Your Lionel Sucks

A group of insane Germans – ever the productive demographic – have built the world’s largest model railroad in Hamburg as a tourist attraction.  Not only are there trains running through the massive display, but also cars and other vehicles.  They even meticulously modeled an airport complete with planes taxiing, taking off, and landing.  As a helpful reminder that we puritan Yankees didn’t build this marvel, there are also people randomly having sex all over the place.  Well done, Europe.

(Youtube)

The Franchise You Didn’t Know Existed, Part II

Catch up with Part I here.

Previously, we discussed the overarching themes of the 1993 treatise on social order Demolition Man.  Today, we will discuss its companion piece, the justifiably-overlooked Judge Dredd, in which Stallone plays a descendent of his character in the previous film and acts as an agent of the fascist system unwittingly instituted by its protagonist.

At the end of Demolition Man, the forces of rampant Liberalism were cast aside under a cloud of corruption and murder, allowing the more seemingly freedom-loving Libertarians to return to the surface world and take control.  This meant an end to the various well-meaning initiatives put in place by the previous regime, in favor of an improvised order more appealing to the base desires of the populace.  Forced politeness was repealed, and with it the automatic fines for verbal profanity, a measure which was particularly god damn unappealing to anyone who would pay to see an R-rated action movie in 1993.  The ban on meat was also brought to an end, allowing the formerly second-class citizens to partake in as many rat burgers as they wanted.   Continue reading

The Franchise You Didn’t Know Existed, Part I

In 1993 Sylvester Stallone, hot off the success of the years 1995-2009 having not happened yet, made a movie about a near-present-day LAPD detective cryogenically frozen and subsequently thawed thirty years later.  That movie was Demolition Man, and it was a decent action movie.  Two years later, Stallone made another bold cinematic prediction about the future of law enforcement, a movie – nay, film – eponymously based on the comic book series Judge Dredd.  Despite their ostensible similarities – future cop, there’s a conspiracy to solve, diplomacy as a backup option for most confrontations – the movies have very different tones and themes.  Despite this, I have recently come to the conclusion that Judge Dredd and Demolition Man are actually, together, a complete work.  By the end of this journey, so will you.

Demolition Man opens in what citizens of 1992 Los Angeles thought 1996 Los Angeles was going to look like thanks to all the angry minorities who broke stuff over the Rodney King verdict.  Things have gotten so bad that the Hollywood sign is on fire, presumably non-stop.  “This well-known landmark is burning” is ’90s movie shorthand for “things are going really badly right now.”  Its use in popular film culminated in the 1996 masterpiece Independence Day, which ended its first act by systematically destroying every recognizable monument in the United States.  Michael Bay dragged it back out of the closet for 1998’s Armageddon, which didn’t even have the dignity of being the only apocalyptic asteriod movie released that summer, probably because Michael Bay wouldn’t know creativity if it took on the form of Megan Fox and blew him at an after-party. Continue reading

Bill Hicks Keeps Riding

Were it not for that bastard cancer, Bill Hicks would have turned 50 last Friday.  The world would have been a better place for the last 18 years if he were still around.  I didn’t find out about his work until a year after he died, but it still made a huge impact on me and how I look at the world.

Brow Beat over at Slate has a write-up about the infamous censorship, euphemistically dubbed as “cutting,” of his 1993 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman that’s worth a read.  If you aren’t familiar with his work and you’re a Netflix subscriber, give America’s Funniest Home Videos a rest for a bit and check out American: The Bill Hicks Story, a recently-produced documentary about his life, then wash it down with his 1989 special Sane Man and the four-special compilation Bill Hicks Live: Satirist, Social Critic, Stand-Up Comedian.  If you don’t laugh, congratulations, you’re part of the problem.

List of the Week: 15 Euphemisms For “Number Two”

The idea well is running dry this week, so I’m doing what any well-adjusted adult would do and writing an article about pooping!  We all know simply announcing “I’m gonna go take a dump” is a little crude for polite company, so here are fifteen was to get your point across without smelling up the joint, linguistically-speaking.  Without question, this is a new low for Fantastic Manliness.

“Briefing The Admiral” Navy people love this one because briefing a superior officer often feels like pooing upward.  Army people love it because they hate the Navy.  Air Force people replace “Admiral” with “General” and say they invented it.  Marines just say “I’ve gotta take a shit” because why mince words?

