Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Network rant

so, i'm not entirely sure that i'm the diatribe type but i just got done watching 'Network' directed by Sidney Lumet and written by Paddy Chayefsky so i'm in a particularly prophetic mood. there's a line in that film that struck me in particular and i'd like to, for a moment, reflect on why.
Howard Beale address his audience at one point by relaying a vision: "And I said, 'what is this? the burning bush? for god's sake, i'm not moses!' and the voice said, 'and i'm not god! what's that got to do with anything?!'" the words empowered a sense of self-importance and while i saw that Beale was drunk on his own words, i couldn't help but also see that his arrogance heavily involved him in a televised revolution that encouraged the messenger and not the message. his fictional legacy is one that reflects the shift in network television, where corporations invested in the medium and ratings became more important than responsibility. In other words, the news had to be entertaining and pull it's weight in revenue instead of serving the public objectively. This is the norm in television now but in the 70s this shift was taking place and those within the business of television who saw it coming were thrown away like wrinkled 8tracks.
Anchors are actors now and they ask pointed questions, report on the most dramatic stories and arguably determine what we, the public, know. Television is still the most powerful source of news but i feel like what's happened is that editorials have taken the news' place. and maybe i'm dumb for thinking so and not just knowing so and brushing it off. But i can believe a Keith Olbermann (not that he's a bad guy) as though he were an automatic truth teller and that what he has to say is right in an objective way when everything he says is subjectively tinted with the way he says it. i can even go as far as believing Jon Stewart as an authority on a kind of left morality. that moral being perhaps that we can all laugh while the world burns. it's all happening on television after all. i don't like feeling that way..
Beale towards the end of the picture helps the television generation realize the inevitability of their own demise as individuals (an antiquated lesson for the google generation-sigh-). Not death as in the end of everything, but death as in the end of a dream that all men are entitled to themselves and that in every man rightfully exists a universe. He speaks of a day when all the world is ruled by one corporation and mankind works to maintain It's glory. I hope he's wrong. but then again, i see the writings on the wall and i've fallen for profiting false prophets myself. that was lame..nevermind.

some of beale's madness:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Scumm of the mid 90's Earth

Does anyone remember Sam and Max Hit the Road? Day of the Tentacle?
I'm talking LucasArts Scumm gaming circa 1993! You should download and play both of these amazing pieces of nostalgic nonsense because they are officially my favorite games of all time. If you haven't heard of them, these oh valued games that collectively shaped my pre-adolescent problem solving skills, here's some knowledge.

Sam and Max are freelance police who solve paranormal mysteries but the catch is that Sam is a dog and Max is a rabbit who doesn't wear clothes but carries things anyways. They've been commissioned by a freak show to find an escaped big foot and on the way, they learn that friendship is invaluable. And that mole people use magnets to bewilder tourists. If you're a clever person, you'll have a lot of fun figuring out what to use with what, where to use it, who to talk to, what to pick up, where to go, when to etc...
Sam & Max

Day of the Tentacle was the first computer game to have pre-recorded dialogue! (did not know that). It's about Purple Tentacle's megalo-maniacal transformation into a tentacle with arms! Imagine the possibilities when it's up to a stoner sound tech, a lazy eyed pre-med student, and the biggest nerd ever to save the world from three different places in time (don't ask). Classic Scumm and you can't even buy it anymore so download or never know the joy of blowing up George Washington's face (I've said too much). The only oversight is when Dr. Fred Edison asks you to fix the plans for his oil and crouton powered battery. The answer has to do with the serial number and the serial number changes every time you play it. You can find the answer to the serial number of your choice here:

and download the game here:
Day of the Tentacle

Now, both of these downloads are for DOS versions of the games but fear not because there is a free and fun loving conversion program called ScummVM that allows you to play these DOS games on your 21st century PC. It's really easy to navigate but make sure when bringing the game into ScummVM that you select the entire game's file that unzipped onto your desktop or wherever and not just select one of the random MDR or EXE files that make up the game (and don't try and open the zip with ScummVM. Unzip it...). Also, download for the right format and convert to the right format. If you have a Mac, don't download the ScummVM for Windows and option to make the game run on Linux. That would be silly.



Friday, March 21, 2008

2006 Correspondence Dinner Minutes

For the sake of posterity I have taken minutes from the Stephen Colbert correspondence dinner.
Tonight, no one is safe….

