Wednesday, August 30, 2006

DHD music poll

I'd be happy to spend some time writing and performing a brief piece of orchestral music for DHDer's amusement if there is sufficient interest. It would use the musical motif D-E-B-F, and be written in the Phrygian (aka "Phryschian") mode. (Props to SBH for coining the term.)

Please be advised that this would likely take me 7-10 days to complete, due to its time-intensive nature (and the fact that I haven't yet won the Mega Lotto and so must relegate this to a back-burner).

But hey, I like you guys and it would be a fun little project.

Presuming that anybody might like to hear some examples, I'd be happy to share a couple of mp3s if somebody's willing to host them. (I really need to put a website together.) I'm thinking of two pieces which could be "rebranded" to make them DHD-pertinent; one's about 2:20 and the other is 1:00 in length.

Since I'm on the "shameless self-promotion" bandwagon this morning, I also write and produce radio ads. (Earned part of my living for nearly two decades in L.A. thusly.) If any of you work in advertising, I'd be delighted to get you a radio demo reel.

Hokay...I've got a rugged day today, so I probably won't be able to respond to anything until this evening. Feel free to leave your comments, derisive screeds or outright hate mail; I'll see ya''ll this evening (EST) at Sinner & Sulla's place.

Monday, August 28, 2006

After cigars and cigarettes, will giant firecrackers and sledge hammers be next?

Tuner Broadcasting announced last week that they will bowdlerize their entire catalog of more than 1500 Hanna-Barbera cartoons to remove scenes of smoking.

According to Turner's European spokeswoman Yinka Akindele, the cartoons will be edited "where smoking could be deemed to be cool or glamorized". She further stated that scenes showing a "villain" smoking might not be cut.

Reuters (an organization with no little experience in digitally modifying images) reports that this pussification was prompted by a viewer (singular) complaint to British media regulator Ofcom.

This action was prompted by one lousy complaint, and Turner rolled-over almost before the metaphorical ink on it was dry. Will the copyright owners of other classic animation wuss-out and follow suit?

If so, it's gonna be a field day for computer geeks who are skilled in image manipulation.

On their website, Ofcom says that one of their six specific duties is "Applying adequate protection for audiences against offensive or harmful material."

That's nice and vague. Offensive to whom? Harmful in what way? And what, precisely, constitutes adequate protection? (I so love regulatory bodies with broad mandates.)

Will scenes with exploding cigars be deemed permissible, given they're almost always administered to the "bad guy" in cartoons? Hmmmm...that's a toughie. On one hand, they depict smoking, which we all know is pure, unadulterated evil. On the other hand, they also show consequences for that act such as having one's teeth blown out of one's head, one's face covered with soot and one's hair severely ruffled.

In extreme instances, a detonating stogie can even cause one's entire body to fracture like safety glass and crumble into a little pile of debris replete with eyes that blink while making xylophone noises.

What type of cartoon scenes will be found "harmful" or "offensive" next?

Firearms discharged directly into the faces of protagonists. Giant sledge hammers crushing them into accordian-folded lumps (which waddle off-screen to the sound of wheezing bellows). Mice shaving cats' backs with careening, out-of-control power mowers.

Painting fake tunnels onto cliff faces in order to lure the pursuit to their demise. (Because if the initial impact doesn't get them, the speeding train emerging from the faux tunnel will.) Giant firecrackers, dynamite sticks and spherical black bombs. Woodpeckers wreaking avian mayhem on characters' skulls. Car crashes. Train wrecks. Characters plummeting from tall buildings and cliffs. Fisticuffs.

It's a nearly endless list, as horrific violence has been an integral part of cartoons almost since their inception. And, of course, we must protect the children from the depravity that is classic animation.

I doubt they'll stop there. What about stuff like characters whose tongues unroll and eyeballs bulge to the accompaniment of old automobile horns, sirens and fire truck bells when they see an attractive female character? Surely that must be offensive to feminists.

Pretty soon, cartoons will be aired with little more than the opening credits, the establishing shot, a series of nonsensical, chopped-up scenes and the ending.

Unless the hero is smoking a celebratory cigar.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Murderous, masked nocturnal carnivores terrorize Olympia, WA!

Tue Aug 22, 9:04 PM ET - AP

A fierce group of raccoons has killed 10 cats, attacked a small dog and bitten at least one pet owner who had to get rabies shots, residents of Olympia say.

