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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Amidst Economic Woes, Hobosexual Population On The Rise

Recessions are bad news, even for the rich.  As our country slips deeper and deeper into the red, several movements have emerged as a means of non-violent protest to the situation at hand.  The now-worldwide Occupy protests, Anonymous and the Wikileaks/first amendment debate, national switch banks day, the list goes on and on.  But there's one sect of our population that has swelled with each tenth of a percentage point the national unemployment rate has risen: the homeless.  And with so many Americans determining their lives would be improved if they left their homes and possessions behind for a nomadic life of uncertainty, many are starting to wonder if the Hobo Movement is actually gaining legitimate traction.  Now, with the hobo population at its highest in recorded U.S. history bigger questions are being asked.  What does this mean for future generations of hobos?  With so many hobos meeting each other and, in turn, potentially finding a mate, should they be allowed to marry?  Or is hobosexuality just a passing fad like Pogs or affirmative action?

The debate proves difficult to assess, though the lines have already clearly been drawn.  On the one side, people for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness regardless of race, gender or sexual preference, think that the hobosexuals, or "bindlers" as they are derogatorily referred to, should be allowed to do as they please.  "They aren't hurting anyone," Richard Simmons, long time hobosexual rights activist and fitness guru said to the press Monday.  "What?  So their clothes smell, they urinate in public, and they leave trash everywhere.  How is that any different to what each of us do on a regular basis?"  A valid contention that still leaves room for interpretation, especially when one considers the good things the hobosexual population do for the rest of us: digging through dumpsters to recycle the items we lazily throw away, eating the food off the ground that we don't finish, getting so tan and leathery that they could be made into 1000 wallets.  These are the kinds of things that we home-o-sexuals (that's people with homes) take for granted.  And were we ever to lose the hobosexual population, the fallout would surely be felt nationwide. 

Still, there's many on the other side who feel quite differently.  "Let's think about hobosexuals for a moment," M.I.T. Political Science Department Chair Augustus Kleefen pondered while eating a foot long hoagie with no tomatoes.  "They don't pay taxes, they don't submit their data to the census bureau, they ignore crosswalk signs, many of them look as if they'd be happier if they were dead; or worse- if we were dead."  A bit of hyperbole, but many seem to agree.  After all, if two hobosexuals were to marry, would they file a joint tax return?  "They wouldn't file any return," Kleefen quipped.  "Cause they're hobos.  What are they going to claim as their earnings?  6 buttons and a Care Bears sleeping bag they found in a gutter?  You know what I mean?"  Many don't know what he means, but that's never really mattered in America.  

And after all, with so much other crap going on in the world, the debate as to if two people who love each other should be allowed to get married seems moot to say the least.  The real concern is if those hobos want to adopt.  Then we've got some real problems to address.  In the meantime, awareness of the hobosexual cause has landed front and center as the "it" social debate in America today, perhaps a scapegoat for the burgeoning financial state of the world, or perhaps because a debate about freedom and sexual equality is as old as eating wax beans out of a tin can over a oil drum fire.

Monday, October 17, 2011

NBC Ahead Of Pack With Short Series Orders

There was a time when many entertainment insiders considered BBC the "it" network when it came to series orders and programming decisions.  Establishing their own convention in a world where "new" is frightening and scary, many of their recent series' are limited to 6-8 episodes per season (assuming there is even a second season in the minds of the creators), further cementing a great disparity between themselves and virtually every American TV network.  This worked two-fold for the British outfit: first and foremost, seasons were short enough that audiences could easily catch every episode without feeling out of the loop; and secondly, it created a great word-of-mouth buzz, as non-viewers had a whole year to play catch up if they missed it the first time around (and conversely, BBC had an extra 46 weeks to rerun episodes from that season).

Now, however, it seems that America is finally taking a cue (or is it queue?) from our mother nation.  The frontrunner, NBC, has made the BBC's mantra their own in recent years creating several shows that complete their season (and many times series) run in 6 episodes- or less!  And though this marketing tactic was never explained to American viewers (who often wonder after just 6 episodes where their favorite new show has gone), NBC forges ahead developing a dozen plus shows every year and then BBC-ing their order without a moment's notice.

