A cancer sketch would go over just fine now. It's the post-South Park era and besides: cable. You can get away with much less now - on network television, anyway - than you could decades ago. Nowadays, the network model seems so old it's sluffed the dinosaur. It's just bones now.
We're in a weird period. Network TV, as a business, is tanking. But television shows, as a medium, is more varied and interesting than it's never been.
Entertainment used to be simple: TV and movies. My childhood is filled with memories of trips to the grocery store that always included the purchase of TV Guide. This is a concept so antiquated that I had to link to a Wikipedia article about it.
Here's a a brief history for the kids:
I have difficulty conceiving life before YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu and I lived back then. Better yet, omit those things. The internet, in it's most basic form, has been beating television with a club for a while now. Political cul de sacs and cat memes started stealing eyeballs and it all began with digital fossils like Hamsterdance.
This isn't the future I imagined. That's kind of the point, I guess.
The people at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal have a really good quality-to-crap ratio. Frankly, it's better than almost every other internet produced entertainment thingie. They don't let a thin budget stand in the way of awesome.
I watched a ton of these last night. The pacing is great and Gen-X sensitibilities are coated all over the things. Maybe I'm just a sucker for existentialist humor.
"I cast a lunch-break food binge!" "Roll a D6"
"I told you, I've made several questionable inferences using thousands of graphs. Thousands."
There are more than 100 of these things, so if you'd like to deposite whole hours into a black hole, go back one line and click that link. If not, you're doomed to productivity. Don't say I didn't warn you.
The conclusion of my actionsIt turns out that you can ride the line pretty easily through the bulk of the game. In the end, though, supporting one faction means doing very bad things to one or two of the others. This illustrated - perfectly to my mind - one principle of politics: our choices mostly range from bad to worse. I'm sure that there's some way to finesse the game's system to cue the sunshine and roses, but I didn't find it. Frankly, it's more realistic this way. Mr. House at least seemed to care about the locals. The NCR only cared about securing Hoover Dam, and extending their reach further east. The legion, of course, was noxious. You don't get too many points for banning drugs and alcohol if you're also keeping child slaves. The Great Khans seem to be the whipping boy of the Fallout universe. They're unlucky, constantly savaged by enemies, and always moving away from more dominant powers. Considering the state of the world, Mr. House seemed to be doing pretty well. Maybe the optimal outcome would have unfolded if I took control of New Vegas. House was self interested, to be sure, but I'm a courier-cum-bloodthirsty-sharpshooter who's spilled more blood than the legion. I've disconnected more heads from bodies than a French guillotine. I'm not fit to manage the affairs of a state. I really appreciate Yes Man's helpful demeanor toward that end, but heroic or not: I'm a monster. Don't give me power. At least, that's how I see my character: The courier is tough as nails, yes, and surely possessed of a moral center. But no matter how well-intentioned a body may be, the courier is broken. Too many hours were spent in the wasteland. So many caps were spent on weapons and a metric ton of shell casings were expended killing the vicious and desperate. Does that really constitute a happy ending? I'll take my bittersweet conclusion. It fits. The courier made the best of a bad lot, was thrown into an impossible situation, and had to choose from the available options. Such is life in the Mojave wasteland. You never know what's going to happen next.
Me: I just get so pissed off by the older generation. Therapist: Why? Me: Because when I grew up, we were force fed the idea that if we didn’t want to be ‘flipping burgers at McDonalds’ then we better go to college. Therapist: And? Me: And now we’ve gone to college, have degrees, can’t get a damn job, and the same people call us entitled assholes because we refuse to flip burgers! Therapist: Touche.Here’s what we did wrong (along with my personal take), but please, read the original piece. We made our youth ashamed to take jobs that involve manual labor. The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. That’s a quote from John Gardner, by the way. Remember that flipping burgers bit above? It’s a fancy way of saying that we've scorned commoner work. That’s for serfs. We’ve gone all job-snob on the backbone of our nation’s infrastructure. We implied that college would naturally lead to a good job. Which resulted in flooding the educational market. We, sometimes subtly, sometimes arrogantly, expressed that laborous work is only fit for the likes of Jimbo Jones. With tons of kids in college - many of whom would probably love to be tradesmen - we generated educational inflation that gave rise to diploma farms. We added seven years to being a teenager. What did we expect? They’re living at home longer because they have to go to school. Hell, even if they’re employed, that’s no guarantee they can cover their expenses. The pathetic man-child archetype is a common, modern gag for a reason. We created the notion that entertainment has no monetary value. Napster. Torrenting. Yeah, we have our reasons. Rationalizations are readily on hand. And yeah, it drove the technologies that my family now rely upon for entertainment, namely NetFlix and Hulu. But it’s been harrowing, difficult, and a big legal hassle. Feeling entitled? Yeah, I’m feeling entitled. I did my part to wreck