Thursday, August 28, 2008

John McCain's Vice Presidential Pick is--

--Hillary Clinton!

The McCain campaign has been looking for a game-changer for weeks, as all signs point to Obama winning the general election. And now "maverick" John McCain thinks he's found that game-changer: selecting Democrat Hillary Clinton as his running mate!

My sources tell me that Mrs Clinton, who received 18 million votes in the Democratic primary, is the perfect compliment to McCain. "She got over 18 million votes, and Obama just cast her aside like a used kleenex. Well, if Obama doesn't want those votes, McCain sure as hell does!"

Although the two have already campaigned together via a new campaign ad, the official announcement of McCain's selection was supposed to come later today. However, Mrs Clinton wanted to wait until after the Democratic convention was over, out of deference to Senator Obama. "He's going to shit a brick when he finds out about this," my source quoted her as saying. "Let's let him have one more night of thinking he actually has a chance to win."

Don't forget you heard it here first!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"For Better or For Worse" Comic Strip Ending

I saw this headline on the yahoo page:

My first thought was, "Holy crap, is 'For Better or For Worse' still around? Who reads that?" My second thought was, "Well, I guess I'm intrigued by the 'original' way the creator, is going to end it. One of the reasons I never really liked it was because it seemed to be painfully lacking in the 'originality' department." So I clicked through to the actual article.

And learned that there's nothing "original" about this "end." In fact, this is the opposite of originality. She's actually going to- well, here's the dispiriting thing that the article says,

She announced this month that she would retell her strip's narrative, beginning Monday, by taking her continually aging characters back to 1979, but creating new artwork and some dialogue. Her syndicate says it's the first time a mainstream cartoonist has set out to tell the same story twice.

But it's "worse" than that. Apparently, she's been running on fumes for years now:

For years, the "For Better or for Worse" creator mulled retirement, then lightened her workload by creating flashbacks and repurposing the archives of her popular comic.

Lots of cartoonists take vacations from time to time. I think Garry Trudeau was the first to do it, and Bill Watterson and I believe Gary Larson took vacations from their (brilliant) comics, during which time editors would run reprints. But they came back and created all new material, didn't "repurpose" their archives so that they could run on fumes.

Space on a comics page is limited. Lynn Johnston had her time. Too much time. This comic, which was much more "worse" than "better," has been around for 29 years.(!) I sincerely hope that most editors drop this strip and give the space to someone else, with fresh ideas.

But the comics pages are meant to be stable, not fresh. The least she could do is turn it over to one of her children.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some Cheetah Girls Jokes

The Cheetah Girls are arguably as talented and important culturally as The Spice Girls were in their day. Their latest television film was one of the most watched programs last week. I have heard of them because I have nieces who like them.

Anyway, here are some jokes that I made up, that you can try on your nieces, be they tweens or smaller than that:

Q: Why should you never play cards with a Cheetah Girl?
A: Because her beauty is too distracting.

Q: How many Cheetah Girls does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Cheetah Girls don't screw.

Q: What did one Cheetah Girl say to the other?
A: "Let's go sing another stupid song!"

Q: What do you get when you cross a Cheetah Girl with Zac Efron?
A: An even cuter Cheetah Girl.

Q: What do you get when you goose a Cheetah Girl?
A: Arrested.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Exclusive! Obama campaign reveals new Biden and Obama ad campaign poster

This is big! I've just been given exclusive access to the new Barack Obama/Joseph Biden poster, which reveals the campaign slogan that the Obama/Biden people are hoping to use! My source within the campaign tells me that the slogan, "Get Some B.O.," was decided on after a 72 hour brainstorming session! They claim it was the absolute best idea that anyone came up with! Everyone loved it because "B.O." is the initials for "Biden" and "Obama," and also happen to be "Barack Obama's" initials! The campaign is calling it a win-win!

"When people think of Biden and Obama," my source continued, "we really want them to just think 'B.O.'"

Well, readers? What do YOU think? Are you planning on getting yourself a little B.O. this November?