100 Questions, The Cape, Kings, Trauma, The Listener...the list goes on and on.  And yet, many of these shows were just getting their legs when they got BBC'd.  Taking this mini-series mind set a step further, NBC has ended the first season of The Playboy Club and Free Agents after just 3 episodes.  The internet is already ablaze with speculation about the fate of the melodrama.  What will happen in season 2?  Will we meet the whole cast finally?  Will the story make any sense at all ever?  And what about that dead guy in the stockroom that the bunny killed, huh?  Talk about a cliff hanger!  We need some closure!  Season 2 can't come soon enough!

Die hard TV fans recognize that many of these short season shows were just too good to bring back making their one "season" their first and last.  It's a tough decision to make at the network level, but when faced with a tough decision, most execs would do the same: preserve the show's integrity by ending it early instead of trying to do 8 episodes in a year and watching the story suffer.  And though NBC isn't the only network faced with these life or death situations each year, they certainly have had an edge.  And until today nobody ever knew exactly why.  Now, with NBC permanently shifting to a 3-episodes-per-season/series for virtually all of their shows, the facts are finally starting to trickle out.

Take The Jake Effect, for example.  In 2003, NBC shot six episodes of this series starring Jason Bateman, Kyle Gass, an Greg Grunberg, but decided it was just too good to ever air.  "Audiences weren't and still aren't ready for this show.  The chemistry was too perfect, the stories too gripping.  It would be irresponsible to air this show given the fragile state of the world today," said one NBC exec who agreed to speak under the condition of anonymity.  So they shelved the show permanently creating a mysticism about the project that is unparalleled by any other TV show in the history of the medium.  And though there are still some ways to watch bits and pieces of the series online, you can bet the show will never actually be aired, as NBC wouldn't want to risk losing the allure of what could have been, a trend they seem to be sticking to.

So what comes next for this network and television in general?  If we're lucky series orders will be shortened to 1 episode, max.  Ratings will become irrelevant (sorry, even more irrelevant), your DVR will malfunction as you try to set season passes on what they consider to be M.O.W.'s, and dedicated viewers like you folks out there will just have to keep up or quit trying. 

Welcome to the new golden age of TV!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

HGTV Cave House Sweepstakes

Are you a fan of minimalism and modern design?  Do you like natural elements like wood, stone, water and earth?  Would you like a free house designed by the all-star cast of "designers" from HGTV?  Have you been reading these rhetorical questions to yourself, each one progressively louder and more intense than the last?  Great!  Then you'll love the first annual HGTV Cave House giveaway! 

Yes, you shouted that correctly, folks.  For the first time ever, the good people at HGTV are offering a dream home that's designed to be so cutting edge you'd wonder if they didn't just find a cave, zone it residential, and call it a house.  But that's not what they did; they promise!  They really designed and built a cave.  And it has all the design features and amenities that HGTV viewers have come to love.  A modern bathroom, a pool, spectacular views.  It's all there.  And now is your chance to win it for free.

Still not convinced?  How do buzz word like "granite," "repurposed natural hardwood," "stone," and "green construction" sound?  Does it sound good enough to be what you want since everyone else appears to want it too?  Do you feel yourself slowly starting to lose your identity?  Cause it's happening!  Not to fear, though, future contestant!  HGTV is here to rescue you. 

Enjoy these pictures from the exclusive first tour taken inside the HGTV 2011 Cave House.  And make sure you head over to HGTV today and enter for your chance to win it today!  (Don't see the contest on the website?  Email HGTV and demand they bring back the 2011 Cave House!  They'll probably give you some nonsense about how it isn't real, but that's just because they want to keep it for themselves!)


Living Room (note: not to scale)
Built-in Pipe Organ
Indoor/Outdoor Pool
Window off kitchen
Original art by Ungah (the caveman)
Stairs to 2nd floor
Master Suite w/ built in sink(hole)
Master Bathroom/Shower
Original mural in bedroom by the host of HGTV's "Color Splash" David Bromstad
Spacious back yard

Though the house isn't for sale, it was appraised at 1.2 kagillion smackeroos!  We're not sure what that means, but we've already converted all our assests to smackeroos assuming the new form of currency has more value than the dollar.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Great Scott! Abroad: The Youth in Asia

Recently our editor had a chance to travel to China where he got to the bottom of an age old myth and dispelled a few others.

