Saddened to learn about the death of Morgan Vogel. She made a lot of cool, crazy, outsidery stuff in the early 2000s under the pseudonym TACO THE WONDER DOG that was formative to me: Crunchy Savior, YOU ARE A CHEF!!!!!! (THE MOVIE), True Meaning of Life, SONG FOR THE STUPID RAVER SHITHEAD WHO LIVES UNDERNEATH ME AND ALWAYS PLAYS HIS SHITTY MUSIC REALLY LOUD AND MAKES MY FLOOR VIBRATE AND AT ONE POINT HE LEFT HIS ROOM BUT LEFT THE STEREO ON AND IT SKIPPED AND I HAD TO LISTEN TO IT FOR FOUR FUCKING HOURS. Then she seemingly vanished for about ten years, and resurfaced with some great YouTube videos. There was one about the death of Christopher Hitchens with the immortal phrase “What greater gift could I ask for, for solstice?” There was another amazing one about Google Glass. Then she seemingly disappeared again. She did a lot more stuff that I’m only just now learning about from people’s remembrances of her. RIP.
Comedy writers in the 90’s just couldn’t resist making Oppenheimer jokes with slushee machine operators apparently
STAR WARS OPINIONS (PLEASE DON’T READ)
Back in fall I rewatched all the Star Warses in anticipation of the new one, then I waited until February to see it, then I waited until now to post my thoughts. This is the order I rewatched them in, “Machete Order” with some modifications.
- Star Wars – It’s cool yet somewhat concerning how this scrappy looking little film just became this ur-text for pop culture for the next 40+ years. Last time I saw part of this on TV it was slightly annoying how every single line is like a famous quote now or inspired some later thing, but I didn’t feel that too much this time. The trench run is an amazing sequence.
- Rogue One – The whole time I kept thinking about how I should’ve watched this one first! Fuck!
- The Empire Strikes Back – I think this is sort of the ideal movie sequel?
- The Phantom Menace – Had not watched this since seeing it in the theater in 1999. It’s fine I guess? It’s not a good movie but I find it sorta fascinating. I also recently rewatched the Armin Tamzarian episode of The Simpsons, another widely-loathed piece of pop culture from that era and thought it was actually pretty good (I like the interpretation that it’s written like an episode of a sitcom where a character has to be hastily written out of the show because the actor didn’t renew their contract or whatever). With both things it’s like, I know the complaints, I made a few of them myself, I probably agree with a lot of them, but I’m so tired of it now, I don’t care anymore, time to move on. I appreciate that George Lucas made this movie that is aesthetically unlike everything the franchise had been up to that point, which I don’t think anyone can ever do again because not only do blockbuster auteurs not exist anymore but everything has to be so reverential now. Laughed a lot at the way he writes children (“uh, they say ‘Yippee!’ a lot, right?”).
- Attack of the Clones – When this came out I liked it so much I saw it in the theaters twice. The second time there was this middle aged guy who shouted “Yeah let’s go Yoda!!!” during the lightsaber fight. Upon rewatch I find it kinda boring although I think Hayden Christensen does a good job portraying “creepy boyfriend emitting red flags”
- Revenge of the Sith – Used to think this was the best of the prequels simply because stuff happens, now I’m not sure. It’s funny that Luke and Rey are presented with the equivalent of Adam Lanza’s AK-47 and it’s treated as this big reverential thing.
- Return of the Jedi – It’s weird that the trio of the new movies don’t actually all meet until the end of the second one but it’s less weird when you remember that Luke is separated from Han and Leia for much of the original trilogy and Obi-Wan is basically off on his own adventures during the prequels. It goes without saying but it’s so bizarre and goofy that Lucas decided to stick a bunch of badly-aged CGI into his old movies including a new dance number in this one. My headcanon is that Jabba’s sail barge is the Star Wars universe equivalent of Epstein’s jet plane.
- Solo – I liked the trailers for this but the movie is pretty disposable. Maybe it was too soon for a rewatch. What’s with this galaxy’s obsession with last names?
- The Force Awakens – I like the new characters, it’s a fun movie even if it’s derivative. Not sure how I’d feel now that I know how their stories end. Something I noticed is that the Lucas films have no flashbacks, in this one they get around this informal “rule” by encasing it in a force vision, and then in the next two they’re like “ah, it’s fine”
- The Last Jedi – Lots of humor, great visuals, fun characters, poignant at times. I liked that it did away with the Who Is Snoke (why can’t it just be some guy) and Who Are Rey’s Parents mysteries (ed. note I wrote part this a year ago). Seeing Leia use the force for the first time (onscreen at least) to save herself from the vacuum of space is a beautiful moment and seeing it mocked and memed by “uhhh, science much???” guys is annoying. I like the interpretation I read somewhere that the sequel trilogy is basically about millennials trying to find their way in the face of resurgent fascism after baby boomers and institutions failed them. My main gripe is that the “uh oh our space ship is out of gas!” plot kinda feels like something out of a filler episode of Rebels
- Rise of Skywalker – Boy who would’ve thought answering the “mysteries” would be unsatisfying. The dialogue was atrocious, everything with Carrie Fisher is so grotesque, the running gag of Finn’s message to Rey never gets paid off, and you can’t end on the twin suns when the last movie already did it, that’s illegal! I’ll give it this: “The dead speak!” is a wonderful way to start the crawl. I like when Star Wars gets pulpy, like the newsreel-type narrator in Clone Wars. Here’s hoping this won’t be the last movie I ever see in a theater
Bruce Tinsley Watch
It’s been nearly two months since a substitute artist took over Mallard Fillmore and it’s still unclear what happened to Bruce Tinsley, but now there are some clues courtesy of comics curmudgeon Josh Frulinger. First, according to The Daily Cartoonist, the syndicate started rerunning strips in late November “due to unforeseen circumstances.” Secondly, the syndicate published – and then mysteriously removed – an interview with the substitute artist, which just says Tinsley’s “away.” Finally, earlier this month Tinsley made his first tweet in more than a year, a reply to Candace Owens.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think the new guy’s doing a bad job – he remembered that the supporting characters exist, which I appreciate, but it lacks the smugness, vitriol, and thinly-concealed bigotry of The Real Thing. Also, I still don’t like that font. Speaking of which…
…is Mallard going after me??
