Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hostess Snack Break: Aquaman in "The Ice Age"

Everyone needs a break sometimes, so why don't you enjoy this one with one of your favorite superheroes and one of your favorite Hostess snack treats:

Just to review:
1. When they say that "the waters above the sea kings home have frozen solid" they're talking about the ocean.  At the point that things have gotten cold enough for the world's oceans to FREEZE SOLID everyone on earth is dead.
2. The aptly named Iceberg Head's sole motivation is, and I quote, "I'm going to destroy Atlantis and everyone and everything in it -- just because I'm a cold creature!! Nothing warms me. Nothing!!! NOTHING!!!"
3. He then oddly is afraid that a Hostess Cup Cake will make him "feel happy and warm all over" despite the fact that they aren't a hot food.
4. Even though it effectively murders him, he eats the Hostess Cup Cake anyway and then Aquaman decides to keep his disembodied consciousness as a pet.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friendship Friday with Jimmy Olsen: The Day There Was No Jimmy Olsen!

Who better to teach us about the true meaning of friendship than Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen?

Friends DON'T pretend they don't know their friends just because they've gotten famous.

Lessons in Marketing: Maybe a Rat Shouldn't Sell Food to Children

We all have vague memories of going to Chuck E Cheese's as a child.  For some it was the truly terrible pizza that stuck with them, for others it was the poor selection of arcade games, or it was the creepy animatronic country music band, and I think most wondered why our parents took us there instead of, well, anywhere else (the answer of course is that Chuck E Cheese sells beer, but you didn't realize that as a kid). But whatever else stuck with you, I think we all still wonder who thought it was a good idea to make a rat the corporate mascot for a children's food chain.  Now to be fair, it was worse in the beginning:

The original Chuck E Cheese wasn't just a rat, but one who looked like some kind of unholy hybrid between a carnival barker, a used car salesman, and a pedophile.  And that's before you get to the one toothed monstrosity standing next to him.  Realizing that inspiring a generation of nightmares might not be the best way to bring in customers and so they evolved the rat into the mouse we all know today:

Sure he was still a rodent, and was totally "tubular" with a skateboard and other 90s gimmicks, but at least this Chuck E Cheese probably wouldn't haunt your dreams.  But time has gone by since then and Chuck E Cheese isn't doing so great anymore.  Now some might attribute this to the rise of home video game consoles replacing the appeal of arcades, the fact that you can get better pizza literally anywhere, or that the beer on sale leads to insane brawls between drunken parents at dueling birthday parties.  None of those people of course work at the corporate headquarters for Chuck E Cheese, because admitting that any of those things were the problem might involve having to radically alter the business or accept lower profits than were made in the past.  So instead they decided all they needed to do was update their mascot again:

Now I'm more than willing to consider the possibility that having a rodent as the mascot for children's food might be a poor business decision.  But the solution to that problem is not making a more realistic computer generated rodent.  Because outside of a Pixar movie nobody wants that.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Published as a Public Service Announcement: The Invisible Handicap!

In the 40s and 50s, DC Comics published a series of PSAs in all of their titles.  Some of them are still valuable lessons we can learn from today.....others are not.

Reading this all I can think is that those kids are going to feel guilty for the rest of their lives because Miss Smith waited until after they made the mentally handicapped child cry to explain why Tod doesn't draw as well as the rest of them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hostess Snack Break: Superman in "The Rescue!"

Everyone needs a break sometimes, so why don't you enjoy this one with one of your favorite superheroes and one of your favorite Hostess snack treats:

Apparently living in a world with superheroes makes you jaded.  "Look -- it's Superman PERIOD And a UFO PERIOD"  But it's still "You must be ready for some twinkies. We are THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS"

That's how you know you have a problem.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yesterday vs. Tomorrow

I've been in a bit of an introspective mood lately, and have been giving some thought to what in our worldview fundamentally divides Republicans and Democrats.  And it finally hit me:

Republicans believe that yesterday was better than today, and Democrats believe that tomorrow can be better than today.