I'm not Chinese, nor do I play jokes.  So chances are I'll never put urine in your soda.  But do they actually do that in China?  The whole pee pee in the coke thing?  Is it a popular prank amongst youths?  And what about all the other falsities and generalizations we've made about our far eastern western neighbors over the years?  Are any of them true?  Or are they just some of the many stereotypes that the US has become known for?  The answer isn't a simple one, but in short: no, no, hmm, some, probably.

Coke is everywhere in China, as it is in most of the rest of the world (or so we're told).  But the chances of finding any pee pee in your beverage is slim to none (it's much harder to hide in Sprite).  Still, to be on the safe side, make sure you're the one opening the can/bottle, or you see your waiter pour it with your own eyes.  The greatest irony is that if your Coke is served with ice, there's a good chance you'll get sick anyway, as our pathetic U.S. bodies can't handle the Chinese septic-twinged tap water.  Also, has anyone ever done an analysis of US drinking water/ice?  Chances are there's more pee in ours than theirs, especially after seeing what went on in the lovely Domino's Pizza video a few years back.

Pei Pei: definitely not in your Coke
Still, I proceeded to ask every waiter I encountered if my Coke had pee pee in it.  A few looked at me like I was crazy (I was speaking English, after all), but most of them thought I was referring to the self-proclaimed b-girl Pei Pei Yuan.  They assured me there was no chance an entire human could fit inside a soda can, but at the same time, they were impressed by my knowledge of obscure ex-pat performers.

Luckily I had an interpreter with me who spoke the language very well, but even that doesn't help when the Chinese misinterpret our language worse than we interpret theirs.  For example, one evening we went to a restaurant that offered egg rolls.  After several days in China, this was the first egg roll I had seen listed on a menu, so naturally, I wanted to try it.  My rationale being that if the U.S. interpretation of egg rolls were so delicious, than the Chinese- the original- must be out of this world, right?  Not even close.  Much to our surprise, our 11-fingered* waiter brought us what could only be the literal translation of egg roll:

It tasted as good as it looks.

Moments like these were too many to count, I learned.  Food seemed to be the greatest example of confusion, but that's not to say there weren't many other misnomers and malapropisms as well.  Like Tiananmen Square, for example, which is really more of a rectangle, and the Forbidden City, which is actually quite accessible. 

All in all though, China proved to be an amazing place.  I loved it long-time and I'm eager to go back.  The people there were both inquisitive and jovial, (in part because Big Brother is always watching them), and many locals I spoke to wanted to learn more about us (and U.S.).  I indulged them as best I could, but the majority of the conversations ended with them saying "you have a big belly" and laughing amongst their friends.

I like to think that makes me one step closer to Buddha than any of them will ever be.

*he had a second thumb on his right hand, but sadly I could not get a photo.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Facebook Launches Post-Mortem Site

In recent weeks, Mark Zuckerberg and the whole team at Facebook has been rolling out update after update, add-on after add-on.  The result?  Most users are unhappy and confused, some even hysterically pregnant.  But instead of listening to their millions of users as they gripe about the new Facebook Video Chat or how your private information seems to be shared with whatever site Facebook chooses, they continue pushing forward with new and innovative ideas.  

One of those new ideas was released earlier today amidst growing concern about parental presence on Facebook.  Why?  Let's be honest here, people: your mom is on facebook.  And maybe your dad is too, just to check out the ladies you keep in your harem friend list.  So there's nothing anyone can do about that at this point without seeming ageist.  But what about Grandma and Grandpa?  What happens if they open an account only to meet their maker shortly thereafter?  What happens to that account?  Where will the photos, the "likes" and the Bejeweled Blitz games go once Gammy's body is in the ground?

Initially, inactive or "dead" accounts as Facebook calls them, were simply deleted.  After all, what's the use of wasting valuable memory on Facebook's massive servers for people that can't even use the site?  But with Facebook's announcement today, that will all slowly start to change.  "Dead" accounts will now be moved to their new post-mortem sister-site Gravebook, and will forever be preserved at the deceased family's behest*.  While some annoying whistle-blowers are appalled by the roll-out, the vast majority of facebook users view the new site as a chance to keep their family legacy alive for generations to come.  Don Featherlumper is just one of the many in favor of the shift.

"My Grandpappy died last week and we can't afford to build a memorial library right now, so Gravebook seems like the next best thing.  Plus now I can still take Pappy's profile fishin', long as I got my wifi card with me." Indeed he can.  Plus, with Zuckerberg's innovative autonomous activity generator, still in it's beta stages, Gravebook will make it seem like your grandpa and grandma are very active in the after life.

