Archive for the ‘pop-culture’ Category

A little bit of spoof of Twilight Zone, a little spoof of the survivalist community.  Which I hope they like the jokes, because they are probably the only ones who would get the jokes.

Please note the character and jokes are fiction.

Since 7 Minutes in heaven is going on at Space 55 right now, I thought it was a good time to post this video from a past 7 minutes show, performed by Kevin Flanagan and Ashley Naftule.

This is perfect for an icon for discussion boards where the discussion is the end of the world.  .

The image is originally from a UNICEF ad campaign to raise money for ex-child soldiers in Buruni.  It was part of a 30 second commercial where the Smurfs get carpet-bombed.  You can find it on youtube, I would link but the link moves.  The intent was to show children the horrors of war.  UNICEF released the pilot commercial in Holland.  The immediate response by the internet was that this was just wrong, just plain gargamellly.

Murphy’s Law of the apoclaypse  

  • An animal that is too easy to catch ain’t worth eating.
  • You will get sick of beans.
  • Mice will get to your beans.
  • The mice in your beans will be easy to catch.
  • The mice in your beans will have Hantavirus.
  • People will betray you because of the temptation for meat.
  • You will be the meat.
  • There will always be someone meaner.

Over at Survialblog.com there is a list of recommended books and movies.  Under the list of “Some of JWR’s Favorite Movies with Survival Themes” the author is careful to point out that “None of these films except for City of Ember are suitable for children!”

Perhaps he should add Ice Age to the list as kid-friendly survival movie!

Below are thoughts pondered while watching Ice Age.

 

  • For a squirrel the Apocalypse comes every year.  The first rule is to horde your nut.
  • Zombie tree sloths would not be so scary.
  • When animals move in herds, pay attention.
  • Remember the dodo.

I read all of Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road in one sitting.  Granted it was a long sitting.  I read it during a return flight to Phoenix after visiting family in New York City.  Man, that is one depressing book.  When I got home that night I felt sad.  One the stark black cover the “Oprah’s book club” stands out.  I thought she only added uplifting books to her list.  I get the impression after only seeing a couple of her shows that she is an upbeat sort of person.  This book is not upbeat.  I suppose he calls it the road because it is about hours and hours wandering on the road.  The cover is stark, the story blunt, the sentences bare.  The man out-Hemingways Hemingway.   There are few, if any, lessons in the book, and maybe the lack of one is it’s lesson.  Life at its most basic level doesn’t need to have meaning.   Like I said, it is one depressing book.

In a magical time called the 90’s things were good.  Our worry’s were about the President’s sexual indiscretions and not about collapsing housing markets or mountains of national debt. The wars we fought in were far away and small.  Few came back with scars for life.  The wars were in isolated places like Rwanda or the Balkans, places where the threat of hate spreading across borders was not a major concern.  Times were good.

The darkest thing we had on the horizon was a threat called Y2K.  People were terrified of the prospect that computers dependent on the numbers “0” and “1”  would not be able to handle the math of a changing century.  We imagined planes falling out of the sky, entire credit card networks committing hari kari, electonic security systems whispering off to silence, a silent grid.

Wal-Mart refused to let people return gasoline powered generations.  We feared desperate times made desperate people.

Nothing happened.  Everything was fine.  It was not for another 10 years or so that we faced true crisis.  We grew weak and bloated.  In fact, most of us still are.

Thoughts and lessons learned while reading “Bangs & Whimpers: Stories about the end of the world” edited by James Frenkel.

Warning: Spoiler Alerts!  So don’t get all nasty, I gave you a warning.  I summarize the basic premise of some of the stories to help me remember their points.  You have been warned. SPOILER ALERTS BELOW!

The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke:  Just because lone self-proclaimed wise men are on the top of a mountain in the middle of the Himalayas doesn’t mean that they actually know what they are talking about.  Even if they have done it for centuries.   Also, who would sign up for the apocalypse?  Why would one ask God to quit?  Mr. Clarke, no surprise here, gives a solid plausible explanation to these questions.

Killing the Morrow by Robert Reed :  One man trusts his gut when all around him, including himself, falls to mind control. Aliens attack my osmosis.

We Can Get Them for you Wholesale by Neil Gaiman:  I enjoyed watching Gaiman lets his sense of dark comedy flow free. In his graphic novels, I am use to him getting more burdened down with obscurity.  A vain man  unknowingly hires other-being mercenaries to kill us all.

Not with a Bang by Howard Fast:  A wonderfully comic piece of how one sensible man reacts when the sun gets dramatically snuffed out like a candle.

Lost and Found by Connie Willis :Explains why it would be bad if the Holy Grail had been in Russia during the 1950’s.

The Wind and the Rain by Robert Silverber:  I really like the narrator’s angle to a common warning.  Think Inconvinet truth with the cold amusement of a perspective millions of years later.

Expendable by Philip K Dick: What a wonderful imagination on that man.  Would the spiders and the ants and the feral cats mourn our passing?

Finis by Frank L. Pollack:  The world burns quickly and two people kiss.

A Guide to Virtual Death by J.G. Ballard: More of a warning than a record of Humanity’s willingness to create their own end.

Emissary from a Green and Yellow World by Robert Sheckley: I really liked this one.  A wonderful comedic commentary of what makes Humans so wonderful and horrible at the same time.

The Portable Phonograph by Walter Van Tilburg Clark: Once we are barely holding on, living in caves, we will lament for the  beautiful things once-made my man.  Duh.

Fermi and Frost by Frederik Pohl: How the shit would play out in Iceland.  Well thought out scenario.  Good example of how to logically think out a world.

Ultimate Construction by C.C. Shackleton: At 2 pages long, the definition of how to switch-it up at the end.  Sandcastles made of sand might not be a bad idea when we know everything is going to melt anyway.

The Manhattan Phone Book (abridged) by James Tiptee Jr:  Lame.  It turns out to be a lecture to the reader on how the apocalypse won’t really be that fun, because, you know, of all the death also you, the reader, will probably die. WHATEVVVVER!!!!

The Man who Walked Home by James Thurber: I did not understand half of what was happening, but a wonderful story of the birth of faith and ghosts in the machines of science.

Interview with a Lemming by James Thurber: Great example of how to write a short, very short, story that is meant to only set up the end.  Makes you question the role of basic assumptions and how they lead to different logics.

The Last Question by Issac Asimov:  The end is very far out indeed.   Very very very far out.  Like a billion years far out.  Who else better to pull that off but the master?

I spent the last three days at the Phoenix Comic-Con for both fun and research. I was surprised there were so few direct references to the Apocalypse. None of the panel discussions centered around the end times, one was about dystopian futures, and while that is related one does not need an armageddon to imagine a future gone horribly wrong. I did see Max Brooks speak, and that was awesome. I found it humourous that he does not like Zombie walks. Zombies scare him.

Pity Bill Dee Williams. The first question from the audience he got was “Do people ever give you grieve for the actions of Lando Calrissian, not realizing that you are not actually Lando?” Billy Dee told two stories on that vein, one involving his daughters classmates pointing at him in the schoolyard.

The very next question came from a 12-year-old, the child stretching to reach the microphone asked, “Why did you betray Hans Solo?”

I think I learned a little bit about bravery from watching than man speak.

I added two more songs for the Post-Apocalypse playlist.

Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder

Tuesday’s Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd