Sunday, November 30, 2014

News You Can't Use: To Lure Young, Movie Theaters Shake, Smell and Spritz

Hey, young person! Yes, you there with the Chinese electronics and "with it" ideas. How would you like to see a movie based on a cartoon designed to sell toys from 1986? What do you mean, no? Would you change your mind if I told you that you'll be sprayed with various vile fluids and shaken like a Bond Martini? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Having tried 3-D films, earsplitting sound systems and even alcohol sales in pursuit of younger moviegoers, some theater chains are now installing undulating seats, scent machines and 270-degree screens.

Where gimmicks from the 1950s and "Underage drinker night" failed, the scent machines will surely succeed. Can you imagine how much better old films would be if the sent of desert sand or old newspapers was constantly blasting you in the face? Clearly this will produce a golden age of Super Movies that will make us wonder why we even cared about all that old junk.

For an $8 premium, a Regal theater here even sprays patrons with water and pumps scents (burning rubber, gun powder) into the auditorium.

Still cheaper than the popcorn, haw haw. Here's three Washingtons and a King Lincoln, can't wait to safely simulate car accidents and gun mayhem.

Can’t cope with two hours away from your smartphone? One theater company has found success with instant on-screen messaging — the texted comments pop up next to the action.

As my seat spun around and I inhaled simulated distressed rubber I was worried I was under-stimulated. Thank goodness for this.

“When I step back and think about what will get people off a couch, in a car, down the road and into a theater, the answer is not postage stamp-sized screens and old seats,” said Gerardo I. Lopez, the chief executive of AMC Entertainment, the No. 2 chain in the United States.

What will get you to take that gun out of your mouth, dress yourself, get into that car, hit the accelerator, negotiate traffic on a road, find a designated theater location and then exchange federal reserve paper for the privilege of seeing a Young Adult novel sort of come alive? It's certainly not going to be compelling stories or skillful direction. Scent sprayers, that has a chance.

“Why would they bother? What the hell, stay in the house.”

No spinning seat that rattles in time with the explosions? Might as well just pull that trigger, the world has nothing for you.

Ticket revenue in North America has fallen 4 percent this year compared to the same period in 2013, according to box office analysts, and attendance is equally down.

Well, that explains the explosion of low budget films and huge pay-cuts for name actors.

Last year, despite a glut of extravagant action movies, the number of frequent moviegoers ages 18 to 24 dropped 17 percent, compared to a year earlier; the 12-to-17 age bracket dropped 13 percent.

We know those punks love deadly violence and loud talking from examining their own pathological behaviors, but for reasons unknown they're not going to theaters. Must be the lack of odors.

The undiscerning young ticket buyers Hollywood has long counted on to turn out weekend after weekend are suddenly discerning.

The nightmare of an educated society! Deploy the new Smart Phones!

Or they are at least busying themselves with video games, living room wide-screen televisions and devices that can pull up thousands of movies with a couple of clicks.

Relax, no one got any smarter. Just much lazier and much, much more pathetic.

“The traditional moviegoing experience is at odds with the rest of their lives,” said Ben Carlson, president of Fizziology, a consultancy that focuses on entertainment and social media.

My doctorate in Fizziology is less useful than you might expect.

There are two types of water effects: rain, which drops from the ceiling, and mist, which is squirted from the seat in front of you. (Patrons can turn off the water by pressing a button.)

Forgive me for not wanting anything squirted from the seat in front of me while at the theater.

“We’re adding to the story, not taking away from it,” said Catherine Yi, a senior editor for CJ 4Dplex, the company behind the technology.

For the last time, this not a stupid gimmick. Please stop asking.

“It’s way cooler than it sounds,” said David Ramirez, 25, as he left a crowded 4DX screening of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” last weekend.

"I'm a man in my mid-twenties but I went to a movie based on a novel aimed at twelve-year-old girls," he added.

But the current move toward interactivity and immersion is unlikely to go away entirely, analysts say, in part because of a generational shift.

Sure. Wake me when "Sense-r-round" comes back.

I'm a unique individual full of value.

Allowing patrons to use their smartphones in certain auditoriums has been discussed intermittently by exhibitors, although worries about piracy, among other factors, have prevented that notion from moving forward in the United States. But theater chains paid keen attention to a recent texting trial in China.
I'd love to read those texts, full of loyalty to the glorious People's Government and Right Think. Show us the way, China.

At August screenings in 11 cities of “The Legend of Qin,” an animated movie, ticket buyers were allowed to log on to a Wi-Fi network and use their mobile phones to text with other attendees as the film played. The messages appeared next to the action, much like VH1’s “Pop Up Video” program.