[Now that they've had a taste of human flesh, I'd say folks in Olympia are in deep voodoo. Next thing you know, they'll be developing a taste for brains...braaaiiinnns.]

Some have taken to carrying pepper spray to ward off the masked marauders and the woman who was bitten now carries an iron pipe when she goes outside at night.

"It's a new breed," said Tamara Keeton, who with Kari Hall started a raccoon watch after an emotional neighborhood meeting drew 40 people. "They're urban raccoons, and they're not afraid."

[What makes them "urban raccoons"? Are they wearing baggy pants with their boxers hanging out in the back? Carrying sharpened screwdrivers, Glock 9mm's and Mac-10s? Wearing dewrags, smoking blunts and imbibing Olde English 800? Sounds like racism to me; particularly given that "coons" is 5/8 of "raccoons"]

Tony Benjamins, whose family lost two cats, said he got a big dog — a German Shepherd-Rottweiler mix — to keep the raccoons away.

[That's the same kind of dogs the Nazis used. Ergo, RACISM!]

One goal of the patrol is to get residents to stop feeding raccoons and to keep pets and pet food indoors.

[People of Olympia: Stop feeding your the raccoons.]

Lisann Rolle said she began carrying an iron pipe when she goes outside at night after being bitten by raccoons when she tried to pull three of them off her cat Lucy. She obtained rabies shots afterward as a precaution.

"I was watching her like a hawk, but she snuck out," Rolle said. "Then I heard this hideous sound — a coyote-type high pitch ... It was vicious. They were focused on ripping her apart."

[Even though I'm not much of a "cat person", this is actually pretty horrible.]

The attacks have been especially shocking because raccoons came within five feet (1 1/2 meters) of cats without any problem in previous years, Benjamins said.

"We used to love the raccoons. They'd have their babies this time of year, and they were so cute. Even though we lived in the city, it was neat to have wildlife around," he said, "but this year, things changed. They went nuts."

[Is it possible this particular group of raccoons have converted to Islam since last year? I'm just sayin'...]

In one case five raccoons tried to carry off a small dog, which managed to survive.

The attacks, all within a three-block area near the Garfield Nature Trail in Olympia, are highly unusual, said Sean O. Carrell, a problem wildlife coordinator with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, adding that trappers may be summoned from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to remove problem animals.

[Why would they need help from the Feds? Oh...because Mr. Carrell's a coordinator, as opposed to someone who might actually take action and fix the damned problem. Sheesh, we're talking about three square blocks; is this really a job for the National Guard or FEMA?

Hmmm...perhaps so, if Mr. Carrell's job is to coordinate the attacks. (Read his complete job title again.)]

"I've never heard a report of 10 cats being killed. It's something we're going to have to monitor," Carrell said.

[Spoken like a true bureaucratic asshat. We have a simple problem with an equally simple solution. Instead, we're going to "monitor" things, so that we can "explore" the "feasibility" of obtaining "funding" for a "study" which will be "forwarded" to a "committee" for "recommendations". Meanwhile, the raccoons will be feasting on every non-raccoonish mammal in the area, multiplying and expanding their foraging area.

I've a much simpler resolution to the whole problem: force-feed Mr. Carrell about ten pounds of Warfarin™ and then deliver his cadaver to the raccoons. Neat, tidy, and gets rid of several pesky vermin in one fell swoop.]

Meanwhile, residents have hired Tom Brown, a nuisance wildlife control operator from Rochester, Washington, to set traps, but in six weeks he has caught only one raccoon. He and Carrell said raccoons teach their young — and each other — to avoid traps.

[I'd bet the raccoons would have somewhat less success teaching one another to avoid friggin' shotguns. But hey, that's just me.]

Brown said he had seen packs of raccoons this big but none so into killing.

[Let's see...the so-called "killer bees" are also described as "Africanized"...and these are "killer raccoons", which means they may...RACISM!]

"They are in command up there," he said.

[Jeebus...that's your problem right there, Sparky. Quit your hand-wringing and shoot the little bastards. Make like the Raid™ can and kill them dead, dead, DEAD! Why is this so difficult to figure out?]

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sarcaustic snarcasm

While I still haven't decided precisely upon the focus of this blog, I hope that it will be, in large part, a repository - as well as a modest hub - for mean-spirited humor and mordant social criticism.

