Friday, June 28, 2013

Video Vednesday on Friday...?

Hey, readership!  Look, I'm super-busy right now.  Had to get a rental car today so I could get to and from work while my car is having its thermostat replaced and its dirty, dirty lines flushed out.  Soon I have to leave the house for a baby-related doctor appointment.  Don't think I'm making excuses for not writing today.  Actually, you can go ahead and think that, because I am.  They're legit though!  I haven't eaten lunch yet.  I'm putting this blog before lunch!  What more do you want from me?  You demanding bastards!!

Alright, well my goal is to entertain on Mondays, Vednesdays, and Fridays.  Since I don't have enough time to properly write and proofread a full entry, I'm gonna hook you up with a video.  Video Vednesday on Friday.  Wacky, right?

When I was editing the first series of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show, I often ended up cutting stuff that I thought was really funny.  Sometimes bits just didn't fit into a scene.  Other times I had to make cuts for time/pacing.  But I saved all the cut scenes with my pack-rat magic, smooshed 'em together into bonus videos, and put that shit on the innanet!  Here's the first batch of 'leftovaz' I put together.

If you want more Pancakes, check out all the videos on our Funny or Die page!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Video Vednesday #13

Here's another fine video produced by B.R.A.D., a sketch comedy team that very occasionally films short sketches.  This one was written by member Rob Klubeck, and he also does most of the talking.  In fact, I barely talk at all, so if you don't like my voice but like the way I look when I have a beard and short hair, this one's for you!

Ever the picture of modesty, Rob is always apt to point out that I contributed the Gruel-Mart line to the script, but almost all the credit for this one goes to his writing, and his and Don McGlynn's acting.  I'm just kind of there.

Monday, June 24, 2013


When I worked in an office we used to receive a weekly email newsletter called "News You Can Use".  A friend, Joe (yes I had a work-buddy named Joe at the office, too), renamed it "News You Can't Possibly Use" because the newsletter only contained information about which one of the CEO's pals was being promoted to assistant vice president or the new market in Brumbledunk, Oregon the company was looking to capitalize on.  Basically, the "News You Can Use" was a bunch of garbage that none of the people who actually did the work that kept the company afloat cared about.

Sadly, it seems the mainstream media is today's biggest peddler of "News You Can't Possibly Use".  Honestly, I didn't know what to write about today, and occasionally when I'm stuck for a topic I peruse the top news stories on a site like Yahoo!  Much like most other conglomerate media outlets, Yahoo! diligently reports on bogus bullshit that is useless except to serve as a distraction from what's actually going on in the country and around the world.  Let's look at some of the top headlines for today.

Here's the big five stories that Yahoo! felt deserved the top spots in the scroll-through picture-thingy at the top of their page:

1.  NBA Son is Hoops Prodigy

An NBA star has a son that's good at basketball!  It's good to be a well-informed member of the public. I was wondering if NBA stars ever fathered children that were also good at basketball, and now I know!  I'm glad this is the top story so that I didn't miss it.

2.  U.S. Factory Boss Hostage in China

Okay, this one actually seems like it may have some relevance.  How refreshing!  Apparently an executive with possibly the whitest name ever, Chip Starnes, is being held hostage in Beijing by workers at his medical supply factory.  This may seem like a big deal, but apparently this sort of thing is fairly common in China when workers, such as Starnes', are demanding more money, better working conditions, or what have you.  In fact, the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in China (yes, there's an American Chamber of Commerce in China), Christian Murck, has said he is aware that this happens but he wasn't aware of the Starnes case.  So, our media is making a sensation out of this, and the guy whose job it is to know about this stuff is essentially saying, "Eh, it happens."

It's funny to me that the Communists were our sworn enemies which we tried to eradicate in various 'police actions' around the world, yet when Corporate America realized they could save a buck through cheaper Chinese labor, suddenly it was fine to hold hands with them.  I guess this whole situation could have been avoided if Starnes chose to have a factory in the United States and employ American workers.  He's moving some of the production to India, though; obviously he doesn't see things my way.

3.  Rumor: Trade Offer for Pierce

Is basketball that important that two of the top three spots on a news website should be occupied by stories about the sport?  Is it so important that a mere rumor about a trade offer is top news?  Rumors aren't news.  Rumors are rumors.

4.  Pitt's Zombie Flick Trumped

So World War Z didn't take the top box office spot, but it still made a shit-ton of money.  It would make sense for this to be in a top news slot on Internet Movie Database, but Yahoo!?

5.  Myths About Buying a Car

Here's an article about what to do (and what not to do) when buying a car.  I suppose this can be very helpful if you're about to start shopping for a car.  But are enough people who visit the site for news about to buy a car to make this story relevant enough to be in a top spot?  Isn't the Supreme Court about to review a bunch of huge cases?  Maybe I'll find out when I listen to NPR in my new car, which I got a great deal on because I didn't wear a raggedy t-shirt and shorts when I bought it.  Because not wearing a raggedy t-shirt and shorts when you're trying to look like an intelligent, well-informed consumer isn't common-fucking-sense.  It's breaking news.

Alright, so that was frustrating.  The only reason I was inspired by the news on the page is because I felt the need to complain about it on the blog.  That's not how good journalism should work, or at least that's not how I think good journalism should work.  I watch quite a lot of old movies from the 30s and 40s.  Most of them (literally, a majority of them) have a hotheaded, get-the-story-at-any-cost news reporter character.  Perhaps this type of reporter never actually existed; perhaps this is just an example of Hollywood making the mundane more fantastic.  But whether or not there really were ever reporters like that, they certain don't exist now.  And when they do exist, they don't work for the mainstream media, and they get thrown in jail for whistle-blowing.  It makes me sad and a little sick to live in a world where people who are trying to look out for the public's best interest are likened to terrorists and put away.

Maybe I'm not being fair to Yahoo! and the other massive media corporations.  Perhaps they put the attention-grabbing fluff pieces as the top stories to lure in readers, then hit them with the real news after they've reeled them in.  Let me look at the next five 'news' stories to verify...

6.  Mesmerizing LeBron Mashup

More basketball!!!  And this isn't even a news story!  This is Yahoo! sharing a video of all the baskets LeBron James scored in game 7 of the NBA finals!  What the fuck, Yahoo!?  What the fuck?

7.  The 'Bling Ring' Burglars

Here's a story about the real teens that inspired the movie and the actors the who portray them in the movie!  Interesting, but again this is something that should be a top (maybe not even top) story on IMDb, not a major news outlet.  I browsed the first few paragraphs and still wasn't sure if this was a movie or TV show, so I quickly checked it on Wikipedia.  It turns out Sofia Coppola directed the movie, which does actually make me more interested in it since I dug Lost in Translation.  But Sofia Coppola's name doesn't even appear until about halfway through the "article", which I put in quotes because it's actually a series of pictures with a small paragraph next to each photo.  Sigh...

8.  Pitt's Ever-Changing Hair

Seriously?  Brad Pitt again?  I like Brad Pitt.  I think he's a good actor, and I've enjoyed a lot of movies he's been in.  But is he important enough to take up two spaces out of the top ten 'news' stories?  That's almost as many as basketball!  And how is the fact that he frequently has different haircuts news, exactly?  He's a goddam motherfucking actor!  Goddam motherfucking actors typically look different for the roles they play.  Fuck you, Yahoo!  Fuck you right in the face!