"We all thought it would be kind of boring to just have these profiles up as a memorial.  After all, social networking is supposed to be just that: a chance for people to meet, mingle, and share common ideas.  But how can they do that when they're dead?" Zuckerberg said in a hand-written press release on a stained Applebees menu.  "Our new autonomous activity generator gives your grandparents that opportunity by synthesizing what your grandparents might actually be doing in the afterlife.  Living family members will be able to track the deceased's activity on Gravebook just like they do their own on Facebook."

Confusing?  Yes, but it's not without it's charm.  After all, with all of the information Facebook has stolen from every one of us about what we eat, where we live, where we shop, and what books, movies and music we're in to, the autonomous activity generator can create a very realistic and active after life.  Just make sure you set Grandpa's profile to "Roam the Earth" and let Gravebook do the rest. (Note: turn off the "eat brains" setting as well).

While this is just one of many new innovations that Facebook is saturating the market with in recent weeks, it's clear that there are some viable ideas here that can't be ignored.  Gravebook has already sold 1 million dollars in advertising^, and shows no signs of slowing.  So instead of getting a plaque or a fancy plot at your local grave when your elders shuffle off this mortal coil, let Gravebook do the work and let their final resting place be more active than they ever dreamed.

*Or until they all die too, whichever comes first.

^Most of these ads are for The Scooter Store or prominently feature Wilford Brimley.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Terrorists Raise Threat Level To Marinara

The federal government, amidst growing budget crises, moronic presidential candidates, and the general opinion that this country has officially hit the shitter turd-first, found another way to ruffle the feathers of it's citizens this week.  Citing a "reputable source who gave us free beer," the CIA alongside Homeland Security believe terrorist attacks may start to come in different incarnations than we've ever seen before.  The first of which made major headlines in recent weeks as we learned that bombs could be surgically implanted inside of terrorists.  But it's the second, and perhaps more substantial of the threats that has capitol hill shaking in their boots.

Imagine you're part of the forty-four percent of Americans that order delivery pizza at least once a month.  While that number is already startling in and of itself (and you really should start hitting the gym again, tubby), imagine if that pizza you ordered blew up in your face and got hot cheese all over your entire family^.  That's exactly what could happen, if you order the wrong pie.

"We're calling it threat level: marinara, and we've really never seen anything like it," FDA administrator Paul Fregalo admitted to Congress last week.  "Sleeper cell terrorists are taking jobs at Pizza Huts across the country and planting bombs inside stuffed crust pizzas.  It's insanity, the complexity of the plan.  We were lucky enough to catch the first bomb before it did any damage*, but we just don't have the resources to monitor every Pizza Hut in the country.  Eventually one will go off, and it's consequences could send a ripple through our 'bring me the food and chew it for me' society." 

And it's getting trickier by the day too.  Just weeks after a Pizza Hut hiring-spree where the company filled 20,000 jobs in just under a week, Pizza Hut Corp. is now being scrutinized for some of the employees they signed to managerial positions.  20% of them are Pakistani natives, another 15% Yemeni.  "What were we supposed to do?" CEO Peter "Pepperoni" Jones candidly responded to the press outside one of his many Dallas, Texas locations.  "They all have doctorates and PHd's and they show up on time.  Who wouldn't hire them over a pimply 20-year-old whose never been to a dentist?"

A valid point.  Still, many argue that this could cripple the pizza market leaving many inept mothers wondering how they'll feed their families.  And as stuffed crust pizza prices fall with the growing threat, you can count on some percentage of the population to risk it anyway just to save a few bucks.  After all, that's the country we live in now.  No, not a place where right and wrong are decided based on what's good for our people, but rather what's the cheapest way to solve the problem, and how can we get this done with a band-aid instead of stitches?

Until major sweeping changes are made, expect things to get a whole lot worse before they get better.  And we all know what that means: exploding calzones!