Why Didn't "I Know Who Killed Me" Make Hundreds of Millions of Dollars??

It’s impossible to spoil something that’s already rotten, but I have revealed important plot information in the following entry, so if you don’t want to know what happens in “I Know Who Killed Me,” you might should stop reading now.

This week, one of the Starz or Encore (or are they the same thing?) channels played Lindsay Lohan’s last film, “I Know Who Killed Me.” In a fit of whimsy I set the TiVo, and I am so glad I did. How this film didn’t make $100 million I will never understand. Yes, it is bad, it’s wrong-headed and goshawful, but it is entertainingly awful. It’s one of the most entertaining movies of 2007.

Lohan plays a virginal high school or possibly college student named Aubrey Something, who likes to write and play piano. But she gives up the piano to concentrate on the writing. We see her in class one day reading a story about a girl who thinks she’s two people, or something like that. I couldn’t quite follow it and it’s not explained very well. Anyway, one night after the big football game (her blue-balled boyfriend is the quarterback), she disappears, and is believed to be the latest victim of a serial killer who has already abducted one student, removed some of her limbs, and left her for dead. And we’re actually treated to a few minutes of Aubrey’s torture, during which dry ice is applied to her hand and then pulled away, removing skin from her fingers.

A few days later, her body is found by the side of the road, with a missing leg and fingers that have apparently been cut off, and then reattached. But when she wakes in a hospital bed, she insists that she’s not Aubrey at all, but a tough-as-nails stripper named Dakota Moss, who dances at a place called Strip T’s and refers to cops as “fuzz.” The fuzz’s psychiatrist thinks that Dakota is just an alter personality that Aubrey has created to help her deal with t he trauma of being abducted and losing her right hand and left leg, but he just can’t find any holes in her story (her story is ridiculous, but it gets a lot more ridiculouser as the movie progresses).

Aubrey’s parents bring “Dakota” home, and set her up in Aubrey’s room. She insists that she’s Dakota, even though she looks just like Aubrey, and her parents insist that’s just who she is. The fuzz, who are inept and petty and couldn’t investigate their way out of a paper bag, run a dna test on “Dakota,” and find she has the same dna as “Aubrey.” So they’re still convinced that Dakota’s just an alter personality.

Dakota has sex with Aubrey’s boyfriend (loud enough so that Aubrey’s mother can hear them) and asks him, “Did Aubrey ever f*#k you like that? Did she ever f*#k you at all?” Nope, she didn’t, as it turns out. He’s kind of convinced, I guess, but asks her, if she’s not really Aubrey, then how did she get cut up? Aubrey then tells a completely cockamamie story of stripping and then going back to the changing room and pulling her glove off- only to find her right middle finger inside the glove! It’s fallen off! For no reason whatsoever! Because hospitals are for rich people, she goes home and tries to sew the molding rotting thing back onto her hand.

(By the way. For a woman who has a reputation as a wild party girl, the slow-motion stripping scenes are among the least-sexy things I’ve ever seen on film. Lohan struts and crawls a little bit, and spins around on the pole, but nothing more.

It was so unsexy, in fact, that it reminded me of the burlesque scene in Samuel Fuller’s “Shock Corridor” [A movie that’s slightly more plausible than “I Know Who Killed Me.]

And the sex scene isn’t any sexier:

Lindsey Lohan Sex Scene From Movie I Know Who Killed Me - Click here for the funniest movie of the week

The music sounds like it came from 1985. Back when they still used the word “fuzz” as a slang term for cops.)

So now you see when Dakota feels she can’t tell the police the truth- it’s because no one would believe her stupid and unbelievable story.

Except maybe Art Bell, the conspiracy jerk who hosts or used to host the cockamamie “Coast to Coast” radio show. When Dakota does a google search for unexplained limbs falling off (I just thought of something: the first article I sold to “Cracked” magazine, back in 1994, was titled “Awkward Moments For Limbs to Fall Off.” Maybe that’s why I liked this movie so much- I kind of inspired it, probably. The writer and/or director probably saw my article and thought it would make a great movie. Anyway.), she discovers a website about nonreligious stigmata, which leads her to a video in which Art Bell, in a variation of the old b-movie cliché of bringing someone in at the end of the movie to explain everything, is presented as an authority on the phenomenon of identical twins sharing grisly injuries through some kind of sympathetic psychic link.

