Stick A Stud In It

Chaos in Print

How rebellious, in a conformist sort of way. — Lisa Simpson, commenting on Bart’s earring.

If a girl’s got a pierced tongue, she’ll probably suck your dick. It a guy’s got a pierced tongue, he’ll probably suck your dick. — Chris Rock

I’ve never understood the appeal of body piercing. One of my newer friends was recently telling me about her new tongue piercing, to which I naturally asked why she had it done. She said that after getting her ears and her nose done, it was the next logical step. She went on to describe body piercing as an addiction, and that after one, she couldn’t help but get another. To which I still have to ask why? Eyebrows. Tongues. Lips. Belly buttons. Noses. Nipples. Even (wince of pain) genitals. Why would you want holes stuck in these things?

Let’s look at how it all started: earrings. It used to be a right of passage for a little girl when her parents finally allowed her to get her ears pierced so she could start looking ever the more womanly. Then, in a case of sexual equality run amok, it also became a right of passage for little boys to sneak out of the house one night and come home with their ears pierced. (Here, we must specify only the left ears. We’ll explore why in a moment.) Again, here’s where those feminism courses come back to haunt me. If we look at it like that, then it appears that little girls go through this self-inflicted pain only to maintain the traditional, male-established standards of physical beauty. But when a man does it, he does it to show his non-conformity to society, and his physical endurance by inflicting this pain upon himself. (Here, we should point out that men point out how tough they are by getting only ONE ear pierced, whereas women constantly get both pierced and no one so much as raises an eyebrow.)

So, how come men only go for the left ear? As it was pointed out to me oh-so-long ago, the left side indicates that you a real man; a pure man; a man’s man. It’s a true sign of that elusive teen characteristic known as “cool.” If the piercing is in the right ear, it is a sign of homosexuality. If a man gets both ears pierced, it is a sign of homosexuality. Basically, as I was taught in junior high, if a man is pierced anywhere but his left ear, it is a sign of homosexuality. That seems strange doesn’t it? On the one hand, we’ve got, “I’m a big, strong, tough man because I’ve had the courage to drive a sharp metal thing through my left ear.” On the other hand, we’ve got, “I’m a week, little, girly man who dreams of running off with Prince Charming because I’ve had the courage to drive a sharp metal thing through my eyebrows, tongue, lips, nose, balls, and both ears.” (Note: I don’t think of all gay men as ‘week, little girly men who dream of running off with Prince Charming.’ This is just the way my redneck ancestors taught it to me.) But then, I guess this system is pretty much arbitrary. In junior high, I was just about branded gay because I didn’t get anything pierced. Not that there’s anything wrong with being gay, to quote Jerry Seinfeld.

But still, you have to give a lot of credit to the person who invented body piercing. I wonder who it was who was the first to look at his/her earlobes and say to him/herself, “Hey! If I poke a hole through this, I’ll be able to dangle things from it!” Perhaps the whole body piercing craze grew out of one-upmanship. One day, a person showed up at a party with pierced ears. This led that person’s greatest rival to go home and get a nose piercing. Then, our originator saw this, went home, and got pierced eyebrows. The rival saw this, and got pierced lips. The originator saw this, and got a pierced tongue. The rival saw this, and got pierced nipples. The originator saw this (how, we don’t want to know), and got a belly button ring. The rival saw this and…well, it just went lower and lower until both could walk around naked, and look like they were wearing chain mail.

Ear piercings have been around long enough now that they have lost their shock value. But seriously, you’ve got to ask who started piercing other things? The nose was probably the next logical choice. If cartoons have taught us anything, it’s that we’ve been giving nose rings to bulls for quite a long time. I wonder if any child has ever looked at a person with a nose ring and said, “Mamma! That man thinks he’s a cow!” After the nose, I guess it wasn’t that much a leap to do lips. And from lips, it wouldn’t take that much to do a tongue. It’s all a domino effect of self-mutilation, I guess. What it all boils down to is there are three kinds of piercings I just don’t understand: belly buttons, nipples, and genitals.