“Losing Some Weight” This one’s technically true.  After all, poop has weight just like any other mass in your body.  I’d like to be able to track each…uh…”incident’s” weight over time, but unfortunately the powers that be in Washington won’t let us have toilets equipped with scales.  They’re afraid it would encourage competition.  I don’t think that’s something to be afraid of.

Continue reading

Dear Dear Prudence, Volume III

Remember when this was supposed to be a weekly feature?  Me neither!  We’re back with more D.D.P. after taking October and November off.

Every week Slate, an online magazine that’s a lot like if TMZ was written by the editors of The Economist, runs an advice column called Dear Prudence.  Written by D.C.-based Emily Yoffe, the column is similar in format to Dear Abby (ask your parents) and covers a range of topics such as manners, etiquette, familial relations, and of course how to deal with ill-conceived sexual decisions.  At least one of those makes it into the column a week.  Drink when you hit it.

This week we deal with the medical mysteries of adoption, why women don’t understand pissing in sinks, strange manifestations of other-woman guilt, and women thinking too hard about friendship.  Put a pink magnetic ribbon on your car and pretend to like missionary, it’s Ladies’ Night on Fantastic Manliness!

Dear Prudie,
My father was adopted as a baby in the 1950s. About all I know is that his birth parents eventually married and that he has full brothers and sisters. He does not want to know anything about his biological family, and I respect that, I really do. However, my husband and I want to have children in the near future and I feel it is important to have a more complete family medical history, though it’s not that the presence of some horrible disease will likely sway our decision. (My niece does have a rare, genetic blood disorder which my mother points out could be from her side of the family.) I have asked my mother many times over the years how I can get this information, to no avail. I’ve thought about hiring someone to track down the biological family or having genetic testing done, but these things are simply too expensive. My mom supports my dad’s decision to know nothing and feels that it is not my business to ask such questions. My dad doesn’t have much adoptive family left and they would probably be insulted by such an inquiry. Should I talk to my dad about all this? If so, how can I explain that I support his decision not to have a relationship with his biological family and that I am purely interested in shedding some light on my own family medical history? Continue reading

A Moment of Humility

I know we’re all having a great time here talking about how Dr. Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation is a whore, checking out awesome Japanese playground slides, and wondering what exactly is wrong with Joe Paterno…but it’s important to remember, reading this monument to me, that I’m not even the most awesome Scott Ahearn there is.  Say hello to ScottAhearn.net, also known as Google Image Search Scott Ahearn.  He’s a quality guy and I’ve always appreciated how much cooler he is than TeamAhearn.com Scott Ahearn.

If I didn’t have a beard I’d look exactly like him.  I’m gonna start working “how do you like my wife’s vagina?” into my day-to-day repertoire.

(From: ScottAhearn.net)

Gonna Talk About Star Trek Now

I’ve watched a lot of Star Trek.  Growing up I watched repeats of Star Trek: The Next Generation every weeknight at 7 on WTVZ Fox 33, along with new episodes every Thursday on WGNT 27, which at the time had no network affiliation.  From there I worked my way backwards through the Original Series movies, while simultaneously seeing the Next Generation movies and being vaguely entertained, thrilled, bored, and ready for a new movie series.  I also took in the entirety of Deep Space Nine and as much of Voyager as I could tolerate.  I have enjoyed other series, but The Next Generation (or TNG, as the pros call it) was my first and favorite Star Trek.  For some of the younger people, Voyager is their Star Trek, which is a shame because Voyager is mostly shit.

Star Trek exists in a rich universe, one that is much more fleshed-out than that of its often-unfairly-compared “rival” Star Wars.  The Star Wars mainline canon consists of six movies.  Star Trek has three seasons and six movies of Original Series, seven seasons and four movies of TNG, seven seasons of Deep Space Nine, seven worthless hackneyed seasons of Voyager, four inconsistent seasons of Enterprise, and the 2009 reboot movie.  That’s a lot of characters, alien races explored in relative detail, and situations to be dealt with by the protagonists.  This detailed picture of the galaxy means that you can, as an adult, find yourself musing on the practicalities of the Star Trek fictional universe in pretty concrete terms.  During some downtime this past weekend, I had a sudden revelation about the era of Star Trek that begins with The Next Generation:

There is no longer any need for a shipboard Medical Officer.  The only reason to have one is for her to be attractive to the Captain and ensure his sexual needs are met. Continue reading