9.  Clippers, Celtics Reach Deal

Hey America!  Maybe you should be less concerned with people who exercise for a living and start exercising yourself.  Maybe you should read up on the horrifying shit they're pumping into our food.  Maybe my blood shouldn't be boiling because of all the basketball coverage on the main news feed of a big website, but it is.

10.  Kendall, Kylie's Summer Style

Finally, some real news!  Fashion tips for the season from two girls named Kendall and Kylie.  This is a shining example of journalistic integrity that I look for in the media.  Thank you, Yahoo!  Seriously though, who the fuck are Kendall and Kylie?  I don't care enough to click on the link and find out.

There you have it.  That's today's top news.  No wonder America has grown into a breeding ground for ignorant shitheads.  You can view that as me trashing America if you want, but I'd like to point out that I wish I didn't have to type the previous sentence.  It pains me to do so, but sometimes the truth is painful.  If I only had a few minutes to peruse the top news stories before heading out to work and I chose Yahoo! as my source, I'd walk out the door today being well-informed on all the latest bullshit.  No idea about what the Supreme Court is deciding today, no clue what our government is up to, no knowledge about what's happening around the world other than one small incident in a factory in China.

Thankfully, I do have enough time to seek out some actual news reporting before work, if I choose to do so.  Unfortunately, the real news often makes me feel worse than the bullshit news.  I suppose that's the problem: people would rather be blissfully ignorant (yet still miserable all the time, somehow) than well-informed and disgusted.  The news media is just playing into that, which is a shame.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blog of Steel

Man of Steel has flown into theaters (Get it? Eh?), making massive piles of cash and garnering favorable reviews.  Despite being a Superman fan, I haven't been able to get to the theater to see it yet.  I'm very busy with being a dad, going to work, donating plasma, writing blogs, etc. etc.  I'm hoping I'll catch it before it's theatrical run is over.  Some friends of mine have seen it and loved it.  This is making me itch even more to see it.  Needless to say, I've got Superman on the brain, so in today's blog entry I'll share some of my thoughts on Kal-El, the last son of Krypton.

Secret Identity

There's a lot of people, non-fans and casual fans especially, who think that Superman's alter-ego of mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent would not disguise the fact that he's Superman.  "How would nobody recognize him just because he's wearing glasses?" they say.  Personally though, I've been overlooked by people who know me because of slight changes in appearance, including wearing a hat, getting a haircut, and even wearing or not wearing my glasses.  And I've seen people out in public and not recognized them because they were wearing glasses or sunglasses.

But shouldn't Lois Lane, a woman who is supposed to be one of the greatest reporters ever ever, who works with Clark every day and gets rescued by Superman just about every day, recognize that Clark and Superman are the same dude?  Not necessarily.  Aside from the glasses thing, when he's Clark he changes his posture, hunching over to appear more feeble and hunchy.  While I was at a carnival last weekend with Ginger and the kids, I saw a woman that I work with.  I almost didn't recognize her, and it was only because of a change in posture.  At the carnival she was walking like a normal human being, whereas at work she walks hunched over with her hands in the shape of claws, as if she's ready to kill somebody, because she's usually ready to kill somebody.  I thought I was merely seeing a person who looked like the person I work with, and it wasn't until she walked toward me to say "Hi" that I realized it actually was her.

Also, there's the disbelievability factor.  (Disbelievability, apparently, is a word I just made up, since spellcheck keeps putting a red-dotted line beneath it.)  The disbelievability factor works for Spider-Man, He-Man, and even Heisenberg on Breaking Bad.  People who have a reasonable suspicion about the real identities of such characters are often dissuaded from their belief by the disbelievability factor.  Peter Parker is far too nerdy to be the heroic Spider-Man!  Prince Adam is too much of a lazy, self-centered pretty-boy douche to be He-Man!  Walter White is too meek to be master meth chef Heisenberg!  And the same principle works for Clark Kent/Superman.  As Clark, he acts not only mild-mannered, but plays himself off as a clumsy oaf.  Nobody can believe that this human-blooper-reel farm-boy could possibly be Superman, even though he looks kinda like him.

Super Songs

I've noticed a trend in popular music where every few years or so a band or solo artist makes a hit song that contains Superman-related imagery.  The problem I have with these songs (other than that they're usually more of the same typical radio-schlock but with Superman-related imagery) is that the references are always so vague.  There's often mentions of the costume, specifically the cape.  Some of them reference Kryptonite or maybe a character or two from the comics, but that's it.  So we get lyrics like "I'm more than maaan in a silly red sheeeeet!" or "If I go crazy then will you shtill call me Shupermaaaaan?"  I am not satisfied by this.

As a Superman fan and a nerd, I hope to someday hear a song on the radio with very detailed references to the man of steel.  How about a song depicting a fight between Superman and Brainiac?  Or a song detailing a day in the life inside the Bottle City of Kandor?  Or an epic eight-minute-long ballad chronicling Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday, his replacement by four false Supermen, and his subsequent return-to-life-and-he-has-a-mullet-now?  That would be awesome.  I think.  Just me?

I will admit, while the references to Superman are vague in their song, I love the collaboration between Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg.  Question:  How much weed did Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg smoke?  Answer:  All the weed.

The American Way

Obviously Superman is an American icon, the first superhero to be birthed by an American art-form.  When Man of Steel was first announced I started following the pre-production as closely as I could.  Of course, when British actor Henry Cavill was cast as Kal-El, there was a minor backlash on the internet. Americans don't need to go out of their way to prove that they're pompous idiots, yet they try to do so all the time.  I remember shaking my head at such message board comments as "This is bullshit!  Superman is an American icon!  He needs to be played by an American actor!  Boycott this movie!"  My snarky follow-up message was, "I agree this is bullshit.  Superman should be played by a real Kryptonian."

There's just so much stupidity in the sentiment that Superman needs to be played by an American actor.  For one thing, Superman doesn't need anything because he's a fictional character.  Also, an actor is an actor, and people who act for a living frequently play parts in which they're portraying somebody of a different nationality or ethnic background.  If actors were limited to playing only parts in which they were qualified based on nationality, there would be no Sci-Fi movies or television shows, so SyFy wouldn't exist, so there never would have been Sharktopus.  Would you want to live in a world where Sharktopus doesn't exist, narrow-minded message board commenter?  I didn't think so.

Furthermore, in the early comics Superman was more a citizen of the world, defending the oppressed and the victimized all over the planet.  The American-flag-waving aspect was always there, but it became much more prominent during WWII and the Cold War.  But of course, why would somebody want to have actual knowledge about a character before blurting out moronic 'thoughts' about how the character needs to be done on screen?  Not in My Amurrica!

Whether you're an avid reader of the comics or somebody who's only knowledge of Superman comes from references on Seinfeld, I hope you've enjoyed my thoughts on Smallville's most famous son.  That's all I've got at the moment.  Oh, wait!  There's one more I'll share...


