fictional colonels and Mini-14s: i love it when a plan comes together!

recently, i purchased something we’ll see more towards the end of this post, which reminded me of the good old days of my youth spend watching the A-Team (when you’re little, that show makes a LOT more sense), which reminded me of a certain character on that show’s military rank, which reminded me of an alias i have used for some time: the colonel. this figures mainly in terms of our local team’s post-zombie-apocalypse plans and/or stickers that might be affixed to various things where i work; either way, this is the SOP for creating posts on this website: absolute randomness.

anyway, i’m not really sure where exactly i stole all this “colonel” talk from; for example, in the great nation of Iraq, i’m better known as a “regional chairman.” but i had to have stolen it from SOMEWHERE, so in order to look more deeply into the subject, i figured a listicle was in order. something about my favorite fictional colonels, maybe?

13 FICTIONAL COLONELS THAT JANKLOW BELIEVES ARE, WELL, WORTH FURTHER COMMENTS

Lt. Col. Robert Kilgore
“i love the smell of napalm in the morning… the smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. smelled like… victory.

honorable mention: Lt. Col. Hal Moore (We Were Soldiers; played by Mel Gibson) is a pretty cool character, if for no other reason than his proximity to Basil Plumley… but he’s not fictional enough to really make this list. so it goes.

13. Col. Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones, Jr. (the Indiana Jones series; played by Harrison Ford)
Indy mostly makes this list because i don’t think i realized he was somehow a fictional colonel until today, when the internet told me that he reached the rank of colonel in the OSS. see, this is why i think people need to stop fucking around with back stories and spin-offs and all that with some of these film franchises: all that happens is that we get unrelated OSS comments and/or alien adventures in South America that water down Indy’s Nazi-punching coolness. anyway, Indy’s probably cooler than people further down this list, but since i barely consider him a colonel, he gets to be lucky #13. sorry, Indy.

12. Col. Sherman T. Potter (M*A*S*H; played by Harry Morgan)
11. Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake (M*A*S*H; played by Roger Bowen and McLean Stevenson)

let’s take these two characters together because they’re so interconnected on the show they share (the movie’s alright and all, but Potter was obviously never in it). in my year or so of obsessive M*A*S*H viewing, they provided me many a mild chuckle before Alan Alda came onscreen and moralized so strongly that it made me want to vomit. Blake gets the nod over Potter because he was all about comedy, whereas Potter would occasionally a) moralize along with Alda and b) in a manner that seemed inconsistent with his character’s background. plus, the man loves horses, which in my book means you cannot be trusted completely.

10. Col. Algernon Mustard (Clue; played by Martin Mull)
well, for starters, forget all that talk about Martin Mull; i only mention him because someone made a movie out of the board game Clue (for reasons i STILL cannot understand) and he played Colonel Mustard in it. anyway, Mustard is excellent because he’s the kind of old man colonel i’d want to be: packing a gun, having once hunted big game, wearing a monocle, being involved in intrigues… the list goes on and on. plus, his first name is Algernon, and that is a totally excellent first name.

Col. Hannibal Smith
“i love it when a plan comes together!”

09. Col. Nicholas Joseph “Nick” Fury (various Marvel Comics and Iron Man; played by Samuel L. Jackson, also played by David Hasselhoff)
i didn’t want to bring up the TV movie where Hasselhoff played Nick Fury, but, well, there it is. you probably haven’t seen it (i have, and you should be glad you haven’t), but it’s about what you expect from any TV movie starring the Hoff: the final product is… well… sub-par (though at least he doesn’t sing in it, so there’s that). anyway, Fury generally comes off better in the comics, movies like Iron Man (where he’s played by Samuel L. Jackson), and newer comics (where he’s drawn to look like Samuel L. Jackson). you can really never go wrong with being affiliated with Samuel L. Jackson.