^ Which is like so hard to clean.
* The pizza in question?  A garlic chicken and cantaloupe pizza delivered to...where else?  A Domino's!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lebron James Joins WNBA In Search of Ring

Just when we thought the star of last year's "announcement" couldn't alienate himself from the sports world any further, the NBA Finals loser Lebron James has called yet another press conference to discuss what the next step in his career will be.  When he took the stage last Wednesday in the American Airlines Arena stew room, many fans wondered if the rumors they heard could possibly be true.  Would Lebron leave Miami for another city?  Maybe New York this go round?  Or would he trade in his cocky attitude and apologize for belittling the team that wiped their butts with his face the week before during the NBA finals, finally showing some of that humility the press kept begging for?  In true Lebron fashion, he kept his mouth shut until the cameras were rolling (the man is a master at building suspense after all, just ask his long time pal M. Night Shymalan), then he dropped the bomb.

"The NBA has been great to me, but I think it's time I move on," he opened with, leaving tens if not twentys of reporters and Miami Heat PR staffers stunned for the second time in a little over a year.  "Realistically I just don't think I'm going to get a ring here.  Or maybe we'll get one...but I wanted two hands worth, like MJ.  You know, Michael Jackson?  He always wore lots of rings, and his music is still fresh to me.  Anyway, because of that, I have decided that it's time I move on, which is why I am announcing today that I am taking my talents to the WNBA.  Specifically, to the Wichita Warblers."

Though the Warblers don't exist -- YET -- Lebron, alongside league officials and first lady Michelle Obama, felt confident that his 30 million dollar donation should help get the proverbial ball rolling.  "It's all about keeping active," Michelle Obama commented, as she always seems to.  "Basketball is fun for the whole family, and with just 30 minutes of exercise a day you can keep healthy and happy.  Lebron exemplifies this spirit, which is why we at the white house are going to get him a ring no matter what it takes!"

Though her passion could not be misconstrued, several critics are already asking the obvious: Won't this give the Warblers -- once they exist -- an unfair advantage over the rest of the teams in the league given that he isn't a woman?  Yahoo sports writer Inez Gazpacho doesn't think so.  "Considering that Lebron will almost never pass the ball, and given his propensity to choke late in games, I think they should be fine.  Besides, what's the worst that could happen?"

James, never wanting to be undone by the press, is taking it one step further by meeting with Juana Mann star Kevin Pollock as he researches his new job.  Some Warblers insiders even claim that he has been meeting with Chaz Bono and Warbler team trainers as well about officially making the switch.  "One thing I don't want is an asterisk next to my name in the history books," James said outside the Wichita center for Gender Reassignment.  "I just want to get my rings, buy that island I've had my eye on, and hang out with Jay-Z for the rest of my life.  And if I couldn't do it in Cleveland, and I completely failed at doing it in Miami, hopefully Wichita will be the place." 

And if not?

"If not I guess I'll go back to being a man again and just play the game I loved so much, you know, before I thought I was too good for it."

Wouldn't that be a maverick move.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obama Death Certificate Released 50 Years Early

Can America get anything right these days?  Foreign born presidents, white house party crashers, Jada Pinkett Smith being invited to the Easter Egg Roll?  We're two clicks away from being a third world country and the whole world is starting to take notice.  And as if things couldn't get any worse for the flailing democracy, early this morning wikileaks released Obama's death certificate fifty years early, finally cementing the fact that our current president will someday die.  Shocking to say the least.

Not to be undone by natural life processes confined to this planet (or any other presumably), the Obama camp released a statement in response to speculation that he might be an immortal superbeing from the far off galaxy Clagulon-X.  In it he calls the public opinion nothing more than that: opinion.  "I've been alive for over 200 years, and I'll live another 450.  Just watch.  Clagulons don't die.  We simply evolve.  Like Vampires."  Though the release was much lengthier and rife with plenty of that Obama-pizzaz Americans have come to love, we here at Great Scott! quit paying attention long before he could finish talking (a mantra we've carried through every presidency we've lived to see).

Regardless of the president's terrestrial origins however, there's simply no way to tell if Obama's death certificate is real or fake.  On the one hand, it's easy to assume that Obama is just a regular guy like anyone else.  He drinks beer, he plays basketball, and he shoots missiles at countries we want to "shape up" just like everybody else.  SO naturally, one day he will die just like we will.  But unless we can travel many years into the future, we simply can't authenticate or falsify the document.  So there will always be some notion in the back of our minds that it could be real.  In fact, early reports of panic have begun to trickle in as citizens worry that we'll need a replacement soon, clearly having forgotten that a U.S. president can only serve 2 terms before they get das boot, giving Obama another 46+ years on this earth after his second term would potentially end.