I don't mean this as a sarcastic jibe or as a dismissive putdown.  Central to the conservative message is the idea that things were better some unspecified period of time ago.  For some it is probably as short as a few years ago under President Bush before Obama got elected, for more it was probably the 1980s under Reagan, and still others yearn for a mythical 1950s that never really existed.  This fetishizing of the past is probably most apparent in the Religious Right's cries of "the moral decline of America" and "the destruction of the nuclear family."  But it's not constrained only to the socially conservative.  When the call goes out to combat "job killing overregulation" it is inherently a call to return to a simpler time before such regulations were put in place.  Whether socially or economically, Republicans tell us, the only way for things to get better is for us to go back.

And that's where we part ways, because there's a reason that Democrats are called "progressives."  We view our history not as a mythical paradise to which we yearn to return but as the ongoing story of our nations struggle to improve itself.  Because when I hear talk of the moral decay of America, I don't think "they're right, gay people marrying is going to ruin everything," instead I remember that in the 80s we ignored the AIDS epidemic, in the 60s segregation was the law, before that lynchings were common, further back we had racial slavery, and all I can think is "surely we are better now."  When I hear corporate lobbyists decrying regulations I remember that before regulations were put into place to stop them their bosses sold tainted food, employed child labor, and chained workers inside burning factories.  I remember that preceding the passage of these "burdensome" regulations their was inevitably some disaster, humanitarian or financial, large or small, caused inevitably by greed, that it was designed to prevent from happening again.  And I think "surely we are better now."

And more I think "can't it be better still?"  A black man is 3.5X more likely to receive the death penalty compared to a white man for the same crime.  Women still receive .77 cents on the dollar for the same work.  The wealthy can still crash the global economy in unregulated markets in the quest for even greater wealth.  Surely we can do better than that.  And that's what the Democratic Party fights for.

While beloved by the Right, the Founding Fathers are not much listened to.  The put in the preamble to the Constitution our nation's purpose:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
 They knew then what we know now: we are a great nation, but not a perfect one.  Indeed our job is to become "a more perfect union," to do better than those who came before us, to learn from our mistakes.

I believe that tomorrow can be better than today.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Love Lessons with Lois Lane: The Wife of Superman's Foe!

In much of the civilized world, Saturday night is date night. And everything I know about dating I learned from Lois Lane. So before heading out for the night, let's see what advice she has for us this week:

It can be rough when your ex moves on.  That doesn't mean it's a great idea to throw yourself into a rebound relationship.

Friday, July 20, 2012

One Sentence Review of The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan finishes his Batman epic in style, though calling The Dark Knight Rises the Return of the Jedi to The Dark Knight's Empire Strikes Back is probably fair.

(Obviously more to come later)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

More Advice for Whoever the RNC Meme-Maker Is

Yesterday I found the RNC Research page.  Now don't let the name confuse you into thinking that the Republican Party is doing any kind of research on the issues, it's just a tumblr site where the RNC posts memes they have some intern locked in a closet generating.  The problem is whoever that guy is he's terrible at his job.  Now you'd assume the fact that the RNC is making ineffective attacks on President Obama is something I'd consider a good thing.  But they're going to fire that guy and then blame Obama for the increase in unemployment.  So I'm here to help incompetent RNC meme-generating intern.

I've already covered why you probably shouldn't make memes that prove your opponents point.  Let's look at the latest one and see how I can help:

Now I could focus on the fact that the typography is so bad that it's impossible to read most of the meme.    I could reiterate that choosing cool looking pictures of the President isn't the best way to make people not like him.  But neither of those is the real problem with this thing.  No, that'd be the fact that the entire thing is a riff on the Dos Equis Beer "Most Interesting Man in the World" commercials:

Here's the thing, the point of those ads is that he's The Most Interesting Man in the World and you want to be like him.  If you're trying to attack Obama by saying he is like The Most Interesting Man in the World, you're doing it wrong.  Maybe they should fire you.

Tricky Mitt

This MoveOn.org ad isn't quite as good as the Obama one from Monday, but I still enjoy it:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wit of the Web Slinger Wednesday: Elephant

Now I'll give them credit that this one is an actual real joke.  But am I the only one who thinks it looks like that woman head butted Spider-Man in that last panel so he'll fall down and the elephant can squash his head?