08. Col. Wilhelm Klink (Hogan’s Heroes; played by Werner Klemperer)
yes, he’s totally on this list because of that Simpsons episode where Homer’s guardian angel has to appear as Klink in order to get some respect (Hooooooomer, that’s not why i’m here!); it’s a classic moment and it’s completely worth having an entire series just to set up that joke. but, okay, there’s also the hilarious concept of basing a comedy series on the wacky hijinx inherent in a Nazi prison camp. yeah, okay, i know, Klemperer is Jewish and many of the other Hogan’s Heroes actors were as well, and Klemperer had it in his contract that the Nazis always had to fail… but still, what an awkward concept. how did that ever get pitched? “yeah, see, i have this idea for a comedy about a Nazi prison…”

07. Col. Philippe Mathieu (the Battle Of Algiers; played by Jean Martin)
it’s a great film, that Battle Of Algiers, but people don’t want to watch it because it’s a black-and-white film from 1966. whatever, their loss. anyhow, in that film, there’s a composite character with the name of Col. Mathieu who’s based on some excellent Frenchmen from history: Marcel Bigeard, Jacques Massu, and so on. well, maybe “excellent” isn’t the best term, since some of these guys may have sanctioned torture, but it’s hard to think of another term to refer to French guys who have displayed a legitimate willingness to fight while in their military. ah, good old jokes about the surrender monkey nature of the French, you never get old.

06. Lt. Col. William Kilgore (Apocalypse Now; played by Robert Duvall)
from the theatrical helicopter attacks to the love of the smell of napalm (and ridiculous cavalry hats), what’s not to like about Kilgore? after all, the man will even allow foes brave enough to hold their guts in to drink from his canteen. his only real shortcoming is his admitted passion for surfing. far be it for me to bash any man’s hobbies… but surfing? really? i think it would be fair to say that Charlie doesn’t surf because Charlie has a little bit of common sense about the whole water sports concept.

Lt. Col. Andy Tanner
“…well, who *is* on our side?” “six hundred million screaming chinamen.” “last i heard, there were a billion screaming chinamen.” “there *were*.”

05. Col. John “Hannibal” Smith (the A-Team; played by George Peppard)
yes, that’s right, this is the colonel that inspired this week’s listicle. i’m not really sure why Hannibal seems so excellent; the A-Team is a fairly ridiculous concept, if for no other reason than the fact that they spent every week going wild with guns and exploding pie pans and god knows what else only to have no one die as a result. sure, the townspeople were saved, but i demand blood! anyway, clutching a cigar in your teeth and packing a Mini-14 while making pithy comments about plans coming together is a great look. maybe that explains why he’s stood the test of time better than his show would seem to indicate.

04. Col. Cotton Hill (King Of The Hill; played by Toby Huss)
Cotton Hill is basically a salty old psycho (albeit an animated one) who i aspire to be one day: harsh to everyone, playfully misogynistic, naming a child the “good” version of another child, obsessing over complicated plots to kill Fidel Castro. granted, i don’t have a lot of time in my schedule for killing Castro, but i can still get old and salty about the whole concept of Castro. also, like Cotton, i’m willing to suffer for the good of others… as long as it doesn’t involve my face. after all, that’s how i makes my living.

03. Col. Malcolm Grommett Spears (the Stuff; played by Paul Sorvino)
it would be fair to say that Col. Spears in this film is sort of my role model; he’s a colonel that’s in charge of a random militia that ends up kind of, sort of fighting a zombie invasion (this mainly depends on whether or not you consider the Stuff to be causing zombies, which i do). his one key flaw, though, is that Paul Sorvino always kind of seems like a goober in whatever role he’s playing (except maybe for Goodfellas). so while the concept behind this colonel is top-notch… i’ll always have some reservations. but then i remember that Garrett Morris’ head explodes in this film, and all my concerns wash away!

