I was thinking recently about the Predator’s mouth (as I often do on cold, lonely nights), and I noticed a slight design flaw. Not its nightmare vagina appearance, well sort of, but not the fact that it looks like a succubus’s private parts but because it really doesn’t work as a mouth. The primary function of most mouths is to eat some sort of food, but the primary function of the predator’s mouth is to be pointed at while someone (most likely your friend Ricky) shouts, “Oh, damn!”
As mouths go it just doesn’t work. Scary and disturbing? Yes. Functional? Probably not. Here’s the problem—count them up—the Predator species has 10 teeth. 10 teeth! And four of those are on those little pincers around his mouth, so only six of them are really devoted to any chewing/biting power. That’s barely enough to eat applesauce! Meaning Predators either have the dietary habits of your average baby or that of a snake.
Like Robocop, the Predators subsist off a "rudimentary paste that sustains their organic systems." The fact that Robocop eats baby food is pretty good evidence that a big, strong killing machine can thrive off the stuff. Baby food is probably also convenient for space travel like astronaut ice cream or Tang, or like military MRE’s (which are a little more like dog food, but I think a Predator might enjoy that more though). I do have a hard time believing that the Predator race has the manufacturing infrastructure and know-how to market and mass produce Brand X Predator baby mush (with the meaty gravy that babies crave). However, this same sentiment could also be suggested for spaceships/space travel. I like to imagine that faster than light travel requires more book reading and less laser shooting. Most likely if they do eat some sort of gruel it is composed of the bones of their fallen prey; any meat grinder would do in that case.
Predators don’t have teeth because they don’t need teeth, they simply swallow their food whole. Chewing is so primitive, any futuristic society would most likely evolve beyond teeth. It’s like in The Jetsons, where everything’s in pill form. If science has told us anything it’s this: evolution goes amoeba ► fish ► fish-monkey ► monkey ► Brendan Fraser ► Me ► reptilian bounty hunter (rastified 10%) ► pure energy (just wait until I get my energy rays all up in this hood).
It also explains those little insectoid palps on the side of its face (Tooth 1, 4, 5, and 10 in the figure above). Like an insect or crustacean these appendages are there to help cram various foodstuffs down the ol’ throat hole. Not chewing also explains why Predators are so low energy. Swallowing food whole is hell on a digestive system, it’s like eating a big turkey dinner at every meal. When you look at it, Predators really don’t get done nearly as much predatorating as they could. They’re invisible and have laser guns, it should take no more than 5 minutes to kill Arnold and his entire squad. Instead the Predator spends most of his time napping in trees. The daily activity of the Predator probably goes something like kill, eat, nap, kill, eat, nap, wax dreadlocks, string shark tooth necklace, kill, eat, nap.
So, what’s in a Predator’s diet? Anything it can fit in their mouths, I guess. If it’s anything like a snake then any small mammals, birds, or eggs will do. Or any of these fine foods:
The Predators' mouths and jaws may not be effective, but, at least, it doesn’t have a second mouth inside its first mouth.
These are Moonrise Kingdom finger puppets given to me for my birthday by friend Abbey (Hint… go to her Etsy store, it’s etstacular!). Of course, the reason this was given to me is not because I’m a huge Wes Anderson fan (which I am) or because I particularly liked the movie (which I did), but because I vaguely look like the kid in the film. Ok… I look a lot like the kid, to the point to where anyone who saw Moonrise Kingdom and knew who I was became very distracted by my younger self’s presence in the film.
Point of Proof:
Here’s a picture of me (I’m the one who’s not Val Kilmer)
Here’s a picture of the Moonrise Kingdom kid, aka Jared Gilman
- Gilman is from New Jersey
- I am also from New Jersey
- Gilman was born in 1998
- I was in New Jersey in 1997
I’m not saying I’m his father, but… wait a second, I am saying I AM NOT HIS FATHER.
In other Moonrise Kingdom news, lots of indie couples wanted to express their indie love by dressing up Sam & Suzy for Halloween. So much so that what should have been a semi-obscure film reference became completely unoriginal. And even though I look so much like Sam (even though I am most definitely not his father – which I pronounce in a legally binding statement), I chose to dress up this year as Dr. Who and Mrs. Gnards was the TARDIS; equally unoriginal, but much more suitable.
In other nerd news:
Brian Posehn put out a Nerd Poker podcast. Which is basically just an hour of him and his friends playing D&D, I actually liken D&D more to Fantasy Football, but I get what he’s saying. It’s just a fun game that has equal or greater value than other game that society deems more worthy.
