In Memoriam: Astrid Lindgren, who is currently burning in the Ludwig Bemelmans Wing of the Seventh Circle of Hell, reserved for all those who create annoyingly popular children’s literature characters. J. K. Rowling will have her own building when she gets there.
Ooooh, I must be in a bad mood when I go after the creator of Pippi Longstocking. However, it does make for a better column. So let me welcome you to Tuesday At 411, where our motto is “No one cares enough about us to DOS the site.” Let’s get right to the festivities with This Week’s Political Slams, sponsored by Lugz…
OH, SURE, THERE’S NO COVER-UP…
Let’s see, one Enron exec puts a bullet through his head with an oh-so-convenient “suicide” coroner’s judgement following. Dick Cheney decides to stonewall on documents. Karl Rove was the middleman arranging an Enron job for religious fascist Ralph Reed. And there will still be people writing me to say that Dubbaya’s hands are clean. Yeah, just like Lady Macbeth’s.
HYPOCRISY MARCHES ON
From CNN’s Washington Bureau: Dismayed by what he called a lack of “moral outrage” among some high school students following the September 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has created a program to teach students about “fundamental values and universal moral precepts.”
Dear Justice Kennedy: I guess that you would like everyone to be morally outraged by September 11th, high school student or not (I graduated from high school twenty years ago). I’m sorry I couldn’t be morally outraged by September 11th. You see, my moral outrage tank was still on empty, having been drained by the events of December 12th, 2000. On that date, the fundamental American value of separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary and the fundamental American value of state judiciaries being able to interpret the laws of that state was sundered forever. Who was the party primarily responsible for the destruction of those values? Oh, yes, that would be you. So allow me the exercise of universal moral precepts to consider you a bag of pus needing to be lanced from the body politic.
COMPARATIVE RELIGION 101
The Dalai Lama had to be hospitalized to treat a bowel infection this weekend. Considering the Buddah’s teachings about the sacredness of all life, what exactly would he think about the intestinal-flora-killing capability of antibiotics? Hey, it’s a lot more interesting to think about than the question of what Mohammed would have said about suicide bombings.
WHERE CAN I GET A GRANT TO DO CRAP LIKE THIS?
A professor at Cal State Fullerton studied the transactions of Everquest players buying and selling their in-game characters and items. He calculated from the selling value of that material and the amount of time that it took to gain them that if the world of Norrath was real, its inhabitants would have the 77th highest gross per capita income in the world, just slightly below Russia. With these findings, Vladimir Putin has announced Russia’s latest economic reform package: he’s sent the Red Army out to chop wood and catch rats.
If you want to read this guy’s findings, head over here and download the PDF file.
THROW ME A FRIGGIN’ BONE HERE
The MPAA, the valiant fighters for all that is right and good for the movie industry and screw anyone else who might dare to cross their turf, has ruled that the title Goldmember is unacceptable for use for the new Austin Powers film to be released this summer, upholding MGM/UA’s argument that anything that might conceivably harm one of Hollywood’s oldest studios (well, four of Hollywood’s oldest studios, technically) is verboten. The MPAA used the excuse of a procedural error by New Line in countering MGM/UA’s protest of unfair parody.
This, of course, is complete bullshit. First of all, let’s deal with the MPAA, since they’re the biggest scum involved in all of this. These are the same people who pestered the Norwegians for two years to arrest a teenager, Jon Johansen, for having the temerity to participate in an effort to show that their much-vaunted encryption for DVDs is a piece of shit, and recently got that arrest (just after dude turned eighteen; what a coincidence). These are the same people who sued a well-known website/print magazine for hyperlinking to the fruit of Johansen’s labor (not for posting the program itself; they had posted it and removed it, but kept the links to the mirrors up and got sued for that; the case is still pending, but doesn’t look good for the Right Side). They also sued a kid in California for keeping a mirror to that program up under California trade secrets laws, and recently lost that one (huzzah!). They did all of this on the specious excuse that the program in question could be used for piracy. It could, but its primary use would be something that MPAA does not want: the ability to play DVDs on computers without having to use MPAA-approved playing software. It fears loss of control. For more info on what I’m talking about, head over to the EFF and look up “DeCSS”, or plug that into your Google.