I think it's awesome that within the span of a year we've gotten a Batman with a beard, a James Bond with a beard, and a Superman with a beard.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Video Vednesday #12

The thing that makes comedy teams work is their chemistry together.  But what if one member of the team was mistaken for a burglar, punched in the head, and knocked down a flight of a steps, damaging part of his brain and altering his personality?  That's what happens to my brother S.M. in this video, and then things get weird.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Ginger Files, Vol. 2

I have so many reasons for writing a second volume of Ginger's quotes.  The first installment was extremely popular, especially in Brazil for some reason.  Perhaps lightning will strike twice.  Brazilian lightning.  Another reason is that Ginger herself has again been insisting that I put more of her quotes on the blog.  "You should at least do one once a month." she told me last night.  I didn't realize it had been a month since I did the first one.  The time we've lived together has flown by like some sort of flying beast that flies really fast, so a month seems like an eye-blink to me.  Yet another reason: Little YaYa (featured in The Buttnerd Files, Vol. 1) has finished Pre-Kindergarten, so instead of boarding the bus a few minutes ago she has instead been pestering me to use the computer.  Much like her mom, ridiculous stuff comes out nearly every time she opens her mouth, so it's quite distracting.  But plucking out Ginger material from my ever-growing file and commenting on it is easy to do, even while distracted by a little butthead who insists that only pirates (and not cowboys) wear hats.

Wow, okay, so that's three good reasons to write this, and now that I'm done crafting what may be my longest opening paragraph to date, I'll start sharing the quotes.  I don't remember the context of the conversation we were having, but at some point in time Ginger said:

I think you have to have arms and legs to exist.

If I'm remembering it correctly, she said that to me in that tone that implied that I was an idiot for not knowing that, before realizing what she had said.  According to this theory, snakes don't exist.  For that matter, most animals don't exist since most of them have four or more legs and no arms.  Hell, Lieutenant Dan doesn't exist.  Rewatch Forrest Gump with the idea that Lieutenant Dan is a figment of Forrest's imagination.  That makes it a whole different movie.  Now, watch CSI: NY with the idea that Gary Sinise doesn't exist.  Just kidding!  Nobody watches CSI: NY for any reason.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I'd have been born in 1894 instead of 1984.  Most likely I would have pursued a career in Vaudeville, since I wouldn't have the means to make internet videos.  Maybe Ginger and I could have had a stage career together.  She would have been the Gracie Allen to my George Burns.  Burns often attributed their early success to Gracie, whom he played straight man to while she got the laughs with her zany responses.  Without even trying (or even thinking about it) Ginger often makes me laugh with her answers to my questions, such as the time we were talking about pies, and this exchange went down:

Baxter: Did you ever have rhubarb pie?

Ginger: What's in it?

There was a pause.  I refused to answer, choosing to make a face instead.  That's where the Vaudeville audience would have been ROFLMAOing.  There was no Vaudeville audience in our bedroom that day, however.

If we had been alive in those days when jazz was 'the devil's music' and hobos wore suits, we probably would have had an icebox.  Last Summer, we had taken to calling our refrigerator/freezer the icebox.  Of the two of us, though, she was the only one that ever conversed with the appliance, including angrily saying to it:

You're the only icebox that doesn't stay open!  There!  I'll put a waffle in between your crack!

I have to hand it to her, putting a waffle in the icebox's crack was a quick-thinking solution when the freezer door kept closing by itself (the floor of the kitchen may have been slanted, or the apartment may have been haunted).  I can't knock her for the solution, but I can laugh and laugh at the fact that she talks to inanimate objects as often as she does.  Usually the word 'fucker' is involved.

Alright, I'll admit now that YaYa has stopped bothering me, but I've been distracting myself reading about Gracie Allen and George Burns.  (Did you know that Gracie ran for President as a publicity stunt in 1940 and ended up receiving 42,000 votes?)  One thing I find sad about the couple is that George outlived Gracie by 32 years.  Like most men, I hope to die before Ginger, and if I do outlive her I hope it's not by 32 years.  Perhaps The Grimkeeper will come for us at the same time.

"Who's The Grimkeeper?" you ask?  I was confused, too.  While we were watching one of my favorite scenes from Breaking Bad, in which Walter proclaims to Skyler that he is "the one who knocks" when somebody opens their front door and gets shot, this conversation happened:

Ginger:  He thinks he's The Grimkeeper.

Baxter:  ...Who's The Grimkeeper?

Ginger:  You know, the guy in the black hood with the long axe.  Death.

Let that serve as a reminder:  Life is short, so you've got to enjoy it while you can.  You never know when that guy in the black hood will bring his long axe to send you to the land of the dead.  Beware!  Sometimes he's disguised as a guy with black head-stubble and a red goatee.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Even More Things I Wish Would Disappear From Facebook

I've seen a significant decline in grumpy cat meme posts since writing my first facebook entry.  Actually, I see less of all the stuff I complained about in that one.  I suppose everyone else was just as sick of that crap as I was, and maybe they all started calling people out for their behavior or (I hope) just linking to the blog to let them know that an ornery blogger disapproves.  I've also noticed less of the annoyances mentioned in the second article, though there's still lots of people claiming to be bored despite having internet access.  Read something, jackass!

I wrote those two posts quite a while back, and since then I've started working afternoons/nights in a warehouse.  Also, the weather is nice approximately once every two weeks.  So, I've been on facebook a lot less than I used to be, and therefore I haven't thought much about doing another one of these articles.  But the time has come, because when I have been on facebook recently I've noticed bogus trends such as...

1.  Lousy Memes

Not everyone has the same sense of humor, so it's completely understandable if you post a meme that you think is hilarious, but I find it to be nonhilarious.  It happens.  And not everyone is inspired by the same picture of a sunset.  There's lots of different pictures of a sunset out there, and each of us is inspired in unique ways by certain pictures of a sunset.  I'm not talking about memes that don't do anything for me in the ways of laughs or inspiration or whatever.  I'm talking about memes that look like they were designed by a seven-year-old kid who just figured out how to use MS Paint.

Even if I agree with the sentiment displayed in the meme you post, I'll either scroll right past it or perhaps even sneer at it if contains misspellings, bad grammar, and/or pictures that are poorly cropped or not cropped at all.  Furthermore, if the meme makes use of awful fonts, way too many fonts, or a font that makes no sense within the context of the meme, I will not 'like' it.

Here's a perfect example.  I was browsing my way through my feed one day when I happened upon a post that asked me to 'like' if I support the troops.  I did not click 'like'.  Don't get me wrong, although I don't agree with the ways the people in charge handle our military actions, and I certainly don't believe these actions have made us any safer, I still support the troops.  The members of our military are men and women who spend months or years away from their families to do jobs that most people wouldn't or couldn't do (myself included), and I respect the hell out of them for that.  But this particular meme was the worst of the worst.  Its text was something like "If your grateful for the job Our Troops are doing, hit 'Like'."  Alright, internet, there's 'your' and there's 'you're'.  Learn the difference, please.  And 'Our Troops' shouldn't be capitalized like that.  This text, which was insultingly typed in Comic Sans font, was slapped over a picture that looked like it was an actual physical photograph of some soldiers uploaded from a scanner with none of the huge amount of white space around the picture cropped out.  Blecch!