Still, it's a dilly of a pickle of a situation, one that could hurt Obama during his campaign for reelection over the next year.  Will people be able to look past our undead leader and his questionable life expectancy?  Or will they get bogged down in details that may be completely fake?  It's hard to say.  Until then we advise anyone with half a brain to look out for zombies.  Cause that's what they like to eat.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Study: Why Do Girlfriends Hate Rock & Roll?

We've all been there before: driving our cars, our fine ass girlfriends by our sides, as we jam to some of our favorite music.  It's an idyllic moment, one that our fathers and grandfathers also got to enjoy in their lifetimes.  After all, when else do we have that much direct control over our world?  We've chosen who we want to be with, we're choosing where we want to go, and we know what we want to listen to as we go there.  More often than not however, a feminine-twinged if not pink ipod emerges from your girlfriend's purse.  Suddenly your world comes crashing down as a terrible Train song takes over the airwaves of your car.  Your mood is affected, and with it goes your cool demeanor behind the wheel.  You begin to drive much more aggressively, the conversation turns to mild fighting, and before you know it you're microwaving your own dinner in your dirty underwear- at your neighbor's place!

 For years I thought this was standard practice; an age old battle of the sexes as each tries to assert their place on the totem pole.  The reality, however, is much more shocking: girlfriends hate rock and roll. 

But why?  Is it curable?  Should you dump your girlfriend today and try to find one that loves rock and roll as much as you do?  Good luck, pal!  Statistics recently released from the Duke Lacrosse Science Lab indicate that only 1 in 14 American women actually like rock and roll, putting your chances at bagging one somewhere around 7%.  Worse still, within that 7%, only 1 of 50 women like rock and or roll that improvises or includes soloing in any way.  And if history is any indication, it's only going to get worse.

Remember back in 1994 when that group of moms said they needed to slap a label on any album they deemed "potentially inappropriate?"  The Parental Advisory, they called themselves, and their numbers are stronger than ever today, branching out to several other organizations across America that never needed their help to begin with.  Case and point: kids can't even be bullied anymore without some obnoxious mom stepping in to declare it a national epidemic*.  But let's think about those moms from 1994 for a moment.  Who were they in 1984?  In 1974?  Were they on the path to being Suzy Homemaker or were they in their boyfriend's  T-top Camaro listening to Fog Hat's "Slow Ride," and hating life?  The evolution seems crystal clear to me.

Today those mothers may be grandmothers, but they are educating an entire new generation of girls to live the same way.  "Why listen to Queen, my precious granddaughter, when you can listen to Queen done by the cast of Glee?  It's so much better this way^.  Also, Freddy Mercury was a sinner."  The trend shows no signs of slowing.  And with rock's best years well behind us now, many insiders are wondering what to do before it's completely forgotten.

"It's more than alarming," Frank "Solid Gold" Temurmac said from his office at Capitol Records in Hollywood last week.  "If there's anything I can encourage kids to do today it's to listen to as much rock and roll as you can.  And be mindful of what you buy, too.  There are a lot of wusses masquerading as rockers out there.  David Cook, Maroon 5, Kanye West.  Don't let these phonies in.  Stick to your Hendrix, your Meatloaf, your Nirvana.  Rock as hard as you can for as long as you can because someday the sun is going to explode.  If that rationale means you're single for the rest of your life, than so be it!  I've been married 8 times and look where it got me?"


*In my day, we had fights at the bus stop.  Epic fights at the bus stop.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pardon Our Mess

Hello loyal minions!  Apologies for the lack of content as of recent.  Great Scott! is in the process of moving from here:
to here:

Well, not exactly.  But that's how it feels!

We'll be back next week with new content, including our first recurring installment: reader questions!

Until then, please pardon the dust as we transfer to our new home!