the entertainment industry, just like the industry itself did theirs. We removed every reason possible to go outside. We used to go outside, not because we were really concerned with our health, but because that was the only place to do fun stuff. Hell, I’m from among the first generation of computer users. I experienced this first-hand without the internet. I spent late nights typing ship-routes into my local BBS’ game of Trade Wars. That and a lousy diet go hand in hand. We accidentally developed technologies - industrial food processing loaded with salt and sugar, and wicked cool video games (among others) - that would make it very difficult for you to motivate yourself to keep in shape and eat right. Now we have an obesity epidemic and record levels of diabetes. Your welcome So that’s the five, and it makes me queasy. We’re deep inside a spectrum of a yet-to-be-written date-range that describes this period. It's hard to see social change from the inside. Some are for this thing, some against that other thing, but it feels like so much flailing of the arms while careening into a deep hole. When the eventual reckoning materializes, we’ll wrench our guts, stick to our guns, and accept or oppose the new values-package, whatever it ends up looking like. The next technological/infrstructural New Deal will be argued about for decades, just like the last one. The generational component cannot be understated, even though I’m far from understanding it. All I know is that the largest birth cohort in American history appears to have gone off its nut, and many of us who came after it are scratching or nodding our heads, respectively. I feel as though a bunch of institutions, through no fault of their own, have set up a complex path of dominoes that they wish to admire in some pristine, untouched state. A bunch of jobless, desperate, and increasingly angry toddlers are stretching their flicking fingers, though, and I have no good answers for them. Only an "I’m sorry" before I watch more of the things fall down.
We were once the greatest endurance runners on earth. We didn’t have fangs, claws, strength or speed, but the springiness of our legs and our unrivaled ability to cool our bodies by sweating rather than panting enabled humans to chase prey until it dropped from heat exhaustion. Some speculate that collaboration on such hunts led to language, then shared technology. Running arguably made us the masters of the world.
So how did one of our greatest strengths become such a liability? “The data suggests up to 79 percent of all runners are injured every year,” says Stephen Messier, the director of the J. B. Snow Biomechanics Laboratory at Wake Forest University. “What’s more, those figures have been consistent since the 1970s.” Messier is currently 11 months into a study for the U.S. Army and estimates that 40 percent of his 200 subjects will be hurt within a year. “It’s become a serious public health crisis.”That's from The Once and Future Way to Run, by Christopher McDougall. He breaks a few things down: It’s not about whether you’re barefoot, have fancy sneakers, or special surfaces. It’s about form. The author mentions the running habits of the Tarahumara Indians, who incorporate a soft stride - landing on the balls of their feet - rather than landing on their heel. It’s such a simple thing, but it makes such a world of difference, and no fancy gimmicks are required. Giving earlier-me a break I’m fond of bashing earlier-me. There’s so much in my past to shake my head at. Clumsy interpersonal relationships, lack of focus, laziness - the accounts would unfurl onto the floor like Santa Claus consulting the naughty list. But: Every now and then, I discover something that changes the shape of the stories I tell about myself. In youth, for almost a decade (though not completely consecutive), I studied the martial arts. It was a rare form of Karate called Uechi Ryu. My father and I both studied together. Before quitting, I attained my second degree black belt; but whatever. I did well enough, I suppose. To be brutally honest, though, compared to most of my peers, I was somewhat sloppy, less motivated, less confident, and more timid. Sure, there were plenty of times that I gave it my all, but there were so many lazy moments that I can only blame on adolescence and my anti-rose-colored glasses. I often lament earlier-me, but I have to believe that I was a better student than I remember. Hell, I failed my first black belt test, re-trained and then obtained it on the next go round. I could have just quit in frustration, right? Reality trumps stories Here’s the thing. I have some very potent memories of the following: The smell of feet. The shoe room at a martial arts studio is a scent I’ll not soon forget. Being drenched with sweat. Form be damned. If nothing else, I got one hell of a workout. Even my lousy diet couldn’t defeat the fact that I was getting some excellent cardiovascular workouts on a regular basis. I was always standing on the balls of my feet. To this day, I have strong calves and leg muscles. This is because Uechi Ryu requires that you never be truly flat footed. Some of the Kata stances may appear that way, but all pivoting happens on the balls of the feet, and all movement happens right there - at the front of the foot. Which brings me back to that running thing. How those Indians run? Yeah, that’s how I run. I hadn’t even realized it until I read the article. All those sparring exercises, all those jogs around the dojo, all those countless other exercises I can barely remember... we pivot on the forefoot and keep the pressure off our heels. I often remark about humanity’s cognitive failures. It’s nice to reflect that sometimes, purely by an accident of history, you can do the right thing. I wonder what other aspects of current-me were born in earlier-me that I so often carelessly disregard?