Behold the huge leap forward in yelling "Don't go in there, girl!" at the screen.

“Our customers really seemed to like it,” said Timothy Warner, Cinemark’s chief executive.

Nothing soul-crushing here, that's for sure.

But Mr. Warner vowed that Cinemark would go only so far. “Unlike some of the others,” he said, “we still think the reason people go to the movies is to see movies.”

It sounds crazy, but you might be on to something here.

Full Story.

"Maybe one day this theater will produce a real rain and a vibrating seat."

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

News You Can't Use: Coca-Cola to Launch Premium Milk Brand Called Fairlife

Paying more for something automatically makes it better. This axiom is true even for liquids intended for a cow's newborns that could kill you. Perhaps the "Milk is for babies" motto needs to be revised in light of the fact that it's about to get more expensive courtesy of the producers of Rust Cola. After all, we'd all rather fund an aggressively awful marketing campaign and various corporate bonuses for individuals that may or may not actually do anything than some greedy farmer. Now we finally can. Take all my money Coke, you win.

When Coke tried to muscle in on the mineral water market, it was hounded out for selling bottled tap water.

Then we discovered the consumer is an idiot who will literally pay for tap water provided it's properly branded, so I'm not sure what the lesson here is.

Now the company has got its commercial eyes on milk. But rather than just repackaging another part of our everyday diet, the firm boasts its drink will come souped up in a high-protein, high-calcium, low-sugar form – and sold at twice the price of a normal pint.

Finally a solution to the massive amounts of sugar in milk. I haven't been this excited about the messy white gunk since before I found out "Muscle Milk" wasn't really milk and contained substances that were, strictly speaking, poisonous to the human biology.

Fairlife will go on sale in the US next month and according to Coca-Cola, a major investor in the product, it will be more “nutritious” with 50 per cent more natural protein and calcium and less sugar than ordinary milk.

This is nothing but the previous paragraph re-worded slightly. It contains literally no new information. Can we have a special, new, high-cost form of business journalism that's low in redundancy and high in insider trading tips that are no longer useful because now too many people know?

Heralded by breathless promotional materials that claim the new drink will take “milk where it’s never been before”, the drink is seen as the “premiumisation of milk” by the company.

This exciting new "asphyxiation" campaign is bound to succeed.

Speaking at Morgan Stanley’s Global Consumer Conference last week, Coca-Cola’s North American chief, Sandy Douglas, said: “It’s basically the premiumisation of milk… We’ll charge twice as much for it as the milk we’re used to buying in a jug.”

"...and you common dogs will buy it because you're a bunch of drooling morons whose idiocy I've endlessly exploited to amass obscene luxury. If you'll excuse me, I need to get back to one of my houses made entirely of precious metals and infant bones."

Mr. Douglas claimed that the milk “tastes better” than regular milk and is made on sustainable dairy farms with “high-care processes” and a “proprietary milk-filtering process”.

The taste is objectively better, thanks to scientific processes like "care." I guess they don't want to mention the "mother's love" or "honest day's sweat" also used for fear competitors might reverse engineer it.

Much of America’s milk is made in controversial mega-dairies where up to 30,000 cows are kept indoors all year round.

Please, can we get through one Thanksgiving dinner without having another hour-long screaming match about the mega-dairies.

But Mr. Douglas said its milk will come from 92 family-owned farms, and Fairlife boasts that it will be “pursuing the highest standards of milk quality, agricultural sustainability and animal comfort”.

With this sort of unbiased source of information how could you not be convinced?

The move is a major long-term investment for Coca-Cola, which has traditionally focused on carbonated drinks and owns nearly 1,000 drinks brands worldwide.

You probably know them as the "Sorry, we don't have Pepsi here" brand.

If you even got slightly aroused by this you're now morally obligated to buy our product.

Mr. Douglas added: “We’re going to be investing in the milk business for a while to build the brand so it won’t rain money in the early couple of years.

Raining money from a lacerated sky/Milking its horror/Creating my lame ad campaign/Now I shall reign in money.

Not all Coca-Cola brand adventures have been profitable though. In 2004 the firm was forced to take its Dasani bottled water off British shelf after just four weeks.

The loss of the British market cost them several thousand dollars.

The firm was unable to convince British consumers to buy the drink, which was reported to be Sidcup tap water that had been filtered and pumped full of minerals. It was found to contain illegal levels of the chemical bromate.

Right, what's going on 'ere? Dodgy chemicals in the Yank water? This is a bloody outrage, it is!

Full Story.

Komment Korner  
Animals have been outside since the beginning of time.