Great Scott!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Girl Scouts Under Fire For Thin Mints

Image is everything in our society, especially for women.  And nothing speaks more to one's image than weight.  As a response to this, thousands of miracle diets, pills, and work out regimens are out there to help.  The problem is that most of them are quick fixes designed to help women (generally speaking) improve their image and in turn their self confidence.  At the same time, our society is also trying to break down these antiquated social constructs of yesteryear in an attempt to put an end to this madness, but many wonder if the problem can even be solved, given how ingrained the notion of weight and "being skinny" are to women today, even from a very young age.  No, we're not talking about Toddlers and Tiaras.  Today, the focus is on the Girl Scouts of America and their manipulative nomenclature when it comes to their one and only product line: drugs cookies.
First and foremost, the notion of kids selling anything is particularly odd.  We can't legally hire them to work until they are 15 & 1/2 (dag nab it!), but they can peddle cookies and magazine subscriptions to us from birth.  And if we ignore them, like we do with so many panhandlers and Mormons, we're viewed as the 'bad guys' who don't give a kid a chance to sell his or her wares.  Fortunately, the world of print is dying, so unless kids start selling digital subscriptions for ipad, that era has all but ended.  But the Girl Scouts of America and their cookies seem to only be gaining steam, covering more corners than Marlow Stanfield*.

If you're able to get past the salesmanship, as it seems everyone has^, a new issue becomes immediately apparent.  Should little girls be selling products that emphasize thinness?  Isn't this just creating a complex in their little minds that will stay with them for the rest of their lives?  Many people, like Duke University's Cary Clarke, think so.

"The Thin Mint is the number one selling cookie for the Girl Scouts, so the word 'thin' is the word they see most in their young lives.  And because so many people approach them to buy the 'thin' cookies, the girls begin to make a connection: 'people want thin, so I have to be thin.'  Over time this goes from being a subconscious desire to being very forward in the mind.  Generally speaking, men want skinnier women.  Smoking-hot lesbians do too.  So the notion gets further reinforced when a girl, who by anyone else's standards looks perfectly healthy, can't get a date, but sees her skinnier (and presumably more obnoxious) friend succeed with no problem.  And it only grows exponentially from there."

Indeed it does.  Weight, or weight loss, rather, has reached levels of dementia in this country. Beyond the bevvy of eating disorders and out there, there's also the world of modeling, which, until very recently, was composed of women who looked like they just escaped from a "Kiss the Girls" style dungeon.  Luckily the 'visible sternum' model seems to be a thing of the past, but it doesn't end there.  The term 'plus size model' often elicits the image of a girl who looks over weight to the naked eye when really the majority of them are of average weight and height, if not healthier than.  So how can we expect to curb this problem when we're so set in our ways? 

"Quite frankly, we can't," Clarke added.  "But we're in luck.  As it happens, the United States is more over-weight than it's ever been, so it's helping our cause immensely.  And while this isn't the long-term answer, it should help tip the scales and eventually balance things back out.  Although I guess the problem with that idea is that it will take 100 skinny people on one side of the scale to equal one Mississippi resident.  We'll have to fudge the numbers a bit, but I assure you things are changing for the better."

Maybe.  Until then, we here at Great Scott! would like to offer a name change for the iconic cookie in the hopes it will initiate the change we're all seeking in the world.  Here's a few options:

-Regular Sized Mints
-Big Fat Mints
-Mint Roundies
-Think Mints (promotes the mind!)
-Then Mints...not for now, for then.
-Image Isn't Everything Mints
-Fat Lady Mints
-U.S. Mints
-Tough Cookies
-Black Girl on a Zip Line Cookies

*And those moms are better muscle than Chris and Snoop ever were.
^or maybe we're just complacent, like we are with so much else in the world.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The VCR Repairman: A Dying Breed

As yet another sign of the times, DeVry announced earlier today that they are officially nixing VCR Repair from their vocation college.  As of the 2011 fall semester, the program will no longer be offered as a major, nor will any of it's prerequisites (including the freshman-favorites "how to turn on a tv," and "where's this black rectangle go?").  Several universities like Vadderot College and ITT Tech are expected to follow suit.  Though many anticipated the announcement of a DVD player or Blue-Ray Player Repair major to be made at the same press conference, no such plans have been made public as of yet.
The always elusive black rectangle
"The thing is," DeVry dean Marchie Clamatto said following the press conference, "DVD players are so cheap these days, it's more cost efficient to just throw it out and buy a new one than it is to have it repaired.  I mean, this isn't 1989, right? ... No, seriously.  It's not 1989 is it?  I've been in a coma." 

It's not, dude.  But we get what you mean.  And it's a sad commentary on the manufacturing industry as well, especially when one considers how much of this fragile planet's natural resources we waste when we create, package, and ship cheap products that are designed to last less than 2 years. But that's not the point today.  The point is that our little world keeps changing, and sometimes the most direct way we can see that change is through technology (or lack thereof).  After Sony officially said goodbye to the Walkman earlier this year*, it only paved the way for VCRs to be the next to go.  It was just a matter of when.

