Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Video Free For All!

Happy weekend, chitlins!  Thought I would share a video I wrote and directed for our team over at Better Ads this week.  If you look closely you just might see me as well. 

We had a lot of fun making this, and wish a big thanks to Kara McNally and Kelli Jordan for joining our team this week.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Your Tablet from Better Ads

Are you as tired of the ridiculous commercials you see on TV as the guys at Better Ads are?  Then you'll enjoy their take on the advertising world in their premier spot "Your Tablet."  Their production team has assured me they will continue to release new ads as often as possible on their youtube channel.  And considering how much we love to skewer the real world here at Great Scott!, we couldn't be happier to see content like this being produced.

The video was conceived by and features the talented Andrew Shaw.  The cast is rounded out by Jon Olmstead and your editor in chief, Great Scott!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Has Dog Bullying Gone Too Far?

It started over a decade ago when Will Ferrell, comedian and actor on Saturday Night Live, created a commercial that promoted dog bullying.  Though it was initially intended as a joke, the movement has caught fire in recent years.  Dogs are the subject of more ridicule than they have ever been, and even the most amateur bully-cum-photographers are taking jabs at their own pets in an effort to hop on the bandwagon.  Images like the one featured above are all but commonplace today as sites like Dog ShamingDog-Shame, and the Dog Shaming Tumblr site exist purely to bully the animals we claim to love.  And it doesn't stop there.  Countless lists have popped up online as well, culling the "best of" dog shaming and putting it in one convenient place so that even the most passive bullies can fuel their hate.  All this content has many folks wondering if dog bullying has gone too far.

In order to better understand the motivation behind dog bullying, we reached out to the Los Angeles chapter of the ASPCA for more information.  The ASPCA was created in 1866 to help rescue pets from abusive situations and rehabilitate them so they can reenter the world as functioning members of society.  Seeing-eye, police, fire, and bomb sniffing are just a few of the careers rehabilitated dogs can pursue to integrate themselves back into the world once they have completed their ASPCA training.  But as the dog population rises those jobs have become more competitive over the years.  Today more and more dogs are simply being adopted by families so that they can live out their years in plain fashion: loosely protecting a single-family home from mailmen, garbage men and other dogs.  So then why are they being bullied?

It stems from the fact that the dog has lost their sense of purpose. They get bored.  Their families (the ASPCA does not like the term "owners" for obvious liberal-guilt related reasons) leave them home alone all day and then are shocked to find things in disarray when they return.  So they bully them under the auspices that it will help curb that behavior.  But that's no way to get results.  

"If a child was treated this way, you can bet Oprah would have done something about it by now.  But because it's a dog, most people tend to look the other way," commented ASPCA president Melanie Starflower from her dog ranch in Topanga Canyon.  "But dogs can't speak up for themselves.  They can only make that sad face they make.  You know the one.  It's so fucking manipulative.  And really that doesn't even work on people until you play some Sarah McLachlan music over it anyway.  Plain and simple: bullying requires a group mentality.  In this case it's a different species that's the bully.  And though there is normally one leader, or alpha bully, they tend to sway the opinions of those around them until eventually everyone is bullying.  And then we're right back where we started with less people on our side."

Many of these so-called "angels" who take these dogs into their homes to provide them with a better life end up doing just the opposite.  They shame their animals for not behaving like humans, a notion that seems quite absurd if you break it down.  They chastise them for actions they have little control over, their "animal instincts" as it were, then make them the subject of public displays of bullying. Now with the advent of technology bullies are able to document and share their bullying over social media more easily than ever, sometimes garnering the attention of millions of people in the process.  It's a disturbing trend.  One that needs to stop before things go any further.

"I mean, what's next?  You know?" Melanie wondered.  "Some sort of dog internment camps where bad behavior is 'trained' out of them? Do you hear how ridiculous that sounds?  Training a dog to not pee in your house or eat your shoes?  Why don't we just domesticate the elephant while we're at it?  Then we can teach spiders to drive cars and invite hammerhead sharks over for Thanksgiving dinner."

