Monday, May 24, 2010

Screw you JJ. (Lost spoilers within)

Jennifer and I were pretty mad. After they specifically said it wasn't about purgatory or some idea of heaven and hell... it kind of was. I wanted to though a rock though that multi denomination stain glass window in the final scene. FUCK YOU JJ. Lazy writing. "and the reveal is... it was good and evil!" Really? Is that all you have? The part where Jacob says, "this island is like a cork keeping evil from coming into the world" was literal? It is a cork? All you have to do is shield yourself from electromagnetism and pull the plug to keep evil out of the world and keep Jacob and Smokey immortal? But no mention of why? Do we forget how many people died so that the cork stayed in? What about all the people who didn't survive the initial crash? The second crash? What happened to all the extras?

I had a really good theory. The island was a rift in reality ala "The Scar" in China Mieville's book. Some other dimensional travelers poked though and the result was a rip in our fabric where things got a bit fucked up. Jacob, who was of the race who broke it, was a watchman for the "plug" that kept the rip from getting worse and possibly destroying both dimensions. Smoky was from their side and he realized that he could exploit our world but when he tried he got stopped by Jacob and then trapped in the "hallway" between the two worlds that was the island. It answered all the questions, still had an element of good v. evil and you didn't have to put a single catholic cross or jewish star anywhere in the episode. So that's my rant. They all happily walk into the light is a piss-poor excuse for an ending. Imagine if Mary Taylor Moore had ended that way.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Wrapping up a few things before we start the new year!

So, another year older... another year.... Well. Another year. We had some good times. Didn't we? :cry:

We tackled some pretty lofty goals for this new kingdom. Healthcare, torture, education and the recrapification of Land Of The Lost. Whew! I need a rest! Looks like Obama's dropping the ball on a lot of major stuff. The bloom is off that rose. I'm going to be busy in '10! But before I get on with the new year, I thought I'd visit some of the smaller things. While small, I think with these tweaks things will be even better than ever in Marklandia. Ready? Steady? GO!

1) Ban Crap trucks. Know them? I'm sure you've seen them. Take an 80s model Japanese pickup truck and attach plywood and maybe metal bars to the bed and get it to about 12 ft high. Add crap. Let crap fly out on the highway and cause accidents and basically be a general eye sore. I don't care if you're taking that 2 tons of cardboard to the recycling plant. I'm going to attach a rocket launcher to my Civic and take you out and zoom though your vaporized remains. Oh, and guy on a bike with 6 lawn bags full of empties, you're in my sights too. Believe me, I'm all for recycling but we all know the owners of these vehicles are using the proceeds of their collecting to buy crack and meth.

2) Re-assign parking meter enforcers to confiscate all shopping carts not currently in a parking lot. Arm them with high power stun guns and haz-mat gear. All contents of the renegade carts will become landfill.

3) Trim the amount of live TV channels down to a manageable number, like 20 and make the rest "On Demand." I don't care if I have to conquer a distant land, enslave the people and get them to run fiber optic to every home in the country to do it, but the fact that MTV's got 30 different versions is giving me a headache even though I don't watch it.

4) Outlaw "locked up" items in stores. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent roaming stores looking for the secret clear that has the key to unlock the peg that's got the tooth brush I want on it. The store is now actually stealing my time. I'm not sure what the answer to your shop-lifting problem is, but there's got to be a better answer than to make the item nearly impossible to buy. You too Boarders. I stood waiting for 20 minutes so I could get a $40 box set of DVDs that I'm sure would be nearly impossible to smuggle out of the store without looking like I had a toaster in my pants. Of course, I could have easily snapped up a few $30 blu-ray disks under my shirt and no one would have noticed. Oh, and yes, I went home and ordered what I needed from Amazon. I will shed no tear when you're forced to close your doors do to low sales.

5) ... well that's what I can think of for now. How about you kids? Won't you lend a hand?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Science is whatever we want it to be.

OK, after listening to my friend Ira Glass' two part radio program on health care, I think I've got a pretty good handle on things. When I am king, one of the first decrees I shall make is, "Fix health care." Even though the problems are old and convoluted, they'll be easily whisked away in a way that no president can whisk. Not even Obama, that charming motherfucker.

If you haven't listened to the This American Life special on health care, you should. But for now I'll give you the Reader's Digest Condensed version without the evil Christian angle. Here it is in a nutshell: Everyone wants to be wealthy and live forever.