And those who love it.

As such, I'd be remiss in not providing linkage to Don't Hire Deb, a delightful little subculture of well-deserved cruelty toward a singularly worthy individual.

The object of enmity there is one Dr. Deb Frisch, an admitted extreme leftist, astoundingly self-destructive former academic (or, to use a term coined by Reinhold Aman, "cacademic") and internet stalker now in possession of a restraining order against her for threatening the 2-year-old son of another blogger.

Rather than post a detailed synopsis of our heroine's misadventures, I heartily encourage you to click over to DHD, where you'll find a complete history of her online lunacy and depravity, along with some truly fine (if viciously acerbic) commentary.

It's been a pleasant surprise to discover that several of the DHD regulars are folks I'd likely enjoy interacting with in meatspace. (Which is startling, given my generally dim view of humanity.)

And if you happen across any news items such as the one in my inaugural post about a new Mumbai restaurant named "Hitler's Cross", I'd be appreciative of a heads-up. (Grist for the mill, and all that.)

Welcome, DHDers (and fellow travelers); come on in...the water's fetid!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Would you like "arbeit macht fries" with that?

It's like if "The Producers" opened an eatery
By Krittivas Mukherjee
Mon Aug 21, 8:43 AM ET

[If it was like "The Producers", this would be funny instead of fookin' diseased. - Ed.]

A new restaurant in India's financial hub, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters showing the German leader and Nazi swastikas, has infuriated the country's small Jewish community.

'Hitler's Cross', which opened last week, serves up a wide range of continental fare and a big helping of controversy, thanks to a name the owners say they chose to stand out among hundreds of Mumbai eateries.

[I'm sure it's very difficult when you're competing for business in a market where the average customer makes about $400 per year.]

"We wanted to be different. This is one name that will stay in people's minds," owner Punit Shablok told Reuters.

[Absolutely. Wouldn't want consumers to confuse it with, say "Alfred Packer's Snack Shack", "Stalin's Cup O' Joe", "Dahmer's Weenie Hut" or "Farmer Gein's Nose Kabobs & Haberdashery".]

"We are not promoting Hitler. But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different."

[You mean you have a silly moustache and only one testicle?]

But India's remaining Jews -- most migrated to Israel and the West over the years -- say they are outraged by the gimmick.

"This signifies a severe lack of awareness of the agony of millions of Jews caused by one man," said Jonathan Solomon, chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, the community's umbrella organization.

"We are going to stop this deification of Hitler," he said without elaborating.

[Actually, I think it would be more likely to qualify as deification if the restaurant was named "Hitler On The Cross".]

The small restaurant, its interior done out in the Nazi colors of red, white and black, also has a lounge for smoking the exotic Indian water pipe or "hookah."

[Makes perfectly good sense, seeing how Adolph was such a tobacco-friendly kind of guy.]

Posters line the road leading up to it, featuring a red swastika carved in the name of the eatery. One slogan reads: "From Small Bites to Mega Joys."

[French tourists were seen gazing adoringly at the posters as they, too, lined the road.]

A huge portrait of a stern-looking Fuehrer greets visitors at the door. The cross in the restaurant's name refers to the swastika that symbolized the Nazi regime.

[I suppose a happy Hilter portrait might discourage walk-in customers. One also ponders whether their "Aprés" menu features a photo of Hitler's cadaver slumped over his desk in the bunker.]

"This place is not about wars or crimes, but where people come to relax and enjoy a meal," said restaurant manager Fatima Kabani, adding that they were planning to turn the eatery's name into a brand with more branches in Mumbai.

[What a surprise the manager's name is "Fatima". And I'm a bit apprehensive about these people branding anything.

I wonder if the portions are as generous as those served to my family members while they were "relaxing" as guests in one of Mr. Hitler's retreats?

According to Ms. Kabani, larger portions may be requested by asking your server to "Capo-Size It".]

The swastika has its roots in ancient Indian Hindu tradition and remains a sacred symbol for Hindus. Nazi theorists appropriated it to bolster their central hypothesis of the Aryan origins of the German people.

[The preceding sentence makes absolutely no sense.

According to Executive Chef Ravi Schickelgrüber, "I'm only following, erm, filling orders".]