It’s a fun podcast (albeit a long podcast), but it really brought me back to my pre-teen years before sex got in the way of having fun. This doesn’t mean I stopped playing D&D because I was trying to be cool (in order to have sex). Me not playing D&D had zero bearings on my odds of having sex. What I mean is that hormones just got in the way of a good game of D&D. It all become about having X number of wenches, and my character has 10 wenches and your character only has 7 wenches, and then, of course, at some point our characters began to fight over fictional wenches. And when you’re fighting over fictional wenches, it’s time to count your chips up, and push away from the table.
One man, one fist, one sassy wife, and one moon: these are all the ingredients you need to fuel the space race. It started simply; Ralph Kramden wanted to punch his wife so hard that she would literally fly to the moon. Now, maybe, he didn’t wish her ill will, he could have thought she would survive such a journey. Remember that this was in the 1950’s, a time when people still thought the moon was made out of cheese, the Earth was flat, and the sun was some chariot of fire. You can’t blame Ralph for having a limited knowledge of space travel. He didn’t want to murder her; they just needed a little break and in space no one can hear you nag.
The Honeymooners represented a different time on so many levels. This was a time when it was okay to rough up your wife a bit, at the most it was frowned upon, and to be fair, Ralph never actually hit Alice, he just talked about it… constantly. In the 50’s, not only was it okay to threaten to beat your wife a bit, it was expected. Also, space travel, as I alluded, was a thing of pure science fiction. So, this really was an empty threat at best. This has totally changed with recent advancements in technology. What with Richard Branson’s achievements in personal space flight and Chris Brown’s transgressions in hitting women, anything is possible.
But what does it mean to punch your wife into outer space?
At the very least it takes a Superman caliber punch to knock someone into orbit. A punch with around 4.5 million lbs. of thrust behind it… give or take a million pounds. A punch powerful enough to launch a person into space should technically be enough to get it to the moon… eventually. It’s all about breaking the Earth’s gravitational pull, once you do that, you should be able to just glide the rest of the way.
But how powerful would Ralph Kramden need to be to properly bang zoom his wife into space? Let’s compare:
Ms. Marvel Punched Rogue into Orbit
Pertinent Power Facts
Ms. Marvel: Carol Danvers caught her super powers from contact with an alien she was dating much like a venereal disease (only with more flying).
Ralph Kramden: While not the same as an alien gonorrhea, Ralph once got his physical mixed up a sick dog’s. Wackiness ensued, but little in the way of super strength.
It should be noted that Ms. Marvel and Rogue had a history (Rogue put her in a coma), so she was strong and pissed. Anger issues are definitely something Ralph can relate to.
A while back I read about some of the negative reactions to the Rue in The Hunger Games film. It seems the nut of the “fans'” argument was that the film would have been better if it was a little bit whiter in that they were expecting a totally white cast and they only got a 94% white cast. Now there’s no question that these are idiots, but I think there’s definitely something to their anger, however, misplaced and racists as it may be.
I actually think it issort of natural to picture yourself as whatever character you read in whatever book. My Mom, for instance, when she read Twilight, pictured Edward as a short, older Asian gentleman with neatly parted hair and glasses because that’s what she pictures when she pictures a sexy man (my Dad). So, it goes without saying she was a little disappointed when Robert Pattinson was neither old, Asian, or bespectacled. However, rationally, she knew that’s not how the character was written.
The characters in The Hunger Games were actually written as non-white or, at least, some sort of future gray. All those Hunger Games readers should have just spent a little more time actually reading the books instead of burning them (that's a Nazi reference for any historical fans our there, or it's an Indiana Jones for everyone else). Still I do think there is a legitimate argument in there somewhere. Let me start by saying I don’t condone racism. Racism is bad, mmm’kay. But I also don’t want to be forced into political correctness. There’s something almost patronizing about multicultural programing. It’s too well thought out and scientific to be sincere.
Take the Justice League cartoon of a few years ago. Why use John Stewart, arguably the worst Green Lantern? Why pick him over Hal Jordan, the most popular Green Lantern, or Kyle Rayner, the then current Green Lantern in the Green Lantern comics. Even Guy Gardner would be a better choice because he’s, at least, interesting. Maybe, the problem is simply a lack of iconic characters of color in comic book chronology (I couldn’t help myself). Perhaps, comic book writers and artists are so afraid of being accused of racism, that they instead make characters like John Stewart, characters completely devoid of personality, either good or bad.