Let’s look at the belly button. The belly button has got to be the most childlike and innocent of all features on the human body. When we are children, it sits there as an object of curiosity. We sort of played with it, stuck our fingers in it, and wondered what exactly it was for. Later, we grow up, and we learn that it is just a remnant of our time in the womb. But it remains there, a biological reminder of a childhood long past. When we long lose our inner children, all we have to do is look at our belly buttons, and it all comes back to us. So what do we do? Jab a sharp metal thing through it. Perhaps we do it out of a subconscious desire to symbolize the end of innocense. Or, we do it just so we can stuff a piece of cubic zirconium in it.

Then, we’ve got the nipples. We remove our shirts, and there they are, standing out like two pink little headlights. On women, they serve quite the noble purpose of nourishing our young. On men, their purpose is still being debated. But here, on our rough, weathered chests, we’ve got this one area that is just a little softer and a little more delicate than the rest of us. Perhaps God placed them there as a symbol that we’ve all got those soft spots that we all protect, and only when we’re with people we love do show those soft spots. So, what kind of compulsion makes a person look at their soft spots and go, “I just gotta poke something in this!” Perhaps we do it out of a subconscious desire to find some way to armor our sensitive parts from the harsh realities of the real world. Or, we do it just because we really, really like pain.

And finally, we arrive at the genitals. I’m not sure I can romanticize this very much, but I’ll try. All I know is, for somewhat obvious reasons, the genitals are a lot more sensitive than the rest of the body. I think I’m starting to see a trend here. The more sensitive something is, the greater the compulsion to stick a stud through it. So, piercing the genitals has got to be some sort of final achievement for the avid body piercer. We pierce the genitals our of the subconscious desire to go the whole nine yards. Or, we do it because they are there.

This is just one of those things where I’ll never understand why my friends do it. I’m just thankful that they aren’t the type to try and push it on me. I ask them why they do it, and they just say something along the lines of “because.” Frankly, though, I’m not sure why anyone would want to mutilate their body like that. And all my friends are young. This is something that they’ll have to live with for the rest of their lives. A moment’s indiscretion simply to stand out in a crowd will be something difficult to explain to your children when you hit 40. So, I’m sorry, as much as I love my friends, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do what they do.

But tatoos, on the other hand, those are cool!

[One final note: OK, I’ve got to admit it. The only reason why I wrote this is for the last year or so, I’ve been dying to figure out how to work that Chris Rock quote into a column just to embarrass Chuck, my tongue pierced friend.]

Movie Review – Unbreakable

Unbreakable

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Starring Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright Penn, and Spencer Treat Clark.

How do you follow up one of the most insanely popular movies of all time? That was the question Shymalan had to ask himself after the success of Sixth Sense. So, following the advice of my old Junior High English teacher, he stuck with what he knew. Along came another film about the supernatural, the possibilities of the human spirit, and a funky-cool twist ending.

David Dunn (Willis) is a man who’s life is falling apart. He’s on the verge of leaving his wife Audrey (Penn) and their son Joseph (Clark). After a promising football career was cut short, he now finds himself working as a security guard in the college stadium where he had his triumphs oh so long ago. But then, his life is changed. When returning from a job interview in another city, his commuter train derails. Everyone is killed…except him. He walks away without a scratch on his body. He is soon contacted by Elijah Price (Jackson). Price suffers from a rare disorder, causing his bones to be so brittle that the slightest bump could brake something. Because of this disorder, he spent a lot of time in a hospital bed…reading comic books. Now, the owner of an art gallery, he’s come to a somewhat bizzare theory. He theorizes that if people who are super-weak, like himself, exist in the world, then perhaps there also exists real live superheroes. With Dunn being the only survivor of the train wreck, Price believes that Dunn is, perhaps, a superhero. Is Dunn really a superhero of some sort? Can he find the strength to put his life back in order, let alone be a hero? And what’s the really cool twist ending?

Of course, everyone’s making the inevitable Sixth Sense comparisons. I’m no different. The film looks a lot like Sixth Sense in its mood and pacing (Hey! I used the term “pacing!” I’m turing into a real film critic!). But the mood was a little more dire than Sixth Sense. Dunn is a man who’s life has just gone to pot, and Price is a person who just needs something to believe. And while Sixth Sense did have a better twist ending, the ending in this film was still good enough to give me goosebumps. And besides, how can a person like myself hate a film where one of the main characters is essentially a comic book geek? In it’s own warped way, this film is an homage to comic geeks every where. A good and eerie homage. I highly recomend it.