Maybe that makes me an asshole for not clicking 'like'.  So be it.  I'd rather be an asshole than an idiot that "supports" the troops with Comic Sans.  The troops deserve better than Comic Sans.

Speaking of 'likes', I'm also getting tired of...

2.  Pictures of People Holding 'Like' Signs

The first time I saw one of these it seemed like a creative and genuinely likable idea.  It was a picture of a young girl holding a sign which said that she had cancer and she was hoping to get 1,000 or 10,000 (some number that ends in 'thousand') likes in support of her battle against the disease.  Of course I clicked 'like', because nothing makes a person feel better than "helping" somebody by not actually doing anything.  I did figure, though, that this could actually help the girl; positive thinking can be helpful when a person is sick, so maybe, just maybe, if this girl received that many 'likes' it would be good for her to know that so many people were cheering her on.

That was the first time.  The next few times I saw pictures of people holding 'like' signs it was for similar reasons.  But now it's hit that point where people are just doing it because it's a thing now.  The other day I saw an old man in my feed.  He was holding a sign that said something akin to "I turn 93 today.  How many likes can I get?"  Alright, guy, I'll tell you about at least one 'like' that you won't be receiving.  Why should I 'like' that?  Living to be 93 might seem impressive, but it may just boil down to getting lucky in the genetic lottery.  Or it could mean that he's on 26 different drugs that are keeping him alive.  That's not impressive.

Perhaps I would have clicked 'like' if his sign said something more along the lines of "I turn 93 today, and I still wipe my own ass.  How many likes can I get for still wiping my own ass?"  I may have even gone so far as to share that, because that can at least be admired.  Honestly, I don't want to live to be 93 if I can't wipe my own ass.  I agree wholeheartedly with Harry Nilsson, who sang "I'd rather be dead than wet my bed."

Just like with any other original idea, this one quickly became polluted, diluted, and easy to ignore.  Sorry people with legitimate problems or causes, but this is a facebook thing now, so it no longer has any meaning.

Speaking of facebook (I'm the king of segues, I know), the third item on my list isn't about the stupid shit people do on the social network, but rather something the social network itself is subjecting us to...

3.  Advertisements That Look Like Status Updates

Yeah, facebook is free to use and (according to the login page) always will be.  I appreciate that.  I understand that they have to make money somehow, and the only way to really do that is through advertising.  I get it.  And I never minded the ads that lined the sides of the page when I was scrolling.  Sometimes I'd even click on one if I found it interesting enough.  But this happens now:  I log in to facebook and I see your smiling face (or a picture of a dog or a car, because you have a picture of a dog or a car instead of your face for some reason) at the top of my feed.  I start to read, thinking that you've posted something funny or heartfelt or at least moderately interesting.  Wrong!  It's an advertisement for a corporation.  They're using your image to promote their product, and I'm willing to bet you don't get paid a dime for it.  Right?  Yeah, I know I'm right.

From what I've seen, I think it works like this:  If you like a corporation's page, the corporation will use that to advertise through you by putting small text mentioning that you 'like' them and then putting an ad where normally a status update would go.  When I signed in this morning the first thing at the top of my feed was what looked like a friend's update but was really an ad trying to get me to eat McDonald's new habanero ranch bacon or whatever burger.  No thanks, McDonald's.  The regular diarrhea I get from your food is enough for me.  I don't need fire diarrhea (fiarrhea?) on top of that.

If it was just one ad like this it wouldn't be so bad, but sometimes the first post in my feed is a fake-status-update ad, and then the third post is another one.  By the time I've scrolled to the bottom I realize that at least a quarter (if not more) of the "updates" in my feed were actually advertisements from corporations that already make insane amounts of money.  I'm sure as soon as they can figure out how to beam ads directly into our brains we'll be waking up thinking about the new quadruple bacon-blasted sweet 'n' spicy deluxe burger.  Stop respecting your body!  Try one today!  I'm pretty sure that the word 'quadruple' popping up on so many fast food menus is one of the reasons so many Americans have quadruple chins these days.

Before I stray from my original thought and start ranting about fast food some more, I'll bring it back to just the concept of advertising.  I have no problem with advertising.  In fact, I'm probably going to start running some ads on my various internet pages and videos to make some extra cash to buy diapers and cute little shoes with, but I have a problem with the ads-disguised-as-my-friends'-thoughts style of advertisements.  For one thing, if you have a decent product to promote, just do it with a regular ad, and if I'm interested I'll check it out.  You don't have to try to fool me into reading it.  Also, I don't think it's right for a corporation to use somebody's image to promote itself and not give the person any compensation.  If they're using your facebook pic to plug clothes, "food", beer, etc. then you should be getting royalties whenever somebody clicks on the ad to learn more.  But we live in a country that's owned by corporations, so I guess I'm pipe-dreaming.

Facebook is a great tool for staying in touch with people and getting my blog (and other projects) some exposure.  It's also a great way to waste time and procrastinate on getting stuff done around the house.  But the more nonsensical garbage like the preceding three items I see, the more I'm glad that I have less time to spend on facebook nowadays.

Alright, the blog is finished for today.  I'm gonna grab a quadruple cheesy fried onion and bacon butter ranchero suplex burger and enjoy the sunny weather.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Video Vednesday #11

It's Vednesday already!  The middle of the work week!  Unless you don't work a Monday-Friday schedule, in which case I'm not sure where this falls in your work week.  If you're unemployed, get a job at Walmart so you can get foodstamps, since the 'job creators' won't pay you enough to live on.

Alright, alright, today I'm sharing another video for a song by And the Moneynotes.  In the sixth installment of VV I posted the second video I made for the band.  This is the first.  What do you do when you want to make a video to promote your song but have hardly any time due to rehearsing, touring, and recording?  You ask Baxter Pancake to make you a video using mostly stock footage!

The only thing that bothers me about this video is that the software I had at the time wouldn't allow me to crop or resize footage.  I don't think most people even notice, though they probably will now that I've pointed it out.  Oh well.  What's done is done.  Now enjoy another of my fave tracks by ATM.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Terminal Doctor: The Beginning

The first, second, and third post in which I spoke with the computer psychotherapist formed a sort-of-trilogy.  Now, if I were a Hollywood executive type, and I had a successful trilogy but didn't know where to go from there, obviously I would do a dashed-off prequel as a quick moneygrab.  So today I present the prequel to the Terminal Doctor series.

Unlike a Hollywood prequel, you won't have to try and suspend disbelief as a bunch of actors who are clearly way older than they were in the first one pretend that they're younger than they were in the first one.  I am a few months older than I was when I began my sessions with the doc, but I'm not even in the prequel.  And unlike a prequel where the writers have to try to come up with a satisfying story that has to end a certain way to make it fit in with where the first one begins, this goes in a surprising direction.  This becomes more than just the story of two men working together to test out computer psychotherapy.  It becomes the story of a dream.  Also, it becomes the story of an alcoholic.  And the story of a secretary with a troublesome sex life.  Keep reading, if you can handle it...

*TEST 1*

I am the psychotherapist.  Please, describe your problems.  Each time you are finished talking, type RET twice.

Linus:  Alright, Frank.  What do I say to this thing?

Why do you say what do you say to this thing?

