Rule 34

Rule 34Everyone knows what Rule 34 is. Even if you don’t know it by its formal name, you are familiar with the concept. And as much as you wish it wasn’t true, it is. There’s no denying Rule 34.

If it exists, there’s porn of it.

Consider this post I stumbled upon, courtesy of an inevitable future entry in Why I Hate Everything – Yahoo! Answers.

Yahoo! Answers Rule 34

Following that included link predictably led me to places I can’t unremember. (Man, ‘unremember’ should really be a word. Much more dramatic than ‘forget’). Here is probably the most tame example I could find.

Courtney Gears

It just fascinates me that there is a community of people who get off on this stuff. And all the pictures have comments.

Anonymous5: WTB: MOAR COURTNEY GEARS 5INTERNETS

The fact that this is the least offensive offering I could find is not the only difference between the others. For one, this is actually a decent quality drawing. But what surprised me the most is that the vast majority of the Ratchet pictures were gay. Either the little guy going at it solo (so the audience would be gay) or him with one or two other furry dudes getting it on.

I leave you with the top half of a notable picture and a couple comments underneath that i found funny.

Hetero?

Anonymous1: HETERO Ratchet porn? Now i’ve seen everything

Shad-0: Anon1: sorry, but ORIGINAL CHARACTER is actually a dude… his name is hector, the one who made this…

sorry

Bromosexuals

“Look man, we’re both dudes. I don’t want to hear about how you think I’m cool to hang out with or that you like my hair. Let’s not dwell on the little things and just hang out.”

Everyone knows the type of guy I wish I could say this to. I’m talking about the dude who wants to hang out with you just a bit too much for it to be considered normal. Through actions or comments you get the clear impression that someone has a man-crush on you. Next thing you know, you find yourself in awkward moments of harmless adoration. And it really should be considered a compliment. But guys aren’t chicks. The fact that we hang out is all the approval we need.

The other day a guy I was drinking with actually mentioned that I had a nice waistline, guessed the size, and then said he wished he was as lucky. That was about all the bromance I could handle for the night. Seriously, how was I supposed to respond to that?

And there are worse cases out there. I meet a guy from work out at bars once in a while and he works out and has a pretty stout physique. One time I was standing by the bar with him when a guy walked by on his way out and said, “Wow, what do you feed these things?” and grabbed his pecs!!! Where the hell did that come from? I wasn’t even involved in the incident and I was uncomfortable. My buddy tells me that type of thing happens all the time and I have personally witnessed as much on two other occasions to back up that claim.

Not cool, brother. You’re not being friendly, you’re being creepy. You’re not being funny, you’re being sad. And you are definitely behaving outside the acceptable norms.

So whether this is a call for all you bromosexuals to stop the madness, or simply just calling you out, please find a way to temper your affection or you might find yourself on the wrong end of a break up.

“Really, it’s not you, it’s me. No, no. Wait. It’s you.”

Comment Spam

Spam on the internet is a funny thing. It is brute-force marketing combined with con artist trickery designed for the sole purpose of getting a click-through. Sometimes the whole thing is a scam to try and get your money. Other times there is a computer virus in wait for you to open a security hole. And like it or not, in some cases it is just a low-budget (and sleazy) way for actual companies with actual products to get to you. The sad part is, if it wasn’t for the fact that spam messages are so numerous and annoying, they can actually be quite amusing.

What started out as simple email has gotten much more sophisticated. Email addresses get spidered off websites. Pop-up ads multiply. New MySpace friend requests turn out to just be porn in disguise. Forums get bombarded with fake posts. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, even blogs and web pages that accept user input can fall victim to spam. If you ever wonder why I require registration or approval to comment on this site (for the 3 people reading) then let me give you a basic example.

Comment: BUY VIAGGRA FOR DICK LONG!! LADIES SAY YES!!

Cute. But let’s face it people, no matter how much we may all want dick long, we’re pretty desensitized to this type of spam. What is a poor peddler of unsolicited junk to do? Well, first off, the poor English skills need to start getting fixed. But digging deeper into the spammer’s bag of tricks, one sees the need to blend in.

