I take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time my great gratification that it's faithful author is numbered among the friends of UpdatedEveryFriday:
"DEAR SAM: I am 8 years old
"Sometimes my parents say that there's no such thing as zombies.
"But my little friends say that they're real.
"Please tell me the truth; is there a threat of a zombie apocalypse?
"720 WEST VALVE STREET
VIRGINIA, your parents are wrong. They have been infected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds . . .either that, or their little minds are now swarming with a zombie virus, one which has perhaps evolved to invoke skepticism in its hosts.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a threat of a zombie apocalypse. It exists as certainly as machetes and chainsaws and preparedness exist, and you know that those abound and give to your life it's highest peace of mind. Alas! how slovenly would be the world if there were no threat of a zombie apocalypse! There would be no motivation to train ourselves physically and mentally, no constant reminder to appreciate each moment of our lives.
Not believe in the zombie virus! You might as well not believe in ninjas! You might get your papa to hire men to watch the streets for roaming undead, but if they did not see any roaming undead, what would that prove? And now that I think about it, that's a really good idea. If your papa has the resources, get him on this zombie squad thing, now.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men, could tear apart. And if we don't learn to see through that veil, Virginia, before the zombie apocalypse comes, we actually will be facing THE UNITED STRENGTH OF THE WORLDS STRONGEST MEN, each of them a brain-eating monster! And believe me, they will tear apart more than baby rattles.
No zombies! Oh they live, and they live forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, the will continue to stumble and groan across the ruins of our cities, unless you and I march forward to stop them. Good luck, and God help us all.
*This is a line from "Left for Dead" by Citizen Cope. "Left4Dead" is the name of a popular computer game about surviving in a zombie apocalypse. The reference is so obscure, I figured it was better just to explain it.
Friday, December 19, 2008
War drums echo through the heavens as a rollup slowly crawls into infinity.
November 5, 2055
It is a dark time for humanity. No more do the cities light up as night falls across them. No more do they sparkle with the electric glow of life, still buzzing about in defiance of sunset. Now there is only the terrible tide of the zombie horde, gradually wearing away at the last testaments of mankind's existence.
But there is one hope, one last chance to make the world over. On a hilltop in Japan, the ancient order of the Ninja has emerged in this terrible hour. Here they have made a stand, beating back the undead monsters with skill, cunning, and a small army of terrifying robots they built. They are the Folded Steel clan, defenders of the flame.
Atop the clan's fortress of New Guardia, a brilliant young computer scientist has spent months in communion with the last remaining artificially intelligent supercomputer, searching for a cure to the hideous plague. And now, at last, a solution has been found-though it comes with a terrible price.
Through it's investigations into the physical world, the AI computer has invented a time travel device. With it, a single warrior could escape into the past, find the cause of the outbreak, and destroy it. The future as it is will be unmade. The noble men and women who hold back the tide of evil will have never been. The lone fighter will be abandoned forever in history.
Armed with only his spirit, his sword, a sniper rifle, and an array of cyborg enhancements, the ninja steps into the chronopult and vanishes . . .
CITIZEN KANE 2*
*Now return my calls, Warner Brothers!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Emporer Augustus was touring his Empire and noticed a man in the crowd who bore a striking resemblance to himself. Intrigued he asked: "Was your mother at one time in service at the Palace?" "No your Highness," he replied, "but my father was."
Emporer Augustus, Two-thousand years ago
Painter: "Y'are a dog."
Apemantus: "Thy mother's of my generation. What's she, if I be a dog?"
Apemantus: "Thy mother's of my generation. What's she, if I be a dog?"
William Shakespeare, Act 1 Scene 1 of Timon of Athens, late 1500's/early 1600's
"I like yo' momma — sister, too"
Blues artist Kokomo Arnold, "Twelves (Dirty Dozens)" Early 1930's
"Your mama don't dance and your daddy don't rock and roll"
Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina, from the song of the same title, 1972
-Ok, you're qualified for this job, how about a starting salary, $5000? "
-Um, $7500 a year...?
Richard Pryor, "Saturday Night Live" sketch, 1975
"You are so stupid. It would take your mother 1, no. 2 hours to watch 60 MINUTES"*
Ron Shelton, "White Men Can't Jump," 1992
"Your mom's retarded."
"No your mom's retarded."
Some middle school kids at the Smoothie King while I was in line, 2008
*The TV show "How I Met Your Mother" made this considerably harder to research on the internet . . . "How I Met Your Mother" is hurting America.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Even the most genuinely remarkable things can become commonplace, and only when you get a moment to reflect on them do you realize how incredible they really are.
Example: Every single time I'm in an airplane, sitting as it taxi's onto the runway, I think to myself: "In a few seconds, this machine is going to suddenly fire itself along the ground at 180mph or so, and then it's going to lift off of the ground and fly!"
And I know that I'm not the only one having this sort of experience:
So it's a little weird to me that I've never seen anyone else mention what, to me, seems like a very obvious revelation:
"Mount DOOM . . . really? That's what Tolkien called the big evil guy's home? Mount DOOM! That's the name he came up with. J.R.R. Tolkien, who worked out all this elaborate backstory of wars, magical objects, and songs about this thing some elves built one time, this man who essentially wrote his OWN fanfiction, he got up to the plate to pen his masterpiece and went "Eh, I'll just call it Mount Doom. That's a pretty sweet name. Cause, you know, it's a real bad place. And this way people will be able to tell."
Am I the only one who's a little thrown that Sauron, the big evil demon-overlord-whatever-the-hell-he-is-anyway, lives in a place that sounds like it was named by a Bond villian?
Quick test: Which one of these things seems out of place:
Ford of Bruinen
Yeah, that's what he actually went with. And they had to say it in the opening lines of the movie, and no one even snickered.
*The Onion provides the most recent example.