Regardless of everything (this article included), the Muppets were the Muppets. A fun Muppet movie was promised and a fun Muppet movie was delivered. There was some minor hubbub by Frank Oz about the new movie not being true to the Muppets. But I felt it lived up to expectations and perhaps the real issue could be the audience. This is essentially a kids movie made for nostalgic 30-year-olds, mostly because nobody under 30 remembers the Muppets (a plot point which the movie addresses). In fact, some of the younglings I work with were shocked that they were making a live-action adult version of the Muppet Babies. The Muppets basically disregarded most of Muppet history after 1984, which means the target audience is an adult nostalgic for things he or she never saw. It’s a heavily manufactured product composed of prepackaged memories and false childhoods, but while it is a processed product, The Muppets is a good product.
Starring and written by Jason Segel, The Muppet’s has a few fun gags (80’s Robot is a scene stealer) and cute songs (I'm a very manly Muppet). It manages to somehow be slightly irreverent while displaying zero full frontal shots of Segal. However, the most interesting part of film is its plot. The movie revolves around the Muppets being largely forgotten and about to have their studio and trademarked name sold to an evil tycoon. To stop this, Kermit and the gang have to put on one last big show to raise enough money to buy their studio back. However, in the context of Muppet history, you have to remember that the Muppets were sold to the Walt Disney Company in 2004. So, everything in this movie actually happened in real life.
It’s interesting that they would pick the villain to be a maniacal Texas oilman (portrayed by Chris Cooper) drilling for oil underneath the Muppet Theater because the message of the movie is basically saying, “I drank your milkshake.”
Mickey drank your milkshake.
It’s saying that Disney has usurped Jim Henson’s vision for purely monetary reasons. Disney is the oil tycoon, Muppets are the theater, and Muppet blood is being drained out of them for profit.
On the Controversy Surrounding The Werewolf's Guide to Life
One thing about Milwaukee I never could stomach… all the damn werewolves. The news is reporting two young women were arrested and accused of luring a teenage boy to their apartment for fun and ritual stabbing in Milwaukee. Ritual sacrifice is never good. Only bad things can happen be it mutilation or Cthulhu, but Goths will be Goths after all. The worst part of the story might be they did the wrong ritual (no, actually the worst part was the stabbing). According to the media sources they used a book called The Werewolf’s Guide to Life to perform these dastardly deeds, and somehow this comedy book has been vilified as the source of all evil, and if not the cause of all mayhem as we know it then at the very least a legitimate manual for demonology.
I have three problems with this…
The first problem is Milwaukee. You can’t blame The Werewolf’s Guide when you’re in Milwaukee. Bad things happen in Milwaukee be you wolfman or mummy or one of them Frankensteins. I’ve been to
Milwaukee. I've eaten their cheese, I've drank their beer, and I've gotten the hell out of Dodge. There's nothing to do there but drink alcohol and perform satanic rituals, and drink alcohol at satanic rituals. On a long enough time line and with enough booze anyone would perform a blood rite. Average time: 8 hours per satanic ritual.
And being in Milwaukee means there’s no way to get access to real books on the occult or books in general. You have to make do with what you got.
That’s Not How You Become a Werewolf!
How can you blame The Werewolf’s Guide to Life when that’s not even how one would become a werewolf? You don’t become a werewolf by ritual stabbing: you become a werewolf by either being bitten by a werewolf or being the offspring of a werewolf. Or being bitten by a werewolf offspring. Or having your parent bitten by a werewolf then having your birth certificate changed to legally become a werewolf (although, you probably wouldn’t be accepted as a full fledged werewolf and the wolfman/son picnic). Or being birthed from a shewolf and being bitten by a separate werewolf as you’re born (perhaps creating some sort of werewerewolf). But stabbing? That’s not very werewolf.
How can you blame a book for a satanic ritual that doesn’t promote said ritual?
Behold the Werewerewolf
It’s Not a Real Guide
Now the biggest problem I have with the story (yes, besides the stabbing) is that they supposedly used The Werewolf’s Guide to Life as a manual for arcane ritual. This is according to the news, which used some very fuzzy if/so/then logic. Such as… if a ritual was performed so the users could become werewolves and a book was found on the premises that was about werewolves then that book must be used to perform the ritual. But even if it was used, it shouldn’t have been used. The Werewolf’s Guide to Life was not created for practical purposes. It’s a comedy book with the words “humor-parodies” printed on the spine. This is like making military strategy with GI Joe Comics. There’s a book about how to be Batman, but if you jumped off a building with nothing but a bat-shaped boomerang tied to a piece of string, it’s not the book's fault; it’s your crazy batass’s fault. This is like using Wolf Gnards as a guide for TaunTaun vivisection or Greek genealogy. Or really taking my advice on anything at all. The best advice I can give to you is not to take my advice (sorry, I think I just created a paradox).