3.5 Nibs

I Am Not My Name Tag

Chaos in Print

I was recently able to buy one of my most coveted T-shirts. It’s the one adorned with the logo of Nightwing. What? You don’t know who Nightwing is? Let me educate you. Nightwing is Dick Grayson, the first man to hold the mantle of Robin. He was leading a happy life as Batman’s sidekick, but it wasn’t long before he hit adulthood. Now his own man, he found it more and more difficult to be “the sidekick.” Eventually, he grew frustrated with his position and knew that he would forever be the second half of “Batman &….” This led him to leave the Dynamic Duo and strike out on his own. Getting a new uniform and changing his name to Nightwing, he began dispensing justice his own way in Gotham City’s upstate neighbor of Ravenloft. Of course, he still pops into Gotham from time to time when Batman needs back-up. After some reflection, I am starting to see how my current situation at work reflects Nightwing’s origins.

At work, we recently changed our payroll system. It used to be we wrote down our hours on a timecard after work. If we worked through our break, we got to add another 15 minutes. If we wound up working overtime, we just simply added the extra half-hour or so to the timecard. Now, we’ve all got these new name tags with magnetic stripes on the back. When we start work, we swipe our name tag through a reader to punch in. When work’s done, we swipe our name tag again to punch out. If we end up working more than our scheduled hours for the week (i.e. working through break, overtime), we have to tell the supervisor that this happened and a notation is made in a log book. It seems over-complicated now, but I guess too many people were abusing the system.

Now, it doesn’t bother me that we’ve moved to this card system. Hell, back in my old college days, I had to do that every night in order to eat. That’s how I get money from the bank. I’ve long since grown accustomed to the fact that my life had been reduced to a series of magnetic stripes, bar codes, and 4-digit ID numbers in corporate computers. Right now, I’m just waiting for the day when fingerprint scanners are cheap and reliable so I don’t have to remember all these PIN numbers. What bothers me about this new system are these new name tags.

I wouldn’t object if they were photo ID’s, like what FBI agents wear on all those X-Files reruns. But no pictures are on them (and besides, even if they were photo ID’s, I had already put plans in place to replace my photo with one of Darth Maul). I don’t object to the sickly green color that they are. Green is my favorite color, even the sickly shades. What I object to about these new name tags is, right below our names, in letters just as big and black, are our job titles. My name tag doesn’t read “Mark.” It reads “Mark: Bagger.”

Now, as long time readers know, I am a lot more than a bagger. That name tag could just as easily read “Mark: B.SC.” or “Mark: Amateur Writer” or “Mark: DJ.” But no, it reads “Mark: Bagger.” The company has now branded me as a bagger for the rest of my career with them. They don’t see me as a person with degrees in math and physics. They don’t see me as the budding young head of a .com. I’m just “Mark: Bagger.” (I’m sure had some of the management in Edmonton had their way, the tag would have read “77973: Bagger,” but their research department told them that “names” add a personal touch to a customer’s shopping experience.)

Because of my youthful exterior, I’m positive that everyday I’m fighting the stereotype that I’m a high school dropout trying to make it without an education. Now, the corporation is doing their part to further that image. When a customer makes small talk with me, I always see the shock in their face as I say my answer to their question, “Why aren’t you in school?” Their eyes widen and they take in a breath as I say, “Actually, I have two degrees and, with the job market the way it is right now, this was the only thing I could get.” And the corporation is doing their part to make sure the people remain shocked.

Sure, I can do things to get out of my position. When I applied to work there, I put in for a management position. In the interview, I was told that management positions would be opening up shortly. My boss has told me on numerous occasions that if I want to transfer to another department, all I have to do is say the word. But, do I really want to transfer? It’ll mean even more contact with stupid customers. (Trust me, a bagger does not get near the abuse a stocker does.) And as for management, well. I’m sure most of you readers are familiar with my “altercation” with the regional manager, and another member of visiting management decided that my black bow tie was not a black tie, and thus a violation of the dress code. With the idiocy I’ve seen from these people, do I really want to put myself in direct contact with them? Not really. My best option is resuming the search for something outside the Extra Foods family.

