Thursday, April 30, 2009

May I Panic Now?

I have a sore throat.

You know as well as I do that this is not the time to be getting flu symptoms. What makes it worse? I was loitering around transit hubs yesterday. Not the sort of thing one should be doing given the current global health scare.

What was I thinking?

I'll tell you what I was thinking. I was thinking: Paid for my ticket home. Might as well go. Too expensive to stay away from, what with the current economic turmoil. So I threw caution to the wind, sat in train stations, rode busses, flew on planes and here I am, throat all muchy and shoulders starting to ache. Coincidence, right?


At least I'm home. I could think of far worse places to die.

But enough about my impending doom. This is Levitude and here we celebrate the funny side of life (and/or death). We say so what if there's a global pandemic? I laugh in the face of global pandemics. HA! I eat global pandemics for breakfast and say "pass the bread basket, I need something to throw up in!" RAAALPH! Err... what else...? Oh, yeah! I play games in the face of global pandemics! BEEP-BOOP!

Join me, why don't you? (but don't forget to wash your hands afterwards)

One last thing. If you don't hear from me in too long that means I didn't make it. Just in case, I think I oughta tell you...

The money is in the

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Dream with Roy and H.G.

If ever you were curious about the affinity Aussies have with bullsh*tting you need look no further than radio and TV personalities "Rampaging" Roy Slaven and H.G. Nelson.

Roy & H.G. fancy themselves sports pundits, so when Sydney hosted the Olympics in 2000 most of Australia tuned in to The Dream, a late night recap of the day's highlights and behind the scenes goings on. If the games during the day were the show, then these two lovable larrikins were the after show party.

Lets look at a sample of the typical studio banter, in this instance dealing with the friendly rivalry between Australia and New Zealand.
(NOTE: A running gag throughout the course of The Dream's Olympics coverage was to parody the media's overuse of the word "tilt" - as used to describe a team or country's sporting effort - by using and abusing the term as often as possible.)

For the gymnastics commentary the lads created their own lingo for the moves on display, which enhanced the entertainment value of the sport tenfold. After viewing this you'll never be lost for what to call gymnastics moves ever again.

And to bring it home, who could forget Eric "The Eel" Moussambani, the 100m freestyle swimmer from Equatorial Guinnea who was immortalised when having to run his heat solo following the disqualification of his competitors? Poor Eric had trained long and hard for the Equatorial Guinnean tilt in a 20m hotel swimming pool. And it showed. Go Eric!

Friday, April 17, 2009




Whilst trying to stave off the ravages of insanity I happened across this the other day:

Upon viewing my misfiring brain lit up with pleasure impulses. Sanity was restored. Who would have thought a "fight fire with fire" approach would work under these circumstances?

Sometimes simple is best:

I just wish that was on an endless loop. I'd laugh myself right into an oxygen starvation headache, followed by a brief refreshing coma.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MST3K Is My Bag, Baby

A humble temp worker is shot into space by a mad scientist with plans for world domination. There, aboard his Satellite of Love, he and his robot creations are forced to watch bad movies as part of a nefarious experiment to determine which Z-grade stinkaroo will be rotten enough to force the masses into submission.

It's a Z-grade premise for a show about making fun of Z-grade films. The show? Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K for those with next to no lung capacity).

MST3K had a long TV run, cracking wise for about 10 years at the most godawful movies you wouldn't otherwise have seen. Heck, they even got to make a feature film!

But their time is done now. No more MST3K with Joel or Mike and their robot companions. Wait a minute. They're still going strong?

Not as MST3K, but reincarnated from the ashes as Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic. Go team!

Rifftrax features Mike, Kevin, Bill and a variety of guests (Neil Patrick Harris, Chad Vader...) riffing all the popular movies they couldn't afford to do on TV, by recording mp3 audio you sync up to the dvd. A brilliant idea, and not as hard to do as it sounds. Weren't so crash on George's Star Wars prequels? Download the Rifftrax and you'll laugh your ass off from Trade Federation invasion to twin separation.

Cinematic Titanic is pretty much everyone else from the show riffin' it old school. Silhouettes in front of a movie screen.

As good as those are, there's still plenty of nostalgia the original format. Joel/Mike, Tom Servo and Croooooow! Huddled in the darkness of their own personal theater, in orbit hundreds of kilometers above the earth. Putting words into the mouthes of some pantywaste character or another. Or commenting on their actions, the plot, scenery. Ridiculing the hackneyed tropes.

Seems someone out there in YouTube land loved it so much they went to the effort of making new fun-sized episodes by inserting old riffs into new clips in all the right places. With ten years of riffs to choose from there's no shortage of zingers that fit and you'd be surprised just how well it comes off!

A couple of examples:

Interview With The Vampire


Dark Shadows


What do you think, sirs?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Best. Review. EVER!

Once again we're giving the censors a headache.

Follows: 1 review of the computer game X3: Reunion.

Why? You'll know it when you see it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ooh, burrrn!

Don't you just love it when someone who deserves it gets smacked down, hard? I know I do.

We've talked about Chris Leavins here before. If you remember he runs a web show called Cute With Chris where he invites people to share images of cute animals. What makes the show work is how sardonic Chris is, having to deal with so many animal nuts every day, flooding his inbox. They love it, and you can tell underneath he enjoys himself too. If nothing else it provides a good platform for his wry comic wit.

Chris has also been known to use his platform to illustrate how lame song lyrics can be. Case in point:

All in good fun as you can see, but someone decided that it might be more fun to start a flame war over this little skit.

Baaad idea.

Here's how Chris handles it. I hope you've been to the bathroom before watching this...

Check and mate! Suck it, Tonya!

And that's just one of many well deserved, beautifully executed smack-downs Chris has dispensed in the history of the show. Might be a while before I post the next in this series so go check them out for yourself if you're just itching for more carnage.