Though she flew off course quickly, Starflower has a point: we live in a progressive world today where behavior like this should not be allowed to flourish as it has.  So if you or anyone you know is a dog bully, direct them to the ASPCA commercial with all the sadness in it* and help them change their ways.  Life doesn't have to be so ruff for these loving creatures.  Together we can build a better world. 

*Literally any ASPCA commercial.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Biogenesis Rabbit Hole Goes Deeper as Players Attempt to Speed Evolution

Well, Major League Baseball, you've done it again: you've managed to rebuild your credibility only to completely obliterate it less than a decade later.  The phrase "Hulk SMASH!" comes to mind when I think of the most recent debacle to plague the already ailing professional sport, though I'm not even sure that does it justice.  And just when we thought things couldn't get any worse for the league publicity-wise, new information begins to make its way to the press today that sheds light on just how much player "enhancement" has actually occurred.  The information proves startling at best and raises many ethical questions that reach far further than the confines of the game.

Brother of Kid.  Or was it Play?
What we knew up to this point was that several players in the league were using performance enhancing drugs to improve their strength and endurance on the field.  These were provided to them by a now-defunct company called Biogenesis (or perhaps through one of their certified intermediaries).  The Florida-based clinic, initially known as an anti-aging facility for leathery-skinned grandparents, had grown into a full-scale weight loss and hormone replacement therapy center.  Naturally, as science and medicine improved, the clinic was able to develop several other products and services to support their generally vague mission statement and continue to generate revenue.  Couple that with mankind's obsession with greed and success, add in MLB's looser-than-a-two-dollar-whore drug testing policy, and you get a waiting room full of professional athletes filing anonymous paperwork so they can reverse the aging process and sign that hundred million dollar deal.  Makes enough sense, right?

Tongue numbness is a common side effect of being an idiot
Until this week it did.  On Monday, Brewers star Ryan Braun received a 3.5 million dollar fine and a 65-game suspension that effectively ends his season for his involvement with the clinic.  A-Rod is sure to follow next, and many experts agree his suspension will be even longer and could carry even greater financial penalties*.  To top that off, there's the 20-some-odd players that have yet to be named that could suffer a similar fate.  You can bet it will be as stern a ruling as those passed on to Braun and Rodriguez.  Though most fans agree that they are pleased to see the league cleaning house, some are left wondering if there isn't more work left to be done.  After all, with how rapidly science is progressing, there aren't even ways to test for new enhancements, let alone to name those who are using them.

This day and age, cheating, or "performance enhancement" scandals are all but commonplace in professional sports, from Lance Armstrong's recent colossal embarrassment to whatever the flavor of the week may be.  But what is most shocking about Biogenesis is just how much further they planned to delve into cheating as not just an enhancement, but a completely new way of life.  Given enough time and coupled with the continual loosening of the reins by Major League Baseball, you can bet that the game would have gone so far down this road that purists like myself wouldn't even recognize it anymore.  Biogenesis was a pioneer in the field of body magic, second only to the good folks behind HGH, and Great Scott was lucky enough to obtain a rendering of their final unrealized concept.  Biogenesis called it "Mechanized Human Integration," a concept that combined stem cell genetic therapy with advanced robotics (see figure 7).

Figure 7, Biogenesis' unfinished symphony
"The idea was to create a non-violent Robocop," quipped Seth Green, legal counsel for Biogenesis and no, not that Seth Green.  "A seamless integration of organic organism and robot intelligence combining the best of man's natural abilities with the calculable precision of robotics, optics, and preset programming."  When he was reminded that Robocop was not violent, rather he was programmed to his operator's preset controls, Green seemed enthusiastic.  "Even more apropos in today's world.  Take a chicken for example: some eggs are good and some are bad.  But what if there was some sort of Robot Chicken?  One that had a sensor in it's butt that could tell you if an egg would be good or bad before it was laid?  Wouldn't we be obligated, as a society, to enhance our own lives with this knowledge?  Or should we continue to live in the stone age?"