I think you need to read slower.
I think this would be a wonderful opportunity to pause for a moment and give thanks for the many great contributions of the black community

Our family has virtually stopped drinking soft drinks. My daughter is the only one who still drink it. Coca Cola can bring out liquid gold in a coke can and we wouldn't buy it.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

News You Can't Use: Nuclear Commander Lost Job After Being Caught Playing Fake Poker Chips

What is day-to-day ordinary life like for those handful of heroes responsible for destroying the Earth should our ideological enemies get a little too uppity? I would have expected endless cheering crowds, happy marriages full of greeting card moments and the satisfaction of knowing it might be your index finger that plunges humanity back into the Stone Age or destroys it outright. It appears this assumption was overly optimistic. In truth, the M.A.D. doctrine guardians are gambling like crazy and somehow making fake poker chips in between glancing at the World News, glancing at The Button and finally saying "No. Not just yet."

By day, Vice-Admiral Timothy Giardina was one of the US Navy’s most senior figures – as deputy head of US Strategic Command, he was number two in command of America’s nuclear arsenal.

He had it all. A sweet job becoming death, destroyer of worlds, a uniform covered in shiny tin, you name it.

But by night, at the Horseshoe casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, he was known as Navy Tim, a heavy gambler who was accused of making his own $500 poker chips and eventually banned.

I would imagine his eventual banning was held back by constant threats to "Nuke this casino" should they put an end to his crapulence.

His removal from his role in the uppermost tier of America’s defence establishment was carried out last year, but the reasons behind his downfall are only now becoming clear.

Instead of the expected "decades long pattern of massive incompetence" it turns out he was making fake gambling markers in his basement and trying to pass them off at some flyover country low-roller spot.

However, one man’s ruin may be a symptom of a wider malaise at the heart of America’s nuclear deterrent.

Nuclear deterrent, man. It used to be cool. Now it's all commercial and popular, old dudes with wooden poker chips, missiles incapable of creating mass extinction effects, just lame.

An ageing stock of missiles, corroded launch silos and an uncertain role in a post-Cold War world have sent morale plunging among the men and women who call themselves Missileers.

I became a "Missileer" so I could murder the world, not to spent endless days scrubbing corrosion off silos and changing the expiration dates on the Reagan Arsenal.

The result, according to several studies, has been a string of leadership, training and disciplinary problems, which prompted a $10 billion root-and-branch overhaul announced a little over a week ago.

Serious questions have been raised as to whether this new breed of maniacs will be able to blow it up.

No one at the Horseshoe Casino would have known any of that or that the man at the tables was a three-star admiral.

You would think the Horseshoe Casino in Moo Mud, Iowa would have a robust espionage network, but it appears this is not the case.

After graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1979, Mr Giardina worked his way up the ranks as a career submarine officer. Among his commands were fast attack subs and vessels carrying ballistic nuclear weapons.

Back then he was limited to making fake match sticks for what little gaming action was available on a fast attack sub.

Yet his career began to unravel last year, when the Horseshoe discovered three homemade $500 chips.

It's almost like a Greek Tragedy, except with less noble heroes being ravaged of fate and more bloated American gasbag trying to trick a casino and failing.

Interviewed two days later, Mr Giardina claimed to be an innocent victim.

It's scary to think that this would probably be his same reaction after an "accidental" missile launch.

He said he had bought $2,000 in chips for a little under their face value from a person in a casino lavatory.

"I was just doing some innocent bathroom cruising and I ran into this great deal." Are you sure this is the lie you want to go with? It's not too late to claim they "fell into your pocket."

The state investigator’s report said a review of surveillance footage revealed other “odd behaviours” by Giardina at the Horseshoe.

It's almost as if being in charge of cremating our planet could cause mental issues.

"Giardina was observed taking cigarette butts out of public ashtrays and smoking them,” it said.

The glamorous life of the international gambler and rocket cowboy.

 "I thought I was pulling a slot machine lever."

An Army lab revealed that a $500 chip had been scanned and printed on to stickers, which were then applied to a genuine $1 chip. The cheap chips were painted in the colour scheme of the more expensive counters.

Yes, your tax dollars were used to analyze poker chips used by a scumbag who until recently had the power to kill you and everyone you care about.

However, the amateur job covered up secret security features only visible under UV light, and Mr Giardina’s DNA was found on the underside of a sticker.

Typical government work, half-finished. 

He was given a written reprimand and ordered to forfeit $4,000 in pay. He has declined to comment on the case.

Please write "I will not try to cheat the casino" a hundred times on the chalkboard of our secret underground bunker. 

This month, Chuck Hagel, the US defence secretary, admitted the country's nuclear arsenal had fallen into disrepair and needed billions of dollars of upgrades.

"If we launched today there would be several thousand survivors, many of them non-mutated. This is unacceptable."