Part 2 of this post is something a little more serious, so if you're not in the mood for that come back later when you are ready. It deals with those deluded conspiracy nuts, the 9/11 "Truthers"(ie. deniers).

You've probably heard of their pseudo-documentary Loose Change. I just recently got through watching a point by point rebuttal that uses logic and evidence to shine a light on their so-called truth, dismantling their arguments one by one and showing them for the intellectual lightweights they happen to be.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with asking questions when you have some doubts, but when the answers plainly show you what, how and why, time and time again, the proper thing to do is correct your thinking and be wiser for it.

Not so with conspiracy nuts. They've built their lives around this fallacy to the point where they can't concede a thing, lest they have to admit to themselves what fools they've been. Instead, they maintain their poorly plotted course, revealing them to be even bigger fools.

Personally, I find their crusade to be sick. What they are doing is insulting to the memory of those so tragically lost and the ones who mourn them.

You might want to store this one away for when you have a few hours to go through it, or alternatively search it out on Google Video and go through its 20 parts bit by bit when you have the time.

I'll leave you with the close to 3 hour embedded video and the words of Brian Dunning: "Always remember: Separate pieces of poor evidence don't aggregate together into a single piece of good evidence. You can stack cowpies as high as you want, but they won't turn into a bar of gold."

The aptly titled, Screw Loose Change :

Sorry if that made things a little too serious for you. I know! Backtrack up to the first half of this entry and go visit Chris and his array of puppies and kittens. I promise you'll be smiling again in no time!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Are There Morons On Other Planets?

Mankind, on the whole, is pretty cool. Sure, we've had our missteps - reality television and Hitler spring to mind - but by and large we're not un-fun to hang out with.

Our story is an epic mostly comprised of an awfully long and rambling chapter about survival. Chapter 2 details how, better than any other species on the planet, we managed to gut it out and arrive on top of the food chain. If you're able to read this that means we're still doing a-ok. Yay us!

But now that we have a chance to pause and catch our breaths after all of that surviving nonsense, we find ourselves asking the big questions. Is Elvis still alive? If it were the early '80s and Phoebe Cates hadn't met Kevin Kline yet, would I have a shot? And, are we intelligent beasties on our own?

When you look up at the stars at night do you imagine life out there? (excluding the International Space Station - now the brightest star in the night sky - because it's not really a star so to count it would be cheating)

A short while ago in 1960, before Phoebe Cates was even a twinkle in her daddy's eye, Dr. Frank Drake cooked up an equation that would help us figure out how much intelligent extraterrestrial life was in the galaxy that we could sit down and Skype with. It's known as The Drake Equation and if you could figure out what numbers to plug into all the variables you could arrive at the answer. The only hitch is figuring out the variables. Here. Take your best shot:
R* is the average rate of star formation in our galaxy.
fp is the fraction of those stars that have planets.
ne is the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets.
f is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point.
fi is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life.
fc is the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space.
L is the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.
Once you've filled in the blanks you can multiply all those together to arrive at:

N: the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible.


I don't know what you got, but me and Frank figured the answer to be 10.

10 other civilisations to compete with for god's love. Y'know, odds are we're not his favorite... Just sayin'.

So if we accept that there might be 10 civilizations capable of holding up their end in a game of pan-galactic pictionary, how many more could there be in the universe at large? Drake's equation only accounts for what we know about our own galaxy. What about the other galaxies? There's a fair few others. Right?

My dear friend, I like you, but you've just gone and wildly understated things. Again.

Allow me to try and illustrate just how bone headed your "fair few others" comment was.

"Galaxies. Very bad. You go first."
(image courtesy of The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO))

Here's an image showing a tiny fraction of the night sky taken by space perves at the European Southern Observatory.

I know what you're thinking. "Someone sneezed stars. Big deal. Seen it..." Right? Only, you're wrong again. These are galaxies. Quintzillions of 'em! Each one home to hundreds of billions of stars. And if we were any closer (10 billion light years give or take) they'd have us for lunch! Sure, Andromeda has first dibs, but Andromeda is a pussy. (Note: The big blips in the foreground? Yeah, okay those are stars in our own galaxy that stubbornly refused to clear the shot. They're just lucky Christian wasn't around. What we're talking about is the stampede of galaxies beyond those. Keep up.)

Now you're thinking "Great. You've just gone and blown my mind. Now what am I supposed to do about it? Feel all humbled an' shit?"

Heck, no! I say, do what I do. Visit Galaxy Zoo and get a kick out of insulting other galaxies one by one, and by extension, all races who live there! Did I also mention you get to have fun playing an addictive game of "classify the galaxies" AND get to feel good about yourself for helping to further science? I did?

Come on. Be a space perve too. Everybody's doing it. Probably even Elvis!

Sample insults to help get your creative juices flowing:

"Puny Clactadarians! Your galaxy is like a frisbee that was left on the dash of my car and warped in the midday sun!"

"Pitiful Oolabaalians! Your spiral galaxy has a mere two arms. Not spirally enough!"

"Cowardly Nargazoids... You call that a galaxy? Look, here comes another galaxy to eat you up! And about time too!"

Think you got it in you to better that? Bring it, sunshine. Oh, it's so ON!

(With thanks to Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy for tipping me off to this. But you still owe me a beer.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

One Way To Bypass Censorship Regulations...

One of the more uneven sketch comedy shows on Australian TV was Comedy Inc. The few pieces of it I saw you'd more often groan as laugh out loud. But there was one thing I caught that made me howl. It was this little stroke of inspired genius - a one trick pony, sure, but damn if I didn't scratch my head wondering how someone let them get away with it!

Depending on how you look at it - foul language might be an issue for the more sensitive among you.