That "when" was today.  And though it's only natural to see the numbers of skilled VCR craftsmen dwindle as time passes, what will they move onto?  Many early-adapters have found work in the past 20 years converting old VCRs into bastardized copies of Johnny 5 from the popular film franchise Short Circuit.  But as the robot craze enters hysterics, and technology gets smaller and smarter, Johnny 5 too has been left in the digital dust.
Just think of the possibilities!

"We're all kind of wondering where to go from here.  Nobody wants a Johnny 5.  Most kids don't even know who or what he is.  So what do I do?" Dan "VCR Guy" Browning said as he waited for his unemployment check.  "Do I become a DVR repair man?  A Blue Ray dar detector or whatever those egg heads do?  Or do I become so consumed with sadness that I slowly destroy my body with pills and alcohol like every honest American should when they face failure?"  All good questions, none of which have an easy answer.

Time will determine the fate of these former technological frontiersmen.  For now though, they can only move forward one step at a time.  Mainly because the lines at unemployment take forever, but also partially because most VCR repairmen have really weak legs on account of the fact that they started sitting on their asses almost two decades before the rest of the country did.  Shin splints or no shin splints, they truly are part of the Greatest Generation.

For Great Scott!, I'm Great Scott!, reporting live from Bahrain.

*wait, they didn't?  Then what was all that hub-bub about?  Oh, they're not discontinued, they just won't produce them anymore^, gotcha.
^In Japan.  But don't worry, China will still make them.  They make everything!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mythbusters Copycats Destroy Home

 They say art imitates life.  But what happens when art imitates art that was imitating art?  People get confused, that's what.  Take National Geographic's new show "How Hard Can It Be?" for example, an rerun of an idea that has already perfected by the guys Mythbusters over 8 seasons*, but was still unnecessarily duplicated by the folks at National Geographic.  A part of me can't help but think of all those disclaimers one sees before shows like Jackass reminding the audience to never try any of these stunts at home.  Mythbusters issues the same warning.  And today many Americans are asking the same question: why then, didn't you heed the warning?

Percy Hill of O'fallon, IL wonders the same thing.  "I'm sitting here bathing my game leg when all the sudden the roof of my house gets ripped off!"  Several residents of the greater O'fallon County area reported similar incidents.  One man's phone line was ripped clear from his house.  Another woman's clothes line (and all her delicates) were picked up and flown about like the tail of a kite.  And as she stepped outside to see her panties were strewn about the town like over-sized snowflakes, she finally saw the culprit: a flying house.

Larry Walters, the OG Balloon Boy
The crew's general negligence notwithstanding, the experiment makes sense given the past couple years of American pop culture.  From Falcon, the balloon boy, to the movie Up, a new generation of Americans are discovering the whimsical concept of engine-less flight.  But hasn't this been done before?  Didn't Mythbusters cover this exact same set up based on actual scientific evidence?  Wasn't it their pilot episode?! They did and it was.  That's why I was building it up so much.  Larry Walters attempted this stunt many years ago in Southern California, and before being arrested for his antics, he made national headlines.  Or something like that.  Years later, Discovery TV gave Mythbusters the shot to duplicate the same thing.  And the results were successful, to say the least.  So successful in fact, that Discovery green lit the series.  They have since tackled virtually every urban or scientific myth imaginable often times yielding legitimate results. 

The point is that not only had this idea been done in real life, it had also already been imitated by a group of specialists many would call "masters of their craft."  Why then is a boutique network wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars developing the exact same thing again?  Cause it's a house instead of a chair?  Give me a break.  Are we, as American TV viewers, so brain-dead by this point that they can repackage a show with a much nerdier host^ and we'll still devour it as if we've never seen it before? 
Unfortunately that seems to be the trend.  Top Chef bred ChoppedDeal or No Deal bred Million Dollar Money Drop.  The list goes on and on.  Here at Great Scott!, we can only hope that as our society gets dumber and dumber the explosions and colors improve to compensate for it (see: 3-D TV).  Because if you're turning on your TV in 2011 for unique and original unscripted content, you've come to the wrong planet. 

*And unless they got canceled (which they didn't) there is absolutely no need for this show.  Period.
^ I didn't think it was possible either.