Comment: Thanks for the interesting information.

From: BUY VIAGRA NOW!!!

Ha ha! Well, it’s great to see them give it a try, anyway. What I absolutely love are the times the select few go the extra mile and give 110%, and other work-ethic metaphors. This is what a kind reader posted about my Barbeque Pizza observations.

Comment: Hi, Congratulations to the site owner for this marvelous work you’ve done. It has lots of useful and interesting data.

From: <insert spam link here>

Priceless.

Branding Rant #2: Sub-Branding

I feel like it’s a good time to revisit the lovely world of marketing, and what better way is there than sticking with the schizophrenic topic of food branding? Sometimes we see different marketing campaigns for the same product; other times we see the same marketing campaign for different formulations of a product. One thing is for sure – the game is about getting and keeping your attention. The kicker is, ‘getting’ and ‘keeping’ are two separate problems with many opposing solutions, sometimes with hilarious results.

Brand names are powerful. They stand for something. They keep you coming back because you enjoy and trust the brand. But they can get stale. Brands often undergo makeovers to keep things fresh, but sometimes companies want to sell something that is actually new but attach an old brand to it for instant recognition. This is where sub-branding comes in.

Let’s look at a simple example. When I mention Handi-Snacks, everyone will immediately think of one thing.

Handi-Snacks

Let’s ignore the cross-branding of including the word Ritz here. What you have is simple: the Kraft brand and the Handi-Snacks product. (Quick Aside: Note the labels of ‘Cheez’ and ‘Cheese Dip’, but never ‘Cheese’. That’s all legal maneuvering.) This is how it was in the beginning, but Handi-Snacks got too big for their own head and had to spill over into a new line.

Dunk 'Ems

That’s right. Now your favorite cheez snack is called Kraft Handi-Snacks Dunk ‘ems, a horrible perversion of punctuation and plurals. Why the need to distinguish exactly what type of Handi-Snack this was?

Pudding

That’s right. For the pudding line. Which interestingly enough, doesn’t have a sub-brand of its own. One would think they would leave the old product alone and just give the sub-brand to the new one, but maybe that’s just Monday morning marketing. Hey, at least it was for a good cause.

Pudding Canceled

Son of a bitch!

Ok, let’s change brands then. How about Tropicana? First thing that pops into your head?

Tropicana

(Quick Aside #2: I’m gonna go somewhere else with this, but imagine this marketing meeting: “What can we do to give our Tropicana brand more of a ‘tropical’ sound?” …)

Tropicana Tropics

o_O …

Anyway, back to the point at hand. Tropicana is juice. How can that be leveraged into a cool new drink?

Twister

Yes! Two or three juices mixed together in a twisted flavor? I’m feeling that. I like it so far. Is that all you got?

Twister Soda

Tropicana Twister Soda? Oh, ok, I get it. Interesting. I wonder what kind of twisted soda flavors they can come up with-

Soda Flavors

What the- Grape? Strawberry? Orange? Am I missing something here? Could they not just make Tropicana Soda? Were they worried they might weaken the brand any more than Tropicana Twister Soda would? Or is this just a case of sub-branding gone out of control?

Last one up is a famous orange soda.

Orange Crush

The Crush line expanded into flavors other than orange, and they handled the change fairly well.

Crush Flavors

Well, mostly. You and I can only guess what this is…

Crush Cream Soda

Anyway, at some point someone must have come along and thought the multiple logos were hurting the Crush brand. And after several power meetings this is apparently what they came up with (new next to old).

Crush Grape Sodas

WTF? An orange slice on my grape soda? This actually caught me off guard and forced me to do an ingredient check to make sure I knew what I was drinking!

By the way, while I have your attention, let me show you someone who’s done it right.

Sunkist

Nice little leaf gets the point across. You can have designer pictures underneath without getting in the way of the logo. Looks like a win to me. Anyway, try the Cherry Limeade. It’s my favorite new soda of the year. It tastes like candy.