Frank:  It's already booted up! Talk about your feelings, Linus!

What makes you believe that?

Linus:  What makes me believe what?

Maybe your plans have something to do with this.

Linus:  Frank, what the hell is going on?

I would appreciate it if you would watch your tongue!

Frank:  It's trying to communicate with both of us.

Is it because of your life that you say it's trying to communicate with both of us?

Frank:  Don't talk to me, talk to Linus.

Are you sure that don't talk to you talk to Linus?

Frank:  Yes.  Linus, speak up!

Is it because of the people you hang around with that you are going through all this?

Linus:  Going through what?  I didn't really say anything yet!

Is it because of problems at school that you say you didn't really say anything yet?

Linus:  What?  Why is it asking me about school, Frank?

What do you think?

Frank:  Stop talking to me, Linus!  Talk to the computer!

You have your mind on computers, it seems.

Linus:  Well, yes, being a programmer, I do think of computers quite often.

You think too much about computers.

Linus:  You're right, doctor.  By God, you're right!  Frank... I quit.  I'm going to pursue my dream of selling hotdogs at baseball games.

Tell me something about baseball.

Linus:  Baseball is real.  Baseball is truth.  I'm done with this computer bullshit.  Frank, tell that hardass Mr. Jobs that I left, and I'm not coming back.

Is it because hardass Mr. Jobs that you left and you are not coming back that you came to me?

Frank:  He's gone.  Alright, Linus is gone.  Uh... Hold on computer doctor, I have to see if my secretary, Suzette, can get another beta tester to come in for some overtime.  And maybe she'll make me some coffee.  It's going to be a long night...

Earlier you said hardass Mr. Jobs that you left and you are not coming back?

Frank:  That was Linus.  God, I miss him already.

*TEST 2*

Frank:  Thanks for coming in on such short notice, Carl.  I'm going to fire up the terminal doctor.  You just start talking to it, exploring your innermost feelings, that kinda shit.

I am the psychotherapist.  Please, describe your problems.  Each time you are finished talking, type RET twice.

Carl:  Why do I have to type RET twice?

What do you think?

Carl:  What?

Can you elaborate on that?

Carl:  Frank?  What the fuck?

Are you afraid of sex?

Frank:  Just ignore the RET RET thing, Carl.  I'm not sure why it does that.  We'll have Shinzo smooth that out before we put this thing out on the market.

Is it because out before you put this thing out on the market that you came to me?

Carl:  So should I just keep going then?

Why do you say so should you just keep going then?

Frank:  Yeah, go ahead.

Earlier you said out before you put this thing out on the market?

Carl:  That wasn't me, that was Frank.

Does it bother you that wasn't you that was Frank?

Carl:  Yeah, it kind of does.  I don't know why Frank got put in charge of this.  I've been here longer, and my degree isn't from a community college.

Maybe your plans have something to do with this.

Frank:  Hey, shut up Carl!  My degree is just as valuable as yours!  And I got put in charge of this project because I don't show up to work late with a hangover every goddam day!

When did you first know that you do not show up to work late with a hangover every goddam day?

Carl:  Shut up, computer!

You have your mind on computers, it seems.

Frank:  You don't tell the computer to shut up.  How about slamming down a twelve pack of Budweiser and seeing if that makes this go any smoother?

I'll ask the questions, if you don't mind!

Frank:  Shut up, computer!

You think too much about computers.

Carl:  The computer doesn't listen to you, Frank.  Because you don't command respect.  Nobody here respects you.

Is it because of your life that you say nobody there respects me?

Frank:  He was talking to me, doctor.  And your ex-wife respects me plenty, Carl.

Tell me something about your family.


I would appreciate it if you would watch your tongue!


You should try taking your mind off of computers.

Frank:  Alright, Carl, I want you out of here.  And you can expect a citation for this.

You mentioned that out before you put this thing out on the market?

Carl:  I'm gonna give you a citation, pal, right in the mouth.  Good luck with your piece of shit computer doctor shit.  This thing doesn't make any damn sense!

Perhaps you could avoid such unwholesome thoughts.

Frank:  You tell him, doc.  You tell him.

*TEST 3*

Frank:  Okay, obviously this thing can only handle talking to one person at a time.  I'll do it myself.  If you want something done right, you do it yourself.  Here we go...

I am the psychotherapist.  Please, describe your problems.  Each time you are finished talking, type RET twice.

Frank:  Hi, doctor.

How do you do?  What brings you to see me?

Frank:  I'm in charge of your development, doc.

Why do you say you are in charge of my development doc?

Frank:  Well, because I am.  This is very important.  If things turn out alright, I could get a promotion.  That means a raise and maybe a parking spot closer to the awning, which would be convenient when it rains.

Is it because means a raise and maybe a parking spot closer to the awning which would be convenient when it rains that you came to me?

Frank:  Geeze... Are you just regurgitating what I say without actually processing any of it?

Earlier you said means a raise and maybe a parking spot closer to the awning which would be convenient when it rains?

Frank:  Yeah, I... Cripes.  Alright, could we uh... talk about something else?

Maybe your plans have something to do with this.

Frank:  Yes.  My plans... Okay, yeah, I plan on staying here for a few years and moving up, but I'm really hoping to start up my own company.  Maybe start developing third party software.

Is it because of your life that you say maybe start developing third party software?

Frank:  Well, it's because of my life that I want to start my company.  I'm a mover.  And a shaker.  And I can only move and shake so much when I have a boss and accountants breathing down my neck.

What happened when you have a boss and accountants breathing down your neck?

Frank:  I didn't mean that literally.

Literally what?  Can you elaborate on that?

Frank:  No, I... uh... Shinzo said he worked out the kinks in this thing.

You mentioned that means a raise and maybe a parking spot closer to the awning which would be convenient when it rains?

Frank:  Crap, I'm gonna blow it.

Is it because of the people you hang around with that you are going through all this?

Frank:  You could say that!  I work, or used to work, rather, with a guy who I thought I could depend on but takes off on a flight-of-fancy notion about selling hotdogs.  I don't even want to talk about that son of a bitch Carl.  And everybody assumes Shinzo knows what he's doing because he's Asian and all Asians are smart with computers, right?  That's a stereotype.  It's a positive one, but it's a stereotype, and it's bullshit.

Does it bother you that it's a stereotype and it's bullshit?

Frank:  YES!!

I see...  Well, what makes you believe this is so?

Frank:  Because any stereotype isn't right.  Even if it's a stereotype that makes the person seem better.  Maybe that's even worse, somehow.

Are you sure that maybe that's even worse somehow?

Frank:  I'm not sure, but it's really irking me.  Oh!  Shinzo can handle it!  Shinzo's a magician!  I think Shinzo is a phony.

Do you really think means a raise and maybe a parking spot closer to the awning which would be convenient when it rains?

Frank:  Ugh... This was going so well for a minute.

How do you reconcile problems at school?

Frank:  Why do you always ask about school out of the blue?  We definitely gotta work out some of these kinks.

What makes you think that?

Frank:  Because you seem logical and almost thoughtful sometimes, but other times you just come up with random nonsense or repeat snippets of what I say.