The issue of loss of control puts the MPAA on the same wavelength as MGM/UA. MGM/UA treats James Bond the same way that Disney treats Mickey Mouse: to be protected at all costs, up to and including armed intervention by death squads. MGM/UA threatened to sue a car company for having a well-dressed spy in one of their ads. They also filed litigation with Fox Interactive over No One Lives Forever, one of the best games of 2000, when it was still in the planning stages because stories were already calling it a “Bond parody”. Of course, Fox Interactive turned the tables on them by changing the lead character to a woman and making the game a parody of the Bond parodies of the 60s, but that’s digressing (hey, I love the damn game; I also love Cate Archer, one of my Top Five Computer Game Boner Babes of all time). The point here is that MGM/UA will sic the attack dogs on anyone who might dare to sully James Bond. New Line got away with it with The Spy Who Shagged Me because MGM/UA filed a protest and New Line countered, claiming protection under Fair Use doctrine (that was the procedure that they didn’t follow this time that caused the denial).
So what can New Line do now? File suit in civil court claiming Fair Use, but that would delay the film until a ruling is brought, and considering that Goldmember is a guaranteed $200M maker, Episode 2 or not, that’s the last thing they want to do. Reediting isn’t possible; Goldmember is a character in the film, and not only the title. The MPAA has not only made themselves an enemy of Free Speech, but has also ruined one of the few films that I was looking forward to seeing. Jack “Boom Boom” Valenti, prepare to feel the full force of my wrath.
PATRIOTS:SUPER BOWL::SIRLOIN:MEAT GRINDER
This is the third time that the Patriots have to go to Nawlins to participate in the Big One. This will be the third time they will be turned into a smear by the end of the night. This is going to be a very sad spectacle. Fortunately for me, I won’t be watching it, since I’ll be flying to Tampa at the time of the broadcast. What’s the big story (other than Tom Brady’s injury)? Aeneas Williams, hometown boy, gets to fulfill his dream, and thank God he’s been on a hot streak lately (including that pick of McNabb that sealed the game) or there wouldn’t have been much of a story there to begin with. God help us all. Oh, here’s your possible ray of hope, Pats fans: no team has ever won a Super Bowl after losing to Tampa Bay during the regular season.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, TRYON, TRYON AGAIN…
So Ty Tryon missed the cut in his first tour event. Give the kid a break and lay off him. Too bad that’s the only thing people are going to remember about the Phoenix Open. Golf fans are trying to rid themselves of the UT and Kane versus Kronik-type play over the last round by all of the leaders (Chris DiMarco made the fewest mistakes to win). In the meantime, on Saturday, Jen-Jen and Martina put on a Flair-Steamboat. It was the type of match that would convert anyone into a tennis fan, especially if you focused on their hot, sweaty, young, voluptuous, heaving bodies…excuse me for a moment…sorry, had to think of the fact that Thomas Johansson actually won a major in order to calm down again. Good to know that the ol’ hormonal equipment still works, though.
THE PIMP SECTION
Memo to Daniels: Great minds think alike. I’ve been playing Baldur’s Gate for the past few weeks in order to take a character through the first two games to import into Neverwinter Nights (of course, I’m doing it on a proper gaming platform, a PC). I’m such a continuity freak that I’m playing the game with a party of my character, Imoen, Khalid, Jaheira, Minsc, and Dynaheir because that’s what the beginning of BG2 implies your final party was in BG1. Thank goodness that Neverwinter Nights finally has a publisher. Too bad it’s Bruno’s Bunch Of Happy Fascists at Infogrames, though.
Here’s the weakness of playing it on a PS2: no homebrew mods available. Dark Side of the Sword Coast is a terrific little expansion for BG1 with some kick-ass additional equipment and NPCs available. The Darkest Day is a nice substitute for the BG2 expansion pack Throne of Bhaal. Do yourself a favor, Daniels, and get it for PC instead of for that piece of crap you’re playing it on now.
Memo to McCluskey: I’m the newsman. I get the Raw results up first.
Memo to Gamble: Do you allow them conjugal visits? I think you may need to.
Memo to Blake Norton: Flex is today’s Hogan. And The Scorpion King is Santa With Muscles on ten times the budget. However, the rest of your assertions are correct.
Memo to Flea: I would have been a lot more optimistic about anything dealing with the NWO had they been able to do something of quality with the Invasion (of course, if they’d done that, Vince wouldn’t have been desperate enough to do this). I sort of agree with Keller: the only way this works is if Bischoff’s part of it. Of course, he’d have worked better with the Invasion, like a lot of us recommended back in April.
Memo to Cole: you kick ass. Enough said.
Memo to Myself: Great series of articles on the Fifteen Greatest Game Shows of All Time over at RealityNewsOnline. If your audience wants to read something by you that doesn’t deal with wrestling, they can head over there. Of course, they can also keep reading this column. God knows that it doesn’t deal with wrestling.