Or, maybe, they don’t want to unleash more Black Vulcans, Apache Chiefs, or Samurais on the world. Those being characters who were obviously conceived to capture waning demographics. Or take Aqualad in the latest Young Justice incarnation; a character created for the show, which was then retroactively introduced to the comics to make it seem not quite so blatant because, hey, it’s in the comic, too, so it can’t be an entirely bad. Can it? Or, perhaps, a better example is Spike from X-Men: Evolution. There are thousands of mutants in the comics, yet they made up a mutant (Storm’s nephew) instead of using one of the established characters at their disposal. Why? Is someone that much more likely to watch a cartoon that features one character who looks like them? Sadly, yes.
I suppose it works though. As an Asian man of a certain age demographic, do I care more about Ernie Reyes Jr., Jonathan Ke Quan, or Danté Basco than Bruce Leeroy, Sean Astin, or Robin Williams? You bet I do. However, those characters seemed organic to the process, and not something crammed down our throats. But are they really any better than Apache Chief? Are these really great characters or have I been duped?
Which brings us to the multicultural action squad. The multicultural action squad is a group heroes (usually of teens or pre-teens) brought together from across different ethnic and social backgrounds. The squad is almost always composed of one black male, one Asian female, a white male, a white female (60% chance of being blonde), and one random character, most likely a nerd of some sort. Now when I pointed out the racism in Nickelodeon’s Doug the most prevalent argument is that it’s a kid's show and I’m making too much of it. And, it goes without saying that I’m definitely making too much of every issue, but I’m also not making this stuff up. It’s there for anyone to see.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
The perfect breakdown: Billy (Nerd), Trini (Asian), Jason (White), Kimberly (White), Zack (Black). Now the real question is did they even stop to think before they made the Asian girl the Yellow Ranger and the black guy the Black Ranger?
So, it appears my legions of fans (or should I say, “legion of fan”) have been waiting for more about Val Kilmer. I met Kilmer at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, and there seems to be a lot more excitement than I would have thought about that. My mailbox has been inundated with questions like: What was it like to be so close to Val? What did you and Val talk about? What did Val smell like? Did you get a chance to tell Val how much you enjoyed Real Genius? Are you and Val on a first name basis? To which I will say: Brief. Nothing. I didn’t smell him. Didn’t come up. Maybe.
Now when I say I met Val Kilmer I should say I stood next to him. It was a 10 second window, all of which he spent seeming to be profoundly confused by the whole concept of Marty McFly and why my nametag said “Calvin Klein.” And that was about it. Still meeting Val Kilmer was the highlight of C2E2 for me, and a lot of people think I’m kidding when I say that, as if thinking Val Kilmer is a great actor is some sort of hipstery statement dripping with irony.
Someone joked that we were waiting in line to see the worst Batman, which is not even close to being correct. He’s actual pound for pound (and that’s not a fat joke) the most underrated Batman. George Clooney is empirically worst, so saying Kilmer is the worst isn’t even a misguided opinion, it’s simply wrong. And Adam West is only good because he’s so bad he’s good. Being ironically better doesn’t count as actually being better. And are Michael Keaton and Christian Bale really better? Did either really do a better job? Or did they just have the advantage of being in better movies?
Ultimately, what’s so great about Val Kilmer is he is everything to every sort of geek. He’s Batman for the comic book geek. He’s Madmartigan for the fantasy geek. He’s Jim Morrison for the music geek. He’s Nick Rivers for the comedy geek. He’s Chris Knight for the Real Genius geek geek. But he’s also an actor for jocks (or the jock archetype): he’s been a fighter pilot, a gunslinger, an FBI agent, a saint, a hunter, an astronaut, and a porn star. All of this meaning Kilmer is all things to all people.
He’s a chameleon. In his mind, he is whoever he’s pretending to be. That’s actually one reason Mrs. Gnards didn’t want me pointing at him. She was afraid he’d get mad and use his wily acting abilities to assume my identity. You see Val Kilmer plays me better than I’m actually me. Slouch a bit, squint a little, and all of a sudden he’s me. In fact, how do you know this isn’t Val Kilmer writing this right now? Anyone who meets Val Kilmer there’s, at least, a 50% chance that he’ll assume their identities. Meaning almost anyone could be Val Kilmer at any given time. If Val Kilmer meets 10 people per day, and he becomes 5 of those people and then those 5 Val Kilmers become 5 more Val Kilmers, Val Kilmer could spread across the earth in 13 days creating a global pandemic of Val Kilmer proportions (also not a fat joke).