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

News You Can't Use: How Cars Will Read Your Mind in the Future

While camera and phone technology have surpassed even the wildest and most optimistic dreams of futurist movies like 1984 car technology, specifically in relation to hovering and/or flying, continues to stagnate. Sure, we've figured out how to affix artificial scrotums to our comically over-sized working class sports cars and I'm sure some Teutonic gathering somewhere is figuring out how to make a slightly faster engine or render SUVs less deadly, but the big leap forward seems to be as a elusive as coming up with a clever one-liner to use on a car show babe that she hasn't heard a million times already.

"No, I don't come with the car." "No, you can't have a look another that hood." Etc.

With the amount of time drivers spend in their cars -- 20 hours per week on average, according to J.D. Power -- interactive technology such as smartphone integration, automotive apps and autonomy have become increasingly important.

Meanwhile personal autonomy is at an all time high as well. It's almost obscene how much freedom I have. Well, if you'll excuse me I have to spend the equivalent of a full day each week staring at someone's bumper, doing parking lot speeds on a highway and ineffectually raging in between total capitulation to my miserable fate.

Industry experts shared their predictions on how emerging technology will influence the future of cars during the Connected Car Expo at the L.A. Auto Show on Tuesday.

You could have a phone or camera in your steering wheel!

Maggie Hendrie, interaction design chair at the Art Center College of Design, said the key to car connectivity is the way people interact with their vehicles.

Sure, let's hang out with an art school victim when we're at a righteous car show. While you're doing that I'm gonna go get shot down by bikini babes and kick it with Germanic engineering teams.

Think of the technology in Spike Jonze’s movie “Her,” for example -- a unique experience where an algorithm was able to anticipate a user’s needs.

Maybe a reference to a movie that two dozen people actually saw will help explain this. If it's anything like the Stephen King movie "Christine" I'm really not interested.

The cars of the future need a transparent, intuitive interface, Hendrie said.

It'll be like those totally rad see-through backpacks!

Technology, she said, should manage the small transactions people make in their daily lives.

We'll have the computer punch the wheel and make those obscene gestures for you. This will free up valuable time to openly weep in existential despair.

The next step in car connectivity is bringing the journey inside the car, directing a passenger’s attention away from their video games or apps to the world around them, said Mary Ann de Lares Norris, chief operating officer of Oblong Industries.

This new app or video game will direct your attention away from apps and video games.

If you’re driving past a castle, for example, the passenger should be able to instantly pull up information about the landmark.

Not a lot of castles here in middle America. Sorry, car.

This type of technology would be similar to what’s used in conference rooms today -- using wands to control pixels across computers, displays and operating systems, similar to Xbox’s Kinect.

Kinect can't even handle the basics of vidiot gaming, but I'm sure it will work fine when you're manipulating 3000 pounds of Oriental machine. Oops, it can't detect my hands. Time to crash into that arsenal.

At the core if this, she said, is changing the conversation from “Are we there yet?” to “Did you know?” 

Constantly hearing the same three facts about corn over and over have really improved this drive across America's Middle West. A computerized wise-ass was my co-pilot.

The future of interactive technology relies heavily on the car understanding the driver, said Bryan Biniak, global vice president and general manager of Microsoft.

You don't know the Real Me, Honda Prelude. Also, I've got no interest in applying constant "patches" and "updates" to my malfunctioning ride, Mr. Microsoft.

"Ladies, could you please move? You're blocking my view of the engine."

If a driver is running late, for example, the car should know to adapt to the circumstance. One way to integrate this experience is through audio recognition, he said.

"Computer, I'm late. Please be as reckless as possible."

If a driver’s children are screaming the backseat, the car could know should know to switch the programming from loud music to trivia or a joke.

Or maybe inject them with some sort of paralytic poison.

The car should also slowly learn the driver’s personality, anticipating whether she would look for the cheapest gas station or the closest one when it’s time to fill up.

The idea that gas prices will one day vary wildly from one station to the next is a bigger fantasy than anything else in this article.

The vehicle would be able to take a grocery list and order it from Amazon or from Whole Foods, giving the driver time to handle other errands, Biniak added.

"Yo, car, get me some books or whatever."

“To get to the soul of a car and passenger, you need to know what is important in day to day circumstances,” he said.

Assuming you still have a soul, of course.

Full Article.

Komment Korner

I want a car I can afford.

COMPUTER: "Failed to connect to intelligence system."

Some people's minds are Urban and some are Rural, whereas mine is in the Outskirts of Absurdity.


Great. When I decide to get comfortably numb my car will take care of everything. I can hardly wait!

