I once compared the Republican party to the rogue droid G0-T0 from KotOR II. Now, having read Gary Kamiya’s Salon article making the case for robo-Romney, I really don’t know why I didn’t go ahead and compare the Republican nominee-in-waiting himself to that deceptive droid. The similarities are many, particularly in the way G0-T0 poses as a human to accomplish his economic and political goals.

(Hat Tip to Eurobrat for the Salon article.)

*From Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

So, in my last post, I expressed some disbelief about the claim this one dude made that the government has time-traveling capability. But he also said they have teleporters, which even though highly unlikely, is at least theoretically possible. Even though I don’t think it’s true, it is fun to think about. So, naturally, I read up on teleportation.

It’s all pretty interesting; especially the part about how if teleportation were made possible for humans, it would mean that when a person steps into the teleporter he effectively “dies” and a clone is created on the other end. All in all, I think I’d prefer to take the bus. Still, it would be useful for moving stuff from place to place.

On the other hand, one of the major life lessons I’ve learned from video games is that teleportation experiments inevitably lead to an invasion of evil monsters from another dimension.

Have you heard about this guy who says he was part of a secret government project that used time travel? I don’t know if this is a hoax or just a guy who’s got a few screws loose. (Would a sonic screwdriver fix that?) In any case, it’s sort of an… interesting story. My favorite part:

“It’s an inexpensive, environmentally friendly means of transportation,” Webre told The Huffington Post. “The Defense Department has had it for 40 years and [former Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld used it to transport troops to battle.”

Rumsfeld.

Used it.

To transport troops.

To battle.

I didn’t think Rumsfeld was a very good Defense Secretary, but somehow I think even he could have managed to win a war if he had access to time machines.

I also love the “environmentally friendly” bit. If they can travel through time; you don’t need to worry about the environment, you can just keep going back in time to when Earth was at its most pristine.

I love conspiracy theories like this. They’re just too funny.

I don’t think I’m going to post anymore of these after this. This one simply takes the cake:

Hi there, simply become alert to your weblog thru Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you happen to proceed this in future. A lot of other people shall be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

The first, third and fourth sentences are just standard spam; they almost make sense, but don’t quite. But that second sentence! “I am gonna watch out for brussels”? What does it mean? What was it supposed to mean? Do you think he’s talking about the capital of Belgium, or the vegetables named after it? Either way, why should he watch out for it?

Seriously, I’ve seen some funny spam, but this one is pretty hard to beat.

 

Over at Thingy’s blog, she and Sue J. are discussing the new Three Stooges film. Neither of them are big Stooges fans. I can’t say that I consider them the height of comedy, but I usually do find their little flicks good for a chuckle. The above clip is a good example; it’s four minutes of labored jokes and contrived misunderstandings, but Curly’s last line is pretty funny.

In general, I’ve noticed that men tend to be much more amused by the Stooges’ antics than women are. Maybe women have more sophisticated senses of humor than men do.

I think my favorite Stooges short was “Goofs and Saddles”, a western-themed outing at the conclusion of which Curly knocks a box of bullets into a meat grinder, which miraculously works like a machine gun, and forces their pursuers to retreat. So, not exactly the most understated and urbane humor ever.

Maybe it’s the slapstick violence; after all, I think women in general tend to prefer less violence in their entertainment than do men. Thus, it amuses the male of the species when Moe hits Curly on the head with, for instance, a sledgehammer and the sound of a loud bell is heard, but the female thinks it is just stupid. Or maybe it’s that women know that when kids see the Stooges, their first instinct will be to imitate them. Women know this is unlikely to end well. I hate to resort to stereotypes like that, though, so maybe it’s something else.

That said, I do not intend to see the new Three Stooges flick, which looks moronic without being charming. Frankly, I don’t understand why it was ever made, for almost precisely the same reasons I don’t understand why the movie Game Change was made.

What should I write a poem about?

That is something I would like to figure out.

There’s lots of folks who could write a decent poem,

And what is more, I’m pleased to say I know ’em:

There’s Shelley and there’s Yeats and there’s Edgar Allan Poe,

But how they wrote their poems is something I don’t know.

What should I write a poem about?

I feel that I’ve attempted ev’ry route.

I tried to write some poems without a form or rhyme

And it came out as pure nonsense ev’ry single time!

I even tried to write in other than my native tongue,

And bless me, what a Götterdämmerung!

What should I write a poem about?

That is something I can’t seem to figure out.

Samantha Brick is not that pretty. Look, I’m sorry to have to say that, and I really don’t like commenting on a woman’s looks like that, but when you write an article about how hard it is being so beautiful, you make the question of your looks material to the case. That’s just how it is.

She’s not bad looking, to be sure. In good shape for someone her age, no doubt, but not beautiful. Not even really pretty. I know many women about her age who are much better-looking, and who, more importantly, would never be so narcissistic as to drone at length about how terrible it all is and why the ugly women won’t just accept the fact that they can’t get as far in life.

She reminds me a little of the character Jenna Maroney on the television show 30 Rock, both in looks (Brick is a bit plainer) and in vanity. She begins her column talking about how strangers buy her wine, and she proceeds to give quite a good whine of her own. She closes by saying:

Perhaps then the sisterhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am.

I suspect you really don’t want that, lady. For some unaccountable reason, this makes me think of Bill Cosby’s quote about cocaine.