Is this what baseball will look like in 2020?
Though many progressives out there say yes and then no, fans of the sport worry that too many changes could lead to a different dynamic at the stadium.  "First we let them get Lasik, then we allowed them to take Advil for headaches.  What's next?  Some sort of needle injected drug that makes you bigger and stronger?" one fan wondered.  Plain and simple: yes.  And until the day that robotic implants become the norm^, players will have to stick with bluetooth, google glass, and needle drugs to reach the pinnacle of performance.  Or they could just work out hard and use the gifts they were naturally bestowed with, like the rest of us.

*Rumored to be something in the vicinity of infinity billion dollars.
^Predicted to be sometime around 2047.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Battleship Prompts Other Board Game Adaptations

If you're as excited as we are about the new Battleship movie, you'll be pleased to know that Hollywood has taken note.  In the past six months the entertainment industry has been clamoring for any content that could share the same success that the toy company Hasbro has enjoyed in recent years.  If you're unfamiliar with Hasbro, look no further than the successful Transformers franchise.  Hasbro launched it as a toy, adapted it into a movie franchise, and then launched new toys to support those films.  In short: they are printing their own money and the inflation rate appears to be zero.  To date there are 4 Transformers movies (if we count the cartoon) and a seemingly unlimited number could follow*.  With that in mind, a few of the burgeoning off-shoot projects have started trickling out to the press.  Here's some of the most interesting projects we've become aware of:

Matel has launched a talent agency and signed Polly Pocket as their first A-list client.  We hear it's a seven year agreement at a mind-blowing 5% commission as opposed to the 10% that is standard payout for most actors.  The hope is to partner with Disney/Pixar to launch a franchise of Polly Pocket films.  We hear a script for the first installment is in the works and could be in production as early as September.  Naturally, Michael Bay is attached to direct.  We also hear that Matel has resurrected the toy company Worlds of Wonder and with it their best-selling Teddy Ruxpin who is fresh out of a stint at Promises Rehabilitation Facility in Malibu, California. 

Tyler Perry and his production company Tyler Perry Studios has purchased the rights to Guess Who? (The Mystery Face Game) from the Milton Bradley Company.  He plans to adapt the game into a murder mystery, though says any comparisons to the game and movie Clue are completely coincidental.  He also promises for a much more diverse cast in his version of the game story, having already attached Sidney Poitier to star.  When critics asked if that wouldn't defeat the purpose of the game movie (in the game you and a opponent trade questions based solely on physical appearance), Perry responded by saying that it was clear that the critics were superficial and probably racist.  Many of the critics agreed with his assessment but also cited that had nothing to do with what they were talking about. 

Milton Bradley also made another pair of sales officially cementing their place as the number two^ toy/movie company in the entertainment business today.  The first is a live-action adaptation of the popular board game Mall Madness.  What was once the mall with it all will now be the movie with it all.  John Travolta and Tom Cruise are set to star as a pair of girlfriends who get locked in a mall over night.  In order to escape the zombies security guard they have to visit seven stores and collect a variety of items.  Kevin James will reprise his role as Paul Blart in a terrible cross-over attempt that would even make the executives behind T.G.I.F cringe.  As to whether the actors will be in drag, Travolta commented that it actually takes him longer to, "get dressed like you men do."  Cruise could not be reached-around for comment.

Mouse Trap, the second of Milton-Bradley's sales, will prove to be a bit more difficult despite it selling for a steep price tag.  The script with "the most difficult set-up ever" will be written by Charlie Kauffman.  We hear George Clooney's Section Eight Production Company is attached to produce the film, though Clooney will not direct.  Michael Bay will.  We also hear that the team behind Wipe Out could be contributing the vast majority of the set, although this is all based on the assumption that Kaufman will take a literal interpretation of the material.  No release date has been set, but should the rumors be true that Universal Studios is co-financing the film you can expect a Mouse Trap ride to launch the weekend the film opens as well.

Whether or not these films will be commercially successful is hard to say.  If Hasbro's previous success is any indication, I'd say that Dec 21, 2012 end-of-the-world-thing is pretty spot on. 