When did you first know that I seem logical and almost thoughtful sometimes but other times me just come up with random nonsense or repeat snippets of what you say?

Suzette:  Here's your coffee, Frank.

Earlier you said it's a stereotype and it's bullshit?

Frank:  Thanks, Suzette.

Perhaps this has something to do with any hobbies you have?

Suzette:  What's up with the computer?  Why is it talking?

What do you think?

Suzette:  I think this is weird.

Is it because of your sex life that you say I think this is weird?

Frank:  Suzette, could you please leave now?

You mentioned that means a raise and maybe a parking spot closer to the awning which would be convenient when it rains?

Suzette:  Why is it asking about my sex life?  What kind of perverted program are you building in here, Frank?

Possibly hangups you have are related to this.

Frank:  It's a psychotherapy program.  It's not... It can't handle talking to two people at once, so you could you please...

I don't understand.

Suzette:  Psychotherapist, huh?  You want to know about my sex life?  Well, you tell me, Mister Psychotherapist Computer, why is my boyfriend only able to get hard when there's a medical drama on the TV?

Is the fact that is your boyfriend only able to get hard when there's a medical drama on the TV the real reason?

Suzette:  What the hell?  That didn't help me at all.  This thing is lousy, Frank.

Why do you say I seem logical and almost thoughtful sometimes but other times me just come up with random nonsense or repeat snippets of what you say?

Frank:  We're still trying to work out the kinks, Suzette.

Is it because of your inhibitions that you are going through all this?

Suzette:  Speaking of kink, here's another thing, Computer...

You have your mind on computers, it seems.

Frank:  Suzette!  Don't you have papers to file or something?

What makes you believe that I shouldn't I have papers to file or something?


I would appreciate it if you would continue.

Suzette:  Me?  Okay, my boyfriend is always asking me to choke him, you know, during.

How do you reconcile some problems in your childhood?

Frank:  See, Suzette.  Even the computer doesn't want to think about your sex life.

You think too much about computers.

Frank:  IT'S MY LIFE, DOC!

Earlier you said it's a stereotype and it's bullshit?

Suzette:  This is bullshit. This computer doctor thing-a-majig is a flop, Frank.

You should try taking your mind off of computers.

Frank:  Ugghhh... I wish Linus was still here.

Maybe this is related to some problems at home?

Linus:  Did someone say, "I wish Linus was still here?"

Are you afraid of that?

Frank:  Linus!  You came back!

You mentioned that means a raise and maybe a parking spot closer to the awning which would be convenient when it rains?

Frank:  Can it, computer!  Linus is back!

Perhaps your plans could have caused this.

Frank:  Oh, I couldn't have planned anything sweeter.  Glad to have you back, Linus.

Are you sure that glad to have me back Linus?

Suzette:  Let me ask you something, Linus.  Can you get it up without watching a medical drama?

Do you really think is your boyfriend only able to get hard when there's a medical drama on the TV?

Linus:  What the hell is going on in here?

Perhaps you could watch your tongue!

Frank:  Suzette!  Please get out!  Linus and I have work to do.

*TEST 4*

Frank:  So, what made you come back?

Linus:  Well, baseball season doesn't start for another three months.  I'll need a paycheck until then, and in my down time I can do research on the concession business.

Frank:  Alright, well I'm just happy you came back.  Three months should be plenty of time to get this project finished.  Let's try it again, and this time just talk to the doctor, not me.  I won't interject unless it's necessary.

I am the psychotherapist.  Please, describe your problems.  Each time you are finished talking, type RET twice.

Linus:  Hi Doc, it's me, Linus.

How do you do?  What brings you to see me?

Linus:  Last time we spoke, you helped me see the light.  I'm going to start selling hotdogs at the baseball stadium, but the season doesn't start for another few months.

Is it because the season does not start for another few months that you came to me?

Linus:  Yeah, sort of.

Why do you say yeah sort of?

Linus:  Because I still need a job for the next three months.

Does it bother you that you still need a job for the next three months?

Linus:  A little bit.  If I got paid more I could have saved up money, and I could have taken the three months off.

Earlier you said the season does not start for another few months?

Linus:  Yeah, the anticipation is killing me.  I can almost smell the dogs now.

Maybe your plans have something to do with this.

Linus:  Of course.  This new plan is my path to happiness.

Is it because of your life that you say this new plan is your path to happiness?

Linus:  Yes.

I see...  Well, what makes you believe this is so?

Linus:  You tell me, Doc.  Think about the sound of the ball cracking off the bat, the roar of the crowd when someone hits a homerun, the mascot doing that wacky dance during the stretch.  You think about all that and add in the enticing aroma of juicy all-beef franks, and you tell me you'd rather keep being a computer than become a baseball stadium hotdog vendor.

When did you first know that and add in the enticing aroma of juicy all beef franks and I tell you I would rather keep being a computer than become a baseball stadium hotdog vendor?

Linus:  You're making me hungry.

You mentioned that you still need a job for the next three months?

Linus:  Yes.

Yes, hmmm... so, are you sure that this is so?

Linus:  I gotta pay the bills, somehow.  I wish I could start slinging dogs now instead of working in this dump.

Is it because of the people you hang around with that you are going through all this?

Frank:  Hey!  I thought we had a good thing going here, Linus!

Do you really think that?

Linus:  You said you wouldn't interject unless it was necessary, Frank.

What makes you think the season does not start for another few months?

Frank:  Oh it's necessary, Linus, it's pretty damn necessary when your best tester stabs you in the heart with a frickin' hotdog.

I would appreciate it if you would watch your tongue!

Linus:  You... you really think I'm the best tester?

How do you reconcile problems at school?

Frank:  Shut up about school, computer!  And yes, Linus, hands down, you're the best I've got.

I don't understand.

Frank:  You wouldn't understand, computer.  Because you're a machine, and you don't know about the kinship that forms between two men who are working in vain to try and create a program that helps people only to find out it's a frustrating mess because of Shinzo.

Is the fact that I am a machine and I do not know about the kinship that forms between two men who are working in vain to try and create a program that helps people only to find out it's a frustrating mess because of Shinzo the real reason?

Linus:  Wow, it totally just regurgitated what you said and tacked a question onto the end.  So, you see things my way too, don't you Frank?  You know what I'm talking about.

Earlier you said and add in the enticing aroma of juicy all beef franks and I tell you I would rather keep being a computer than become a baseball stadium hotdog vendor?

Frank:  I'm getting hungry now too.  And not just hungry for a bite of a juicy all-beef frank, but hungry for a bold new direction in my life.

Does the fact that hungry for a bold new direction in your life explain anything else?

Frank:  Yeah, it explains why I'm so sick of this shit.  Linus, I'm with you.  Let's sell hotdogs together!

Perhaps this has something to do with any hobbies you have?

Linus:  It's not a hobby, doc.  It's a career.  Frank, I'd be honored if you would join me.  We're going to own this town.  And... Hey, it's pretty funny that your name is Frank, like, juicy all-beef frank!

Are you sure my name is Frank like juicy all beef Frank?

Frank:  Not you, shitbox.  Heh, juicy all-beef Frank.  And your name is Linus.  Like... Like, from Snoopy.

Why do you say like like from snoopy?


You have your mind on computers, it seems.