This is obviously a great film, but the best part is that this explanation for Dakota’s limb loss is the least implausible part!

Dakota has known that someone in Aubrey’s home town had been sending her crackhead mother monthly checks. When her limbs started falling off for no reason, she decided to head out to said town and find out why. Now she thinks she knows why: Dakota and Aubrey were identical twins, born to Dakota’s crackhead mother. The child that Aubrey’s mother bore died, and Aubrey’s father bought Aubrey from the crackhead.

And that’s just what happened. After about a two minute confrontation, Aubrey’s father comes clean and admits that after his own baby died in the incubator, he went down the hall and bought one of the crackhead’s babies. Then brought it back down the hall to his wife and presented it to her as their daughter. How he got the hospital administration to play along with this is left unexplained.

Dakota’s been having silly psychic dreams about Aubrey and her captivity, so she and Aubrey’s father decide to go out and find her. I’m not sure how they do it, but they come to realize that it was Aubrey’s piano teacher (I think he was the other victims’ piano teacher, too) is the killer, so they go to his place. Aubrey uses her new bionic hand to grab the killer and cut his hand off, and later uses her bionic leg to kick the guy, and then stabs him in the neck with one of his own blue glass torture devices. Unfortunately, Aubrey’s father bites it. But Dakota follows the hoot of an owl (the owl from her dreams, that’s been watching the place out in the woods where Aubrey’s been buried- I’m sorry, I just can’t do this movie the justice it deserves. Some of Dakota’s visions or dreams or whatever you want to call them have involved an owl.) and comes upon the site where Aubrey’s been buried alive. She digs her up and the movie ends with the two of them spooning in the moonlight.

Gosh, what a great movie viewing experience this was. I would suggest inviting a few of your friends over, getting a nice box of wine, and some Ritz crackers with melted shredded mozzarella (recipe: place a pinch of shredded mozzarella cheese over Ritz crackers, place on cookie sheet in oven at 350 degrees for ten minutes. allow to sit for five minutes before serving), and watching this thing on dvd. Only the most churlish and bitter person could not be enraptured by this nonsensical piece of wonderment!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Banned By YouTube! Again!

Well, YouTube did it to me again. They forcibly removed one of my videos, “Ricky’s Cat,” for violation of their “Community Guidelines.”

I asked them how, exactly and specifically, “Ricky’s Cat” violated said guidelines, and I’m still waiting to hear back from them.

YouTube is a private company that is certainly under no obligation to keep my video up if they don’t want to. They don’t have to host any videos they don’t want to. But it would be nice if they explained to me why it was they decided to pull the video, and why they did it so quickly. (For my previously pulled video, the trailer for “Sperm! The Motion Picture,” after it was reported by some busybody there was a period of about three months in which it was still being hosted by YouTube but was restricted access, so that you had to “verify” that you were at least 18 years old before you could watch it. With this one, it was pulled almost immediately after it was reported.)

So where was my violation? Under their Community Guidelines it says that,

“YouTube is not for pornography or sexually explicit content.”

My video isn’t pornography or sexually explicit, unless you’re the type of person who is aroused by a cartoon depiction of a cat licking a man's private parts. If so, that says more about you than about me or my video.

“Don’t post videos showing bad stuff like animal abuse, drug abuse, or bomb making.”

Since my video depicts a CARTOON cat, I don’t how it could be construed in any way as “animal abuse.” And even if it were a cartoon of a cat being set on fire, for instance, it’s still a CARTOON, it’s not a real cat. That "bad stuff" could mean anything, though.

“Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed.”

