Blog Archive

Thursday, January 31, 2013

More ill-conceived commercials! Pop Tarts, Enbrel, Papa John's

This Sunday is the Superbowl, so I figured I'd better get these commercials covered before a whole new set of crap rolls in. Let's see what products the idiots at the ad agencies want us to buy, and the foolish ways they try to make this happen:

Pop Tarts Holocaust 
(watch it here)

I've met a lot of vegetarians in my day, and they tend to have a pretty wide array of reasons why they've elected not to eat meat. But a high percentage of them have gone the vegetarian route at least partly because they don't like the idea of making other living creatures suffer just so they can eat them, particularly when it isn't absolutely necessary for them to do so.

I've also met a lot of people who aren't vegetarian but refuse to eat lobster. Why? Because the best way to cook lobster is to drop it into a pot of boiling water while it's still alive, boiling it to death. They find this idea so stomach-turning that they'd rather just not eat it at all.

And also, let us not forget that old-time Greek method of torturing people to death called the Brazen Bull. What they'd do was load people up into a big bronze bull and then light a fire under it, roasting them to death. Most people would not consider this a pleasant way to go.

With all that in mind, can anyone explain this Pop Tarts commercial to me?

First, two FULLY ALIVE AND SENTIENT pop tarts enter what they believe to be a photo booth. One of them produces a quarter out of god-knows-where and drops it into a coin slot:

They begin smiling and being silly, waiting for their picture to be taken:

You see the coils of the toaster around them turning red, and they begin to get concerned about how long it is taking for their picture to be taken. They point out that it's getting hot:


It's a toaster where they are being slow-roasted to death so that some sadistic assholes can eat them. THAT'S HILARIOUS!!! It reminds me of how the Nazis would tell the Jews they were just going to take a shower, but then in reality they would gas them to death!


Enbrel Commercial with Phil Mickelson
(watch a bootleg version here)

I don't know what Enbrel does. It's a medicine of some kind, but I don't really know what disease it's for. I've seen the commercial, but I absorbed absolutely nothing.


Here's why:


Is he even a good golfer, or did he just stare down anyone who was like "the ball didn't go in the hole!" until they changed their story?

He doesn't blink a single time throughout the entire commercial, daring you to break eye contact. I, for one, don't have that kind of courage. He's like the Hypno-toad on Futurama.

I'm sorry, I seem to have lost my ... train of ... thought ...

(several hours later, after waking up naked in a ditch with a severe head injury, a blood-soaked rag tied around my neck and a matched pair of human hands fashioned into a set of nunchucks)

I ... ummm ... so, let's continue this, shall we?

Papa John's commercial with Peyton Manning
(watch it here)

I ... ummmm ... this commercial is ...

Sorry. Focusing now. In this commercial, Peyton Manning is suffering from some sort of severe brain damage, and Papa John is too nice to say anything about it so he just goes along with it when ...

Sorry, I mean, gosh, I don't know why I'm having such a hard time concentrating ...

... I mean, Papa John goes along with it when Peyton can't keep track of the difference between 1 million and 2 million free pizzas. So they agree to ...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Things I suck at -- VOL 1: First person shooter games

We can't all be great at everything. But I come pretty close. I'd say I am at least passably good at just about every possible activity (I just don't really feel like showing you right now, is the thing) ... but there are a few glaring exceptions. I mean seriously, painfully glaring exceptions. It's time to face my weaknesses and lay them bare for all the world to see, because then I can claim to be humble and just send people links to blog posts as undeniable proof.

The first activity that I will openly admit to being absolutely terrible at? First person shooter games for X-Box or Playstation 2 and up.

I remember well the first time I tried to play Halo. I was in college, and a group of students was playing in someone's dorm room. I stopped by and they insisted that I take a turn, even though I told them over and over again that I didn't know how to play. But they wouldn't take no for an answer, so I was handed a controller and immediately saw a problem.

This was my first experience with a controller that had two joysticks I was required to use. Instead of my point of view just naturally looking whichever way I was walking (like in the best game ever, Goldeneye for Nintendo 64), I had to actually control whether I wanted to look up, down, right or left while walking in a complete different direction. The right joystick was for telling your character where to walk, and the left was for telling him where to look.