I know I am not my job, as much as I am not my bank account, my colon cancer, or my fucking khakis. (Ye gods, I’m turning into my crazy Fight Club quoting friends.) But, it’s stunning how much of society judges you on your job. “Oh, he’s just a bagger. He must’ve dropped out of school or something.” “Oh, he’s a regional manager. He must be the nicest person in the world to have gotten where he is!” Well, guess what? This bagger is over-educated for his job, and is better with numbers than that snotty MBA could ever hope to be. It really hurts that now I have to broadcast that I’m nothing more than a bagger to every customer that walks through that door. I know I am not my job, but how do I convince them?

This must be how Nightwing felt. He knew that people would forever view him as the sidekick as long as he had that “R” on his chest. He knew he was capable of more, and he had to show the world, even if it meant changing his name and moving to another town. Nightwing is probably the best superhero for me to embody right now. We are each capable of more, but it’s hard showing the world that as long as we have our job titles blazed across our chests. But, the only difference between Nightwing and myself is that he knew what he had to do. I am still in that long, drawn out process of figuring it out. I will move to Ravenloft. Someday. But for now, I must be the sidekick.

Movie Review – How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Directed by Ron Howard.

Starring Jim Carrey, Jeffery Tambor, Molly Shannon, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Taylor Momsen, and the voice of Anthony Hopkins.

This was my most anticipated movie of the holiday season. A live action movie of The Grinch. My mind boggled at the concept. And then, when I heard that Jim Carrey would be playing the Grinch, it seemed as though it was all coming together nicely. And, since it has now become the #1 movie of the year 2000, how could I keep denying myself the chance to see this film?

We’ve all seen the Christmas special, but they really did have to fill out the plot for the movie. Christmas time has come again to Whoville, but this has thrown little Cindy Lou Who (Momsen) into a bit of an existential quandary. Her father, Lou Lou Who (Irwin) is Whoville’s postmaster, and he’s all caught up in the holiday rush that comes along with his job. Her mother, Betty Lou Who (Shannon), is obsessed with beating her next door neighbour, Martha May Whovier (Baranski) with the bestest Christmas display. So, Cindy Lou begins to wonder, is all this rampant commercialism what Christmas is all about, or is there something more? But, we can’t forget our title character, the Grinch (Carrey). He sits upon his mountain top and glares out at the Whos. He hates the Whos and their whole Who society, and it’s at Christmas when they get at their absolute worst, with their rampant gift-giving and incredibly loud song-singing. But, in the Grinch, Cindy Lou sees a kindred spirit, and longs to know why he hates the Whos and Christmas so much. She investigates the Grinch’s past, and, believing that there is good in everyone, tries to get the Grinch involved in the Whos’ Christmas festivals. But, her efforts backfire, and the Grinch winds up hating Christmas even more. He soon comes up with an awful, grinchy idea: he’ll steal Christmas from the Whos. Will the Grinch succeed in this scheme? Will he win back his one true love? Will both he and Cindy Lou discover what this holiday is all about?

In terms of visual design, this movie is absolutely amazing. The world in which the Whos live is a triumph of production design. The folks at Digital Domain do an outstanding job on the effects. I also really loved the performances in this film. Carrey is wonderfully nasty as the Grinch. His spin on the Grinch is more along the lines of a mischif maker than a truly evil force. And yes, it’s just enough Carrey showing through to make us remember why Ace Ventura was such a hit. Baranski does a great job as a woman longing for her true love, Hannibal Lecter makes a great narrator, and that is one darn cute little girl playing Cindy Lou Who. Everything about this film is great, but…. I knock off a nib because, well, I got the subtle jokes about marital infidelity and spouse swapping, and it made me uncomfortable that they snuck those into a family film. But, if you, like most 8-year olds, don’t get those two jokes, you’ll find a great movie that’s very much in keeping with the Dr. Seuss original.

3 Nibs

Hymn For The Forgotten

Chaos in Print

One of my all time favorite books is 1984. In the book, one of the places that characters whisper about in hallways is Room 101. In the Ministry of Justice, Room 101 is the designation of the torture chamber where, after weeks of psychoanalysis, your deepest, darkest fears are brought to life. For our hero, Winston Smith, it was rats. When he was brought to Room 101, his head was placed in a cage with a dozen rabid rats, and several gates separated the rats from his face. Every time he answered “incorrectly,” a gate was opened and the rats would come closer to his face. Now that you know the proper context of this reference, you’ll know why I was often smiling as I roamed the halls of Augustana University in my student days. I always got a chuckle when I noticed that every door leading outside was labeled “101.” I guess, according to the university’s designers, that the college student’s deepest darkest fear is the real world.