02. Lt. Col. Andy Tanner (Red Dawn; played by Powers Boothe)
Powers Boothe plays a colonel… AND it’s a colonel in the movie Red Dawn? i think it’s pretty clear that he has to automatically climb way up this list. true, he’s only an Air Force colonel (i think they pretty much automatically make you a colonel over there if you can manage not to crash your plane into something), but that’s still a colonel and that has to count for something. and again, he basically spends all his time trying to kill communists and talking about nuclear war, even if he wasn’t explicitly told by anyone to “avenge them,” and in the end, what more can one do with their time?

Col. Kurtz
“and i remember… i cried. i wept like some grandmother. i wanted to tear my teeth out. i didn’t know what i wanted to do. and i want to remember it. i never want to forget it. i never want to forget. and then i realized… like i was shot with a diamond bullet right through my forehead. and i thought: my God… the genius. the will to do that. perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. and then i realized they were stronger than we.”

01. Col. Kurtz (Apocalypse Now; played by Marlon Brando)
well, actually, this is the answer to that last question: you can use your time to make yourself a warlord in the jungles of Indochina. you can base yourself after internationally ridiculous figures like Leon Rom and Tony Poe, disappear into the wilds and just go completely insane with the black clothes and the indigenous tribal army and the passion for weird poetry. i’m just saying that this kind of life wouldn’t be a wasted one.

and now, the inspiration for this post

as i said, this post was randomly inspired by something i purchase recently: this crazy Mini-14:

Mini-14

i had sort of vowed not to purchase any Ruger products (though beyond the excellent Single Six, there’s not much out there that really attracts my attention), but this was a fun used product with which to celebrate this new era of us all freaking out because Obama and Holder want to eat our guns to gain their power. and it’s firmly declared that it’s for “LAW ENFORCEMENT USE ONLY.” i love it when my guns say that.

in which i yell about people having children and/or NFL punting

so we’re going to do this ranting thing again; i know, i know, it’s somewhat of an admission that i don’t have a fully-realized update ready to go, but it’s also better than my threat of making this week’s update a picture of myself lying in bed looking sad with the tagline of “eh, no update this week because janklow is tired, lazy and/or a sad panda.” because not only is that pathetic, but seriously, just the one joke it entails? i can usually get two or three jokes into these things!

ANYWAY, fresh off a week in which i have spent all my free time debating firearm purchases, getting Diageo to pay for my screwdrivers and swearing at a cat (seriously, though, that cat is trash and deserves everything i said about it), here we go with our rants for the week.

why this fucking cat deserves to die

okay, that’s a joke. or, if it’s not a JOKE joke, it’s at least not an actual rant topic. on with the real topics!

Nadya Suleman
and not only is everything she does enraging, but ever photo of her involves some hideous facial expression that only makes me wish additional bad things upon her

why this fucking “octo-mom” deserves to die
link to the story we’re talking about here: Octuplets’ grandfather calls daughter ‘irresponsible’

you know, if i didn’t know any better, i would swear that the “octo-mom,” perhaps better known as Nadya Suleman or some more profanity-laced terms of reference, was an elaborate joke designed to force this reaction from us. she’s having EIGHT children? AND she already had six prior children? AND she doesn’t have a husband or steady boyfriend to help out with them? AND she barely works? AND she’s going to need public assistance after saying she wouldn’t? AND her parents are disgusted with her? seriously, even with this seeming to be a factual (if disgusting) story, i find it very hard to believe that this isn’t an elaborate ruse. i’m waiting for Andy Kaufman to pop out of Nadya’s womb and yell “what an outrageous joke! i even faked my own death 25 years ago to make this happen!”

now, the fact that this situation is so reprehensible makes it a little unnecessary for me to rant in-depth about it; i think we can all agree on some fundamental reactions like a) it annoys us that we’re going to have to pay for this shit, b) it annoys us that anyone – the woman, the doctor, whoever – might have thought this was a good idea, and c) it annoys us that 14-or-so children are going to be brought up or at least affected by this fucking ignorant woman. so let’s just agree that my righteous indignation isn’t wrong and close with this completely relevant quote from the late, great comedian Bill Hicks:

“she doesn’t need children. okay, and that’s a judgment call, and i’m making it, but it also happens to be true, which gives it the force, that extra oomph. she needs no more children. okay? okay. can’t support them, can’t feed them, can’t raise them, don’t even love them! THUNK! bring them on, why don’t you just get the fucking COPS camera and shove it up your pussy and film the little criminal coming out? this is crime prevention! here comes another illiterate, unwanted child! cuff him! can you calm down on your rutting for just a couple of seconds until we figure out this FOOD, AIR deal?”

oh, Bill Hicks, i miss him so much.

bear at a table
while googling “pre-Obama age,” this was one of the results, i kid you not; it seems pretty reasonable that i thus used it here

what the hell is this “pre-Obama age” nonsense i have been hearing about
link to the story we’re talking about here (well, not exactly, but it’s the source of my reference): No One Envies The Real Housewives Of New York City

so i was reading something on the internet that referred to some greedy women as “moldy leftover[s] from the pre-Obama age.” now, while i will NEVER stand in the way of mocking greedy women (seriously, because it’s about my favorite thing to do in life), really, internet, “pre-Obama age?” i refuse to stand idly by and let this nonsense go down without making a fuss about it on the internet where no one will a) hear about it or b) care.

typically, you know, we use the whole “age” thing to refer to notable phases of human development, such as in the cases of the Stone Age or the Iron Age. now we’re comparing our election of Obama (an event probably STILL due more to hating on Bush more than anything else) to the prominent development of iron weaponry? this is simply unacceptable. and to make matters worse, it’s not like we’re looking back from 2016 and saying “wow, what amazing events have happened under Obama’s administration! truly we’ve entered a new age of mankind, a post-Obama age, if you will!” his election is a whopping 107 days old. his presidency is a massive 30 days old. that’s not even a month! nothing has happened of consequence yet! and yet everything is “pre-Obama!” movies are “pre-Obama” movies, politics aren’t supposed to return to “pre-Obama” politics, and the list goes on. what the fuck is all this talk about pre-Obama ages about?

maybe i’m being too cranky in my old age; still, we could probably take this further and just call 2009 “1 AO” for “After Obama” in order to commemorate this most important of moments in human history. look, again, i get it: people love Obama. and people always want to live in the “best ever” or “worst ever” moments of history because they want to feel like they live in interesting times and, thus, their lives matter. i have news for you, internet readers: YOUR LIFE DOES NOT MATTER. neither does mine, and neither do the lives of your friends. we’re just dirt for more important people to grind up as they see fit. suck it up. in keeping with this quoting thing we’ve got going on so far:

“i mean, why do people think that life should always be happy, you know? when i was a little boy, my mother used to sing me a song. it went like this: ‘life is short, life is shit, and soon it will be over.'”

Shane Lechler
…and with that, the football slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of god…

the greatest punter of all time remains an Oakland Raider
link to the story we’re talking about here: Raiders make Lechler highest-paid punter with $16 million deal

okay, there’s no rant here; Shane Lechler is awesome and i’m turbo-pleased that he’ll remain an Oakland Raider for several years to come! and Asomugha also signed a very weird and very complicated deal that compares him to quarterbacks but also locks him down for a few years! yeah! i can feel the rage dissipating already!

…well, until they cruise to another 5-win season and i get annoyed again. still, it’s the off-season and i am going to enjoy it. good times!