Check Out My Books! Have Your Car do the Ordering!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read free excerpts here and here.

His first novel "The Foolchild Invention" is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Video Game Slush Pile: Aerobiz Supersonic

It's been seven months, I think it's time for another one these. Besides, today's slush pile represents everything that is right and pure about this concept. I'm talking about a rather obscure game that just so happens to be a lot of fun once you clear the initial hurdles of "bidding for slots is a major game element" and "you don't get to shoot nuffin'." The concept is tight, the historical realism is on point and the music is 16 bit bliss. How did this one end up at the bottom of a box?

For whatever reason I was both deeply into strategy games but largely lacking in the patience required to be successful in them when I was younger. Today, as a biological singularity that resembles a cross between James Bond and the guy from Altered Beast after two upgrades, I've learned to pay the dues necessary for fictional air line success. This slush pile is all about that amazing, feel-good story of the rite of passage that occurs when you learn that the fuel economy and repair needs of an imaginary jet plane matter more than whether or not its name and general shape are appealing to the eye.
"Can't wait to start leading my airline, bro!"

Before we actually start talking about the glory that was air travel before our schizophrenic war on evildoers began, there's one other point that needs to be made. I always thought it was strange that strategy games, especially ones that travel far afield from army builders, tend to be dismissed as having "limited appeal" while the unspoken corollary to this is that everyone loves the  newest "save often!" first person shooter mess. Then I discovered that game reviewers are more corrupt than a Moldovan parliament and pretty much got over it, but I just want to say that this myth needs to die, along with the tendency to mock something like Aerobiz to score points with some ill-formed mainstream. Bidding for slots is awesome, anyone who says otherwise is either hopelessly deluded or wicked.

Yes, bidding for slots. A significant portion of this game is spent in that activity, since you need to establish profitable routes around the world and this is done by negotiating for rights. You send one of your four "corporate warriors" out to do the dirty work. There's a surprising amount of depth here, as your corporate home base and world events will influence this activity or make it just plain impossible. For example, during the Cold War era don't expect your capitalist oppressors to be warmly received behind the Iron Curtain or vice versa. Your nationality will also effect what planes you can buy and how willing customers will be to fly on your airline. Definitely something to think about before you set up "Air Iran."

 Scowling Lady Liberty says "Hit the bricks."

Luckily it is possible to mend fences between competing ideologies by performing charitable tasks for international representatives that apparently can't tell the difference between private industry and government foreign aid. If you help these hat-in-hand sad sacks you're rewarded with improved relations. Yes, this means that if Pravda Airlines helps restore runways in Atlanta this token gesture will bring an end to decades of conflict and probably save millions of lives. Who knew that patching up tarmac in Hotlanta or Minsk could succeed where ping pong and Olympic boycotts failed. "As I was laying that tar, you started to change. And if you can change, we all can change."

Or really easy, depending on how you want to look at it.

In addition to such corporate diplomacy, various other historical events occur, ranging from wars, oil shortages, the Olympic games and revolutions. It gives the game a sense of immersion that you wouldn't expect from something released in Japan under the incredibly catchy name "Air Management." There's also random events, including tourism booms, bad weather and worker strikes. 

Experts are worried that it might tip over.

You can play in four different eras, including the amazing "future" of 2000-2020. The middle two scenarios are the most entertaining, since the early scenario finds you mostly using prop planes instead of the jets you're supposed to switch to and the speculative scenario centers on the gimmick of supersonic flight, as impractical in this game as it was in real life. I give the designers a lot of credit for conceding this, especially with "supersonic" in the title. A wonderful future of sonic booms just isn't in the cards, sorry. 

How do you win? In many ways you win the moment the game starts, since you've been promoted to CEO. Sure, the airline might fail, but you're certainly lining your own pockets, so who cares, right? Well, if you do care, you must become the #1 airline in a set number of regions, beating out three opponents. While this is the goal, it's somewhat misleading, since the big money is made by flying between regions and you'll need that steady profit to eventually dominate the shorter flights. Each scenario gives you twenty years to meet this victory condition. Sadly there is no sandbox "play forever" mode, but the limited scope lends urgency.

The game also lets you purchase businesses, hold riveting board meetings (Yes, I would like to direct the topics!) set various budgets and indulge all your non-sexual airplane fantasies. Yes, you too can ask the opinions of your underlings and then perform a complete emotional meltdown after hearing their lame advice. Then it's back to getting those slots or solving all the world's problems.

We're making mad Golden Ring Rubles.

I was able to beat this game fairly reliably on harder difficulties when based out of New York, London or a similar desirable hub. My current goal is to win the game as a Moscow airline in one the cold war scenarios, but so far haven't been able to do it. Again, can't fault that realism. 