I recently had the fortune of returning to Augustana for a vacation. With a few hours to kill before meeting up with my friend, I decided to roam the halls once again. I’m sure I looked just like another student, and with most of my former professors having never known me without my beard, my clean-shaven face gave me a certain degree of anonymity. I was there just to roam, and remember.

The first thing that struck me was the number of changes that had taken place. Across the ravine, at the senior dorms, there was this place called “The Dish.” In my day, it was nothing but a study lounge; a general purpose meeting hall. Now, when I tried to get in and sit in my favorite beat-up chair, I found the doors locked. The new hours were six to midnight, and now it is a coffee house/hangout of sorts to amuse the bored students. If I remember my history correctly, that’s the function the Dish had 10 years ago. (That’s even how it got it’s name; it had a satellite dish on the roof to provide satellite TV.) In retrospect, I should have drifted by the Coffee House to see how it’s been affected. It seems as though everything old is new again.

While waiting for my friend, I picked up the latest copy of the student paper, The Dagligtale, to leaf through. What I read shocked me. No long, rambling editorials. No silly fake advice columns. No disjointed diatribes on sex. No cute graphics. A drastic reduction in the number of comic strips. It had returned to what it was in my freshman year: a serious, real, newspaper. It was everything I told Brad Goertz it should return to. It was everything I fought to restore. And you know what? God, was I wrong. It had been ages since I read such a humorless paper. Everything had gotten so serious. Where was the humor? Where was the fun? Where was the youth? It seemed that everything that Kenten Bowick, and then Lucas Warren & Brad Goertz, tried to establish had been wiped out by an editor far too mature for the job.

When I began doing my radio show on the campus station, I had only one goal: to be remembered. To establish a legacy. But now, in the hallowed halls of AUC, if you were to mention the name “Scarecrow,” you would only be met with bemused expressions and befuddled shrugs-of-the-shoulder. It seems that the contributions that the students try to make, in the form of radio shows or submissions to the paper, will only be forgotten as we all graduate off and begin new lives in the real world. As time progresses, the Scarecrow is forgotten.

Brad Goertz. Forgotten

Kenten Bowick. Forgotten.

Kevin McDonald. Forgotten.

Karen Leblond. Forgotten.

David Shield. Forgotten.

Jen Ripley. Forgotten.

Christine Walko. Forgotten.

Christine Walko. Whatever happened to her? I first met her on that fateful day in January of 1996 as I began my studies at AUC. Actually, she was the first person I met on campus. Here I was, this lost freshman stumbling into the dorms with only one piece of knowledge: my room was in some place called “2nd East.” And there, in the lobby of freshman, was her. She was an R.A. over in West and, spotting that look of confusion and fear that all freshmen have on their first day, came over and offered her help. I told her that I was new here, and that my room was on this “2nd East.” She showed me up there, and hooked me up with one of the 2nd East R.A.s. I ran into her again about a month later. I was quite shy in those early days, and was eating supper by myself in the cafeteria. She came over to my table, sat down, and ate with me. We made idle small talk, and I eventually revealed that, on that night, would be the first episode of my radio show. She immediately put in a request for the Tragically Hip. (You know, throughout the entire history of my show, I don’t think I ever played any Tragically Hip. Oh, well, c’est la vie.) My last encounter with her was in the Fall of 1996, as my second year began. We ran into each other on the bridge. I had moved on to Moi, and she told me that she was now in…Ronning, if memory serves. She invited me over to her place, but I never went.

Christine Walko. She never told me her name. I eventually learned it by stumbling upon her picture in the student directory. What brought her name back to me after all these years? As I roamed the halls of AUC, I’m pretty sure that was her that was working behind the desk in the Career Resource Center. I walked by quickly, it sort of looked like her, and I didn’t have the courage to walk in and confirm my suspicions. Maybe it’s best that I didn’t. Maybe it’s better that I just simply remember her as this angel who helped out a lowly freshman.

Right now would be the perfect time to slip in some kind of cliche about how I didn’t have to work my ass off to be remembered, and that if only one person remembers me the way I remember Christine, then my legacy is secure. But I’m pretty sure you’ve figured that out by now. It’s as simple as 2+2=5.

