Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunday Cipher #2

Well. I've decided the Impressive Cipher will be a weekly feature, so now it's called the Sunday Cipher. There will also be a prize for the first person to e-mail me the correct answer. I will try to post the cipher between noon and one Mountain Time. The time of posting would be more precise, but the prizes won't be very good and I'm not sure anyone actually cares. Now, on to this week's puzzle!

Can you solve the cipher before the wolves finish building their catapult?? Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: k equals y.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize!
Last week's answer: "Life's biggest irony is that your boner never learns." - Albert Einstein

MonĂ³tona Jane

Have you ever noticed that tortilla chips don't come in a Grab Bag size? There are no individual servings of tortilla chips available. It's like they are admitting their own invalidity as a stand alone chip. The lack of a single serving bag of them just says "Oh, we aren't very good by ourselves. You wouldn't want just us to go with your sandwich." Even the crazy Tostitos Hint of Lime don't come in a small bag. Sure, there are infinite varieties of Doritos and the like, but that's a different thing. Hint of Lime is a flavoring on the tortilla chip; a Dorito is a flavored chip that happens to be made from a corn tortilla (not really I know, but that's supposed to be the idea).

Dorito pups in the wild

I don't recall ever seeing a Grab Bag of tortilla chips. I would think that some time in the last 25 years I would have seen at least a test marketing of personal sized tortilla chips. But no, they never tried. They didn't have the chutzpah to try their luck in the go go world of snack foods and entree accessories. It seems a little odd, because everybody loves nachos. Everybody loves Mexican food. The humble tortilla chip is integral to all sorts of appetizers, snacks, and party foods. As soon as you invite salsa or melted cheese or bean dip or even jalapenos into the mess you've got a party, but the tortilla chip by itself just wants to stay home and sulk. "What's that? You guys are gonna go get drunk in the park? No, that's o.k., I'll just stay here. You guys have fun with Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar," the tortilla chip seems to say. Maybe if they made tortilla chips extreme. Like if they were shaped like interlocking tori. But no, that would compromise the honest, humble integrity of the tortilla chip. Blue corn? That was kind of exciting.
This was what it looked like when
the Lawnmower Man beat off.

Come on, tortilla chip! Grow some balls and get in that little bag! Squeeze in next to Fritos Chili Cheese chips on that little wire shelf next to the register at 7-11! Give 'em hell, boys!

It's also possible I just missed the whole thing. Do they come in individual sized bags? I wouldn't buy them; I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekend at Dracula's

Sick of the same old bullshit expressions? Shut up, of course you are. To help with this problem of yours I invented a new expression you can use. It's not "weekend at Dracula's" but that one's pretty good too.

The Expression: I wouldn't even tell Dracula.

Usage: Use it when you are swearing that you'll never tell a secret. It's like putting something in the vault.

Person 1: Oh man. Now that you know my secret, please don't tell my wife that when I'm home alone I like to put on sunglasses and a fake moustache and role-play as Bernie's corpse from the film Weekend at Bernie's. And only the first movie. I don't do that bouncing around zombie Bernie bullshit.

Person 2: Don't worry dawg. I wouldn't even tell that shit to Dracula! And you know he takes that shit to the grave!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Impressive Cipher#1

Can you solve the cipher in time? Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: C equals G.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Super Men

I saw a photo of this statue recently.

God. Look at that thing. It's breathtaking. It's like if Superman and Iron Man had Batman's baby and it was a god. And that's not too far from the truth. It's a statue of a hero and possibly the most fortunate man who ever lived. It's a statue of Yuri Gagarin in Moscow.

Yuri Gagarin was, of course, the first person in space. You can read the Wikipedia entry on him just as easily as I did, but here is a quick list of facts about Gagarin.

  • Born March 9, 1934
  • Was only 5'2", which was advantageous to fitting in the Vostok 1 and a factor in his selection for the flight.
  • Greatly enjoyed ice hockey and played Goalie
  • In 1960 he was selected along with 19 other candidates for the Soviet Space Program.
  • On April 12, 1961 he became the first person in space aboard the Vostok 1. The craft completed one orbit of the Earth during a 108 minute flight.
  • In 1962, he began serving as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. I mention this mainly because, while the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union is a legislative body, I really wish it was one person. It would be such a great title. I think if one person had had that title, the USSR might have won the Cold War.
  • Later worked at Star City developing reusable spacecraft.
  • Died on March 27, 1968 during a training flight accident.
  • The statue I featured above is 40m (131ft) tall and made of Titanium.

A statue of Gagarin looking even more like Superman outside
the Hotel Vostok
in the town of Gagarin(formerly Gzhatsk).

Say what you will about the Soviets, but when they weren't murdering their heroes they knew how to honor them. Gagarin has been featured on two commemorative coins and numerous stamps. Numerous statues of Gagarin are scattered around Russia, and many locations have been named for him. He is buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.

I think our country would be a little better and a little prouder if we had statues of Neil Armstrong looking like a god.