THE YEAR IS 2035. YOU ARE IN ENEMY TERRITORY.

since i promised the Internet and/or Ogre that i wouldn’t let this update slide for more than one week, i took a short break from coughing up a lung and journeyed to my parents’ home to look for this turbo-excellent box of books belonging to one of the greatest series of all time, Choose Your Own Adventure, as well as any stray Choose Your Own Adventure books that might be lying around their house. in the process, i found some mysterious D&D “Endless Quest” books that are basically like Choose Your Own Adventure except with a lot more nerd-talk about “revolt of the dwarves” and some kind of “dragon of doom.” yes, you guessed correctly: they are ALSO excellent. but i digress.

if you’re not familiar with the Choose Your Own Adventure series, here’s the relevant internet description: “Choose Your Own Adventure is a series of children’s gamebooks first published by Bantam Books from 1979-1998 and currently being re-published by Chooseco. Each story is written from a second-person point of view, with the reader assuming the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main character’s actions in response to the plot and its outcome. Choose Your Own Adventure was one of the most popular children’s series during the 1980s and 1990s, selling over 250 million copies between 1979 and 1998, and translated into at least 38 languages.” blah blah blah … basically, you flip back and forth through the book trying to avoid some kind of unpleasant literary death.

and since i had a pile of these books that i collected in a box, i figured it would be some kind of fun to rate the 13 best/most ridiculous books in the Choose Your Own Adventure that i own. and maybe make fun of the books a little in the playful way you tease people you like. here we go!

13 MOST RIDICULOUS AND THUS BEST CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE BOOKS THAT JANKLOW OWNS

Vanished!
hey, way to eat the hero of our adventure (that we chose ourselves), giant squid!

13. the Abominable Snowman (book #13, 1982)
tagline: “FACE-TO-FACE WITH THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN!”
reasons this book is awesome: you know, it doesn’t even matter what happens in this book (you search for yetis and find them, or don’t find them, or get denied your permit to enter Nepal) because of two things: it’s book #13 (awesome) and there’s a two-page spread of you and a guide riding an elephant. RIDING AN ELEPHANT! this is the greatest book of all time! there’s also a pretty solid drawing in there of a tiger that eats you if you don’t choose wisely.
favorite ending in this book: so most of the endings are what you expect, and some involve you getting saved by a yeti (that runs off) or seeing a yeti (and having no film). ho-hum. there’s one, though, where you walk around a corner and come face-to-face with a trio of yetis that proceed to shoot you with a cannon. yes, that’s right, with an ancient bronze cannon. why the fuck this happens i have no idea.

12. the Dragon’s Den (book #33, 1984)
tagline: “TREASURE AWAITS YOU IN THE DRAGON’S DEN!”
reasons this book is awesome: because treasure is being phrased in such a hostile fashion? no, but seriously, it’s an adventure where you help a wizard and a girl dressed as a boy look for treasure or something; there’s also a villain who inexplicably comes from the future and packs a pistol, which gets confusing because it’s implied he’s from the modern world, yet i KNOW our past didn’t include swarms of dwarfs or dragons. also, even as a child, i took issue with the fact that a description of dwarfs with crossbows was paired with a drawing of dwarfs with bows. how annoying!
favorite ending in this book: i’m not going to go with a crazy ending this time when i can choose one where dwarfs give me gold nuggets and i survive… unless it’s the ending where the dwarfs bust out their little crossbows and shoot you full of arrows that are small, but deadly!

11. the Third Planet from Altair (book #7, 1980)
tagline: “THIS DARING SPACE MISSION COULD BE YOUR FINEST – OR IT COULD BE YOUR LAST!”
reasons this book is awesome: well, it certainly seems like the opposite of awesome, because the cover depicts a rather lame-ass space crew clad in terrible, terrible spacesuits and flying the least reasonable spaceship design of all time … while you get eaten by a space-plant of some type. why would i want to read a book where it’s implied i can’t even handle the NON-sentient life in space? it’s only going to get worse when i meet giant rat beasts or hungry blobs!
favorite ending in this book: well, space involves a lot of depressing scenarios, mostly involving your ship flying into a black hole or self-destructing, but there’s this one ending where you wait too long to go into hibernation and thus you hang out in space being super-depressed and dying of it. now THAT is my kind of ending!