For me, this left-side joystick was harder to master than the French horn (which I hear is pretty hard -- I've never tried it -- but I bet I'd be super good at it right away). I was constantly, tragically, and comically unable to look in the same direction that I was walking. I would stumble blindly into corners and down staircases while aiming my gun at my own feet, the ceiling, or somewhere off in the distance. To my in-game enemies, I looked something like this:

Nobody puts Baby in the corner!!! Baby is perfectly capable of doing that herself.

So yeah, I died a lot. And quickly.

Eventually, I pieced together what a large part of my problem was: that I needed to go into the settings and choose "invert". It turns out that I spent so much time looking the wrong way because every time I tried to look down, I'd look up, and vice versa. So inverting the controls really helped a lot (I also have a 100% failure rate in properly operating car windows, for the exact same reason. Any brain scientists out there want to explain why that is, exactly??). 

With the inverted controls, at least I wasn't stumbling around like a blind idiot and was somewhat capable of moving and looking where I wanted to. Did this elevate me to the level of X-Box grand master?

F**king of course not.

No seriously -- f*** that f***ing game.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Terrible Movie Reviews: RED DAWN

Have you seen the original Red Dawn?

If not, the only question I have for you is this: WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA SO MUCH YOU STUPID AWFUL COMMUNIST.

It's the kind of question that needs to be in all caps and punctuated with a period instead of a question mark -- because the fact that you are an America-hating Communist isn't even up for debate.

However, I'm willing to give you a break just this once, because it turns out that Red Dawn is a steaming pile of horse-manure that defies all explanation and is absolutely impossible to take seriously. I saw this movie (well, most of it) for the first time about a year ago, and holy sweet baby Jesus, the whole thing is a joke, right? It has to be. From here on out, I am going to assume that it is, just so I can keep on living.

Red Dawn stars Patrick Swayze and a bunch of ill-equipped American high school students who bravely repulse a Soviet invasion of their small Colorado town, using savage guerrilla warfare tactics while screaming and spray-painting "Wolverines" everywhere they go (because apparently having pride in your high school athletics program is the only thing that will carry you through when your nation is under attack. There is literally nothing else that will bind people together as effectively as that.)

Errrh ... wait a second. I might have that wrong.

So this ragtag band of idiots is doing whatever it is that idiots do one day when --SUDDENLY-- a bunch of Soviet paratroopers start jumping out of planes and descending on their town, indiscriminately murdering people. Realizing something dangerous is afoot, the young whippersnappers fill a pickup truck with camping supplies and take off into the wilderness to, I don't know, maybe just wait it out or something.

Now, if you have any brains at all, you may find yourself wondering just why in all hell the Soviets chose Bumfuck, Colorado to launch their invasion of the US. Why waste all that time, personnel and ammo invading a tiny town in the middle of the country where the US military could quickly surround them and kill them all, ending the entire movie within about fifteen minutes?

Standard military strategy: start at a border and work your way inwards

Red Dawn military strategy seems foolish at first. OR MAYBE THEY KNOW SOMETHING WE DON'T.

The only possible explanation is that the Soviets managed to launch a surprise invasion of EVERY CITY IN AMERICA AT THE EXACT SAME TIME!!! Now, I know this sounds like a complicated task, but it's totally possible, and here's how:

You see, according to Google, there are just under 20,000 incorporated cities in America, and at the time Red Dawn came out, we had a population of about 235 million people. At that same time, the Soviet Union had a population of just under 275 million. Based on the ratio of troops-to-civilians that it took to subdue the fictional town of Calumet, Colorado, I ran some numbers on the back of this Subway napkin and it seems like the Soviets could absolutely have invaded and taken over the entire United States with only, like, 50-60% of their total population helping out.

It looks like most of the invaders in Calumet were young men between the ages of 18-40, so I guess they sent all the children and old people to invade pushover cities like New York and Los Angeles -- you know, cities that don't have any pride in their local high school sports programs.

Once the Soviets murder their way to the top in Calumet, they proceed to put all the adult men into a gulag (because THAT'S WHAT SOVIETS DO). The ragtag band of idiot kids then sneaks back into town one day to see how things are going, and they quickly realize that yo, sh*t be WACK! Those Soviets are not very nice! So they do what any small-town high school students with absolutely no military training or experience with violence would do: they start blowing shit up and killing Soviets.

At a certain point, I simply could not watch this stupid crap anymore -- not even for the sake of my beloved readers. I can only assume that the movie ended with these Wolverines liberating all 20,000 American towns one by one, armed with nothing but a little cold-blooded ingenuity and a whole lot of pride in the local football team.