Public Enemies

Public EnemiesLots of factors can contribute to making a movie bad so in turn there are many different levels and types of ‘bad’. Public Enemies isn’t a horrible movie by most standards, even mine. The subject matter is compelling enough, Johnny Depp gives a good performance, true stories always pique interest, and Michael Mann is a great director. Where this film fails is in the Hollywood Treatment that is aggravatingly common in the industry.

Really, do you have to have a love story be the central motivation for John Dillinger’s last year of life? Because that’s what it was. The guy went crazy robbing banks for a year and hiding out until he was caught and killed. He wasn’t looking for one last score. And he certainly wasn’t madly in love with ‘Blackbird’. Try to sell me true love when the dude doesn’t ultimately get caught with a prostitute who was a regular of his. Maybe I might buy it then.

Last Words

Not enough sensationalism for you? How about Hollywood’s need to find meaning in death? Watch any true story about somebody famous who died, and I mean any one you want, and the character in question will always have an introspective moment before they go. Dillinger’s bank heist friend in the movie had a heartfelt realization when he tells John that he doesn’t think he’s gonna make it much longer. Of course he dies in the shootout that follows. And Dillinger himself had a zen epiphany watching his last movie. Now, I knew John Dillinger was going to die but I hadn’t read up on the facts of his life and I didn’t know exactly how, and these moments of the film actually ruined the story for me. It telegraphed what was going to happen before it happened so badly that it made the experience less interesting.

How else can this story be romanticized? Let’s make John a stand-up guy who never lets his buddies down. And as a contrast let’s toss in Baby Face Nelson and make him a complete dick. Granted, it’s true that Nelson was more reckless. And it’s true that Dillinger had some imaginative moments – he actually did escape from a jail in a sheriff’s car and robbed at least one bank pretending they were scouting locations for a bank robbery scene in a movie. But still, both Nelson and Dillinger were ruthless cop killers.

Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson both actually outlived John Dillinger. What gets me though is how bad they did Baby Face. This was one tough guy in real life. The day he died he was chased by two officers and his car flipped. There was a gun fight and he was hit in the side. Instead of running, Nelson got out of cover and walked straight at the two officers, yelling at them and shooting. He was shot a bit more in the process but killed them both before getting in a car and leaving to die later. Why the movie chose to skip this is obvious – they didn’t want to outshine Dillinger- but doesn’t this type of thing endlessly piss you off when watching “true stories?” What if you watched a movie about Baby Face next and Dillinger was the douchebag? If true stories don’t at least presume credibility then why not instead make a work of fiction? The idea of poaching real people for literary license doesn’t sit right with me.

Abe

So in the end, the movie isn’t that bad. It’s a bit entertaining and has some good actors involved. But if you were hoping for greatness or that timeless quality, well folks, it’s not here. This is just another script that was passed back and forth through Hollywood too much until it was regurgitated as every other movie you’ve ever seen.

Barbeque Pizza

Barbeque PizzaTwo things can come to mind when somebody says Barbeque Pizza. When I first encountered it I was in a college pizzeria that liked to put hip twists on old ideas. They had a barbeque chicken pizza which had a normal base (crust, tomato sauce, cheese) and then grilled chicken with a zig zag barbeque sauce drizzle. And it was good. And I was happy. And all was right with the world.

I don’t know who’s idea this was, but at some point companies started to replace the tomato sauce with the barbeque sauce. There are a couple valid reasons to use an alternative to tomato sauce. White pizzas were getting more popular and dessert pizzas naturally used chocolate instead. But as with any great moral dilemma of our day, it becomes hard to separate right from wrong in the gray area. I am here to put my foot down and say barbeque sauce is not a gray area- the stuff just isn’t meant to be eaten slathered on bread in those quantities.

My friend told me about a time he went to a pizza place and ordered a shrimp diavolo pie and brought it home. After taking a bite he immediately realized that this was not a normal pizza with added spice. Instead there was no tomato sauce at all- in place of the mild base was nothing other than tabasco sauce! How could this possibly taste good? It didn’t, and my friend threw the pizza away.

