Shawn Bradley: Big White Dude

I was going to write an article about how Shawn Bradley was not a completely terrible basketball player. I was going to whip out stats. I was going to whip out charts. I was going to go to nerd sport heaven. But Normal Mormon Husband beat me to it. For those of you who don’t know Shawn Bradley (which I’m sure are many), he was a big white dude, and that’s about it. He was as tall as he was pale and skinny (which was very). Bradley is on every NBA bust list that is ever written and he’s the punch line on every sports talk show (yadda, yadda, yadda, Greg Oden, yadda, yadda, yadda, Shawn Bradley… donkey sound effect). So, Normal Mormon laid it out, check out his Defense of Bradley, he might just convince you that Bradley wasn’t a total waste of humanity.

And while I’m not into sports that much being a fairly typical milquetoast nerd, I do love the stats. There’s a very bid difference between jocks and sports nerds. Fantasy sports leagues aren’t made for meat heads, they’re for hardcore mathlettes. Fantasy baseball is like half a step away from rolling 20-sided-dice and slaying the dragon. And I hate to say it, but the only thing I like sports video games is balancing payrolls.

Sports nerds balancing the curve on high school teams everywhere.

Shawn Bradley

This is Shawn Bradley. This picture is not doctored in any way. Not an optical illusion. Not a special effect. This is what he really looks like.

Hiro Meter: Negative 3

Hiro Meter Analyzing Episode 1, Season 4 of Heroes

Hiro is at negative 3 Asian Points

Hiro Meter

Hiro has impacted the Asian community negative 3 degrees. Or about half a William Hung.

Break down of Hiro Meter:
1. Big Hiro Sign: +1… Everyone’s cooler with a 30 foot sign and millions in advertisement. Who cares if no one knows what his company is about as long as he’s looking good while failing miserably. No one knew what GoDaddy was either and it worked for them.
2. Emasculated by little sister: -1… We can forgive bad business decisions, but to be balled out by his sister, that’s a big step back.
3. Juxtapose Hiro pretending to be a Hero to Peter actually being a Hero: -2… The Asian has a cutsie pretend Hero business, the white guy is out saving actual lives.
4. The big case? Rescue a cat named Muffin Man: -1
5. Uses powers to save Ando: +1
6. Power misfires: -1… Hiro freezes himself and gets another nose bleed. Nose bleeds in anime, by the way, are often a sign of sexual frustration.
7. Facing Death head on – No fear: +1
8. Saves the day by getting a Slurpy dumped on his shirt: -1

The Fantastic Mr. Star Fox

Is it just me or is The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Star Fox’s Fox McCloud the same person? Identical cousins, at least.

Mr. Fox and Fox McCloud

Mr. Fox is from new Wes Anderson movie based on the book by Roald Dahl. Fox McCloud is from the Star Fox game series that (along with Golden Eye) made the N64 worth buying. If you look there’s a very similar foxiness to these foxes. However, perhaps there’s a bit of a limitation as to how anthropomorphic foxes can be depicted. But the Fantastic Mr. Fox in the film does look quite different from the original Donald Chaffin illustrations or later Quentin Blake illustrations. Taking on a decidedly more McCloudian air.

Both Mr. Fox and Fox McCloud also both run with a motley crew of assorted animals.

Mr. Fox’s Gang

Star Fox Crew

Star Fox Crew

Friday Night Nerds


I was talking to some friends about all the terrible shows that Fox had tried to package with X-Files (because this is how my crew rolls). Of course, there’s the spin offs like Millennium and the Lone Gunmen, but what I’ve always thought were more interesting were the sandwich shows, bad programs sandwiched between two good programs. Friday nights when X-Files originally aired, Fox tried a one two punch with X-Files and whichever show people were willing to watch besides X-Files (which turned out to be none).

X-Files was paired with such gems as M.A.N.T.I.S. and Strange Luck. A lot of you will probably say Strange Luck was a pretty decent show, and a lot of you will be wrong. This is the Jedi mind trick of network programming. Take an interesting premise (extremely good luck in this case), place it close proximity to X-Files wonderment, and fondness for D.B. Sweeney. It takes more than a little Doug Dorsey window dressing to make a hit show. That only lasts two or three episodes at best. If you don’t remember M.A.N.T.I.S. then lucky you: a handicapped superhero, what were they thinking?

When I looked at Fox’s programming schedule for the last twenty years though, something far more interesting emerges. They had a hit with X-Files then moved it to Sunday night, and on Friday nights Fox aired a new scifi/drama, and when that failed, Fox aired a nother new scifi/drama and so on and so on. It was a steady stream of one hour science fiction heavy dramas, and it was more than just hoping lightning would strike twice. It’s as if they had a study that said, “Nerds watch shows on Friday nights.” Here’s their logic, Nerds don’t have friends, so they watch TV on Friday nights. Nerds are ugly, so they cannot get dates, so they watch TV on Friday nights.

