Jul 01

No Clock Tower in the 2T

I’m in a really, really bad mood tonight. Since I’ve been down here in the 2T I haven’t had enough sleep. Now even the smallest things are setting me off. You know, like light and sound.

honeybooboo

And the constant Honey Boo Boo promos aren’t helping.
Image credit: Lwp Kommunikáció

Yes, Σ’s obsession with TLC continues. She says she doesn’t like Honey Boo Boo, but I have my doubts.

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Apr 28

A Vast Wasteland

I find few things more irritating than the arguments of traditionalist scolds, especially the tired old tropes of “what about the children?” and “the good old days.” Generally speaking, with a bit of guidance children are quite capable of making their own decisions. Also, “the good old days” is often code for “nostalgia for an imagined past.”

I’ve been told Beachy sometimes watches television too mature for her. While I agree at her age she certainly shouldn’t be exposed to such things as graphic sex and violence, I assure you what she watches is much, much better than what I grew up with.

Seriously, would any children’s channel today air programming depicting this? (Click the image caps for video)

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This isn’t Porky Pig! Shocking!

Or this?

threestoogesdrink

No Curly? Outrageous!

Or this?

ladyjaye

No Sgt. Slaughter? Disgu … nah, this is still pretty hot.

Guess what? I watched all of the above and more during my formative years. Repeatedly. I didn’t even have to sneak in any Cinemax to do it.

Growing up in the 2T in the early 80s, where locally-produced kids’ programming was little more than a foreign legend, on a typical weekday morning you essentially had two options: soap operas or game shows. Guess which one I took? Yeah, there’s nothing like beginning an unexpected day off than with an hour with Bob Barker.

bob-barker-young

“Cutting school again, eh Lane? Well, don’t forget to have your pets spayed or neutered.”

And that’s the high water mark. I was born in 1973, so for the sake of argument let’s say my prime years for children’s programming were between 1980 and 1985. Fine. Here’s what the world was like back then:

Children’s programming was limited to certain hours (usually school hours) on weekdays. You had Saturday morning cartoons which ended by 1 pm, and on Sunday you were flat out SOL. The golden age of animation was dead and buried by the mid-70s. There was no Cartoon Network or DreamWorks Studios. In short, no one was catering to kids very well. Even the pre-Pixar Disney spent about a decade dropping turds on theaters every couple years before they finally realized they should stick with fairy tales.

The_Disney_Channel_1986

And Martha Raye’s Polident ads were more entertaining than the early Disney Channel.

With few exceptions, children’s programming of the day fell into one of three categories:

-Prime time reruns and old short films not necessarily intended for children in the first place, including I Love Lucy, The Addams Family, The Munsters, The Flintstones, The Little Rascals (or Our Gang, whatever), The Three Stooges and Looney Tunes. Throw in Leave it to Beaver and The Beverly Hillbillies too. What the hell.

-Reboots of old cartoons and TV shows, including The All-New Popeye Hour, The Flintstone Comedy Show, The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show, Laverne & Shirley in the Army, The Real Ghostbusters, the (apparently fake) Ghostbusters and various incarnations of the Scooby-Doo franchise.

-Shows which amounted to little more than hard-sell commercials, including G.I. Joe, The Smurfs, Saturday Supercade, M.A.S.K., Challenge of the GoBots, and anything involving Care Bears, Shirt Tales, Teddy Ruxpin, Cabbage Patch Kids, Popples, He-Man, She-Ra, the ThunderCats or Lazer Tag. It’s a wonder some nitwit TV executive didn’t greenlight a show about a fad puzzle game.

VHS_Video_'Rubik_The_Amazing_Cube_'_Vol_2

Oh wait, they totally did.

So in addition to the torture, alcohol abuse and risque content noted above, what else did these shows depict to kids of the day? How about misogyny, gender and racial stereotypes, juvenile delinquency, frequent armed conflict, gratuitous violence, dangerous stunts, glorification of war, animal cruelty, terrorism, elder abuse, unrealistic life expectations, attempted genocide, reward for misbehavior and/or incompetence, borderline plagiarism, and commercialism so crass and over the top it would make even Vince Offer wince?