Frank:  Not anymore.  Not anymore.

Alright!  Well, that was the prequel.  I'm not sure what happened in between Frank and Linus leaving to start their hotdog careers and the release of Terminal Doctor, but that's not really important.  The important parts were the emotional arcs of the characters.  It's okay if you cried a little.  I did.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Random Thought Mutations

Okay, so here's the deal.  Usually on Fridays I have a pretty good chunk of time to write a well-thought-out (or semi-well-though-out) blog post before leaving to give plasma and go to work.  But today is different.  Today is my last rabies shot (I've been working as a human rabies vaccination factory to get extra money from the plasma palace), which takes extra time, and I'm going into work an hour early.  Hopefully this means I'll get overtime this week, but an asteroid will probably crash into the warehouse.  I never get OT.

Anyway, as always, it is still my goal to deliver some reading material to you.  I wouldn't want to deprive anybody of something to distract them from their office work, read on their fancy internet phones on the bus, or check out on the web browser on their Playstations.  Seriously, when I viewed the statistics for the blog, I noticed somebody read this on a Playstation 3.  I'm flattered, and I'm glad that they did, but I'm surprised by that; don't you have any games for that thing, guy?

Anyway (yes, I'm starting another paragraph with "Anyway" because I still haven't gotten to the point, somehow), in order to achieve my goal of entertaining the handfuls of people that check out the blog each week, I've decided to type some of my more random thoughts that wouldn't constitute a whole post but may (or may not) be interesting.  And away we go!

Spiders Are Assholes

A few years back I was living in a second-floor apartment.  Spiders liked to make their webs on the outside of the kitchen windows.  I was fine with that, since spiders kill bugs and they were outside where they couldn't give me the willies.  But a lot of the spiders were assholes.  If they saw me looking through the glass at them as they shot webbing out of their butts, they'd freak out and try to assault me through the window.  First off, I think it's stupid to attack something that's like two thousand times your size.  Second, I wasn't doing anything but watching, dude!  Why you gotta be an asshole?  I don't understand why a creature with such a life would be an asshole.  If you're a spider you've got it pretty sweet.  Sure, it's probably hard work to build your home, but then food literally flies right into your domicile.  If I could build a house and then have pizzas just fly into it, I wouldn't be an asshole.

The Math

I hate the phrase "You do the math."  You do the math, motherfucker!  I don't like math.  I guess it shouldn't surprise me that I was lied to by my 'educators', but come on, where do they get off telling me that I'd use Algebra, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus every day of my life?  You know how many times I've used that shit since I graduated?  Zero.  None.  None times.  And I swear if you set five or six math majors at a table in a restaurant, the end of the meal would be the same way as it is for all of us.  "How much of a tip do I put in?"  "Are we doing this evenly or based on what we ordered?"  "Who ordered the gravy fries?"  "Jerry, did you get a soda or a water?"  "I only have a debit card, so can someone throw in my tip and I'll put their meal on my card.  Wait, the meal costs more than the tip...  HOW MUCH OF A TIP DO I PUT IN?!"  Every damn time.


I bet life would be a lot different if there were dragons.  Not Komodo dragons, but like big, fire-breathing bastards.  There'd be no malls or giant Walmarts.  It would be stupid for us, being their food, to all gather in one place like that.  We'd probably all live in caves or underground houses.  Perhaps the dragons would be the dominant species.

Eh... Who am I trying to kid?  Man always finds a way to prevail.  Man always finds a way to overcome whatever nature throws at him so he can chop nature down and pollute the shit out of it.  The dragons would probably die after munching on some animals that were fed with Monsanto crops.


Speaking of the disgusting, horrifying garbage that we eat... The other day at work Hamza, the dock lead, said that he doesn't like eating at McDonald's because the beef doesn't taste like beef.  "What am I eating?" he said to himself whenever he last ate Micky D's (that's hip slang for McDonald's).  My reply was that the hamburger patties at McDonald's are probably just corn syrup and salt.  Is that a step up or a step down from the wood pulp they serve at Taco Bell?

I wonder why we've turned into a nation of obese schlubs suffering from heart disease and diabetes.  I can't quite put my finger on it.  Perhaps I'll think about it while I'm getting for work.  And hopefully when I walk out the front door I won't get a spiderweb stuck to my head.  For some reason spiders think it's a swell idea to always start building a web right where giants frequently pass through.  Assholes.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Video Vednesday #10

Get ready!  Get pumped!!  The second series of The Super Pancake Bros. Super Show is in the works. Unfortunately the production has been plagued with more problems than a Terry Gilliam movie.  The first time that my brother S.M. came in from NY to film I lost my voice.  What was supposed to be a few days of filming during the winter turned into me being trapped in my house due to a blizzard.  S.M. broke his hand trying to recreate the clown scene from Uncle Buck.  So, filming has been a slower process than it was during the first series.

Regardless, we've already got a bunch of new stuff in the can (I keep my digital camera in a can), and here's a preview of what you'll see in Series 2.

*If the video won't load on the blog, try going directly to the Funny or Die page.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Depressing Lessons From Punch-Out!!

I remember the first time I watched a real boxing match on television.  I was very disappointed that it wasn't like Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (A game so intense that it requires two exclamation points in the title.)  Why are the opponents roughly the same size and weight?  Where's the outlandish, stereotypical costumes?  Why don't I hear pew-wew-weeewwwww pew-wew-weeewwwww when somebody gets knocked down?  This sucks!  I'm going upstairs to play Nintendo.

I spent a lot of time playing Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, later sold simply as Punch-Out!! when Nintendo didn't renew Tyson's contract due to his loss of status in the boxing world (which was most likely caused by anxiety about a confrontation with The Fresh Prince).  I was pretty horrible when I first borrowed the game from a kid down the street whom I never returned it to.  I couldn't even beat Piston Honda.  But just like Little Mac, the game's height-challenged protagonist, I got better and started overcoming the odds.  I beat Honda, wondered why a fighter as lame as Don Flamenco was in a higher circuit than Honda, got stuck on Great Tiger until I realized how easy it was to block his magic punches, and went on to fight Bald Bull, who beat me to a pulp every damn time.

Whether I realized it or not at the time, I learned some important (and depressing) lessons about life as Bald Bull laughed and mocked the now brain-damaged Little Mac.  So, thank you Punch-Out!! for teaching me lessons such as...

People Don't Care About You

Yes, it feels good when, in your debut fight, you destroy Glass Joe in the first round.  The bell rings, Mario (who apparently has to take on odd jobs such as boxing referee since he makes no money rescuing the friggin' Princess over and over) raises your hand in victory, and the four rows of people watching the fight roar and snap pictures.  What a rush!!  Bring on Von Kaiser!!  I'll knock his ass out, too!!

Down goes Von Kaiser.  Down goes Piston Honda.  Don Flamenco is a joke.  Even King Hippo is no match for Little Mac and his 'star punch'!!  And with each win the crowd roars and takes more photographs.  It's good to be champ.  It's good to have the people on your side.  But what happens the first time you lose a bout?  The same exact thing.  The crowd roars.  They take pictures.  Only this time they're roaring for Bald Bull or Soda Popinski (I did make it to Popinski once or twice in my youth).  Where's the disappointment from fans who came to cheer on Mac?  Where's the crying little boys who just saw their hero get his face punched in?  Why is nobody pelting the ring with garbage and quarter-full cups of beer after taking a few a seconds to think about how outrageous it is that Little Mac had to fight somebody that's like three frickin' times his size?