Pizza Sauce Rule

Next time you are in the mood for a cute new kind of pizza, make sure the Pizza Sauce Rule is in effect. It is okay to demand tomato sauce instead – I will even go so far as to say that it is your civic duty. Above all, know what you are getting into. As an informed eater, you will only have yourself to blame.

Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle received newfound fame when she appeared on Britain’s got Talent, but the crap tv show is not what I hate. Some things are not even worth knowing enough about in order to properly hate them. I didn’t even know this show existed. Consequently, what I blame is the internet for shoving this trash in my face.

Yahoo! devoted no less than 4 full days of front page banners to Susan Boyle coverage. “Oh wow! Look at this internet sensation! An ugly person actually knows how to sing! The fact that somebody SO ugly can sing SO good is a heartwarming success story!” Really guys, just drop it.

Nothing is as transparent as marketers saying what they are pushing is in high demand. I would say this whole fiasco is insulting to the woman but she is playing a part as a character on tv for the publicity. Does a clown necessarily have less dignity than any other entertainer? Well actually, now that I think about it… Yes.

Branding Rant #1: Rebranding

RebrandingA friend of mine told me he doesn’t read blogs unless they have something to do with food. A drink is kinda like food, and marketing of drinks is kinda like drinks, so this should cover it.

Marketing is a powerful tool. At its core it is simply selling something. Even when you have a good product you need to worry about budget, theming, and reaching your audience. When you have a bad product things get more complicated and marketing may start to become deceptive. How often have we seen movies that looked good in the previews but failed to generate any pleasure to watch? Sometimes trailers only show the good parts (like all the funny jokes in a comedy) and sometimes they are misleading (like using fast cuts and heavy music to mask the fact that the film is in a foreign language).

A newer phenomenon, it seems, is using marketing to invent a product. I am not talking about infomercials that try to make you want a product that you don’t need. I am not talking about legitimately new items, either. I am talking about taking something that exists and reimagining it as a new product. Essentially, the only thing that makes this a new product is the marketing.

Woman Energy Drinks

Granted, some of this falls into niche marketing. But does that make it less ridiculous? These are real products that are pumping through assembly lines somewhere. At least they were, when the companies were still in business. More in the what were they thinking category?

Niche Drinks

Ok, that last joke was a little racist. But the point isn’t who has the better work ethic or who the superior race is- the point is that these are pretty silly business plans. It’s a sad reflection on society that these silly business plans often make money.

Vitamin water is the guilty party in this case. Marketing tells you to drink it because it’s as good for you as water, sometimes even with vitamins added. Sure, there’s some added flavor, but that’s not a big deal. Look, it’s pure! It’s water! The company is named Glacéau – that’s fancy, pretentious, and owned by Coca Cola all at the same time!

Thing is, it’s actually not a bad drink. I honestly enjoy drinking some vitamin waters. But there’s nothing new about the product. Kool-aid is flavored water. Tang has vitamins in it. Giving me a juice drink with the word water on it is fallacious. A new empty product was just invented.

Drink Comparison

To be fair, some Kool-aid does have vitamins. And some changes color too! But man, doesn’t it make you miss the days when marketing just consisted of putting eyes and a smiley face on the product you were trying to sell? Unfortunately, kids, I fear Kool-aid man is on the lam these days.

Kool-aid Man

Godspeed, old friend.

Chinese Democracy

Chinese DemocracyLet me take a time out from focusing on the negatives of things and instead focus on the positives of something deemed negative. Axl Rose is the only original remaining Guns N’ Roses member and because of that most people would prefer the band go away. Instead we have the release of Chinese Democracy after 14 years of production. Trashing the album began way before it was ever on store shelves. I have friends who still rag on it despite never having listened to most of the songs. For whatever reason there is no radioplay push for it. And any proper pitchfork media reading music snob is practically required to hate this album on principle alone. But if you are open to judging Chinese Democracy less on its circumstances and more on, well, its music, you might have a new album in the heavy rotation.