Obama Said a Thing, So Apparently Republicans Have to Prove Him Right

Over the weekend, President Obama did his best Elizabeth Warren impression:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. 
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
Now, there's absolutely nothing objectionable in what I just quoted at all.  Unless of course the only part you quote is "If you've got a business -- you didn't built that," ignoring the fact that "that" refers to the "roads and bridges" in the previous sentence.  So of course that's what the Republican National Committee has done.  And you know what, that's fair.  Ok, that's not fair at all, but for better or worse (definitely worse) we live in a soundbite culture and knowing that Obama probably should have said something like "If you've got a business, you didn't build the roads and bridges that let customers get to it."  BAM nothing Republicans can use.

But I didn't title this column "Obama Said a Thing and Republicans Took Advantage of It In An Intelligent Fashion."  No, instead they decided to make a series of internet memes (this is never a good idea).  Here's my favorite:

So we're going to put aside that pictures of Obama smiling and looking cool probably aren't the best way to attack him.  Instead lets break this down point by point:
  • I'm writing this on my MacBook Pro and my iPhone is never out of arms reach, even when I'm in the shower (I may have a problem), and I have an enormous amount of respect for Steve Jobs genius and accomplishments.  That said, he didn't actually create the iPod out of thin air all by himself.  He had hundreds of engineers and software designers backing him up.
  • But hey, let's ignore the people who designed the iPod and the ones who actually "built" it.  It's still a pretty expensive paperweight if you don't have a functional power grid to charge its batteries.
  • And even if you somehow manage to bootstrap your way out of that whole 'turning it on' thing, I've got to say, it's still pretty boring without the government created internet allowing you to access the iTunes Store and actually put music on the iPod.
  • Now it'd be pretty easy to say that even if you could turn on and load up an iPod without that pesky government, Apple's still going to have problems selling them without those roads and bridges Obama was talking about.  But you know what, people really love their iPods and I bet they'd find a way to get to the Apple Store without them.  After all, there's a reason they're literally the most valuable retail real estate in the world.  Which probably makes them thankful that they have a police force they can rely on to stop thefts of their incredibly valuable merchandise that can fit in your pocket.
I could keep going, but I feel like I've already used a lot of words to try to get my point across.  If only someone had maybe articulated it succinctly for me.  Oh wait:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. 
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
So I'd like to thank the RNC for proving the point. 

West Wing Wednesday

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why I Love Comics: "Pancakes"

If you've spent more than a day reading the Entertained Organizer, you know I love comic books. This is one of the many reasons why:

The character of Hellboy was created in 1993 by Mike Mignola.  His is one of those timeless tales.  A baby demon in hell is summoned forth by Nazi wizards during the height of World War II only to be captured by Allied Forces and raised by a kindly professor to defend the earth from paranormal threats and hunt Nazis.  But all of that comes later, for in Hellboy: The Right Hand of Doom, we take a moment to look back at Hellboy's childhood:

Pancakes: The Most Potent Weapon in the War Against Hell Since 1947!

And that's: Why I Love Comics!

It's All About Keeping it in the Family

Mitt Romney's Not the Solution, He's the Problem

This is the most devastatingly effective I've seen since Daisy:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New The Dark Knight Rises Trailer: Journey

There is absolutely nothing that does not excite me about this movie:

Herman Cain: "Let's Give a Lamb a Gun!"

I think it's probably safe to say that Herman Cain is the single greatest thing to come out of the Republican Presidential Primary.  Part pizza salesmen, part crazy uncle, all Andy Kaufman, he's made us question basic concepts like "reality", "math", and "sanity".  Which is what makes me so pleased to present to you the trailer for CainTV, his latest venture.  Inside you'll find both nothing and everything you would expect from a Herman Cain produced television network: a homeless pundit, misogyny, cartoons about Reagan's ghost, and a patriotic dinosaur named Tex.  All that and more on CainTV:

I also just want to point out that if you think this cycle's Republican Primary was crazy, just wait until 2016.  Because Herman Cain just proved that running for President is a viable business strategy.

Hostess Snack Break: Iron Man in "The Hungry Battleaxe!"

Everyone needs a break sometimes, so why don't you enjoy this one with one of your favorite superheroes and one of your favorite Hostess snack treats:

Admittedly I've never been a superhero (and it does work out ok), but it seems pretty messed up that Iron Man assumes the guard is speaking to him in riddles.  Why wouldn't he just yell out "Give him the fruit pies, everyone knows fruit pies are like crack."