Before I begin, I’ve been asked to make an announcement: whoever parked 14 black, bulletproof SUV’s out front, uh, could you please move them. They’re blocking in 14 other black SUV’s and they need to get out.
Wow. Wow, what an honor. The white house correspondence dinner. To actually sit here at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush. To be this close to the man. I feel like I’m dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what, I’m a pretty sound sleeper that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the face. Is he really not here tonight? Damnitt. The one guy who could have helped.
Um, by the way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything else at their tables just speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers; someone from the nsa will be right over with a cocktail.
Mark Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press core, madam first lady, Mr. president, my name is Stephen Colbert and tonight it is my privilege to celebrate this president. Cause we’re not so different, he and I. we both get it. Guys like us; we’re not some brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We’re not members of the factonista. We go straight from the gut, right sir? That’s where the truth lies. Right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. Now I know some of you are gonna say, “I did look it up and that’s not true.” That’s cause you looked it up in a book. Next time look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that’s how our nervous system works. Every night on my show the Colbert Report I speak straight from the gut, okay? I give people the truth unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the no fact zone. Fox News, I hold a copyright on that term.
I’m a simple man with a simple mind. I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one: I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there. I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to the pacific and I strongly believe it has 50 states and I cannot wait to see how the Washington post spins that one tomorrow. I believe in democracy. I believe democracy is our greatest export at least until China figures out a way to stamp it out of plastic for 3 cents a unit. As a matter of fact, um, Ambassador Jo In Jon, uh, welcome. Your great country makes our happy meals possible.
I said it’s a celebration.
I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq. I believe, I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is possible. I saw this guy do it once on Cirque’ De’ Sole. It was magical. And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion be you Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it’s yogurt, but I refuse to believe it’s not butter. Most of all, I believe in this president. Now I know there are some polls out there saying that this man has a 32% approval rating but guys like us, we don’t pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in reality. And reality has a well-known liberal bias. So Mr. president please, please pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half full. 32% means the glass…. huh. Important to set up your jokes properly sir. Sir, pay no attention to people who say the glass is half empty because 32% means it’s two-thirds empty. There’s still some liquid in that glass is my point. But I wouldn’t drink it. Last third is usually backwash. Okay. Look, folks, my point is that I don’t believe this is a low point in this presidency. I believe it’s just a lull before a comeback. I mean, it’s like the movie Rocky, alright. The president in this case is Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world. It’s the tenth round, he’s bloodied, his corner man Mick, who in this case, I guess, would be the vice president. He’s yelling, “Cut me, Dick, cut me” and every time he falls everyone says, “Stay down, Rock, stay down”. But does he stay down? No. Like Rocky he gets back up and in the end he… actually loses in the first movie. Um…hmm…okay. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter. The point is it is a heartwarming story of a man who is repeatedly punched in the face. So don’t pay attention to the approval ratings that say that 68% of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing. I ask you this: does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the job he’s not doing? Think about it. I haven’t.
I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message that no matter what happens to America she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world.
Now there may be an energy crisis. Well, this president has a very forward thinking energy policy. Why do you think he’s down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He’s trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite-powered car.
And I, I just like the guy. He’s a good Joe. Obviously loves his wife; he calls her his better half and polls show America agrees. She’s a true lady and a wonderful woman but I, I just have one beef, ma’am, I’m sorry but, um, this reading initiative: I’m sorry, I’ve never been a fan of books. I don’t trust them. They’re all fact, no heart. I mean, they’re elitist telling us what is or isn’t true or what did or didn’t happen. Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was build in 1914? If I want to say it was built in 1941 that’s my right as an American. I’m with the president; let history decide what did or did not happen.
The greatest thing about this man is he’s steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man’s beliefs never will.
And as excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America with the exception of fox news. Fox News gives you both sides of the story: the president’s side and the vice president’s side. But the rest of you, what are you thinking? Reporting on NSA wire-tapping or secret prisons in Eastern Europe. Those things are secret for a very important reason; they’re super depressing. And if that’s your goal, well, misery accomplished. Over the last five years you people were so good. Over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming; we Americans didn’t want to know and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew. But listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works: the president makes decisions, he’s the decider, the press secretary announces those decisions and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ‘em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again, make love to your wife, write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know, fiction. Cause really what incentive do these people have to answer your questions after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes so the white house has personnel changes. And then you write, “Oh, they’re just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg. Now, it’s not all bad guys out there. There are some of the heroes out there tonight. Christopher Buckley, Jeff Sacks, Ken Burns, Bob Sheiver. I’ve interviewed all of them. By the way, Mr. President, thank you for agreeing to be on my show. I appreciate it. I was just as shocked as everyone here is, I promise you. How’s Tuesday for you? I’ve got Frank Rich but we can just bump him. And I mean, “bump him”. I know a guy, say the word.
Let’s see who we got here tonight. Uh… We got General Moseley, air force chief of staff. We got General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They still support Rummsfeld. Right? You guys aren’t retired yet, right? Right. They still support Rummsfeld. Look, by the way, I’ve got a theory on how to handle these retired generals causing all this trouble: Don’t let them retire. Come on. We’ve got a stop loss program, let’s use it on these guys. I’ve seen the Zinny and that crowd on Wolf Blitzer. If you’re strong enough to go on one of those pundit shows, you’re strong enough to stand on a bank of computers and order men into battle. Come on.
Jesse Jackson is here. The Reverend. Haven’t heard from the reverend in just a little while. I had him on the show. It was a very interesting interview, very challenging interview. You can ask him anything but he’s gonna say what he wants at the pace that he wants. It’s like boxing a glacier. Um, enjoy that metaphor by the way because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.
Justice Sklee is here. Justice Sklee may I be the first to say, “Welcome@, sir! You look fantastic! How are you? NdAy!” Just talking some Sicilian with my Piz an.
John McCain is here. John McCain. What a maverick. Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad. Cause I guarantee you it wasn’t a salad fork. This guy could’ve used a spoon. There’s no predicting him. By the way, Senator McCain, so wonderful to see you coming back into the republican fold, um, I’ve actually got a summerhouse in South Carolina. Look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones University. So glad you’ve seen the light, sir.
Mayor Naegan. Mayor Naegan is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city. Yea, give it up. Mayor Naegan I’d like to welcome you to Washington DC, the chocolate city with a marsh-mellow center and a graham cracker crush of corruption. It’s a malamar, I guess is what I’m describing is a malamar. It’s a seasonal cookie.
Joe Wilson is here. Joe Wilson, right down here in front the most famous husband since Desee Arnez. And of course he brought along his lovely wife, Valerie Plame. Oh my God. Oh, what have I said? I….gee menedy I am sorry Mr. President. I meant to say, “He brought along his lovely wife, Joe Wilson’s wife”. Patrick Fitzgerald’s not here tonight, right? Okay, dodged a bullet.
And of course, can’t forget the man of the hour. New press secretary Tony Snow. Secret Service name: Snow Job. Toughest job. What a hero. Took the second toughest job in government next to of course the ambassador to Iraq. Got some big shoes to fill, Tony. Big shoes to fill. Scott McClellan could say nothing like nobody else. McClellan, of course, eager to retire. Really, really felt like he needed to spend more time with Andrew Card’s children.
Mr. President I wish you hadn’t made the decision so quickly, sir. I was vying for the job myself. I think I would have made a fabulous press secretary; I have nothing but contempt for these people. I know how to handle these clowns. In fact sir I um, I brought along an audition tape and um, with your indulgence I’d like to at least give it a shot. So ladies and gentlemen, my press conference.