Go local sports team!!!

Garbage. Absolute garbage.

Monday, January 28, 2013

How to Lose an Argument PART 2: More logical fallacies demonstrated with idiotically inane examples

Welcome back for the second half of the Logical Fallacies series designed to help you point out how other people are wrong/stupid. If we're going to have to argue serious topics with people, we might as well argue them intelligently. 

You may recall that in Part 1, we learned about the Red Herring, the Straw Man, and the Appeal to Ridicule. Today, we conclude our lesson with the Ad Hominem fallacy, the False Dilemma, and the Slippery Slope.

The Ad Hominem Fallacy

Ad Hominem is an old favorite in political arguments. With this one, you don't argue against someone's actual viewpoint, but rather just tie that viewpoint to someone who is batshit insane and call it a day. Obviously, if someone who is as crazy as Ye Olde Nutjob subscribes to a certain viewpoint, then the viewpoint itself must be wrong. Obviously. OBVIOUSLY.

For example, let's say you have one of those friends who isn't just a vegetarian, but is an asshole missionary vegetarian who rolls her eyes every time you order something with meat in it and likes to regale you with disgusting stories about chickens being de-beaked right as you take your first bite.

There are plenty of ways to shut your "friend" up: you could duct tape her to a chair with a ball gag in her mouth;

Oh what, your TOFU couldn't get you out of this one?!

Because ... a steak could ... totally rescue a tied-up guy.

Errrh ... yes.

You could embark on an elaborate, years-long strategy to trick her into eating meat and then humiliate her with this information on some sort of large stage in front of a bunch of vegetarians who will never forgive her;

Or, you could take the easy way out and go with the Ad Hominem strategy:

Here's what a great pros and cons list of vegetarianism looks like:

Well ... you can't argue with that. The facts speak for themselves. HITLER.

So basically, Ad Hominem is annoying as hell and completely ineffective, but like the Appeal to Ridicule, it's really hard to respond to. I guess we should just all come up with counterexamples to keep at the ready at all times.

Okay maybe that won't really help after all. Sigh.

The False Dilemma

The False Dilemma is a pretty obvious: you act like there are only two possible options to choose from in a situation, and oh, ONE OF THEM IS COMPLETELY F**KING INSANE.

NO, CHRIS, YOU CAN'T JUST "n-n-n-not let any animals out."


The problem with the False Dilemma is that it ridiculously oversimplifies complex situations and forces people to choose one or the other of two extreme options. Either you support an assault weapons ban, or you believe that all insane people ought to be issued AK-47s. Either you're against stricter gun control, or you believe the government should go door-to-door collecting everyone's guns. THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND.

Except that, y'know, THERE IS. And nobody will ever be able to successfully resolve any dispute if they act like the only possible options are 1 - you agree with my position, or 2 - you hate America/freedom/children/civilized society.

NO BUTS, RAMBO. We are all keenly aware of your feelings on America, freedom, children, and civilized society.

The Slippery Slope

The Slippery Slope fallacy basically insists that every action you take can and will eventually lead to the apocalypse, through a chain reaction of events that will result in a science fiction dystopian future where humans are grown in jars, the government knows your thoughts, and also, alien mind control is a thing. The 'arguer' (using the term loosely) will lay out a series of events that will quickly follow your Action A, creating a "slippery slope" on the way to doom and destruction.


The idiocy if this kind of reasoning is immediately obvious, though. In the real world, sometimes you give a mouse a cookie and -- SHOCK -- he just thanks you and moves on. There is absolutely nothing 'inevitable' about the events the Slippery Slope perpetrator lays out, much as they'd like you to believe there is. Some stricter limits on gun ownership aren't automatically going to lead to a Big Brother-style police state ... and guess what, neither would armed guards at schools. 

If you want to argue about something, argue about the thing itself, and not about some future iteration of it that exists only in the nightmare world of your own head -- a land where horrible snake-butterfly hybrids have forced mankind into servitude while the dog-people slowly plan a coup that will restore them to the greatness they knew in the 2030's and 2040's.

Haha you didn't think the "armed snakerfly" picture would only appear once in this blog, did you???

I expected the dog-man picture to turn out badly, but this level of failure was a surprise even to me.

And dude, seriously? What the f**k is the matter with you? Your head is a scary goddamned place.