Friday, February 18, 2011

Ephemera and Chuckles - dateline 02-18-2011

In the "What a world! What a world!" category (from the dying screams of the Wicked Witch of the West), I found a couple head-scratchers on recently.

As an advertising stunt, Samsung glued their memory chips unto a bunch of paper airplanes and put them into a weather balloon to disperse them at a high altitude; instructions on the planes ask that if you find one, tell them where. The point was to illustrate how tough the chips are.

The official site is here.

This article has way more funny things to say about it than I could, so go read it if you're intrigued.

I am just amazed how far some of those little flockers flew.

Some lunkheads - who were possibly jealous that someone else thought of plasticising human carcasses and posing them in action poses and presenting "exploded views" of parts of their anatomy, or cutting animals into sections and placing them in large glass tanks so you could walk between them - have created "artistic" furniture that eats bugs and kills mice, and then generates power from the "microbio fuel." (What a clean little term that is: microbio fuel. I think I'll use that next time someone asks me what hotdogs are made of.)

While the lamps that snack on flies strike me as almost whimsical (part of me is saddened that there may be fewer bug-zappers in the world to deliver that glorious "ffrrrztzztCRACK!" sound when another pest is atomized), the table that lures mice ONTO IT to grind them up like little mouseburgers and deposit the resulting mash into the biofuel cells, hits me wrong in so many ways.

I will say that I think these creepy forms of art - plastic bodies, preserved sectioned animals, and carnivorous furniture - are essentially a public service as the guys (and they're all guys) are channeling their odd fascinations into socially "safe" activities, because I'm convinced they would being doing these projects ANYWAY, and since they're doing it on volunteers (save for the animals), all the better.

Of the many things that bother me about this table, two of my big ones are:

1) Why can't the mousetrap hole be on the corner of the table where the mouse funnel ends? (Like a pool table.) And/or why can't the mouse path just go right to the "digestion" device? Why let the filthy little nugget get on the table in the first place? The videos claim that the design is meant to cater to our morbid voyeuristic nature, the same one we use when we watch shows like "Survivor" or "Wife Swap." If so, wouldn't it be just as much fun to see the mouse drop into the hole on the corner of the table as it would in the middle? Not that I could ever get past the fact that I knew vermin had walked on the table and that they were rotting in the digestion mechanism.

2) What in hell does a table need power for? It's a table. Tables just stand there. Once they're made, we are at the end of the energy required to allow them to perform their function. A little research shows that the power is needed to run the little trapdoor and the grinding device; that's it.

The videos mention the word aesthetics a few times, which amuses me. Leaving aside the biological function of the table, take a look at the one leg that has the Habitrail tunnel in it. The other legs are the standard cheapo aluminum pegs while the tunnel leg is encased in luxurious wood (assuming, here).

Is there a single designer on the planet who wouldn't feel the need to puke in the mouse hole after encountering such a monstrosity?

From a pragmatic perspective, the few times I've had a rodent problem, there's been only one time I actually saw the creature before I caught it, which leads me to think that the possibility of a mouse strutting across the top of the table and into the eye of doom while I'm actually observing the table are equivalent to a tea-bagging party member cogently expressing an economic policy that would actually work.

Apparently none of these guys have wives or children. All of the ladies in my house express sympathy and grief every time I make the trip to the outdoor trash with a mouse adhered to one of those wonderful glue pads that drug them into a coma once they're firmly stuck. I can't begin to imagine the reaction I'd have to endure if a mouse plopped into the hole to eternity in front of us and we heard the rotors growl through their gristly task (assuming the mere appearance of the mouse didn't result in screaming and a trail of overturned furniture demarking the various escape routes).

Finally, intuition tells me that the little chewing mechanism doesn't have a reliable means of determining the difference between hapless Micky and a handful of tiny fingers. Wouldn't that likely result in a lovely cocktail discussion? "So, Fred, how come little Melissa is missing the fingers of her right hand?" "Well, y'see, we have this coffee table...."

Uh, yeah.

My wife and I often marvel at the names of most modern movies. They are so generic and innocuous that you can't remember what you wanted to catch on DVD when they finally come out.

Here's a test: what's the name of the Harrison Ford movie from 2010 that also starred Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams? I bet you have to Google it.

Serendipitously, has an article on how movies are named.

Is ["Just Go with It"] the freshest title in the world? Probably not, but what's good about it -- and this is true of most all romantic comedies -- is that it's inherently optimistic even as it promises some kind of conflict. You want a complication that isn't going to turn people off. It's not that these titles are purposefully vague so much as they're trying to sound as neutral as possible not to alienate audiences. That's why so many are derived from common expressions or aphorisms. "Something's Gotta Give," "It's Complicated," titles like that.

Do you suppose this guy's opinion was designed by committee?

I couldn't think of a single movie title I found offensive, alienating, or off-putting, so Googled for offensive movie names, finding this site (whose creator lists movies he thinks sound like you're taking a dump). Going through it, I found only one - "Scent of a Woman" - that at the time everyone I knew made the obvious observation (to wit: you're not thinking of perfume, I bet), which is about the only one that strikes me as one that anyone could possibly construe as slightly offensive or off-putting, though I don't.

So, apparently the accepted marketing wisdom in Hollywood is: in attempt to not be offensive, you name your expensive product with a name so vanilla no one can remember it. That explains a lot. 8-)

TLD: Just before posting this, I thought of a movie title that was potentially problematic: "Zach and Miri Make a Porno." It would only a problem if I ended up having to explain it to my kids. But the TV stations wouldn't allow the full name to be said or displayed, so it never came up.

Finally, I have yet again misunderstood the lyrics to a song.

Goldfrapp's new tune "Rocket" has this seemingly sweet chorus:
I got a rocket
You're going on it
You're never coming back

At first blush, it seems like a love song. But when you listen to the set up (which I obviously didn't the first few times through), it's not that at all:
Starting something
Thought it could be fun
I started something
Couldn't go wrong

Danger, heartache
I always knew there's no winner
In this game you lose
But I still wanna know how she got in the door uninvited?


This is secret
Stories unfold
Fooled by pleasure
Losing control

Danger, heartache
Something has died
No good pretending
I'm leaving this time
But I still wanna know how she got in the door uninvited?

My interpretation is she's taken the Wile E. Coyote solution to a boyfriend who had a tryst with the other woman from a previous threesome without inclusion or permission.

So, apparently, if the song is about a threesome, I don't get the memo until after repeated listenings.

The end of the song makes me chuckle every time, now:
We have lift off.

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