Few superheroes are as iconic as Superman; few superheroes can even be mentioned in the same breath. And nothing in the Superman mythos is probably as iconic as Clark Kent ripping open his shirt to reveal the “S” shield logo. The shirt rip has been depicted in one way or another in just about every form of media. It’s a powerful, heroic pose, and that's probably why it's the first thing they teach every Chippendales dancer. I don’t think anything represents the transition from mild-mannered reporter to all-powerful demi-god better. Plus, it’s just a cool visual.
However, there’s one little hitch: buttons don’t unbutton when you pull open your shirt, they catch and pop off. Especially when the person doing the pulling has super human strength and almost zero gauge of how much pressure it takes to break a strand of thread. Meaning every time Superman is off to the rescue, he’s also just ruined one of his nice work shirts. Now, maybe, he uses snaps, but snaps are very easily unsnapped, which doesn’t go well with keeping ones secret identity. You don't want to show up at a meeting with your "S" showing. Of course, maybe, he just collects all these buttons later, and spends his free time sewing and mending in the Fortress of Solitude.
Although, he still has to do something with his street clothes regardless of the button issue. During a disaster is there a trail of clothing leading from Clark’s desk? Does Perry White say, “Great Caesar’s Ghost, Clark’s a streakin’ again!” According to the comics, Clark folds his clothes using Superman’s super origami abilities then compresses them down and slips them into a little pouch in his cape. Which is fine. But, okay, he doesn’t lose his suits but what about his dry cleaning bill? There’s only so much that wrinkle resistance can do. Can a combination of heat vision and arctic breath be used to replace dry cleaning? However, this doesn’t explain his shoes. Perhaps, being nigh invulnerable he swallows his shoes and glasses into his safe-like Kryptonian stomach, and passes them out at a more convenient time. However, I’ve never seen Superman crap out a shoe after being punched by Doomsday.
Other heroes have different methods: Peter Parker just webs his street clothes someplace out of the way or makes a handy dandy spidey backpack. The Flash keeps his costume in his watch (which makes more sense than it sounds). Because it’s a special watch and a special costume (okay, not that much sense), but this doesn’t explain what he does with his current outfit. Does he just put his costume on over it or does he stash them someplace, too? Green Lantern’s costume is made of will power, so theoretical they’re naked when they lose their will (which is convenient for anyone picking up a Green Lantern at your local super powered watering hole). Iron Man’s suit transforms into a brief case that he carries around, made of metal and the same exact red and yellow color scheme as Iron Man. Very inconspicuous. And Batman puts his bat-pants on one bat-leg at a bat-time.
Sometimes Superman is depicted as spinning around and around and eventually ends up in his costume. I assume the cyclonic force actually disintegrates his suit, but leaves his indestructible Superman outfit unharmed underneath. Which brings us to the question of what is Clark Kent’s clothing bill? Between disintegration and missing buttons, he's ruining a lot of nice Oxford shirts. It should be pretty easy to figure out how many button down shirts Superman has gone through during the course of a year. We can go about this two ways: by the number of comic book issues or by years.
How much Does Superman Spend on Shirts?
First, let’s break down the issues. So, there have been over 900 Action Comics starring Superman since 1938, and over 700 Superman comics. Including mini-series and shorter runs like Man of Steel, all told there’s over 1900 hundred Superman titles in circulation, and that doesn’t count Superboy, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, or Justice League comics. Let’s suppose that Superman goes through .8 shirts per issue (because sometimes he’s already in costume or finds a different way to change), which means Superman has destroyed roughly 1520 shirts over the years. Dress shirts can cost anywhere between $20 - $80, and can cost the Lex Luthors of the world $500 plus depending on the brand (which is probably a little pricey for a beat reporter). For arguments, let’s say he spends on average $50 for shirts. This means Clark Kent has spent $76000 on button down shirts.
Or we can take it from a timeline point of view, DC keeps it’s universe at around 10 years old. So, ever few years they crank back the speedometer, and say that Clark Kent is around 35-years-old and has been active as Superman for 10 years. So, if we use the same formula and say Clark goes through .8 shirts a day then in 10 years Clark would have ripped open 2920 shirts and paid $146000 for them, or that’s $14600 a year on shirts. If the average reporter makes $45000 a year, Clark Kent spends a third of his income on shirts. The other two thirds, of course, spent on patching man-shaped holes in various walls throughout Metropolis.
It’s not cheap being Superman… or a Chippendales dancer.