Terrific Tuesday Tidings: The Advocate, Cause and Effect, and Alien Invasions

It's Tuesday and that means it's time for my ongoing quest to become a more positive person. Here are the news stories that made me happy this week:
  • For the first time in more than 30 years, The Advocate, the leading LGBT news outlet, has endorsed a candidate for President, Barack Obama.  It's a fantastic piece and an excellent reminder for anyone who thinks that Democrats and Republicans are exactly the same, they are....unless you care about gay people, women, people of color, the poor, or the middle class.  Then there are some fairly important differences.
  • A special thank you to Anderson Cooper for coming out of the closet.  I'm sure it couldn't have been easy, but as one of the most popular figures in cable news doing so is just one more reminder to all the homophobes out there that gay people aren't some scary other but that's nice fella on the CNN.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Do You Have an Offshore Bank Account?

Some people will argue that there is nothing inherently illegal or wrong about Mitt Romney having secret offshore bank accounts.  Those people will never understand why this ad is so effective:

Mitt Romney: Malfunctioning Robot or Beat Poet?

Now I'm aware that in the past I've gotten a lot of mileage out of "Romney is a Robot" jokes.  Now that's mostly because he makes them painfully obvious and, well, sometimes I get lazy and take the easy joke when I can find it.  And so when Romney got asked what he thought of a child's homemade lemonade (the fact that Romney has insulted enough supporters food for this to be a gotcha question deserves further exploration) and responded with "Lemon. Wet. Good.", you might be expecting me to make another "Romney is a Robot" joke.

But you see, I don't think a mere robot joke covers "Lemon. Wet. Good."  It's too beautiful, too elegant, for a mere robot to come up with.  I think that maybe, like Pinocchio and that robot who thought he was Batman before him, Romney wants to exceed his programming and become a real boy.  Philip K. Dick once asked "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"  And I think todays equivalent must be "Do Robots Write Beat Poetry About Lemonade?"




But lest you worry that this growth might turn Mitt Romney into an actually good person, it's important to remember that even talking about lemonade he can't stop himself from lying.  And the worst part is it's clear that little boy knows Romney hates his lemonade:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This Wasn't Foreseeable At All (Hint: Yes It Was)

Who here remembers Jonathan Krohn?  He was the 13 year old who became a conservative sensation after giving a speech at CPAC 3 years ago:

Now, to be fair, there's a lot that's stupid with that.  I could focus on the fact that if your political ideology can be refined and articulated clearly by a 13 year old as well as your actual thought leaders, it points to a certain lack of intellectual heft.  I could point that an obsession with child leaders is a typical behavior of cults, and is, in a word, creepy.

But none of those things are what I want to focus on or why I set up a google alert for "Jonathan Krohn" 3 years ago.  Because there's one reason that hero worshipping a 13 year old is stupid that dwarfs all the others:  They. Will. Betray. You.

I set up that google alert (which I'll confess I then forgot about) because I knew that story was coming eventually.  I can't even feel very proud about it, it was so obvious.  OF COURSE the 13 year old on national TV is parroting back the Republican talking points his family and conservative community in Georgia hammered into his head.  Hell, Krohn even nails it:
I think it was naive.  It's a 13-year-old kid saying stuff that he had heard for a long time...I live in Georgia.  We're inundated with conservative talk in Georgia...The speech was something that a 13-year-old does.  You haven't formed all your opinions.  You're really defeating yourself if you think you have all of your ideas in your head when you were 12 or 13.  It's impossible.  You haven't done enough.
13 year olds are just becoming teenagers, and teenagers rebel.  That's basically the definition of the word.    So it should surprise absolutely no one that at 17, Jonathan Krohn now supports Gay Marriage, Obamacare, loves The Daily Show, is headed to NYU in the Fall, and (if he was old enough to vote) would be voting to reelect Obama.  Because that was how this story was always going to end.  The only ones who didn't see it coming were the Republicans who tried to turn him into the second coming.

So, Republicans: That was stupid.

And Jonathan: You seem like a cool dude, good luck.  But don't expect the Left to turn you into some kind of idol.  Because, well, that would be stupid.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Short: Chase Me

Sundays should be a day to rest and relax. And what better way to do that than to take a few minutes to watch an animated short:

Because Batman's dates are cooler than yours: