Archive for July, 2010

Hey look! The people at Cracked stopped making top 5 lists for Digg and made a really funny little film:

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Bill Simmons published a bunch of letters from fans reacting to the LeBron James “Decision” debacle. One of my favorites:

City: Southampton, Pa.

Name: Steve L

On ESPN last night, they were wondering what the nickname for the new trio of free agents in Miami should be. I vote for …

1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling That’s Never Called

2. The Fly Girls 3. The Unholy Trinity 4. Florida’s Second-Best NBA Team and my personal favorite … 5. The Nazgul

The Nazgul were the characters in “Lord of the Rings” that were former kings who turned into demons that were constantly chasing the ring. It completely consumed them and robbed them of their humanity. I think this sums up the situation in Miami.

I vote for “The Superfriends” myself. Something so lame and appropriately mocking about that. “Hey, let’s all dress up in tights and save hot South Beach bikini models!”

The rest are here. It’s a bloodbath of depressing homerism and understandable Cleveland despair. LeBron is the anti-Mauer.

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Godzilla Haiku

It’s just… so good:


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Here’s a fun little trailer for League of Legends Season One:

I don’t play WoW. Apparently, this is a spin-off from it, and the Trailer is marketing for the game. Which is cool.

If one peruses the LoL website, you can check out the multiple characters, and it’s pretty staggering: artistically, it’s like you took comic books, Mortal Combat, pro “wrestling”, steam punk elements, Harry Potter, Frank Frazetta, Pokemon, D&D, pin-up models, cute anime characters, and Capcom into an blender, and this is what you’d get. It’s like a unified theory of role-playing, power-wish-fulfillment, and avatar-powered escapism. And it’s pretty grand.

These MMORPG games are an artistic borg- “What? Superheros? Sure. We’ll take ’em. A He-Man-type comic Orko sprite-thing? Yep. Magic chick in an improbable bustier? Yes, please. Sauron-huge guy with proportionally ridiculous armor? Uh-huh. Werewolves? Well, WHY the f*@k NOT?!?” And I’m not even capping on the sensibility; there’s something amazingly, geeksomely democratic about the whole thing.

Watching the two teams of super-hero archetypes in fantasy-sheep’s clothing Avengers Assemble! into two fighting forces for “the Final Battle” would make Jack Kirby proud. You’ve got your huge bruiser-type, your hot-chick-who-can-best-any-man, your thief/mage, your magician, your small-yet-mighty lil’ guys- it’s the Superfriends vs. the Legion of Doom, WoW-style. When I saw it, I was like, “Of course it was heading in this direction: take the proven super-hero soap-opera, skin it with fantasy elements, add some FIGHTING…” and there you go.

When I saw BioShock a couple of years ago, I was really taken by how it combined Myst-like storytelling, remarkable cinematic design (both character and sets), with Doom and Silent Hill-like scary atmospherics and action. Intense. I think at this point, it’s beyond safe to say that the true visionaries are working in games, not movies.

Taking chances in the box, not worrying whether someone’s nephew (who got the studio job because of staggering nepotism) will greenlight a project if he can get his client/good friend on board. Game production is punk rock, in the box (the computer, rather “artistic box”), with an unlimited budget for effects, costumes, and sets.

What of story? (more…)

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Even though I’m going through Andrew Sullivan withdrawal, I thought this was a nice summation of current memes:

Simultaneously, the Morlock “I’ll click on anything” side of the Internet and the Eloi “I only read Boing Boing on my iPad” side decide that it’s funny, and indulge the joke. It churns for a day. It wins a place in meme history. And now that we know the joke, it’s over. These concepts are approaching the lifespan of fruit flies while getting us closer and closer to the phony interactivity of Max Headroom. As deodorant concepts go, that’s fairly exciting.

I’m more of a Morlock, “Click on Anything/Hunter-Gatherer”-type. Old Spice Man (as if you haven’t seen it):

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Every Thursday morning, while driving home, I listen to Jeremy. His show is always amazing, and he’s got a really sublime talent of making you feel as if he’s just an unassuming friend hanging in your car or living room, turning you onto great music with the Ricky Roma soft-sell.

Mr. Sole had a remarkable set yesterday morning: Prince covers and Forever in my Life (impeccable taste, that one), turning me onto Aloe Blacc’s cover of Velvet Underground’s Femme Fatale, a Roots/Joanna Newsome joint (!), Nick Drake, Paul Simon’s Spirit Voices, and the song that took my head off, Back From Africa by Nickodemus.

I love, love, love this man’s radio show. Check last week’s show here.

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The Ant: A Creature of Marvelous Wonder and Near Mindlessness

(You have to drill down for the full size.)

This near blew my mind when I saw it. Tricked out with superfluous detail, I thought at first it was a 3D rendering. Somehow the mug shot of an ant has given me profound new respeck for the patient craftsmanship of the life evolving. HAIRS. Ants are covered with hairs. Hairy jumping spiders, fuzzy bees, all of these I have accepted – but I’ve long considered the ant to be little more than a clumsy extension of its hive mind, a hard carapace containing barely enough tendons and nerve-endings to cut a leaf and beat a stink-trail back to the colony. Hairy ants: this changes everything.

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Fortune May 2010

Check this out: Chris Ware was commissioned to do a cover for Fortune. Can you believe they rejected this?

Everyone knows Chris is an artist of some intensity, which for the most part has been directed toward meticulous cartoon dissection of childhood trauma.

Maybe they thought – based on the scenes of Jimmy’s Grandpa – that he really had an instinctual sense for the Depression Era, and that this was a relevant visual cue. I could buy that. Maybe they even imagined he would do something unblinking, and pointed. You know: EDGY. When your mind’s eye floats back over his slavish cross-sections of emotional hurts, can you say you felt any strident political viewpoints leap off the page? After being offered this platform, Ware ripped off his Jimmy Corrigan sad-face mask and revealed: STAB YOU! Turns out that intensity has also been quietly set on Simmer over the economic crisis.

What the art director at Fortune didn’t see in Ware’s work, that maybe he should have, is his comfort with brutal honesty. Painful things don’t incidentally happen in Ware stories: he meditates on them. Maybe the guy who draws an intricate schematic of your heart being ripped into 6,000 pieces isn’t going to pull any punches with the corporate looting of the American economy.

What I love about this: Ware is a smart guy. He knows what Fortune’s niche is. (What’s their name again?) Let’s just say that if Bill Greider ever walked in the lobby they would ask him if he needed directions. Ware KNEW they would never, ever run this piece. But I picture him in his studio, setting the record straight with every futile pen stroke. For the few thousand or so people this would leak to on the internet, anyway.

God Bless you, Mr. Ware.

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