2+2=5. The simple question asked of Winston Smith throughout his torture. When his torturer asked what 2+2 equals, he knew that Winston’s spirit would be broken when he answered 5. Winston left Room 101 forever changed. He saw the world in a different light. It wasn’t long before he left his lover Julia, herself haunted by a Room 101 experience. Perhaps that designer who labeled all the doors wasn’t that far off. Returning to AUC after my time away, everything did feel different. The campus had come under the grips of new people, busy trying to establish their own legacies. And as long as one student out there remembers you, and keeps you in that special place in their heart, your legacy will live, and both of you will have the strength to survive Room 101.

Midnight Ramblings XIII

Chaos in Print

NOTE: You know the drill. Every time pop culture picks at my brain, I e-mail my buddy “Neelix” to get it off my chest. So, let’s rock!

Hey Neelix!

I write this on Thursday the 12. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th and it’s a full moon. Am I the only one that finds that just two bad omens too many? Ehh, it’s my superstitious nature. I get that from my mother’s side.

Actually, right now I’m kind of conflicted. A week ago, Digimon: The Movie hit theaters. It debuted in the #5 position. How does this conflict me? Well, I hate Digimon. I’ve always seen it as a lame Pokémon rip-off. And the voice cast is just so high-pitched and squeaky it’s annoying. But, on the other hand, it opening in the #5 position shows that there is still a market out there for this kind of movie, and it ensures that Pokémon: The Third Movie will probably still get its theatrical release in the spring. I’ll probably go see Digimon: The Movie when it hits the loonie theaters. You know, out of morbid curiosity.

Hey! How’s this for weird? One of my favorite jokes on The Drew Carey show happened when Drew and the gang were sitting around watching the scrambled porn channel. When Lewis asked “Why don’t you just spend the extra money to get it de-scrambled,” Drew replied “I can’t. I already get the cartoon channel, and I hear that if you get that and the porn channel, they put your name in a special file.” Well, guess what? I was looking over the flyer for one of those mini-satellite dishes, when my eye wandered to the programming packages. One of the channels offered, of course, was the Playboy Channel. I perused the fine print, only to discover that in order to get the Playboy Channel, you must first get the tier called “fun stuff.” What’s in fun stuff? The family channel, the kid’s channel, the preschooler’s channel, and yes, the cartoon channel. Why you have to get these channels before you can get the Playboy Channel, I just don’t know.

So, Star Trek: Voyager kicked off its seventh and final season last week. The villain of the piece was the Borg Queen. I don’t know about that Borg Queen. I think she’s just been used a little too much right now. When we first met her in Star Trek: First Contact, I thought it was a great idea. Here, the entire collective consciousness of the Borg dropped into a single body; a voice so we could here what’s on the collective’s mind. But now, in the whole Unimatrix Zero two-parter, she came across like the boss/dictator of the collective. So, from being the voice, she became the one in charge. I just found that confusing. But it was a good episode. Hopefully, Voyager will go out with a bang.

Let’s see…what else is on my mind? I think I should rent a Sony Playstation one of these nights. There are just so many Playstation games out there that I want to give a try. There’s the latest Beast Wars game, entitled Beast Wars:Transmetals. This is a fighting game, where you can be either Optimus Primal or Megatron and duke it out for control of the universe! Then, there’s the Dukes of Hazzard game. A racing game, where you drive the good ol’ General Lee. It even features the voices of the entire original cast, plus a few new songs by my favorite country music group, The Tractors. And finally, I just want to give Lego Racers another spin. I may have ranted on this in the past, but it deserves re-ranting. This is a racing game, in the best tradition of Super Mario Kart, where you race little Lego cars around. It’s just a blast. I play it at my cousin’s place, but he hasn’t unlocked any other tracks yet, meaning we can only play the first four.

Hey! Guess what? I was at my brother’s place the other night, and he gets TeleToon. Thanks to him, I was able to catch one of the greatest cartoons of the 80’s: The Real Ghostbusters. Did you know this little quirk about The Real Ghostbusters? The characters of Venkman and Winston had two different voices each. When the show began, Venkman’s voice was done veteran voice artist Lorenzo Music (voice of Garfield) and Winston’s voice was done by stand-up comic/former late night talk show host Arsenio Hall. Soon, though, the show was picked up by the networks, and the voices were recast. Venkman’s voice was then done by Dave Coulier (Uncle Joey on Full House), and Winston’s voice was done by veteran voice artist Buster Jones. They even went back and re-dubbed the older episodes. Very cool.