I have a brief statement, the press is destroying America. Okay, let’s see who we got here today. Stretch? Sir Nerdlington? Sloppy Joe! Terry Lemon Maraign Pie. OH. Doubting Thomas, always a pleasure. And Susan Mal-Heellloo! Yes.
“Will the Vice President be available soon to answer all questions himself?”
I’ve already addressed that question. You.
“Walter Cronkite, the noted CBS anchor…”
Ahh no, he’s the former CBS anchor. Katie Kurick is the anchor of the CBS evening news. By the way, how do you guys feel about that? You, uh, tossle-hair, guy in the back. Are you happy about Katie Kurick taking over the CBS evening news?
“ No, sir, Mr. Colbert. Are you?”
Oh, look. We woke David Gregory up. David do you have a question?
“Did Karl Rove commit a crime?”
I don’t know. I’ll ask him. Karl, pay attention please.
“Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003 when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliot Abrams and Scooter Libby and you said, ‘I’ve gone to each of those gentlemen and they have told me they are not involved in this’? Do you still stand by that statement?”
Nah, I was just kiddin’.
“No you’re not finishing. You’re not saying anything. You stood at that podium and said..”
Ah that’s where you’re wrong. New podium. Just had it delivered today. Get your facts straight, David.
“This is ridiculous. The notion that you’re gonna stand before us and after having commented with that level of detail and tell people watching this that somehow you’ve decided not to talk….
I’m sorry, what’s that David? If I can’t hear you, I can’t answer your question, I’m sorry. I have to move on. Yes, Terri.
“After the investigation began, after the criminal investigation was underway you said… all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation?”
No, I never had any respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation. Activist judges. Yes, Helen.
“You’re gonna be sorry.”
Whatcha’ gonna’ do, Helen. Ask me for a recipe?
“Your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis. Ruined Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war?”
Helen, I’m gonna’ stop you right there! That’s enough! No!
“What was your real reason?”
Sorry, Helen, I’m moving on. Guys, no. I already said…Guys, don’t let Helen do this to what was a lovely day. BLLLAAA! No! no! NO! no! no! no! no! I’m not listening to you! Look what you did Helen. I hate you. I’m out of here! There is a wall here. No one told me that
It reeks in there. Ridiculous. I’ve never been so insulted in my entire life. Stupid job. Condi!! Oh, thank god. Help me.
“What seems to be the problem sir?”
She won’t stop asking why we invaded Iraq?
“Hmm..why did we invade Iraq?”
NOOO!!! Come on….alright, got it. Oh god. Okay. NOOOO!!!!!NOOOOO!!!!
Ahh. What a terrible trip, Danny. Take me home.
“Buckle up, hun.”

Helen Thomas, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Smith, members of the white house correspondence association, madam first lady, Mr. President it’s been a true honor. Thank you very much. Goodnight.