Graphics: You mostly look at a map. It looks a lot like a map. There's also a goofy Mode Seven opening and a take-off sequence that plays when you start a new route, but this one is not about the visuals. 

Control: Once you figure out the goofy symbols, the interface is easy to use. This one would probably work better with a mouse, but the controller works well enough. 

Depth: It's a strategy game, so there's plenty. You get control over many aspects of your airline and can make adjustments to ticket prices, number of flights and what planes to use on individual flights. There's five difficulty settings, four players could play at once if you could somehow engineer an Aerobiz party and you can even watch the computer play itself. There are numerous hub cities to select as your headquarters and the game can change a lot based on this selection. The historical and speculative events are well done and the cities and planes seem accurate.

Overall: Please send me to bid for slots. I'm so ready!

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read free excerpts here and here.

His first novel "The Foolchild Invention" is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

News You Can't Use: Two Calif. Women Camp-Out In Front Of Best Buy, 22 Days Ahead Of Black Friday

We're fast approaching a major holiday that is celebrated by the ritual waiting for and purchasing of various imported junk electronics. It might also have some minor religious significance, but I can't really confirm that. What I can say for sure is that everyone is excited about this chance to purchase East Asia bounty at a minor discount. Excited enough to begin the urban camping season well in advance. Materialism is the answer and the question doesn't even matter any more.

Two California women have already arrived at a Beaumont Best Buy to begin their annual camp-out – 22 days ahead of Black Friday sales.

You'll want to get that sort of early jump on this, because foreign-made moron boxes and idiot phones are almost as rare in America as two liter sodas. If you miss out Friday, you'll probably never get one. It's like a Soviet bread line, with the nourishment changed from the Staff of Life to the miracle Chinese glow boxes.

Vickey Torres of Cabazon and Juanita Salas of Beaumont arrived for their annual Black Friday camping set-up outside of the Beaumont Best Buy store, Banning-Beaumont Patch reports.

The rich pageant of a life so stuffed full of valuable societal contribution that waiting in front of a box-store to get a shot at slightly cheaper products that weren't made in America takes precedence over everything else, including, say, spending the time working which would allow the ridiculously high regular price to be easily paid. No, this makes more sense and is healthier from an existential perspective.

The women plan to spend the full 22 days outside of the electronic retailer in hopes of landing the best deals for the infamous “first come, first served” Thanksgiving night rush.

Can't wait for the annual tradition of every vaguely human animal against every other one in a battle for shiny things from the Orient.

“We could have started later, but then we wouldn’t be sure to get first in line,” Torres told Patch on Friday, as she and Salas sat under the hot sun in front of the Best Buy. “They only get a few items at the cheaper prices and it’s first come, first served.”

"I know it's not at all logical, but look at all the holiday fun we're having!" *sits for hours in oppressive California heat, cooking in own juices*

Torres and Salas said they have camped out in front of Best Buy for “the last few years,” with the two women taking turns to go home and shower, eat.

This is the sort of thing that one would look back on with satisfaction on the death bed. "I'm sure glad I spend all those days in front of a store waiting."

Although deals for Best Buy’s Black Friday are yet to be released, Torres and Salas said they are ultimately looking to land a good deal on a television this year.

It is extremely difficult to find an affordable television in the U.S.A.


“Some people say we’re crazy,” said Torres, adding that such comments don’t bother her in the least. 

"They used to bother me, but now that I've completely lost my mind and soul to consumerism, it doesn't matter."

Please don't visit the ironically ad-riddled source:  

Seriously, just when I thought I'd suppressed all the ads the freaking page reloaded. Yeah. You want to know what the future looks like? Imagine a page full of click-bait b.s. reloading itself. Forever. 

Komment Korner 

I'm not 100% sure, but last time I checked you weren't allowed to buy electronics with food stamps.

Someone should come by after dark, pretend to be drunk, and pee on the sidewalk right near them. 
(Yeah, "pretend." - Ed)

Have these ladies not heard of opportunity costs? 

Gee, won't they be missing out on pay from not going to work? (sarcasm)

I wonder if Obama will have the White Hut chef cook up a Beagle for them?

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read free excerpts here and here.

His first novel "The Foolchild Invention" is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Twistaplot #16 Secrets of the Lost Island

Last time I encountered nearly every possible broadly drawn Egyptian stereotype, learned one weird trick for upper body strength (acrobat training) and defeated Belly Dancer Slavery cartels. Obviously, almost anything is going to represent a significant retreat from such concentrated excellence, so it's time to go back to a series that never seems to properly deliver the "turn to this page" goods. This time out we're looking at some sort of Island of Dr. Moreau trick bag, so let's cut the preliminaries and enter the house of pain.

