Archive for January, 2009

Great Moments in Saturday Morning Cartoons
29 January, 2009

After some of the most popular movies made in the late 80s and 90s, it was inevitable that a batman cartoon would be made. What people didn’t expect was that it’d be so bloody good. Bruce Timm decided to make a cartoon that captured the essence of the comic and movies, as opposed to a saturday morning cartoon that just used the characters from the comics (like superfriends did. Dear God, I hated that show).
This is actually quite a surprising thing, because the comics and movies were violent, and dark, and gritty. Admittedly, it wasn’t violent, dark and gritty like an show for adults, but it was for kids, and its style and substance was in stark contrast to every other show out there. Batman: The Animated Series was the first Saturday Morning Cartoon made in the US in 20 years to have guns in it. Actual guns. That’s how far from the days of Yosemite Sam banging off his pistols in every Looney Tunes episode US cartoons had come.
It was also the first cartoon to have a character shot in as much time as well.
It was a hit. It started the DC Animated Universe, leading to Superman and JLA, not to mention a whole bunch of other Batman cartoons, and is still, today, the benchmark by which all superhero, nay, action cartoons are based.


Two Jokes About Cows
27 January, 2009

Q: How do you hide a cow?
A: With Cow-Moo-Flage

Cow 1: This Mad Cow Disease thing’s pretty scary.
Cow 2: Doesn’t worry me. I’m a duck.

Great Moments in Saturday Morning Cartoons
25 January, 2009

Star Blazers (AKA Space Battleship Yamato) was the first Japanese soap opera epic to make its way into Saturday Morning Cartoon programming. What Star Blazers, and its spiritual successor Macross brought was long storylines, complex characters, desperate situations and well rounded bad guys.

Oh, and the Wave Motion Gun, which is, in my opinion, one of the greatest sci fi ideas ever: a gun so powerful that it shuts down the space ship’s defenses for short time after use, making it a risky strategy whenever it’s used. A great storytelling element b/c its mere use was always going to be a desperate gambit, and thus, it heightened the tension of the climax every episode it was used. Nail biting stuff.

Goodbye Bush
22 January, 2009

I’m not one to talk about American Politics that much, but I will say this; Evil or not, I’m gonna miss seeing Dana Perino in my news.

Right, time for a Joke
19 January, 2009

Man: “Doctor Doctor, my bum hurts”

Doctor:  “Right, take off your pants, bend over, let’s have a look at it.”

Man: (does so)

Doctor: “My God!”

Man: “What is it?”

Doctor: “There’s a rolled up $20 note sticking out of your bum!”

Man: “What?”

Doctor: “You heard me.  Do you want me to pull it out?”

Man: “Yes!”

Doctor: (does so) “My god!”

Man: “What?”

Doctor: “There’s another one!  A tenner this time!”

Man: “Well pull it out!”

(and so on they go, tens, twenties, the odd fifty, until they eventually stop.”

Doctor: “That’s the lot of em.”

Man: “How much is there?”

Doctor: (counts them up)  “looks like $1995.00.”

Man: “That’d be right.  I wasnt feeling two grand.”

QIYUF # 4: Semantic Shift
18 January, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Quite Interesting Yet Useless Fact.

Semantic Shift is where a word’s meaning changes over time.  They move, expand, contract, etc, some can mean the complete opposite to what they originally were.  Not that this is a quick thing.  It generally takes a few millenium.

For example, the word Hound now refers to a few breeds of dog, but originally, it referred to any four legged animal.  Conversely, Dog was a type of dog, but over time, it came to mean the entire breed.  Weird huh.

The word Black and the french word ‘Blanc’ meaning white, were originally the same word, but over time, in English, it went from meaning ‘white’ to ‘white like sunlight’ to ‘sunlight’ to ‘sun’ to ‘flame’ to ‘burnt flame’ to ‘charred’ to ‘charred black’ to eventually ‘black’.  Or the other way around; I honestly can’t remember.

It’s sometimes quicker though.  The word gay has taken an unfortunate turn in about 3 generations.  Our grandparents knew it to mean ‘happy,’ our parents knew it to mean ‘homosexual,’ and while that meaning still couns, our generation also use it to mean ‘bad.’

So in about three generations, it’s gone from happy to bad.  That was quick.

Pop Quiz:  Link the phrase to the correct meaning.

1: “He looks so gay today.”                                                A:  “He looks like a homosexual today.”

2: “He looks so gay today.”                                                B: “He looks so bad today.”

3: “He looks so gay today.”                                                C:  “He looks so happy today.”

On Freedom
15 January, 2009

Part 3 of why good things aren’t that great (see part 1 and 2 on human rights and democracy) is about Freedom.

Ah freedom, how beautiful a thing you isn’t.

Freedom isn’t an inherently good thing.  It is only a good thing after a lot of qualifications, restrictions, and clarifications are made.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  Freedom for me to do whatever I want whenever I want free from consequences is a good thing, but something tells me you people out there would disagree (with the possible exception of my mum).

So we have this whole convoluted system of morals based on the idea that expanding personal freedoms is a good thing.  It essentially boils down to two types of freedom; ‘Freedom Froms’ and ‘Freedom Tos’.

‘Freedom To’ is easy ‘Freedom to do whatever you want.’

Freedom from is a whole list of things that people don’t like being done to them; Freedom from fear, oppression, torture, prosecution, etc

And all these ‘Freedom Froms’ do is limit other people’s ‘Freedom Tos.’

So before we’re allowed to run off and do whatever we want, we’ve gotta make a list of things we’re not allowed to do, which, in all honesty doesnt sound much like freedom.

The thing is, the list of Freedom froms is set up to stop people from doing bad things.  This is a problem, because ‘bad’ is a loaded concept.  It’s a subjective thing that differs from one person to another, one group to another, one country to another.  The idea of hunting foxes in Australia is encouraged and paid for by the Australian Government.  In the UK, terrorist groups sabotage hunts and threaten hunters…and that’s not to bring up things like gender equality, sexuality, right to life, etc.

The word Freedom is used as a pretense to get other people to be nice, which is a good idea if it wasnt for the fact that the whole concept of freedom is supposed to be moral free.  It supposed to be about making sure people can make up their own minds about their own life, and live it on their own terms, but ends up being about making sure people aren’t dicks to each other.

Not that that’s a bad thing, but for christ’s sake, don’t dress it up in freedom, just call it what it is, ‘stopping people from doing bad things to each other.’

13 January, 2009

Documentaries about the history of mundane things are fascinating.

A history of Clothes.

A history of Alcohol.

A history of Blood.

A history of sowing machines.

Fascinating things.  The reason is simple, none of them are so political as to warrant someone glorifying their history for their own ends.  The histories of countries, ideologies, celebrities, politicians, wars, etc are either glorifyingly unquestioning or scandalously questionable, but no one cares about the history of beer, or the history of fridges enough to hide the good bits and put them next to the important bits in a way that shows WHY THINGS ARE AS THEY ARE, because that’s the whole point of a historical documentary.

Political Theory
8 January, 2009

Libertarians scare me more than Fascists. At least a paranoid police state cares about what you say and do.

My Most Recent Date
6 January, 2009

ME: “So yeah, since I’ve started my current job, I feel my vocab has just dropped through the floor. I feel less…less…”
HER: Erudite?
ME: What the hell does Erudite mean?!? I mean, yeah, Erudite, Verbose, Eloquent, them words.