No violence in my video, but have you noticed how subjective these “Guidelines” are? Define “gratuitous violence”. Some people think that the films of Dario Argento are full of gratuitous violence. Some people consider them capital-A Art. So who’s right? Do we have to abide by the standards set by the most easily offended? In that case we’ll be left with nothing but cat videos. Which by the way, is what my video was parodying.

“YouTube is not a shock site. Don’t post gross-out videos of accidents, dead bodies, and similar things.”

Totally reasonable but there was nothing shocking about my parody video.

“Respect copyright.”

Doesn’t apply to me, since I animated this video myself, and my friend Jeff let me use his music in it. Unless that sneaky bastard went behind my back and reported me for using his music without permission, which he gave, but not in writing, so it would be my word against his, that sneaky bastard. (He did not do this and he is not a sneaky bastard.)

“We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. But we don’t permit hate speech.”

Isn’t that a contradiction? We defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view, just not on our site. Thanks, YouTube. (I also don’t like speech that attacks people based solely on their race, sexual orientation/gender identity, age, veteran status, etc. None of that is in my video, either.)

“There is zero tolerance for predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment…”

Again, none of this applies to my video.

“Everyone hates spam. Do not create misleading descriptions, tags, titles, or thumbnails to increase views.”

None of these apply to my video, either. My tags were, “cat, cute cat, adorable cat, Ricky Sprague, Jeff Porterfield, animation, viral video, Simon’s Cat, awakening” All of those were legitimate, since my video was a parody of “Simon’s Cat” videos, and features a “cute, adorable” cat awakening someone in the morning. I, Ricky Sprague, animated it, and my friend, Jeff Porterfield, allowed me to use his song “Pork Squawk” as the soundtrack. The only thing they could ding me for is that I didn’t put the word “parody” in the tags- maybe they think I misled people into thinking it was one of those “Simon’s Cat” videos? You’d have to be pretty dense to think that, given the fact that my video was called “Ricky’s Cat,” and the description was so overripe it was practically oozing, “My cat has an absolutely adorable way of waking me up in the morning. You won’t believe how cute this cat is!”

The Terms of Use basically concern copyright and legal issues, and redirect you to the Community Guidelines.

So I’m still a little mystified by the removal of the video. Some people didn’t like it (a lot of people, actually, since so many of them absolutely LOVE THEIR CATS, but don’t like to see that LOVE parodied), but so what? YouTube defends everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. That’s what they say right there in the Community Guidelines! Maybe at some point they’ll let me know specifically what it is about “Ricky’s Cat” that violates their “Community Guidelines.” Until then, I’ll leave you with a sampling of the comments I got from the people who complained to YouTube and flagged the video. These are the people who are deciding what’s “inappropriate.” All typos and knuckle-dragging foul-language is the fault of the commenters:

WTF is wrong whit you?!!


You've got a really small dick too!!

no... YOU suck bonsomme...

I dont like you

ok that is really disgusting and not funny plus the looks weird

flag this video .

What the hell is the matter with you! You should be sued for copyrights on "Simon's Cat" sicko.

thats sick in so many different ways
for 1, ur cat does that in the 1st place
for 2, ur proud enough of that fact to have it posted on the internet.
u suck.

completely unappropriate
gross to no end. Yuck

You are one screwed person!

thats quweer and immiture....WTF.

This is nasty on soooooooo many level....uugghhh

that wass just wrong!! grow a fucking brain moron



worse and nasty!!! Daaa

fucking shit thats crank go home looser

I also got a lot of positive comments, too. From people who actually understand parody and could tell that the video was clearly a JOKE, and in no way represents me or my real life (for one thing, I am much better-endowed than the character depicted in the video. for another, I do not have a cat). But those comments don’t help me make my point that semi-literate ignoramuses are policing YouTube and calling a joke animation video the same as “hate speech” or whatever the hell it was they thought they were flagging my video for. So I’ll hold those comments back until some later date.

Unlike John Edwards, I don't think of myself as a hero. But I am fighting an important fight on your behalf, so you should support me in everything that I do. Because I do everything I do for you. And this is a problem not only with YouTube, but with society at large: The most easily offended, the most dense members of our community are deciding what you get to watch, or read, or say.

