Monday, November 1, 2010

Shotgun!

The Hobbit is coming! The Hobbit is coming! I'm beside myself with anticipation and glee. Peter Jackson's vision for the dwarves, in particular, sounds exciting. Richard Armitage? I never saw it coming. Martin Freeman, however, has all the makings of a perfect Bilbo. As an unabashed Tolkienphile, I couldn't be happier.

PBS is airing a stellar program on my corvid brethren. But "feathered apes"?! Rather, I'd like to think they'd perceive the primates as "furry crows". 

Gore and Wilder, part deux? I'm hoping the recent detente leads to Slik producing the next Depeche Mode album. His work was just as integral to their success as Martin's songwriting and Dave's delivery. This guy wanted to make a clapping joke at Fletch's expense, but I kept him denied.

How does one smuggle an elephant? You'd think at some point the security checkpoints would catch on to the bulging mass beneath your overcoat. Or not.

Have you ever called "shotgun" before entering an automobile? I'd always wondered about its origins (the term, not automobiles). It seems rather simple now:

On a stagecoach, the man who'd sit alongside the driver carried a shotgun. This meant, of course, that he was usually the first one to die. In similar ignominy, it's also a term for consuming alcohol from a non-manufacturer approved hole. Why anyone would find this beneficial eludes me. Does it really get you inebriated more quickly? Are you really that pressed for time?

If you're anything like me (which you're thankfully not, trust me), you usually wipe off the can lid so as not to get the rat urine in your mouth. But shotgunners imbibe directly from the unsanitized can itself, which is surely just as leptospirotic. Don't believe me? Look at every last video here and watch all the vermin pee-lickers for yourself. To top it all off, they open the can by the tab anyway in order to drink from their makeshift hole. That's like crawling through your car's tailpipe to get to the front seat (where you'd then exclaim, "Shotgun!", as a matter of course).

Something else that's been playing on my mind as of late are microwaves. In true Food-A-Rac-A-Cycle-like fashion, we put nourishment in this magical and ubiquitous little box, press some buttons and partake in mere minutes. But what's going inside? It's always been fuzzy to me. Does it heat its contents with radiation? Is there a miniature nuclear reactor in my kitchen? It's actually pretty thrilling to think of a tiny Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flitting about a 1/1500 scale Natanz facility inside there, vehemently refusing to cook anything kosher.

The reality, as is often the case, is far less scintillating:

Microwaves cook via with electromagnetism, not radiation (and please feel free to click here for some fitting electro-accompaniment, since learning about microwave ovens was probably not on your list of exciting things to do today).

The actual microwaves oscillate at a frequency of 2.45 Gigahertz. This flurry of molecular activity heats the moisture in your fare, which in turn heats the molecules all around them. If you're enterprising like me and zealously pursue meaningless ventures (like this, for instance), you'd also know that 2.45 Gigahertz is therefore unused in the communication spectrum. This means, of course, that you can run to your local Radio Shack, spend a few bucks, assemble a 2.45 Gigahertz receiver and be the first one on your block to own a Status Crow Microwave Oven Detector™! 

Heck, if Snuggies can sell like hotcakes, then why not? I'm still convinced the entire backwards robe phenomenon is due to product overrun, by the way. Imagine a grizzled, cigar-chomping textile executive barking into the phone, "All right, boys, we gotta million-unit surplus on our hands and it has to move by Christmas. If you got any ideas - and I don't care how @#$% stupid they are - now's the time."

Speaking of hotcakes, when was the last time you ordered some, only to be told that the establishment had sold out? It's never happened to me. Ever. Is this due to market correction, i.e. the hotcake industry realized they desperately needed to increase production, or is something far more sinister afoot? The hotcake lobby, just as I'd always expected, may very well be the unseen hand.

Totally random tidbit of the week: Sacha Baron Cohen is a Cambridge history graduate. His younger brother, Erran, is also quite an accomplished artist. Very nice!

I was going to PhotoShop that Borat picture into a graduation ceremony, but I would've felt disingenuous. Why? Because I still use MS Paint for everything. Hey, sue me - I stick with things that work. I have the same baseball mitt from when I was 15 years old. My friends call it "lettuce", since that's how thin it's become (and that was ten years ago). I also have the itch to set up a music workstation again, but I was behind the times when I did so in 1998. Do you know how hard it is to find an affordable IBM 486 with DOS?

I recently sent a short thank you note to Vince Clarke via Twitter for shamelessly lifting samples off his "Lucky Bastard" CD in 1998. Better late than never, right? He kindly re-friended me after I'd unceremoniously dumped him during Fauxmar Minaya's death throes. I can't imagine him actually listening, but now I know how Roy Batty felt upon encountering Eldon Tyrell.

My so-so songwriting and incredibly poor recording can be endured here. It's a poppy, ambient and meandering song with but one lyric throughout:

"Shotgun!"

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