THE SHORT FORM
And let’s see what happened on Raw…
Kane over The Big Show (Pinfall, chokeslam): Well, that was relatively painless. That’s the best that can be said about it, though.
Rob Van Dam over Billy Brass Knucks, Intercontinental Title Match (DQ, low blow): A low-blow disqualification? In 2002? Who’s booking this, Jim Cornette? And what was the clusterf*ck at the end about? I can understand Edge, but what the hell do the Dudz have to do with this? Unless it’s setting up an Edge-Van Dam/Dudz tag match for SD. I’m confused.
Diamond Dallas Page and the Godfather over Lance Storm and Christian (Pinfall, Page pins Storm, Diamond Cutter): You know, for a word whose meaning is “lack of feeling”, apathy sure can manifest a helluva physical presence on occasion. This match was one of those occasions.
Chris Jericho over Maven, Undisputed Title Match (Submission, Walls of Jericho): I’ve said it before: the kid does know how to sell. And his technique’s coming along pretty well too. People are wondering exactly who Regal could have a good match with considering the stylistic mismatches he presents to everyone in the WWF. I think we might have an answer in Maven. Certainly Regal can be a good tutor for him in mat style, and he’s well on his way to competence in that area to begin with.
Chuck Palumbo, Billy Gunn, and Jazz over Faarooq, Bradshaw, and Trish Stratus (Pinfall, Palumbo pins Stratus, powerbomb): Sorry, but I had to hit the can, and I can safely say that I had a more satisfying experience in there than I would have watching this mess. The only thing I have to say is that the face trio has great Mod Squad potential. “One white, one black, one blonde…”
Book over Trip (Pinfall, rollup): Okay, we all want to see the Trip/Steph breakup. But we do NOT, repeat do NOT, want to see Steph as the face. Damn, just with that little act, you know who’s writing this thing. Damn her. Damn her all to hell. No one wants to see you as the aggrieved party, Steph, do you understand? She needs to be LARTed, and she needs it now. I want all the little pricks out there who criticized me when I went after her writing in November 1999, and you know who you are, to tell me I was right all along. I never heard that from any of you. Of course, the people I’m talking about are ballless wonders to begin with, so I’ll never hear that acknowledgement.
Steve Austin over Kurt Angle, Number One Contender’s Match (Pinfall, Stunner): Okay, everyone who wrote me before Royal Rumble and said Austin/Jericho at No Way Out and said that I was nuts, make a single-file line and pucker up while I drop trou.
Yeah, We Know Them Too, Guys: I think that in the opinion of most smart and smarks, Bradshaw was shooting on his description of Them.
Kid Rock Sucks, But That Was A Great Video: Nicest moment in there was something that most fans would miss in an instant: the Peter Maivia -> Rocky Johnson -> Flex transition. Very good touch. And it was nice that Bischoff got his fondest desire and appeared on Raw.
Just An Observation: I am firmly convinced that the WWF believes that the reputations of HallNashHogan are so horrid among fans, even marks, that the only way to get them in there is to cast them as walking toxic waste. In the minds of Vince and the creative team, there is no alternative. They have to be cast as the worst things walking the Earth in order to get fans to accept their presence. There’s only one question that has to be asked: why do they think it’s worth it? For people who are as experienced in audience manipulation as they are, they could certainly come up with some other way to handle this. The only possible payoff that would be satisfying with this introduction is for them to turn on Vince and join up with Flair at WM.
AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…
The WWF is a hot ticket in Japan, according to correspondent Ed Weinstein. He was tooling around Japanese online auction sites, and found that tickets to the March 1st Yokohama gig were bidding at about US$600, probably more by the time you read this. Somewhere to the West, I can hear Zach Arnold crying “But what about the workrate!?” Meanwhile, closer to home (much closer in my case), No Way Out still hasn’t sold out (contrary to Ross’ assertion). Suck Woodhead of 1bullshit says that there are still $75 and $300 take-your-commemorative-chair-home seats still available. So if you’ve got money burning in your pocket, you know what to do: get your favorite news columnist a ticket so that 411 can have someone on the spot to give you the scoop.
Hmmmm, I pimp WrestleThis!, Philly’s best wrestling radio show, then 1bullshit starts pimping them too. Don’t say you don’t read me, Chester and Milord. Never say that.
According to the Torch, a book about the XFL will be coming out very soon. Sadly, the only author who can do that justice is Stephen King.
Ah, screw it. I’m getting back to Baldur’s Gate. I’ll be in tomorrow with the normal Wednesday features, so until then, enjoy.