- Updated the Links page, sad to see some old sites I used to visit have disappeared. One day it will just be the Link page and only have one link to the last surviving website, rubbercat.net
- I caved and got a Letterboxd account. Probably won’t post any reviews on there because I don’t like having opinions on things, I just like compiling lists of media I’ve consumed
- You can find my other Official Canon social networks and more on this profile page I made for myself. Does anyone remember when about.me was a thing
Bernie dropping out of the race feels liberating. I don’t have to care about the election anymore. I can free up some space in my mind for other things. I shall pay no mind to the usual suspects already trotting out the old “blame the voter” routine they’ve been doing for the past 20 years. Sorry your “electable” candidate sucks ass but it’s not my problem, haha. I feel no obligation to vote for the party of austerity and means-testing that was sending voters out to their deaths. I can sit back and watch the debates – assuming there’ll be debates – without worrying about “my” candidate and just enjoy the grotesque spectacle of two senile dipshits squabbling about The Debt as the world continues to burn. A month ago, I felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and despair as I continued to work during the pandemic, but now I feel free.
THINGS I’VE BEEN ENJOYING LATELY
- Austin Powers in For Your Pussy Only – My Australian amigo Ryan Dell wrote this very funny script where Austin Powers and Dr. Evil compete in the Democratic primary. I feel a little chagrined that he knows all this minutiae about US politics while I don’t even know who the king of Australia is
- Fail Safe – Seen as the “straight” version of Dr. Strangelove. The scenes where the Air Force guys try to reassure a visiting congressman that everything’s perfectly normal, this happens all the time etc. only to slowly realize that things are NOT normal felt especially eerie with virus news in the background.
- Mr. Boop – Great comic about being married to Betty Boop
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Channeling my fear and grief into hunting down eggs for Bunny Day FTW.
*desperately trying to avoid thinking about my imminent death voice* I think Disney+ does a poor job with the original theatrical shorts… there’s not a lot there to begin and the ones that they do have are just scattered throughout the service. It would be cool if they were organized in one place and you could just watch every available Disney short in chronological order without futzing around with a Wikipedia article. Maybe there should be a hub for shorts like there is for movies and series. Hopefully someday they’ll even add the Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show, the Oswald shorts, and the Alice Comedies. Here’s hoping HBO Max does a better job with the Looney Tunes shorts.
A trillion here, a trillion there and soon you’re talking real money.
The national debt has surged from $20 trillion to $23 trillion since President Trump took office, even though the economy was at or near full employment, despite his campaign promises in 2016 to eliminate it altogether if he’s elected to two terms.
The Trump administration outlined a $1 trillion stimulus plan on Wednesday to respond to the pandemic, including $500 billion in cash payments to individuals and $300 billion toward helping small businesses, as well as $50 billion for bailing out airlines and $150 billion for other unspecified sectors. This will likely include hospitality, in which the president has a significant personal financial stake.
Mutant wearing a lanyard and a gas mask tip-toeing around the corpses littering the streets of Forbidden Quadrant X (formerly Alexandria, Virginia): Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the debt?!?
OBSERVATION OF THE DAY
It’s disappointing when you find out some 90s alternative cartoonist or 00s blogger has normie centrist politics
Mallard Fillmore Watch
Mallard Fillmore has been in reruns since the start of the year (if not earlier) and as of yesterday there’s a replacement… er… substitute artist. That font looks atrocious, Mallard Fillmore should always be hand-lettered. I don’t know what’s going on but I sincerely hope Bruce Tinsley is able to return.
Whenever I saw Chris Matthews he always seemed like an easily-flustered baby man who’d never been in front of a camera before, even though he’d been on TV for like 30 years. Good riddance!
SAN BERNARDINO IN FILM
- Mister America
- The Founder
- Cars (mentioned)
- Inland Empire (possibly, haven’t actually seen it)
- The New York Times endorsement thing was so goddamn funny. There’s like 40 minutes of the editorial board asking the candidates probing questions and then discussing their valid concerns and it’s all leading up to this punchline, where everybody writes down their top two choices and there were a whole lot of Bookers and Klobuchars in the mix. I laughed out loud. And then the kicker, they endorse two people! The only way it could get more Centrist Pundit Brained is if they encouraged people to write in John McCain.
- This is not to say that their The Weekly show is bad. The episode about Eddie Gallagher is worth watching.
- Anyway, once again I’ve added a gallery of pictures I made over the past year for 2019.
- I’ve also updated my gallery of Pictures of Presidents Using Computers.