Intense bald dude seems trustworthy.

By Twist-a-Plot standards the opening paragraphs are unbelievably brilliant. We jump right into the action, with myself and "Uncle Dave" caught in a storm that may or may not be perfect and forced to try to steer the boat toward an island, quite possibly one that holds secrets. Then, with my attention captured by the crazy nautical action, we get back-story. The author obviously worked hard in that "Basics of Constructing a Narrative" correspondence course. "First get the reader interested, then they will have more tolerance for your lame exposition." It's crazy enough to work.

And make no mistake, the exposition is not great. It turns out Uncle Dave is trying to find his missing wife who decided it was a good idea to swim in open waters and promptly vanished. Even the Coast Guard has given up on this as a lost cause and we all know how grimly determined they generally are. The upshot is that I've agreed to help him on this White Whale quest, citing basic human empathy as a motivating factor. Yup, that will screw you every time. Now the boat is headed toward rocks.

 Ninety minutes of "Something's on my leg!"

Dave and I ditch the boat and try to swim for the island, but the current is too strong. When things look the worst I feel "cold hard metal" on my foot and moments later am standing with Dave on a submarine. It's been that kind of day. With no better option we enter an open hatch, already anticipating the "I live under the sea, away from the prejudices of small minds!" madness that surely lurks within. 

Inside there's creaking and clanging, along with a round and rectangular door. The hatch has closed, so I have to choose one. I pick round, which is the much more sensible design. Rectangular doors in a submarine? That's just silly. 

We make our way through bunks and a galley, but there is no crew or even the obligatory lone crank. Instead we reach the control room and face a choice between "manual" and "automatic" because a dive boot can probably be controlled with two large buttons and maybe a healthy dose of ESP. 

  Seems pretty straight forward.

With the pilots that already made the sacrifice presumably disposed of, I assume the controls and hit "manual." A little messing around provides the basics for everything except surfacing, which we probably won't need for awhile anyway. Unfortunately, warning lights are going off in regards to an obstruction ahead. Without any additional information, I decide to steer "left or right" which seems vague enough. Three dimensional maneuvering is not really well-suited to this format.

I avoid the danger (it was a rock) and soon become accustomed to a new life living on this metal tube, but just when I'm nearing the "acceptance" phase of the process I find a lever that can be pulled to surface. Might as well try it out. It works!

From the topside we can see the island far in the distance, but worry about steering while surfaced for some reason. Wouldn't it be the same, just much easier? Yeah, no problem. We reach the island and, as you might expect, Dave's missing wife is right there waiting. She's even got a highly plausible tale of being kidnapped by sailors and held in a...well, a hold. We're almost done, so she somehow was able to escape, easily swim over open water in hurricane season, etc.

The story ends with Dave happy to wait for "years" on this island, while I'm perhaps somewhat less enthusiastic about picking fruit all day and trying to ignore them getting busy all night. Still, I'm a glass half-full type of person, noting there will be no school and I'll get a truly righteous tan. Ignorant and burned to a crisp is no way to go through life, son.

Tanning. It's a LIFESTYLE, man!

I guess this one managed to reach the lofty heights of "below average." The lengthy submarine simulator wasn't exactly compelling, but the writing was decent enough. Again, it's amazing how much a decent opening lets you get away with. "Man, this Ishmael guy is pretty righteous. I guess I'll just plow through the next hundred pages of irrelevant digressions and tattoo descriptions." 

 Where would you even wear it?

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read free excerpts here and here.

His first novel "The Foolchild Invention" is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

News You Can't Use: Clay Aiken's Congressional Bid to Be Esquire Docuseries

We sure love our celebrities. The only thing we love more is seeing them at their absolute worst: strung out on goof balls, getting covered with substances that will be difficult to wash off, campaigning unsuccessfully for a sinecure position in North Caka-lack-ee, it's the shameful joy opiates that fill life with rich meaning. With that in mind it's probably not surprising that some cipher who enjoyed brief national attention over a decade ago is going to get a glorious four hours worth of heavily edited and manipulated immortality. Yes, it's time for "docuseries" chronicling the political wars of the Tarheel State and how some guy that used to sing in a way an opinionated British man found pleasing factored in.

The NBCUniversal-owned cable network announced late Tuesday — following Aiken's defeat in North Carolina — that camera crews have been documenting the American Idol alum's bid for a seat in the House.

Just when I'd somehow got myself down to just 13 hours of television per day this comes along and assures it's back to 14 for at least awhile longer. Sounds fascinating! And don't be surprised if we don't learn a few lessons before we're done!