*I fainted after writing this sentence.
^Yes.  That number two.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Linsanity Epidemic Prompts Vaccine Development

It's been called Linsanity, the Asian Crazies and Yellow Fever.  It's effects, however, are a bit harder to determine.  To this date no one can seem to figure out what type of virus it is, nor how many people it could infect.  All we know right now is that it came from a single carrier whose incubation period could have been more public: Jeremy Lin, a back up point guard with the New York Knickerbocker franchise in the National Basketball Association (or NBA as some refer to it).  In the eight weeks since his diagnosis thousands of New Yorkers have come into contact with the athlete, many of which became infected themselves.  The outbreak has become so widespread that authorities at the Center for Disease Control fear it may infect 1 in 5 American citizens (and presumably countless more from other countries). The race to create a vaccine is on and many allied nations have offered their help to curb what could be the worst worldwide outbreak in recorded history. 

To this date the problem still stands.  Eight weeks have passed and still there is no vaccine to speak of.  Many predict that if Lin doesn't carry the Knickerbockers to a NBA championship the disease may be eradicated organically, but authorities can't afford to take that chance.  With that in mind, they are asking everyone in this fair and fine country to do what they can to help.  If you see someone who is suffering from Linsanity, report it to the authorities.  Many police precincts will be set up with specialists that will help diagnose those carrying the disease.  They can also help educate you and your loved ones about the disease and what to expect when if you're infected.

If you're unfamiliar with the disease, take time to learn about it's effects.  The easiest way to do that is to watch Jeremy Lin on television (Authorities at this point are advising against watching him play in person for fear that it could lead to unnecessary exposure to the disease).  But if you don't find yourself with enough time to catch a game, keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs:

Blue tongue / Cold breath / Ice in hair
Bleeding from brain / Lack of boogers

Unprovoked fits of anger / Fart face

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Chevron Unveils Plans To Take Over Earth

Peak oil is a concept that has many experts in the automobile industry shaking in their boots.  The notion that we may have found all the oil there is to find has many companies searching for sustainable alternatives in order to stay in business.  Some have gravitated towards corn ethanol, others to electricity and natural gas, and even fuel cell technology which uses distilled water to create hydrogen propulsion.  Still, at this point, with all the hybrids and electric cars on the road, nothing has provided the solution that improves the world of the future.  That is until today, when Chevron announced they would start developing the most alternative of alternative fuel sources: human energy.

It's a fascinating concept, though hardly believable.  Many who are familiar with it liken it to science fiction, if only in part because they're not entirely sure how to wrap their heads around it.  In short, Chevron plans to take human beings and make them the fuel that drives civilization forward.  From a philosophical stand point, it's a beautiful notion: humans bonding with one another to propel our planet to an age where emissions are reduced to zero and heaven on earth actually exists.  But the truth of the matter is much more grim.

Have you ever seen one of those awful Peta videos that makes you never want to eat meat again?  Well we haven't because they freak us out and we like our meat.  But it's the same concept.  Chevron imagines a world where humans are sent up a giant treadmill and into a processing sluice.  From there our best parts will be disassembled from our bodies and used as fuel for future cars, homes, planes, and 'other things that require a lot of fuel like an alien spaceship'.

"The best part is," said Chevron's new CEO Blargok Gorgol during a phone interview this morning, "we'll use people who have just died so we'll be eliminating a lot of waste from Magnar 7-- I mean Earth.  Yes, that's it, Earth.  We're completing the cycle of life as you puny humans know it to be, returning the body to the ground so that it may be harvested once more."  As if that wasn't enough cause for alarm, Gorgol was quick to elaborate.  "We would only use those that died of natural causes of course...cancer, old age, photon laser guns, you know, the usual stuff." 

Though the technology will take approximately 20 years for scientists at Chevron to catch up with, they assured their investors that it's worth the initial captial.  "The bottom line is, money will be irrelevant when I rule earth.  So spend as much as you can now," Gorgol added before hanging up the phone.  The announcement has already sent oil behemoth British Petroleum into a frenzy, as many wonder if they'll be able to keep up in the years ahead before Earth's eventual demise.  If the stock market is any indication, it will be tough.  Chevron saw a 20% upswing in the value of it's shares by closing bell today.