Friday night Audience

But it didn’t work. Fox went through a slew of programming, some of it like Wonderfalls were critical darlings, most of them were not. The one thing they all had in common though were insanely low ratings. After M.A.N.T.I.S. and Strange Luck came Sliders, Millennium, The Visitor, Harsh Realm, FreakyLinks, Dark Angel, Firefly, John Doe, Wonderfalls, Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Dollhouse.

On thing this shows is nerds do socialize. Chat rooms, Star Trek Conventions, Wolf Gnards, World of Warcrarft, LARP, Cosplay, what have you. We’re good. We’re taken care of. Nerds have nerd friends. Nerds date nerds. We have shit to do on a Friday night.

Though, if you want to bring back X-Files… I’ll watch.

Charles Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden

There’s not enough RPG’s that take place in a post apocalyptic New York, where Charles Barkley must fight evil robots with Chaos Dunks. I mean there’s a lot of games like that, but not nearly enough.

Here’s one of the better ones…

Charles Barkley makes any game better. Super Barkley Bros. Metal Gear Barkley. Grand Theft Barkley. I first saw this game on Wikipedia, and I thought someone was having a joke fudging wiki. Joke’s on me because the Barkley is REAL!

And the Chaos Dunk

Kanye West: Genius or Idiot Savant?

Kanye West’s latest award show faux pas has really got me thinking on the nature of genius. South Park hit the nail on the head (or the bag on the douche as the case may be) with their depiction of West. Kanye is 100% enthralled with himself, and has bought into his own hype, and sincerely believes he’s a genius. I wonder what else South Park was right about, could he, in fact, be gay fish… very likely.

But besides his high opinion of himself, it’s as if being a so-called genius is supposed to make up for any wrong behavior. For instance, Stephen Hawking is a very well documented bastard. Do his theories on black holes entitle him to making fun of lesser theoretical physicists or rolling over their feet on his wheel chair? Alpha dog behavior does indeed spill into the nerd world. Being the smartest or most talented today is the same as being the biggest or strongest in days of yore. And being the scariest nerd out there means never having to say “I’m Sorry.”

What is Genius?

What is the nature of genius? Can a rapper be a genius? Certainly. A genius is more than just your intelligence quotient. A genius is when a high level of intelligence is paired with an equally high work output (Figure A). To put it simply, expectations are high and those expectations are met. Kanye West would want to be compared to Stevie Wonder or other undisputed musical geniuses, but is that really a fair comparison? Has he lived up to his hype?

Figure A

Genius Graph

The Idiot Savant and the Myth of the Flash of Genius

So, how can a man who is a “a proud non-reader of books” be a genius? Part of the problem is the political correct assumption of genius… that a genius can come from anywhere. Truthfully, genius can come from any walk of life, but by accepting this we now have the ever tricky duty of separating authentic genius from the plaything. Kanye would most likely fall under the idiot savant category. This being low intelligence coupled with high work output (Figure B ). Meaning not too bright, but expectations are far exceeded. Somehow like Shaggy or Gilligan, he stumbles into getting the job done. This would make Kanye West more or less the musical equivalent to outsider art (retards who paint), or to put it in music terms, the equal to such greatness as Sisqó.

Figure B

Idiot Graph

Most people are mistaken with the concept of genius: that lights and flashes must be going off in Einstein’s head. The fact is genius is cold and logical, it’s a Vulcan world out there. The facts are simply and slowly picked apart and reconstituted into a more pleasant configuration. Now the flash of genius is something everyone has experienced and this is why there’s so much confusion. Since, this is all we know of high level creative thought, we assume this is what genius 24/7 must be like. A flash however is more random than something that’s controlled. It’s nothing more the erratic firing of neurons on par with the average epileptic seizure. Brilliance can certainly be found there, but it’s mostly just gibberish.

A blown fuse is the only thing that can explain Kanye West. A series of unfortunate short circuits lead Kanye on stage, lead him to the mic, lead him to yet another outburst. Is it more likely that there was any calm, rational thought, or a lighting bolt and bunch of flipped switches (Figure C)?

But here’s the rub, here’s where things get sticky. Who needs more pampering, a reasonable highly functional genius, or an idiot savant with minor brain damage?

Figure C

Kanye and Johnny 5

And, hey, there’s nothing wrong with being an idiot savant… I could be one myself.

Read more »