"Dear friends, known and unknown to me, my dear compatriots and all people of the world! Within minutes from now, a mighty Soviet rocket will boost my ship into the vastness of outer space. What I want to tell you is this. My whole life is now before me as a single breathtaking moment. I feel I can muster up my strength for successfully carrying out what is expected of me." - Yuri Gagarin April 12, 1961

Also, and I totally missed the timing on this one, Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of Belka and Strelka's historic space flight. Belka(squirrel) and Strelka(arrow) were two dogs that, along with numerous lesser life forms, became the first creatures to orbit the Earth and return alive.Belka and Strelka being auctioned after their return from space.
They were eaten.

Pravda has a slide show up about it. See it here.
Pravda also had this on their website:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Prohibited Bonfire on the Beach

Comedy Central is roasting David Hasselhoff. This is the tenth independent roast Comedy Central has done since their five year contract with the Friars' Club ended with the roast of Chevy Chase.

I love a good roast. The jokes, the camaraderie and friendship on display, and also the respect and love for an elder statesman. In my mind roasts, and especially the Friars Club roasts, have been a way to honor one of Hollywood's own. It's like an informal Academy Lifetime Achievement Award given by a group of friends. It's always seemed like a party a thrown by the best clique. Not just Hollywood insiders, but the cool kids. The misfits and comedians. The drunks and sluts. The minorities and poor kids. It's not an award for a specific piece of work, but rather a celebration of a person beloved by their peers.

And Comedy Central chose David Hasselhoff.

There is no love or respect there. No celebration of an esteemed colleague's career.

Assuming they are willing, Comedy Central has tons of celebrities to choose from. Why not roast Mel Brooks? The man has won an Oscar, 2 Emmys, 3 Tonys, 3 Grammys and something called a "Laurence Olivier Award." He has written and directed some of the best comedies on film (some real dogs too, but those are forgiven).

They could have roasted him, but instead got The Hoff.

Comedy Central has made some good choices for honorees in the past. Joan Rivers. Great choice. That's the kind of person you roast. She's 77 years old. She's been in the industry since the early Fifties. She knows everyone. Hell, Johnny Carson stopped speaking to her. If you're famous enough to have Johnny stop speaking to you, you're doing all right. And Comedy Central roasted her. Good pick.

This is what Joan Rivers actually looks like now.

And maybe they can't all be home runs. Even the venerable Friars' Club has had the occasional iffy choice. One recalls the roast of Steven Seagal in 1995.

Pamela Anderson. OK, I can kind of let this one slide. She's been in a bunch of stuff. She probably knows everyone. She's probably like the village kit car in

(Really a Fiero with a bunch of plastic shoved in it)

And it seems like there is probably a lot of good will toward her. That's key. The good will is missing from a roast of the Hoff.

He was Michael Knight and Mitch Buchannon. He is a pop star in Germany. He's not a guy that gets one of show biz's greatest honors. That is really the problem with the Comedy Central roasts. Sure, they're funny and vulgar, and sometimes have some warmth to them. But they really just serve as a venue for comedians that are well-liked by comedians to get together and make fun of a celebrity. There's nothing wrong with that. I like watching people take the piss out of Flavor Flav as much as the next guy. Hell, I have never even seen the Dog Whisperer and have absolutely no feeling about him, but I'd watch some funny people make clever jokes at Cesar Milan's expense. But it's not what I think a roast should be.

That seems to be the trend of the Comedy Central roasts. Larry the Cable Guy? Sure he's successful and a friend of Foxworthy's, but him? I'm sure that roasters like Warren Sapp, Nick Dipaolo, and Gary Busey really respect and admire Larry's work. That actually may be right. It's a total guess, they might actually love his schtick. But I bet the cool kids don't respect him. Or think he's funny. Or think of him at all, except as a reference for America's shitty taste. They are really just picking well known people to lambast. Before I looked into it, I honestly thought they had roasted Kid Rock. Was he on the Pam Anderson one?

(Look at that fucked-up eye)

One of the fundamental problems with roasting The Hoff is that he's not really in on it. Sure, he knows he's a joke, and he plays up to it. Sure, he knows he's an internet-drunk-cheeseburger-video-meme thing. He knows Americans don't respect his music career. But much like ICP, he doesn't really get it. Deep down he thinks he's cool and people, I don't know, respect? him. For Christ's sake, one of the terms of his divorce was that he retains rights to both "The Hoff" and "Don't hassle the Hoff."

[Note: It's tough to tell how much Shatner really gets it, or if he just "gets it" but there does seem to be real affection and regard for him.]

And who are these people? Sure there are going to be plenty of German teens and Baywatch co-stars, but it's not that amusing to watch Yasmine Bleeth slaughter a joke that was penned for her by a staff writer from 2 1/2 Men. The people ripping him apart will be the same stable of reliable wits CC always goes to. These people aren't his friends. They aren't going to destroy him with comedy and then go party with him next weekend and invite him over for barbeques. These are professional comedians that think he's a joke and are being paid to say shitty things to his face. That's really it. "Comedy Central Makes Fun of David Hasselhoff to his Face." Again, I'm mostly OK with that, but it's not what I think a roast should be.

[Full disclosure, of all these roasts I have mentioned about I have only seen the Bob Saget and the Bill Shatner in their entirety and bits of many others (both CC and FC). This is mostly just about what I feel a roast should be.]

This post was inspired in part by a conversation I had with the enthusiast.