May 2007


Attack of the LOLBOTs

(cross-posted at Funny Paperless)

I was about to make a post bemoaning the fact that LOLCATS images are more popular than Webcomics, meaning that all the creative writing and drawing all over the web is being trumped by pictures of cats and captions in bad English, but now a couple of the sharpest writers in Webcomicdom have decided not to fight ’em, but to join ’em.

lolredrobot.gifI’m talking about LOLBOTS, the instantaneously popular blog of LOL-pictures featuring robots, assembled by a team that includes one guy who really knows robots, Diesel Sweeties’ R. Stephens and another who knows a few robots, Questionable Content’s J. Jacques (both of whose work I have praised in my comicsblog) . In two days, they have assembled an impressive assortment of memes and macros starring some of the biggest mechanical stars of science fiction and some real-life robots too. Still, in the rush to pull it all together, they have omitted some obvious BOTS woth LOLing.

Where are the Bots from MST3K?

And what, no Bender?

And the robot from Lost in Space (I did a little reverse in this one, having a robot that was usually less than humanly erudite speak like an authority figure)

You DO remember Hymie the Robot in “Get Smart”, don’t you?

Also in MY robotic memories, the mechanical techs-turned-landscapers named after Donald Duck’s nephews in the Eco-Space-Opera “Silent Running”.

And this one may be a stretch, but since most real-life robots today work on assembly lines, here’s that classic TV moment with a mechanized conveyor belt…
Yeah, I admit it. I LOL Lucy.

Well, here’s to you, proud LOLBOTers. And if I get any more ideas, you’ll be the 18th to know. (My loyal readership of 17 will be ahead of you)


The Bird in the Bush

abc-bush-shit.jpgIt has been five days and we have not heard any follow-up on the bird poop attack on President Bush at his recent Rose Garden press conference. I find this personally alarming. Apparently, after spending untold billions on Homeland Security, our Federal Government has not only failed to protect the President, but even afterwards, has been unable to apprehend and bring to justice a small bird! Disgraceful. I’m sure if they had succeeded in capturing or killing this airborne evildoer, they would quickly discover through enhanced interrogation and reported to the American People and anyone else watching Fox News that it had held the #2 position at Al Queda in Iraq. Or something. I certainly hope that the entire White House medical staff, including the Surgeon General, Bill Frist and Dr. Laura, are monitoring the Chief Executive Decider’s health very carefully. After all, it could have been a carrier of Bird Flu. Or considering it was an all-white substance, maybe Anthrax. You do realize they never found whoever sent the Anthrax letters in 2001! They also didn’t catch the guy on the plane with everything-resistant TB until he had gone to Italy, then Canada, then home. He could have infected our entire supply of Italian Sausage and Canadian Bacon! The least they could do is require anyone going to a government facility, airport or WalMart to empty their birds before entering. And as for the TB, empty their lungs. Sigh. I guess the terrorists really have won. I don’t feel so well.



For those of you who have scrolled down the page and wondered what that monstrosity is at the bottom of the sidebar, let me explain. Last week, Lore “Don’t call me Björk just because we share a ö” Sjöberg, who I love and worship in a totally satirical ironic way, wrote a piece in which he proposed several Website Mashups.

Now, first of all, I was disappointed that he did not include MetaFilter (where he is a member in good standing and occasional contributor) in any of his “if websites mated” scenarios. I remedied that oversight in a post at the related site MetaChat, which, totally ironically and satirically, generated no chat.

MetaWoot – ONE NewsFilter, ONE YouTube and ONE flameout per day.
FaceFilter – A social utility that connects you with people nowhere near you.
AskAsk – This algorithm, it vibrates?
Filterati – The biggest asshats in the blogosphere. Just don’t call it a blogosphere.
MetaSecret – Mail in your questions on a homemade postcard and prepare for a snarking.

Which is why I love and worship Lore in a totally satirical ironic way, because he could pull off this premise… But I digress.

Among Lore’s “dot combos” (and yes, you are so freaking clever to have come up with that) was Figg: “This community blog throws Fark and Digg together, insuring that that 95 percent of all frat boys with laptops will be members. The two cantankerous communities can’t possibly co-exist in peace, however, so this will be a fight to the death! Which will win: yet another post about someone getting caught having sex with a farm animal, or yet another post confirming that the Wii is, indeed, out-selling the PS3?” During this time I have been playing around at an undisclosed domain with every WordPress plug-in ever imagined by a bored geek who knows a little php syntax. And one of the best is the BDP RSS Aggregator, created by an Australian Political Blogger (which is an interesting ‘dot combo’ itself), and which, when all the acronyms are decoded, is capable of combining the syndication feeds from multiple sites. Yes, the perfect tool with which to create a real-life “Figg”.

Unfortunately, like everything else in the WordPress universe, it is justthisfarawayfrom perfect. It is not capable of putting its aggregated feeds inside a blog post, even when I use other plugins that are supposed to make it easy…

See? So, I had to put the “Figg” mashup at the bottom of my sidebar, here. Now, I could’ve gone to the trouble of creating a special separate page for the “Figg”, but, of course, those fun-loving goat-loving guys at Fark tend to resist anything “Web 2.0”, so their feed does not have “time posted” on each item, so its content won’t mix with Digg’s, but instead it forms lumps of content every time my aggregator checks the feed, so I didn’t feel the need to go to the trouble, rather I chose to just bitch about it here. Thanks for listening.