Actually, watching that got me thinking. What are the odds of petitioning TeleToon to show more cartoons of the 80’s? Here are some of my top choices, and the odds:

MASK – I think we’d have a good shot at getting this one on TeleToon. It was made by Canada’s Nelvana Studios, so it’d have the whole Canadian Content thing going for it.

G.I. Joe and the Transformers – Of course, these two have wonderfully huge cult followings. And there’s precedent! The Sci-Fi Channel (the U.S.’s Space: the Imagination Station) used to show Transformers, and the USA Network (generic U.S. rerun channel) used to show G.I. Joe. So, what’s good for the Yankees….

He-Man – As much as I’d love to see this one come back, it’s doubtful. See, the company that made He-Man (Filmation) went bankrupt in the early 90’s. In the ensuing liquidation sale, all their stock was sold to Hallmark (yes, the greeting card company owns He-Man). And, from what I’ve gleamed from the Internet, they charge an arm and a leg for old Filmation stuff.

Speaking of He-Man, get this. Inspired by the success of Hasbro’s relaunch of the G.I. Joe toys, Mattel has just announced that they’ll be re-releasing the classic Masters of the Universe action figures! They’ll hit toy stores in January of 2001 (April is the Canadian release) and series one will consist of: He-Man, Man-At-Arms, Teela, Skeletor, Beast Man, Mer Man, Evil-Lynn, Trap Jaw, Tri-Klops and Faker. Also in the assortment will be boxed sets of He-Man & Battle Cat and Skeletor and Panthor. This release is being geared primarily at collectors. Each figure will be released in an exact recreation of the original packaging from the 80’s, and then boxed in a special silver foil box. What I find fascinating is how Mattel recreated these figures for this release. It seems that Mattel destroyed all the molds for the action figures years ago, so what they did was buy some old Masters of the Universe figures on eBay, and then reverse-engineer them.

And one last thing. I was watching some old Transformers cartoons this weekend, and it both shocked and offended me. I was offended in that antimatter figured into the plot, and it was so not how real antimatter worked. What shocked me was that this cartoon was made in 1984, and yet it managed to properly use the term “upload.”

That’s all for now!

Mark

Movie Review – Charlie’s Angels

Charlie’s Angels

Directed by McG.

Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Kelly Lynch, Sam Rockwell, Crispin Glover, Tim Curry, and the voice of John Forsyth.

I have to confess. I only saw this movie for a purely male reason. When I saw the first few commercials, I thought it looked kinda stupid. Then, I saw the ad featuring Diaz dancing around in nothing more than a tight T-shirt and Spider-Man jockey shorts. As soon as I saw that, I knew I had to see this movie.

Natalie (Diaz), Dylan (Barrymore) and Alex (Liu) are three super-sluths who work for the never-seen Charlie (voice of Forsyth). They are assisted in their work by Bosley, a liaison between them and Charlie, played by my childhood favorite, Bill Murray. Their latest mission is to rescue Eric Knox (Rockwell), one of those super-geeks who makes Bill Gates look like, well, me. It seems that his new voice recognition software is a hot commodity, so he’s been kidnapped by his corporate enemy Roger Corwin (played by another favorite of mine, Tim Curry), and the software stolen. So, the Angels are hired to go find Knox and recover the software. But, as is always the case in movies like these, all is not as it seems, as our heroes are double-crossed, triple-crossed, betrayed, and soon find themselves on a life-or-death mission to save Charlie. Can the Angels save the day, and do it wearing a lot of skimpy outfits and while contending with their boyfriend troubles?

This movie is a true Hollywood product. The soundtrack is filled with nothing but recent top 10 hits. The fight scenes are reminiscent of The Matrix. The plot is generic for this kind of movie. They borrowed my favorite scene from True Lies. And, there are enough explosions, sexual innuendo and jiggly breasts to get that very lucrative males aged 18-24 demographic. Well, being in that target demographic, I liked the movie for what it was: big, dumb, goofy fun. As many a critic has said in the past, “Be sure to check your brain at the door.” I sure wish they used more of Murray, though. Is it just me, or is he an actor aching for a comeback? So, you’ll like it, as long as you don’t expect a lot of substance.

3 Nibs