That's it. The crux of all our problems. If we all had our way we'd be immortal versions of Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Now while that would be awesome, like too much of anything there would be problems. Problem number one would be, who'd do math? Problem number two would be, who'd play the sidekick? As you can see, society would quickly break down if this were the case. So it is breaking down now. How can we resist the dream of looking good in an eye patch?

First thing. Everyone wants to be wealthy. Doctors want money from helping people. That's a noble cause, isn't it? But what if they help too much? People want to be wealthy by not having to spend money on being helped, though they want the help to be limitless. Insurance companies want to become wealthy being a middle man between the helpers and the helpees. Now we've got a serious case of helpees. (I just couldn't help typing that even though it has nothing to do with my point.)

So what do we do? Easy. We need to decouple money and health care, and couple money with health. Here's my plan. Every single person will pay a tax that will be the premium for health care insurance. The insurance will be a large oligarchy run coop that will be 100% non profit. Doctors will get paid a modest salary based on their specialty and amount of training and experience. Here's the kicker: they'll be a bonus for having really healthy patients. So for example, if you're a General Practitioner with your patients only coming in for basic checkups and vaccinations and stuff, you'll make more than if you have a lot of repeat business for the same issues. It'll be in your best interest to keep your people as healthy as possible before they come to see you with a problem. So maybe during your check-ups you'll spend a little time going over what a healthy diet is with your patients and how important exercise is, and less time treating type 2 diabetes.

Now don't worry. Doctors won't be penalized for treating their patients with problems. Shit happens and when it does they need to be ready to do what ever it takes. However, if you can treat a condition with a generic drug or a less complicated procedure and get a great result, there's some extra cash in it for you. Do you know that back surgeons currently do a more complicated back operation that involves plates and pins when an older more effective version of the operation exists? Why? Because if they do more they get paid more. Plain and simple.

Of course, if you skimp and refuse to treat issues to try and get some bonus money and the result is a patient's condition worsens or they even die, you'll be tried and convicted of neglect and you could face jail time and at the very least become a janitor at a penitentiary. Not needing big insurance companies I'll have some money left over to do reviews of all doctors to make sure things are being done correctly. Honestly, I'm not that worried about it. Doctors go into health care because they enjoy helping people be healthy. I truly believe that. I think it only goes bad when there's a big drug company waving a lot of cash in front of them so they prescribe the $600 drug instead of the $50 generic drug. Who could resist that temptation when the patient has insurance and will never even see the real price of the drug? When I am king that temptation will be gone.

Now if you want to be a doctor outside the system, that's fine but you will only be able to charge the patient directly for services. This way when a person goes in for a Pitt pectoral implant or a Jolie lip job, they can but will have to pay what ever the market rate is. Hypochondriac and want a CAT scan ever month? Sure, on your dime. I'll make sure my system creates the healthiest population in the world, but if you're looking for something above and beyond, then it's only fitting that you pay for that extra service.

Now there's the issue of the drug companies. Of course I think it's a good idea to incentivize the development of new useful drugs. So does the current U.S. Government and they do it by taking your tax money and giving it to companies to help fund their research. I'll continue this practice, but the double pay day will not be there any more. What business gets subsidized and then gets to charge enormous amounts of money for the product they make? It's one or the other. If you want to develop a drug using private investors' money, charge what ever the market will pay. If you want a hand out from the king, you'll make a reasonable mark up that takes into consideration how much it truly cost the company to develop and manufacture it. Basically I'm saying if the people pay for it, it's theirs already.

I'll also form a non-profit drug company. Sounds crazy? I think nay. I know scientists. They love to do science, and they hate to deal with keeping a company's stock prices high. I bet I could attract a large number of scientists from all over the world who'd jump at the chance to do pure science. They'd also get special bonuses for working on really effective drugs, and I'll also put their pictures on the drug bottles and have their World of Warcraft characters level up a few levels for each break through. Don't tell me I don't know how to motivate nerds.

So that's my plan. I know I left out a bunch of details, and of course horrible things will happen until the bugs get worked out of the plan, but I think it'll all work out in the end.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Path to the Dark Side.

Well, it's close to Halloween and yet again half of me wants to do something cool like build a Half Life 2 safety suit and be Gordon Freeman, and half of me could not care less about the holiday at all. OK, it's more like 60% of me not giving a shit, and that is why I end up doing pretty much nothing. Also, I know that it will be another year of disappointment as I rediscover that candy corn's stripes are all the same flavor.

Maybe it's because deep down I know that Halloween is a holiday for people who are too wimpy to be what they want to be all year round. A fake light saber and tunic do not make you a Jedi. Waiting at a traffic light and using your mind to make the light turn green quicker is what makes you a Jedi. You don't have to wait until October 31st for this. You can do it every day. I do! Can you imagine how much better everything would be if "sexy nurse" was something women (and I guess men) could dress like every day? How much easier life would be if the criminally insane wore hockey masks at times other than when playing hockey?

