most polarizing episode (meaning it has the lowest "funny percentage" on Funny or Die).  Personally, I like it.  But I like weird stuff.  What do you think?

Can anything that contains the phrase "The Biggest Boners!" really be that bad?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Video Vednesday #20

The countdown to the premiere of Series 2 continues!  Here is the eighth episode from Series 1.  This is our 'cable access' episode, which includes ghost hunting and a super-low-budget talk show.  The host of the show is our old improv mate John McNulty.  Check it out, and make sure to check out the next installment of Video Vednesday for the premiere of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show: Series 2!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Movie Monday Returns

Alright, I'm killing two birds with one stone.

Bird One:  I've gotten very little sleep, and I'm busy doing newborn related stuff most of the time I'm not at work.  Because of this, I'm doing a 'cop out' blog post where I put up a video.  My eyes feel like they're too big for my head right now, so sitting in front of the computer long enough to write a full article is not something I intend to do today.

Bird Two:  There's only four Pancake Bros. videos I haven't posted as Video Vednesday (or cop out posts) entries.  There's four more posts to make (including this one) before the big premiere of the new series of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show, so you can consider this sort of a countdown to the new season.

This is an "Extra Batter" video which consists of a deleted scene from the very first episode of the show.  I had wanted to use this material in the original episode, but I ended up cutting tons of stuff for time.  Luckily, everything we filmed was saved for posterity.  Don't you love posterity?

Friday, August 9, 2013


In the very early days of the blog, I wrote about trying to get a job working for King Koopa.  So far I've been unable to get a position, but what about finding work related to a different dragon-type creature?  A dragon-type creature that's way, way bigger.   A dragon-type creature with a much more impressive win-loss record.  I'm talking about the king of dragon-type creatures; I'm talking about Godzilla!  King of the Monsters!

Of course, Godzilla doesn't run any businesses that I know of, so I can't actually work for the big man, but there's got to be lots of jobs available in the zany version of reality that the Godzilla films take place in.  I'll skip over the obvious ones such as post-monster-fight clean-up crew or post-monster-fight-clean-up construction crew.  Those types of jobs already exist without giant monsters necessitating clean-up and rebuilding.  Nature is a monster (and I can't blame her, since she's constantly being fucked with by Man!  King of the Assholes!)  So, aside from donning a hardhat and helping to rebuild Tokyo every few weeks, what could I do?

Another Kind of Clean-Up Crew

Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the scientist lady goes elbows-deep into a giant pile of poop?  Certainly you remember, that's the best scene!  Well, think about it.  There must be piles of poop at least that big all over Tokyo and its suburbs.  (Tokyo has suburbs, right?)  It's not just Godzilla dropping deuces all over Japan.  You'd have to factor in the king-size turds of Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, and dozens more monsters.  Mechagodzilla is the only one not stinking up the island, though I think he has organic components, so maybe he does drop robo-poops from time to time.  I'm not sure.

Regardless of whether or not Mechagodzilla makes boom-boom, there's plenty to pick up after Megalon drills his way through town.  And that's when the Monster Poo Crew would be called into action.  It's a stinky job, but somebody has to do it.  The MPC would be contracted by the city to clean up all of the monster stink-bombs.  Since the government would be doing the hiring, the MPC would probably be paid a ridiculous amount of money for dung removal.

I really don't think I'd want to do the actual hands-on work that this job would entail, but I would definitely manage the business.  And as a bonus, I could start a second business selling fertilizer to farmers.  Lots and lots of fertilizer.

Monster Tag

When I was in elementary school we had a visitor whose job was tracking bears.  He and his team would catch a bear (I'm assuming by putting honey in a box held up by a stick with a string tied to it) and put a tag on its ear.  Then he would use the tags to track the wanderings of the bears for scientific bear research.  Since Godzilla is cooler than bears, the scientific community and the public would want to know as much about him (and all the other freaky beasts) as possible, including finding out where they roam.

Catching the monsters would be harder to do, since I'd need a really big box, a really big stick, and a really big piece of string.  Then again, maybe Jet Jaguar could help me tag the monsters.  Then my team and I could figure out where the monsters are when they're not smashing all the stuff in Tokyo.  Hmm... It looks like they mostly hang out on Monster Island.  Look here!  This monster swam all the way to California, but the smog was too much for him to handle so he came back.  Oh wow!  Godzilla went to New York, stayed for a while, then came back with his tail between his legs.  I wonder why...

I'm not sure how profitable this line of work would be, but it would be worth it for the contribution to science.  Monster science.

Stupid Helmets

One thing I've noticed about the Godzilla film series (and pretty much all of the Japanese films that fit into the Kaiju category) is that there's never a shortage of stupid helmets for people to wear.  Putting together a Godzilla task force?  You're going to need some stupid helmets for your team.  Trying to get your unknown civilization to revolt and attack the outside world?  You'll need some stupid helmets for that.  And I'd be the guy to come to; I'd be the guy that supplies the stupid helmets.

Everybody needs stupid helmets in Japan.  The government needs stupid helmets.  Citizens need stupid helmets in case a monster attacks their office building or factory.  And if the stupid helmet is obnoxious enough, it's sure to become a must-have item for some pop star, which would then lead to it becoming a must-have item for every fad-following teenie-bopper.  I wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand for stupid helmets.  I might even have to outsource some of the manufacturing work to a poor country, like Indonesia or America.  I could retire on all the profits from my stupid helmet company.

Whether it's cleaning up giant poops, tracking all the places where monsters go to make giant poops, or manufacturing stupid helmets that uh... (insert third poop reference here), there's plenty of capitalistic opportunities available in a monster-infested world.  Unfortunately, I'm stuck here in a non-monster-infested world, though with all the horrifying chemicals we're dumping onto and into the earth, I'm sure it's only a matter of time.  Lucky for me, because I've got solid business plans.  Monster business plans.