Monthly Archives: November 2007

Internet Memes in Wider Culture

A few days ago, Anil Dash talked about whether or not Internet memes would really impact broader pulp culture. Such a move from Internet to e.g. TV or movies have typically been in the form of passing nods in geek-oriented media, such as Andrew referring to Trogdor in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Veronica Mars saying “boom goes the dynamite” in one episode.

That may be changing. As an example, I give you an ad for Mike Huckabee.

He’s taken Chuck Norris’s endorsement and made a commercial about it that mixes Chuck Norris Facts with Huckabee’s actual views. This is notable because the ad is aimed at Iowa voters, not Family Guy fans, and it has the meme as the center of it.

How will the other candidates respond? Will Mitt Romney talk about his platform while performing synchronized moves on treadmills? Will McCain further his image as someone stuck in the early 2000s with an “All Your Base” joke? “Congress made you a national health care plan… but I eated it“?

[tags]internet memes, mike huckabee, presidential politics, chuck norris facts, mitt romney, john mccain, ron paul, chuck norris can divide by zero[/tags]

A Couple of Comic Book Links

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I read a fair number of comics thanks to my brother. He’s introduced me to a lot of great comics, like James Robinson’s fabulous Starman and (more recently) Bill Willingham’s Fables.

Not all of the comics I’ve read are good, sadly, though I won’t blame those on Andrew. In some cases the writing was bad. In others, the art was what was so terrible.

Enter Rob Liefeld. He’s known for a certain…unique style of comic book art. Do you like characters who wear pouches everywhere? Do you enjoy looking at men with outsized muscles and teeny tiny feet? What’s your opinion on women in comics being drawn with outrageously large breasts, waists that are three inches in diameter, and who stand as if their spine is broken?

That’s why this list of Rob Liefeld’s 40 worst drawings amused me so much. Be warned! It contains naughty swears and the like. What amuses me most about the list is that Liefeld was so prolific and his style so often terrible that the list can have forty images and yet miss out on my personal favorite, a rendition of Captain America where Cap could put his dinner plate on his pectorals and not have it slide off.

To make up for those links, here are some images from a recent comic-book-themed Simpsons episode featuring Alan Moore, Art Spiegleman and Dan Clowes. I didn’t see the episode, and that makes me sad, but that sadness is tempered by seeing the screencap of Millhouse holding “Watchmen Babies in V for Vacation”.

Will Write for 4¢

We here at the Granade Casa enjoy our TV watching. We used to watch a fair bit but since the coming of the next generation we’ve turned down the tap a wee bit. I’m lucky if I can make it through an entire episode of something without falling asleep on the couch after Eli and Liza are in bed.

So the writers’ strike has come up in discussion here at the house. We support folks getting paid for what they write, by the way. I think it’s totally crazy that it even has to be spelled out in that way. If someone were building a house or a car or something concrete there would be no question as to whether or not they need to get paid at the end of their labor.

But writing? Pfff. That’s not WORK. So when I read this article by Joss Whedon I felt like marching over to our local TV affiliates and picketing as well.

I’ve tried to write another paragraph here but everything I write is silly. Just read Joss’s response to the NYT article and hear me shouting, “Preach it, Brother!” from the choir.

And just because it’s so darn funny, here’s what Ask a Ninja has to say about the strike as well:

Stephen vs. Guitar Hero

If you don’t subscribe to our comment feed, you’ve probably missed the saga involving my comparison of a Guitar Hero controller to a Kidz Beatz toy guitar from last year. The picture that accompanied the post shows up a lot on Google Image searches, so we’ve gotten a trickle of commentators who take me far too seriously. As my replies get more and more over the top, I keep expecting people to figure out that I’m joking, but so far that hasn’t happened.

I’ll point out that Rock Band has just come out, and that I’m likely to be just as much a hater of Rock Band as I am of Guitar Hero. If anyone wishes to buy me the entire Rock Band kit to try to convince me otherwise, be my guest.

Mind Reading Makes You Stupid

It’s clear that, whatever other benefits you gain from being able to read minds, you also become thick as a giant slab of concrete. If Sherlock Holmes had been able to read minds, he might have solved some of his cases faster, but he’d also have been more like Inspector Clouseau.

For proof, I only need point at Heroes. Matt Parkman can read minds, but he can’t seem to do anything useful with that information. And then we have last night’s episode. Continue reading Mind Reading Makes You Stupid

I Can Has New Captions?

We’re back from a Thanksgiving trip to see my family and spend time at the beach and watch Eli run into the surf, then back out, then back in, then back out again. We’ll have pictures and whatnot up eventually.

In the meantime, life is overwhelming, in that “hey, weren’t you gone for a while?” kind of way. To tide you over until intelligent posting resumes, a thesis: lolcats are merely the latest example of how people on the internet recontextualize anything and everything. For a very early example of this phenomenon, see the Dysfunctional Family Circus.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, all of our US friends and readers and whatnot. And if you’re not in the US, a happy Thanksgiving to you anyway. The college semester that I spent studying in the UK, when Thanksgiving came around, our friends took me and my three other compatriots out to that most traditional of US Thanksgiving restaurants, Pizza Hut. So there’s something you can do to celebrate.

Though I’m not sure I’d recommend the tuna pizza.

One Cool Physics Program

Those crazy MIT faculty. What will they think of next? In this case, it’s a computer program that lets you sketch simple shapes and then run a kinematic simulation using those shapes.

This would have been fabulous to play with when I was teaching physics.

Jonathan Coulton and the Zendrum

When I saw Jonathan Coulton perform, at one point he pulled out this weird triangular MIDI controller called a Zendrum. It reminded me of the Synthaxe Drumitar that Future Man used to use when playing with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, and indeed, looking at the web page for the company, I found out that the Zendrum creator was inspired by Future Man’s creation. The Zendrum’s got little drum pads across it that you trigger with your finger, and is totally the kind of drum kit that I, an avowed keyboardist with strap envy, would play.

Anyway, the song that Jonathan Coulton played with it…well, you need to see it. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, now you can!