The four-hour untitled docuseries, from Academy Award winner Simon Chinn (Searching for Sugar Man, Man on Wire) and Emmy winner Jonathan Chinn (American High), will premiere in the first quarter of 2015.

You'll still want to hear about this shaggy dog story from the 2014 mid-term elections two months from now, right?

Aiken, a gay Democrat and single dad, ran against incumbent Congresswoman Renee Ellmers in the predominantly Republican North Carolina 2nd District.

Before you write this off as an attention-seeking stunt with no legitimacy, did I mention he's also in favor of abortion and against gun ownership?

Via strategy meetings, debate prep, town halls, bus tours and door-to-door canvassing, the docuseries  will provide an intimate look at the hope of victory and, ultimately, the disappointment of defeat.

In all seriousness, I'd love to watch this worthless goof go door-to-door and explain to people that actually contribute to society why he should be allowed to rule over them. "I won a televised talent show, once! You remember that, right? Why are you reaching for that shotgun?"

"We were granted incredible access during the making of this documentary, and in turn were able to capture the internal workings of an American campaign — the good, the bad and the ugly," Simon Chinn said.

"You're going to be amazed by a sequence where he couldn't find the stage for a speech and kept walking around in circles while occasionally shouting 'Rock and Roll!' in between getting useless directions from a janitor."

Added Jonathan Chinn: "We’re thrilled to be partnering with Esquire Network, who are tackling topics that are not only popular and entertaining but also smart and thoughtful."

"We put some far-left ranting in that I know you'll find entertaining and thought-provoking!"

"Ultimately, this series is a raw and honest look at American politics through an incredibly unique and compelling candidate," said Esquire Network head of original programming Matt Hanna.

The banality of raw honesty.

A possible cover picture for next year's common core Civics textbooks.

The untitled series is produced by Lightbox's Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn and Mitchell Tanen.

The working title "I Love My Failed Gay Single Parent Democrat Campaign" was rejected as too clunky. "Feet of Clay," "Clay's Aching (To Represent You)" and "Nuke America" are the new front-runners, but no decision has been made as of this writing. 

Komment Korner  

"Aiken, a gay Democrat and single dad..." He isn't really even a single father since the boy's mother Jaymes Foster, who lives in California, has him full time. He's more of a sperm donor.

It's sickening that a perverted blivet like aiken is allowed to breed.

Who cares, move on assman.

More Hollyweird synthesis of Marxist politics and "entertainment."

Who would even watch such foolery ?

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read free excerpts here and here.

His first novel "The Foolchild Invention" is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

News You Can't Use: Man in Fox News Costume Beaten in California

Another celebration of the end of harvest season and the beginning of druid human sacrifice season has come and gone, offering the usual lessons. We got far more creepy clown stories than were strictly needed, combined with the yearly tradition of gelded PG-13 horror films. Yup, pretty typical stuff. That is until someone decided to dress up as a reporter for the Pure Evil I Hate You Mom and Dad Network and caught an All Hallow's Eve beat-down.

A California man dressed as a Fox News reporter was violently assaulted in the left-wing haven of Santa Cruz, California during the annual Halloween parade this weekend.

When clever irony goes horribly wrong. No one can tell if you're serious or not anymore, so we'll just assume the worst and attack.

A 29-year-old man, Scott Kory, allegedly shouted "I hate Fox News!" before grabbing the victim's microphone, making an obscene gesture with it, and beating him with an aluminum tennis racket.

I'd love to read the police report on this one. "Suspect pretended the stolen microphone was a marital aid and then realized the full violence potential of his Rafael Nadal costume."

Kory is described by the Contra Costa Times as "a dreadlocked Santa Cruz resident."

Central casting provides a human unit bad enough to attack an ersatz reporter from the only network news anywhere near the center of the political spectrum. I'm assuming "unwashed," drug addicted," and "totally incoherent" would also apply to our anti-hair care friend.

He was arrested and booked into the county jail on Friday evening. The victim of the attack was reportedly uninjured.

I thought I could just randomly batter people that offend my delicate communist sensibilities, but the stupid old rule of law wrecked everything.

Suggested alternate costumes: NBC crybaby or awards snub Boris Badunov.

The Santa Cruz assault mirrored a real event three years ago, when a local Fox reporter in New York was assaulted at Occupy Wall Street. A protester stole his microphone and threatened to stab him.

Man, history's like a big wheel. Condemned to repeat it, dude. Far out.

Do not visit the ad-riddled source:

Komment Korner

I am a "DemonRat" and "Stupid" and a "Commie Thug."


Far left Liberals are no different then the Fascists of Hitler....


Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read free excerpts here and here.

His first novel "The Foolchild Invention" is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.