Nostalgia is a funny thing and people don’t want their memories ruined. More to the point, people don’t want their impossible standards brought down to reality. No matter how good an album is, the perfect memory of Guns N’ Roses people have in their head can not be matched.

I’ve heard a litany of complaints. The album is overproduced. Have you not heard Use Your Illusion? While Appetite may have been edgy and raw, the double album that most people love had a huge production value. It took 14 years to make. That is a long time and even I never thought it would come out but I enjoy the final product regardless. The songs are not epic enough. Really? 7 minute songs are back in full force. It sounds like a techno album. Shut up you old man. I just imagine some old out of shape biker dude with long hair complaining about how ‘good old fashioned’ GNR has been poisoned by electronic influences. Nevermind the fact that the drum beats aren’t overdone or used excessively. Axl’s voice still sounds great but… Ya, his voice does still sound great! So what’s the problem?

You want some Guns N’ Roses? I can’t think of any modern musicians who still place so much emphasis on guitar solos and pull it off. Muse and Audioslave come to mind but the guitar in their songs is usually a catchy hook or unique pattern (still good, to be sure). With Chinese Democracy you get full fledged verses of classic strings in what can only be described as the return of the guitar solo.

Fans needs to get past the bad blood between Axl and Slash and just accept where the original members are now. It might be cool for the music media to hold a grudge against Axl – they never had a civilized friendship to begin with. You and me? Let’s forget the politics and just focus on the music. Give Chinese Democracy a try.

Watchmen

WatchmenThis movie was horrible and I’ll tell you why. There are some serious spoilers coming up so if you haven’t watched the movie you shouldn’t be reading this.

2 hours and 50 minutes is too long for this garbage. The length alone isn’t what I object to but somebody somewhere should’ve realized this movie wasn’t good enough to justify it.

The dialog was extremely bad. How many, “I guess the comedian didn’t have the last laugh,” jokes am I supposed to sit through?

The whole thing felt so juvenile. These were cheesy super-heroes with cheesy quirks. The author’s idea of a bad childhood is the mother screaming, “I wish I had an abortion!” to her son. It’s obvious the comic books were written with a 13 year old audience in mind. Dr. Manhattan came off as the product of an art student who just learned how to draw the human form and so kept drawing naked men.

Dr. Manhattan

Wow, talk about timeline hackjobs. Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre go to Mars to have a conversation. In that time, Rorschach and Nite Owl sneak into the bad guy’s office, hack his computer to uncover the plot, get on their ship and fly to Antarctica, infiltrate the fortified base, and confront the enemy. Then Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre finish their conversation. What? They’re not seriously going to montage a 5 minute conversation over all those other events and have me not notice it.

Do audiences not realize when this “movie time” phenomena occurs or do they just not care? Seconds after a nuclear bomb goes off, scientists have already determined the apparent cause of the explosions? That would take weeks! Think I’m nitpicking? Well, then exactly 4 minutes later, Russia and the US reach a peace agreement and there is already a press conference on tv about it! Does that sit well with everybody too? At what point should we stop swallowing this poorly thought out narrative?

Time Stuff Takes

The evil villain is this crazy egyptian soliloquy machine until, at some point, he turns completely normal and rational without any outside factors. If he wasn’t going to fight at the end then why did he even start fighting to begin with? And he wants to create world peace by triggering multiple nuclear explosions? What kind of plan is that? Believe me, when the world is on the brink of nuclear war the last thing you want to do is blow up cities. Nothing will trigger armageddon faster than that.

Now I’m just droning on. But the sum of all of this is that the movie is tragically disappointing. The underlying premise of famous old-school super heroes living mostly normal lives today is original but almost nothing else in the film is. Let’s face it. The graphic novel was written in 1985 and is outdated. The movie adaptation went for complete reverence of the comic books- while that may appease the grown-up readers it isn’t likely to garner new fans.