Speaking of which, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco–who, curiously, has the same mustache as Samantha Brick’s husband–has said he’s the best quarterback in the league. He has not, alas, been given an entire column in Sports Illustrated or The Sporting News to explain his new quarterback rating system, but on the plus side, I bet more people have watched him fail to beat Manning or Roethlisberger or Brady in the play-offs than read The Daily Mail.

There is a difference between “believing in yourself”, or “having confidence” and just acting like you’ve lost your grip on reality in thinking about how great you are.

I almost feel bad deleting the spam comments I get on here. They’re truly hilarious. But, since the links will take you to God-only-knows-what, I have to delete them.

But really, they’re weirdly funny. Maybe I’ll post a quote from one sometime, but they’re kind of like this:

Well, here is a blog most interesting. I learned alot from perusing this piece, and have not seen this perspective accounted for like this in past times. It is also most original, too. This account of you I have from all quarters recieved.

It’s almost like an art form, really.

It is commonplace to speak of ours as a culture built on “instant gratification”. It is said today’s young people are used to instantly accessing whatever they want through the miracle of the internet, and that such ease of access makes us soft, greedy, and demanding. “Life, if it would be great, is hard” said the philosopher Spengler. As a corollary, this easy access to entertainment and information makes our lives petty and little.

Perhaps this is so, despite how clichéd it sounds. I would not want to live in any other period in the history of the world, but perhaps there is something in this theory nonetheless. If so, then it is something of a boon, in this day and age, to be able to experience the sensation of waiting, of anticipating our entertainment. To be able to await something and not know when it will be done, and be pleasantly surprised upon its completion—as opposed to merely having our expectations met when a date known well in advance arrives.

I am speaking, of course, about the experience of being a fan of Ross Scott’s darkly comic Machinima series Freeman’s Mind. Perhaps it is a series that can only be fully appreciated by a gamer, but even non-game playing people I know have shared my enjoyment of Mr. Scott’s reinterpretation of Half-Life’s taciturn physicist as a short-tempered, paranoid “neurotic individual”, whose questionable sanity is further eroded by his experiences in the absurd Black Mesa complex.

It is a difficult balance that Freeman’s Mind achieves—to be at once a criticism of Half-Life and an appreciation of it. For though Scott-as-Freeman routinely points out the oddities of the facility in which he is trapped, such as massive fans that can only be turned on or off by dodging the fan’s deadly blades, it is nonetheless done so well that it does not detract from the game at all. It mocks the game, yet it never veers into being someone just whining about the level design.

In a way, Scott’s Freeman is even more of an everyman than Valve’s silent protagonist. For he gives voice to what all of us gamers feel as we play Half-Life, or really almost any game of the sort, since such games are, after all, worlds designed to frustrate us. When Scott’s Freeman gives voice to his beliefs of the world being out to destroy him, he really is speaking the truth, for the whole place really does exist just to make him—in reality, the player–suffer.

Not that his portrayal is just an everyman figure. If I could be half as witty about a game I was playing as Scott is, I could entertain myself with just one game for years. Obviously, the Freeman of Freeman’s Mind is a distinct character, with recognizable traits and even—and this is one of the under-appreciated elements of the series—a bit of development. We shall know more when the series is concluded, but as of now the character has already undergone a noticeable personality change.

One of the subtleties of the series is that, in the beginning, Scott’s Freeman isn’t a complete jerk. He’s an arrogant, wise-cracking slacker, to be sure, but when one of the scientists is clinging desperately to a ledge in Episode 5, Freeman does offer him assistance—in vain, of course. It would have been easier, for some quick laughs, to have him mock the unfortunate NPC or something, but it would have cheapened the character long-term.

As a comic work, Freeman’s Mind is successful both as a piece of funny characterization and witty criticism. I suppose the closest parallel is Mystery Science Theater 3000 or something of that sort. But Freeman’s Mind is more closely integrated with the original work than a simple parody. And moreover, because Half-Life is a video game, there is a certain degree of choice in how its creator approaches each part of it, and wondering what choices he will make in future episodes is part of the appeal.

I sometimes wonder what Roger Ebert, who famously claimed that video games can’t be art, would make of Freeman’s Mind. Certainly, the non-gamer I have watched it with thinks it is immensely funny, while also commenting that the game itself looks unbearably dull. It bridges the gap between “game” and “movie” in a way that most Machinima productions I have seen don’t, though I admit I am not a connoisseur of the form.

Freeman’s Mind is part character-driven comedy, part video game criticism and part player’s guide. Most people will probably only really notice the first part, but even that by itself is more than adequate for a good gaming experience. If nothing else, it is the funniest action series I’ve seen in years.

Fox News headline: “Alien life clues in Antarctic Ice?” The story says, in part:

[Scientists] don’t expect water samples from Lake Vostok will hold alien life, though any life it contains may have taken a slightly different evolutionary path than what appears on the planet today.

As the rest of the article goes on to say, it wouldn’t be “alien” life at all–just other forms of Earth life. So the headline is perhaps slightly misleading, although it does sound like it could hold some interesting stuff. But the scientists’ hopes that it will tell us something about alien life are all so heavily based on conjecture–they’re hoping to find life that might resemble life that might exist in some similar places that are “suspected” to be on the moons of Jupiter. It’s hard for me to get too excited about that.

I just wish they wouldn’t “hint at strange survival in terms which would freeze the blood if not masked by a bland optimism.” And it’s the Antarctic, which automatically demands a Mountains of Madness reference.

(Just so you know, I’ve always treated these real-life similarities with Lovecraftian tales as mere humorous coincidences.*)

*But sometimes, “I am inclined to wonder—and more than wonder.”