Now the goths kind of get this, and I applaud them. Sure, Hot Topic starts advertising their stuff as "costumes" some autumn, but let's face it. We all know the store is exactly the same on November first minus the Halloween Sale signs. OK, maybe they put their fake fangs away for the rest of the year, but I bet they leave a few out all the time. Don't fool yourself Goths, we all know you play Sookie/Bill all year round. (In bed.)

Another aspect of the holiday that bums me out is the emphasis on quantity and not the quality of the treat. Pink and yellow sugar dots on a strip of wax paper? What? Did we lose a war? Oh right, we did, but still... Even your store bought name brand stuff like Snickers is really just crap. Wouldn't you want a nice home made brownie instead of a bag full of crap? Oh, and you apple/toothbrush givers, I have one thing to say to you. Fuck you. When I am king they'll be a special holiday called St. Lame-o day where you can give out things that are good for people.

So, when I am king, this is how it will go. There will be no store bought costumes of any kind. That kind of misses the point, doesn't it? A rayon smock with the name and picture of your favorite Transformer on it is really just a way of saying, "My parents don't care about me." You're not fooling anyone. Go out and make your own costume. It's not that hard. Some green tights, a feather in your hat, compound bow and viola: you're Robin Hood. Get a bathrobe a white wig, broom handle and you're Gandalf. This goes for the wealthy too. Yeah, your dad owns most of Microsoft and got you an original Banana Splits costume. Screw you.

Also wandering around asking for things is begging and that's a slippery slope to socialism. So none of that. Families will be required to make their own treats. If you can't get a box of Quaker Oats, a pound of sugar and some butter and make an Oatmeal cookie than you're not fit for life anyway. They'll be festivals in local parks for people to show off their costumes where people with good costumes will get high praise and people dressed as hobos will be spanked while in a stockade.

But here's the good part. People who make the finals will get the most wondrous prize of all: A license to wear their costume all year round when ever they feel like it. Can you imagine the awesomeness of this world? The Grand Prize winners? Traffic lights will be programmed to change to green when they're in front of one. That is how it will be when I am king.

Friday, May 22, 2009

On a routine expedition...

OK, it's been a while. Not really sure why. I'm as ranty as ever, I've just been more focused on work and when I get home, fun times with the wife and, of course, my little electro-music-laboratory (pronounced la-boar-a-tory, like a west European mad scientist would say it)

But a little nice little reply to an older post (thanks Jill!) got me thinking I should release another rant to the universe. Something has been irking me too. It's the regurgitation of my craptastic childhood TV shows into bad new movies.

You might say, well they were bad in the first place... and you'd be right... but they were crappy in a special way. The way Sid and Marty Krofft intended them to be... hastily made schlock to fill up time between Lucky Charms commercials. They knew we had nothing else, so we sat hypnotized as each week, grown men in rubber suits pretended to be sea monsters, proto-man, dragons and, of course hats. Hats? What the fuck were Sid and Marty smoking? Let's just hope that all those shows were the result of a psychedelic infused drug stupor, greed and laziness. All I can say is, if they were actually trying to make quality programs and the notion that Ruth Buzzy in space would be an awesome idea for a show, these guys need to be punished severely for their creations....

... but I loved them so. The love that can really only be called nostalgia for a time when work meant getting beaten up at school and dodging stupid arithmetic homework. Times were simple and the TV that filled up our brains was even simpler. Oh I have a great idea for a TV show! We'll make a cartoon about an ape... that's purple. He only says, "Grape Ape." Awesome.

So now, we've got Will Ferrell pooping all over one of the best of the crappy shows from my childhood: Land Of The Lost. Don't get me wrong, when he played the character Marshall Willenholly in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, I "got it." Now it has gone too far. Booby jokes in my Land Of The Lost? FUCK YOU WILL FERRELL!

So hear ye, hear ye. When I am king all my subjects will be required to respect the tone and soul of the crap they're recreating (like the expertly done recent Speed Racer movie) or prove to me that an update will be an improvement, like the latest take on Battlestar Galactica. You can't just take a campy crap 70s TV show and make it into a formulaic "Oh look it's Will Ferrell in another impossible role" piece of shit. When I'm king, if he does this again I'm going to make him play different take on Edward Scissorhands where he's got hammers instead of scissors and he beats himself about the head all through the movie. Yes, he will do his own stunts too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Up all night!