Anyway, you can judge the video for yourself, since it’s still available at Funny or Die:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chinese Olympics Opening Ceremony Takes a Page From the Mayberry Choir

According to this article in the New York Times, the cute little girl who sang the commie propoganda song "Communist Domination Will Destroy the West, Destroy the West" (rough translation, I might be wrong about that to be honest) wasn't singing at all.

Under pressure from the highest levels of the ruling Communist Party to find the perfect face and voice, the ceremonies’ production team concluded that the best solution was to use two girls instead of one.

The best, most sinister part of the story is that

it is unclear if Miaoke even knew

This is surprising and scary, but fans of "The Andy Griffith Show," arguably the greatest television show of the cold war era, shouldn't be surprised, because in the episode titled "Barney and the Choir," Andy tricked Barney into believing that the microphone he was using was so sensative that it would pick up Barney's voice if he just moved his lips. Another singer stood backstage and sang into a live microphone, and it was his voice that the audience heard. Of course Andy does this to spare Barney's feelings.

Can you say less of the leaders of China's Olympic committee? Who are you to judge? Thanks to this heartless New York Times article, a little girl has been humiliated.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Congratulations to Ricky's Cat for Hitting an Astonishing 10,000 Views on YouTube!

In only about a month, my most monstrous and despicable short video ever, "Ricky's Cat," has garnered an astonishing 10,000 views on YouTube, mostly from- well, the breakdown is below:

Total views and where they from.

Discovery. How do they find my cat?

Well, they find my cat through Simon's Cat, which is appropriate, since "Ricky's Cat" was intended as a parody of that fine series of videos.

It's mostly women and girls who don't like "Ricky's Cat" (which is at one star after about 80 ratings- they expected more "Simon's Cat," I guess).

But clearly there's plenty of men who don't like "Ricky's Cat," either.

Here's the video. Congratulations to me!

Bluenosing Jerks Release Ridiculous Study About The Depictions of Sex on Television

The Parents Television Council, a group of bluenosing jerks who want to protect you from things they don't like, released a study that says that, well,

broadcast networks depict sex in the context of marriage as either non-existent or burdensome while showing positive depictions of extra-marital or adulterous sexual relationships with alarming frequency.

First of all, after decades of depicting marriage as a positive thing (in stupid shows like "The Brady Bunch" and "Leave it to Beaver" [which is actually a pretty dirty title for a tv show]), it's about time we get to see the ugly side of it depicted on television. Second, as people have waited longer to marry, divorce rates have gone down. People are staying single longer, and having relationships with more people before they settle down. And television is depicting this. So how is this bad?

Anyway, one of their advisory board members, Michael Medved, said,

“For many years, parents have worried about television’s glamorization of destructive sexual behavior. This important new report suggests another cause for concern: the de-glamorization of marriage. Statistics show that the overwhelming majority of Americans feel satisfied and fulfilled by their marriages. The notion that sex outside of marriage is inherently more exciting, more important, more worthy as the subject of story-telling, is a toxic message for parents and children alike.”

This is the same man who recently wrote,

If marriage rested on feeling rather than obligation, it naturally proved more evanescent and disposable. Before the sexual revolution, many families might quietly hum the Righteous lyrics “We’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” but relatively few of them actually broke up their relationships. Commitment, tradition, honor and duty all helped to keep most couples together, even through difficult times.

"Difficult times" such as, I suppose, your husband beating you, or your wife sleeping with the mailman or your husband sleeping with the mailman and your wife beating you.

That seems to me an idea of marriage that should be de-glamorized, shouldn't it?

But even if it doesn't come to extramarital affairs or physical abuse, why should a person feel obligated to stay with someone when they've "lost that lovin' feeling"? Being in love is the best, so it's beyond me why you'd stay with someone when you weren't in love anymore. Why insist on being miserable? You're not proving anything or than that you're a masochist.