The crowd doesn't care.  They don't have idols or heroes.  They don't even have favorites.  Sure, they cheered Mac on when he was victorious, but clearly they just paid the admission price to see two dudes pound the shit out of each other.  They're not even bothered by the fact that they just watched a seven-foot-tall hulking mass of steroids punch what appears to be a seven-year-old kid to death.  They're not even concerned that the kid had some kind of illness that made him turn pink and green when he was winded.  Barbarians!!  Savages!!

Looking at this phenomenon through the eyes of a disillusioned adult, it's impossible not to notice that the four rows of fight fans mirrors our society.  How we love to build up hot celebrities like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, or David Hasselhoff, only to yank the rug out from under their feet, turn them into punch-lines, and laugh and mock as they become trapped in downward spirals that ruin their careers and destroy their lives.  Just like the crowd gleefully taking pictures as the puddle formerly known as Little Mac oozed out of the ring (you never actually see him get up again after he loses in the game), the masses are there to snap pics of the latest celebrity-turned-trainwreck oozing out of a night club or embarrassing himself or herself in a public setting.

Just like the crowd cheered on Little Mac while he was a hot, young talent KOing and TKOing his way up the ranks only to cheer just as much when he got obliterated in the ring, society cheers on and roots for celebrities and public figures, only to rabidly enjoy their eventual falls from grace.

What does this say about our culture?  I'm not sure I want to even think about it right now, but I do know another depressing truth I learned from my Nintendo boxing career...

There's Always Somebody Better Than You

It's true.  You know it is.  Yeah, maybe your parents told you that if you worked hard enough you could be the best at whatever it is you wanted to do.  But there's always somebody faster, stronger, smarter, or (more realistically) with way more money than you.  These people won't hesitate to punch the crap out of you (figuratively or literally, depending on what activity you're engaging in) and take your place.  And even if you do manage to become the best of the best, how long can it last?  Nobody stays on top forever.  Not Mike Tyson.  Not Michael Jordan.  Not even Justin Bieber.

I learned this lesson the hard way with Punch-Out!!  And by "the hard way" I mean "the throwing your Nintendo controller in frustration way".  It doesn't matter how much Little Mac trains.  No matter how many times he goes for a run in his pink jogging suit; no matter how much encouragement he gets from his trainer, Carl Winslow; no matter how many opponents he defeats by learning their patterns; somebody is eventually going to beat him.  Be it Bald Bull, Sandman, Super Macho Man, or even Mike Tyson, some seven-and-a-half foot tall bastard with a rage-boner is going to brutalize Mac, leaving him looking like the Elephant Man, and forcing him to try and start working his way up again.

Imagine my horror when, as an adult, I played Punch-Out!! and finally defeated Bald Bull, only to learn that you have to fight him again.  And he's even more of an aggressive asshole the second time.    Now imagine my horror when, as an adult, I realized that even if you overcome the odds, even if you rise through the proverbial ranks, life itself from time to time will become that seven-and-a-half foot tall bastard with a rage-boner.  And it will beat you until you're pink and green, knock you on your ass, and laugh at you.

I'm not saying you shouldn't keep trying.  Little Mac doesn't give up boxing to lead a quiet life stocking shelves or working in accounts receivable, he continues to put on the gloves and give it a go, even though Sandman keeps driving his fist down Mac's throat.  What I am saying, though, is be prepared to feel pink and green.  Be prepared to get battered by the faster, stronger, smarter, and wealthier.  Be prepared to get KO'd or TKO'd by the universe, because even if you're technically the best, you'll still learn the lesson that...

Life Isn't Fair

We all know this one, right?  As a child you think you can do anything, be anything you want to be, as long as you have that go get 'em attitude.  As a teenager you think the world sucks, that it's full of injustice, and that it doesn't matter how hard you try.  Briefly, in your late teens or early twenties, you think that you were wrong as an angst-ridden teen; we live in a world full of opportunities, and all you have to do is grab one!!  Then you get a crappy job, a crappy apartment, and a stack of bills that can be seen from outer space and life is back to sucking again.  Ho-hum!!  Why didn't anybody warn me?

But somebody, or something rather, did try to warn us.  It was Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!  While your parents and teachers were telling you that anybody could grow up to be President or an astronaut someday, Punch-Out!! was screaming, "Your elders are lying!!  Life isn't fair!!  Try to beat this game to find out for yourself!!"  I should have trusted you, 8-bit video game cartridge.

When I played the game, not every fight ended with one of the boxers being knocked out (or knocked down three times within the same round).  Sometimes I'd go three rounds with my opponent, and the ref or some unseen judges would declare a winner.  When this happened, 98% of the time it was the computer player who was awarded the victory.  It felt unfair; it seemed to me like I landed more punches and knocked the other guy down more times.  But I rolled with it.  After all, I didn't know much about boxing, so maybe there was more to it than that (because Punch-Out!! is an extremely realistic boxing simulator that adheres to genuine rules and regulations of the sport).

Playing the game again as a 'grown-up' that still plays regular Nintendo on a regular basis, I could smell the stink of bullshit when my opponent's hand was raised in victory.  Recently, I decided to kill some time before leaving for work by playing Punch-Out!!  Being a bit rusty, I was only able to make it to Bald Bull, much like my attempts as a kid.  He didn't knock me out, though.  We went three rounds.  He knocked me down two times, and I knocked him down five or six.  I landed about half-a-zillion punches, whereas he landed maybe fifteen.  Shouldn't Little Mac have been declared the winner based on these numbers?  Not to mention that Bald Bull ran out the clock at the end of each round by doing his bull charge move over and over again, like the asshole that he is.  Yet Mario raised his hand, and Bald Bull had the gall to bust a gut laughing as if he'd actually earned the victory.

Okay, so maybe you're not convinced that the game is biased towards the computer-controlled players. Perhaps the judges were more impressed that he knocked me down twice with only fifteen punches while I hit him half-a-zillion times and couldn't pull out a win.  I suppose that viewpoint is valid, but what about this:  A few years ago I played the game, and I was really in the zone.  I smacked the hell out of each and every opponent, rose through the ranks leaving broken and bruised bodies in my wake, and earned a fight with the champ himself, Mike Tyson.  He's fast.  He's tough.  He's brutal!!  Yet I dodged every punch he threw at me.  He didn't hit me once.  I hit him once.  Yep, that's it.  I landed one punch on his shit-eating-grin.  Still though, that's one punch landed by Little Mac, zero punches landed by Big Mike.  "I'll definitely be awarded the victory!" I foolishly thought.  Ding!  The final round ended.  And... Mario, mustachioed shithead that he is, promptly raised Tyson's hand.  What the fuck!?  One punch to no punches.  I dodged everything he dished out, he didn't dodge everything I dished out. Granted, it was probably the lamest boxing match in history, but still, how is he declared the winner?

Because life isn't fair.  Get over it, Little Mac.