Some helpful advice to troubled youths: when searching for a book to perform arcane magic it is best to find a legitimate book not found in the humor section.* Your spell still won’t work, but at least you’ll look slightly less stupid (slightly).
But don’t listen to me, check out the book and decide for yourself (And check out their weresponse, it's much more thoughtful and heartfelt than this one). Although, if you become a werewolf or try to commit murder, please don’t blame me.**
*Remember that I did say not to take any of my advice.
**I really mean it about not taking my advice.
Or Soylent Green is Pokémon
In the modern Pokémon world there is no food chain—I mean they fight, all they do is fight—but there is no predator/prey relationship. There are no carnivores or herbivores or omnivores. So, how do they survive? Instead all Pokémon seem to enjoy the same brown bits that Brock doles out of little plastic baggies. So, kibblivore? Be they electric, ghost, rock, bug, or water type they all enjoy Pokémon Brand X Kibbles. However, saying that the natural food for Pokémon is Brock’s secret stash is like saying a cat’s natural food is Meow Mix. Brand X Pokémon Kibbles are made from condensed & processed berries (and if they're anything like real life pet food then the ground up bones and organs of other Pokémon, too). Berries are fairly plentiful in Pokémon games and can cure any number of ailments, so I can see why a Pokémon would enjoy them. But this means all Pokémon no matter where they live—in a cave, underground, underwater—have to seek out berries for nourishment. Imagine bats, gophers, dolphins all needing to survive off the same berries.
However, as I delve ever deeper into the world of Pokémon eating habits, I find that I was quite wrong about there not being predator/prey relationships. Way back before the games designers realized there might be a bit of a moral dilemma in cute and cuddly and very sentient beings eating other cute and cuddly sentient beings, Pokémon hunted Pokémon. (Of course, there’s no moral dilemma with making these cute and cuddly sentient beings fight until they drop). According to the original Pokémon Handbook's entry for Pidgeot it states that "When they hunt, Pidgeot fly on the surface of the water at top speed to catch unsuspecting Fish element prey like Magikarp." Mmmmmm... Magikarp.
Pokémon then are theoretically all vegetarians with the cartoon and video games taking the stance that eating a vegetable is okay, but eating a Pokémon is not. However, some Pokémon are vegetables. Does this mean it’s okay to eat Bulbasaur? So, the line has to be drawn further: vegetables that cannot say their own name are okay to eat, vegetables that can say their own name are not okay to eat.
When Mrs. Gnards asks, "What ya thinking about?" If I'm being truthful, the answer is usually ninjas. What’s it like to be a ninja? What do ninjas dream about (throwing stars)? Why do ninjas do what they do? To this point, a staple to many an action movie is the swarm of ninjas getting their collective asses kicked by a lone warrior. It’s what’s become known as the inverse property of ninjas: the more ninjas you see, the weaker they are. It works for almost any large group, too: whether you’re Mr. Miyagi beating the crap out of underage teenagers or Neo facing an army of Agent Smiths. The odds are almost never in the group's favor. Be more afraid of a ninja by him or herself than a horde of ninjas. Usually because said horde line up in a neat single file row and successively get roundhoused in the face. Do they not teach how to block a roundhouse in ninja academy? Do ninja masters buy bulk ninjas at Costco? Why do Ninjas always attack one at a time?
Too Dark for Group Attacks
Ninjas wear black and attack mostly at night. Black on black is great for stealth, but bad for seeing what your teammates are up to. Ninja invisibility just makes it plain hard to coordinate attacks.
And while the night is excellent for hiding in, it’s also hard to get around in the pitch dark. Especially, consider some ninjas have to wear those mesh goggle things. They can’t possible see what’s going on. Though, lack of sight increases the other senses like smell or touch. Ninjas actually travel by holding on to the ninja in front of them (who sniffs around). Sort of like a ninja conga line or a group of preschoolers crossing the street. Meaning they get led into battle one after another, or roundhouse after roundhouse.