Anyway, “Figg” is still rather interesting, especially when you realize that some of Digg’s content resembles Fark’s content a little more than you might expect.

For my next trick, I will attempt to combine cartoonist Scott Adams’ blog with that guy who was on Star Trek to make: WILBERT!


I Was ‘Forced’ to Write This

Not really, but on the 30th Anniversary of the premiere of the Original Star Wars (“A New Hope”? I hope NOT), some acknowledgment is almost mandatory. Especially when the lovely and/or talented Miss C. requested me to jot something down about my ‘Star Wars Memories’, as opposed to my stardust melody, the memory of love’s refrain.

Been there. Done that.


LOL with Bacon

Stream of consciousness blogging…

A foolhardy soul attempted to post this to Metafilter:
Yes, you saw that right, Pepsi Ice Cucumber (available only in Japan, semi-appropriately).

Which reminded me of this: Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.


Sometimes, you don’t really know… dirty your kitchen floor is until you drop a piece of cheese on it. When the floor reaches a certain level of dirtiness, I must invoke the inverse to the “3 Second Rule” which I call the “3 Inch Rule”… if it falls within 3 inches of the floor, DON’T EAT IT.


Wendell’s Guide to Prime Time TV (part one)

A MetaFilter thread on the “Save Jericho (It’s a TV Show)” campaign prompted me to write the following…

Okay, here’s the math. Network TV bases a disproportionate amount of their advertising sales efforts on the results of NOT the everyweek ratings, but three 4-week “Ratings Sweeps” in November, February and May. It’s 30-31 weeks between the beginning of November and the end of May. Also, since the ‘traditional’ start of the TV season is September, they feel obligated to premiere the new fall shows 6-7 weeks before the November sweeps start to prevent the other networks from hooking ‘regular viewers’ for all their shows first (it also gives them time to dump the real dogs before the Sweeps start). Way back in the 1950s and 1960s, the then-three networks started cutting back the number of shows in a “season”, from 39 to 36 to 32 to 26 to 24 to a standard-since-the-mid-70s 22. Spreading 22 shows over a 30-31 or 36-37 week period and making sure that 12 of them air during the all-important Sweeps results in long, boring hiatuses. Which is why Fox now airs “24” and “American Idol” form January through May and kisses the November Sweeps bye-bye. And the new deal for “Lost” on ABC will be for 16 episodes a year, aired Feb-May for the next three years. And NBC’s “Heroes” got 24 eps for next year, plus a short-run 6 episode spin-off “Origins” in the same universe with new characters to fill the hiatus periods.

My advice: if an interesting new show premieres (especially on Fox) the month before Sweeps, just TiVo it and store it; if it survives to the end of Sweeps, it’s safer to watch (not safe, just safer). And if a show is described in the press as “on the bubble” for renewal a month before the season is scheduled to end, just TiVo it. It will definitely have a “you don’t dare cancel us” cliffhanger and the network will probably cancel it anyway. If not, you can enjoy the cliffhanger the week before the show returns in the fall.

That said, I’ve been pondering doing predictions for the Fall Season shows the umpteen networks have announced because, privately and informally, I think I’ve had a pretty good track record on such things. Stay tuned.


Wendell Bolton Lives (almost)

Alright, I had another reason for liking that episode of The Simpsons… NAMECHECK!


OK Simpsons

A couple of decades ago, “The Simpsons” was the most outrageous show on TV. Ten years ago, it was “so ten minutes ago”. Now, it’s a perennial, a TV comfort food. That arc of popular perception is based on the way the audience has changed, since I can discern very little change in the show over all these years – which is not that surprising, considering that, thanks to the time-warping abilities of animation, no character on the show has grown a day, chronologically or emotionally. This has resulted in some real challenges in keeping 18-year-running jokes from getting stale and moldy, which the producers and writers have done surprisingly well (but not perfectly). Recently harvested quotes from Matt Groening have him crediting the way the show has always been allowed to go in a million directions at once, from literary wit to goofy slapstick to sharp satire. Sunday’s
season finale/400th episode big dealie was a good example (as well as one of the most enjoyable hours of TV comedy I’ve experienced this year). The first half-hour was a spot on parody of “24” using the Simpsons characters staying solidly in character, an impressive achievement, with only a cameo-length guest appearance by “Jack Bauer” at his most outlandish (that also featured a mushroom-cloud-sized reference to the current season’s plot, although considering the two shows’ production schedules, The Simpsons may indeed have thought of it first). Then the second half hour featured the show’s now-almost-annual ritual of biting the hand that feeds it (FOX) and biting down hard. It was quite telling that all the promos for this ep showed scenes from the first ten minutes, because the last five minutes had all the satirical goodies. (There was much stuff to enjoy in the rest of the show, just going off in the other 999,999 directions.)

It was inevitable that those five minutes would find their way to YouTube (although the final payoff gag is cut off), but it probably won’t be there for long. Enjoy it while you can. Note to “South Park”: THIS is how it should be done.