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Yeah, plagiarism. The Flintstones blatantly ripped off The Honeymooners.

I and millions of others suffered through long years of this drivel. Watching this stuff again just makes it worse, as one notices the shoddy production values one disregarded as a kid. Bright spots were few and far between. Off the top of my head I can only think of one animated series from the era that was contemporary, genuinely funny and not a 30-minute commercial for a piece of plastic.

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Even if he did drive on the wrong side of the road.

So there you have it. Programming on today’s children’s cable networks isn’t anywhere near as bad as it was 30 years ago. What’s more, I turned out just fine, and today’s world isn’t an amoral, dystopian void after all.

Indeed, I’m glad I wasn’t sheltered and allowed to watch only “wholesome” crap like Superbook and The Flying House. I probably would have shot up a Taco Bell by now.

Tacobellsunnyvale

“More like, ‘Live No Más’ bitches! HA HA HA!”
Image credit: Coolcaesar

Apr 02

Bits and Pieces

Despite it being absolutely gorgeous outside, I spent the better part of the day filling out hospital forms related to my head injury a couple months ago. Since there’s nothing even remotely amusing about that (like I could remember it anyway), I didn’t have a lot of time to think about what the hell I was going to write today.

But I got to turn on the A/C for the first time this year.

Despite that, I have a couple stories possibly developing for your reading enjoyment. I guess it’s time for one of those potpourri posts. You know, a little of everything but not a lot of anything. That makes sense, right? Good. Let’s get started.

Return of the Moose

For a while I genuinely thought I was done writing about him, but a couple days ago none other than Moose Factory Boy™ showed up in my Facebook mail. His message? “I’m sure that you will be receiving a text/call very soon.” Um, OK. I assume he’s talking about Myrtle, but with him you can never be entirely sure.

smokesignal

Could be something like this.

As of this writing I haven’t heard from Myrtle, or anyone else for that matter. Whether or not she gets back in contact is anyone’s guess. If she does, great. If not, oh well. Dating hasn’t been a real high priority lately.

What’s the 419?

Speaking of dating, I’ve had an ad in the Boise Craigslist personals for a couple weeks now. Now before you accuse me of contradicting my previous statement, bear in mind this ad mentions Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Bandido Nation, Svalbard, Aotearoa and Erik Estrada‘s teeth, among other things. Not exactly Cassanova-type material.

To their credit Craigslist recently reformulated their policies, implementing an anonymous reply function. This has cut down on the spammers and the scammers significantly. A few still get through, including our friend “Tracy Miller.”

“Tracy” contacted me and assured me “she” was real and wanted to meet. My reply was, “And I’m real. Did you find Erik Estrada’s teeth?”

TV Guide Estrada

Yeah, I’m milking that for all it’s worth.
Image credit: trainman74

The reply mentioned nothing about Estrada, but Tracy did tell me about how she was a fashion school student living with a friend and her grandmother. She talked about her friend getting married and how she wants to get married herself. She talked about her love for God and how much of a good Christian she was. There was a bunch of other drivel I didn’t bother reading.

Most importantly, she responded outside the Craigslist system, which allowed me to track the originating IP:

nigeriaIP

Peek-a-boo!

Of course, being the magnanimous guy I am, I replied:

Hey Tracy:

No kidding? I’m into religion too! For the past eight months I’ve served as a dark deacon with the First Boise Church of Satan, Reformed (Nunavut Synod). Just this past weekend we sacrificed some goats during a sunset ceremony up at Table Rock to culminate our annual “Cinco de Chivos” festival. We used to sacrifice children, but we were sued by the Most Antient Order of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli for trademark infringement. And, well, long story short we don’t do that anymore.

I’m not photogenic either. Especially not after my recurring bouts with leprosy. But I don’t let it get me down. Even though I only have eight fingers now, I can still type at 60 words per minute!

By the way, since you’re a fashion student and all, I’m guessing you know quite a bit about fabric. Do you know how to get goat blood stains out of linen?

Writing that was a hell of a lot more fun than filling out hospital forms. I tell you what ….