Ninjas are Stupid
Let’s look at the Foot Clan for one. In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle films, the Foot Clan is comprised mostly of homeless teens willing to work for videogames and soda. So, becoming a Foot Soldier is really just another foot note in a series of unfortunate life decisions. Never do they ask, “Hey Shredder, it seems like the Foot is really just a giant pyramid scheme with me doing most the work and you getting most the money. So, instead of letting me skateboard indoors and play NARC, how about you share some of the wealth?” But that’s the kind of forward thinking that leads to things like coordinated attacks.
In the TMNT cartoon, the Foot Soldiers were robots. As robots go, they were highly advanced, but not highly advanced killing machines. As ninjas go, they were just plain horrible. They pretty much walked into the Turtles’ attacks. Being robots also made it easier for the Ninja Turtles to mow down their opponents without having to explain the moral dilemma of killing for pizza to kids watching Saturday morning cartoons.
I got a lot of positive feedback about the Full House article, along with a lot of suggestions for new articles. Sage advice like, "You should do more articles like that?"
"That are good."
The small amount of positive feedback has made me realize that people prefer things that are good to things that are bad. But good takes time though. And effort. And work. And caring. All things that I am not into. I'm researching a few things though, spending a lot time going through the microfiche and whatnot, but it's taking longer than I'd like.
In the meantime, here are other people posting things that are good:
The Top 10 Hardest Working Characters in Comics - I like superheroes who are like myself, generally recognized as super but still working 9 to 5.
A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pizza Taste Test - This is tasting the pizzas that were featured on the TMNT cartoon, not with a mutant ninja turtle topping (I'm not even sure where you'd get little chopped up mutant turtles to put on a pizza)
John Stamos is Greek. He’s really Greek. As in he’s really into being Greek, and he plays Greek roles, and he promotes Greek products. John Stamos is so Greek (How Greek is he!?), he’s so Greek that he had the producers of Full House change the character of Uncle Jesse from Jesse Cochran to Jesse Katsopolis. Now I have no problem with Greek pride or Jesse being Greek—the world keeps spinning, the Rippers keep ripping—my problem is are we seriously supposed to believe that those three little blonde girls are half Greek?
D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle are three very blonde and very blue-eyed girls. It is, of course, possible to be blond and Greek, but three of them!? That’s highly unlikely. As a pop cultural scientist and amateur sleuth (and an honorary member of the Mary-Kate & Ashley Adventure Squad), I’ve found that recessive genes like light hair and eyes are much harder to pass down to the next generation. For every trait we have—be it blond hair, blue eyes, or general Greekitude—we inherit a gene from both our mother and father with one being a dominate gene and one being a recessive. So, you need two recessive pairings to create blond hair and blue eyes. For more information on hereditary traits, please, consult your local library. I’ll wait.
What this all means though is that it would be difficult to pass on light hair and blue eyes in a very dark hair, brown eyes Greek culture. However, their mother, Pam (Christie Houser), was shown to be blonde on, at least, one very special episode. So, she would have inherited two recessive blond genes and two recessive blue-eyed genes from her parents (who were depicted as stereotypically Greek), and while I said before it is unlikely to happen in Greeks, it is still possible. About a 1 in 16 chance at best. Now the greatest way for Pam to pass on blonde hair and blue eyes to her girls would be to mate with someone who also has those same recessive genes. Since, Bob Saget’s Danny Tanner (and I guess to a larger extent Bob Saget himself) has brown hair and brown eyes; the best they could possibly do to have a child with both blue eyes and blond hair is 1 in 4. This means while he himself has the dominant brown hair genes, he does possess the blond genes within.
The following chart should help demonstrate this. Dominant genes are shown by a capital letter. Recessive genes are lowercase of the same letter.
Pam & Danny Mix
(H) stands for dark hair, (h) for blond hair. (E) stands brown eyes, (e) for blue eyes.
So, the odds of D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle all being blonde with blue eyes are not good. (And for any geneticists reading this, bare with me OK, I said I’m an amateur sleuth) If Pam wanted a brood of mini-mes, she would want to mate with something else also with blond hair and blue eyes. Who in her circle of friends possess those qualities? Who in the world fits that description? Oh, someone like Joey Gladstone perhaps.
Pam & Joey Mix