Last night I had an odd thing happen to me. I'm calling it PAIS. That stands for phantom ankle itch syndrome. I have no idea why, but it feels like I got some sort of bug bite, but with no swelling or redness at all. Actually no visible signs what so ever. Just an itch that can't be ignored and will not let me sleep. It sucks. I'm betting it's mental in origin, but I really have no idea.

This happened one before and I emptied a benedryl into some hand cream and viola, topical medicine ala McGiver! Last night I wasn't so lucky. Out of benedryl. Sad. I tried like hell to ignore it, but then I got the bright idea to swing over to the ol' Pac-n-save and get me some sweet, sweet, pharmaceuticals. OH NO! Pac-n-save was closed!

Thus began my hour long drug search odyssey in the east bay. My report back to you is this: I could not find a single instance of open retail of any kind at 1:00 AM on a Tuesday morning. If you were thinking I was going to decree away bizarre afflictions that are probably psychologically based, you're wrong. If my power was that strong I'd be way more than king, let me tell you. No, my decree will go like this: If you are a chain convenience store (I'm looking at you 7/11) you WILL BE OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK INCLUDING HOLIDAYS. Why? Because if you're going to charge 400% more for beef jerky for the privilege of getting to stand behind the loser old guy who takes 74 minutes to pick out lottery tickets, I'm going to say that's not "convenience."

Now, I won't have to do this in places like New York, because they already get it. They know the value of being open during times that aren't fun to be open, but are a service to your customers. How did Californians get so damn lazy about this? Hell, I've worked all night making a god damn video game that no one really needed, but we can't have all night retail? Also, if you are going to call yourself a diner, you need to never close and have a waitress that will call me "hun."

I know this isn't one of those society changing decrees, but frankly, I'm god damn tired. You never need a lawnmower, ice skate, or sundial at 1:00 AM, but things like beef jerky and over the counter allergy medicine are things that every Marklarian will have available to them as a Mark given right.

Oh yeah, Slurpees too!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Smell ya later Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp!

So, I'm checking out my pal (one day in charge of my kingdom's press core) Jon the other day and he had a little commentary about the mass infestation of pythons due to the proliferation of escaped pets in Florida.

Well well well, don't think I'll be forgetting that when I am king, little Florida. Don't think I won't revoke your statehood and give it to Purto Rico, because I will. But this debacle points to a bigger problem facing my kingdom-to-be. That problem is white trash ass holes who think wild animals make great pets. You know the people I'm talking about. They're the ones who go to street fairs with snakes draped around their unshirted shoulders. You can see them gloating about how cool they think their snake looks against their barbed-wire-arm-band tattoo. Well poser jerk-off-white-trash dude, you're days as wildlife tormentor will be over as soon as I'm in power. ENOUGH.

...and if you bird people are snickering at the snake dudes, you can wipe that smile right off your face. Birds too will be illegal in my regime. As a matter of fact, I am making a decree:

If an animal can, and would rather live in the wild, it will be illegal to keep it as a pet.

Hear this crazy chimp owners: you won't be grandfathered in either, even though I enjoyed many episodes of Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp. I will have teams of animal protection people patrolling the land making sure your cute little chimp won't have a chance to rip your friend's face off.

Yes, this will have far reaching implications. It will include hamsters, fish, lizards, ferrets... the whole shebang. I'm not sure what we'll do with all the reclaimed critters, but I'm toying around with tasking the royal chefs to get working on some new dishes. Does ferret taste like chicken? We'll find out! Oh and people who think it's weird to eat a ferret but not a cow or chicken, what are you thinking? They somehow have better souls or something? Zoos could be another possibility, but I'm not sure how much draw a hamster exhibit will have. I guess if you had a cage with a couple of thousand gerbils in it that could be interesting to see. It may just be better to keep the snakes in the zoo and use the rodents and birds as food for the snakes, since that's how it's all set up to work in the first place. Can you neuter a snake? Eventually they'll die of old age or something, I'm sure... OR AM I?

Sure, some will call me a monster for separating loving pets from their owners, but guess what? Your pets hate you. You know how you can tell? YOU KEEP THEM IN A CAGE. I know my dog loves us because she won't even wander too far when she's off leash at a dog park. My cat wants out, but she'd be just as happy to have the birds she sees outside come in. Plus there are TONS of perfectly great dogs and cats wasting away in shelters. They're being denied a home because you think a python is a better pet?

P.S. Buzzy, if you're reading this don't worry, when I put a wall around Florida and turn it into a penile colony I'll give you ample notice.