10. the Horror Of High Ridge (book #27, 1983)
tagline: “WHAT IS THE HORRIBLE SECRET OF HIGH RIDGE?”
reasons this book is awesome: you know, on closer inspection, i’m not sure i ever read this book when i was young; there’s a lot of talk about ghosts and Indians and prospectors and it all seems very foreign to me. but from what i can tell, it’s filled with bloody encounters with ghost Indians, and that right there sounds pretty damn awesome!
favorite ending in this book: okay, as you can probably imagine, the most gory deaths in any Choose Your Own Adventure aren’t described in detail and aren’t shown in picture form; however, in THIS book, there’s an ending where you get killed by prospectors with guns. fair enough… except there’s also a drawing of you and your two young friends catching a SWARM of bullets in your Jeep; you’re flying all over the place and there’s no blood, but it’s still crazy. and the other death endings (knives stabbing you, you flying off cliffs) seem comparable. wow, i SHOULD have read this book.

War With The Evil Power Master
if there’s one thing we can deduce from this cover, it’s that gunfights in the future will involve aliens that simply adore short shorts

09. the Phantom Submarine (book #26, 1983)
tagline: “TACKLE TERROR BENEATH THE WAVES!”
reasons this book is awesome: okay, it’s got a crazy story about you adventuring underwater in a crazy manta-ray-shaped submarine named, oddly enough, the Manta, and that’s cool. but what’s mostly awesome is that inside this book i found an old 1988 football card declaring “[Los Angeles Rams QB] Everett races downfield.” wow, THIS is the single football from my youth that didn’t get stolen or destroyed? awesome. as a downside, in this book, you’re portrayed in the pictures as a girl, which i frankly think is a little lame.
favorite ending in this book: well, you’re constantly getting trapped and crushed underwater in this book, but i do like the alternative twist on the bad ending where you end up working in the titanium mines of some lobster-looking aliens called Erboltians. and i think i know some guys that believe those aliens are real…

08. the Mystery Of The Highland Crest (book #34, 1984)
tagline: “IS THE CREST A BLESSING – OR A DEADLY CURSE?”
reasons this book is awesome: for the most part, i think i recall the crest – some Scottish thing with a weird bird on it and the motto “Dread Wisely” – being a blessing, but these things can go both ways. in any event, i think this book is a large portion of why i find Scottish stuff off-putting and creepy: you’re always having fatal run-ins with an angry ghost, and faeries are all OVER this goddamn book. which brings us to a common dilemma in faerie-related things: if they’re bad, you’re in trouble, but if they’re good … well, it’s not very manly when faeries help you out.
favorite ending in this book: you’re CONSTANTLY falling out of windows (or maybe into a basement) in this book, which really indicates that the clan motto should be “WINDOWS CAN BE TROUBLE,” or having your remains never found. but i guess i prefer the one where my remains are never found AND faeries are fucking around with bulldozers. oh Scotland, you’re so ridiculous.

07. Invaders Of The Planet Earth (book #70, 1987)
tagline: “CAN YOU SAVE THE EARTH FROM ALIEN INVADERS?”
reasons this book is awesome: we can start and stop with the cover: despite the fact that the plot has you fighting furiously against alien invaders, the cover has you strolling in a red sweater and jeans as piles of aliens take escalators out of an alien ship … and then appear to FREAK OUT when they see you. this does not strike me as the most daunting of alien invasions. also, these aliens have somehow banned electricity and your weapon in the book is something called a “gravbar” that looks like a futuristic zip gun but apparently shoots a disintegration beam or something. things can get wild in the implausible future!
favorite ending in this book: despite the fact that i personally love to freedom-fight against aliens, i ADORE the ending where i become a traitor working for the Taurons (bad aliens) and zoom around in a stereotypical UFO blasting Vorkians (good aliens) and their spaceships into fireballs. it’s depicted with an awesome drawing in the book … and i get a medal!

06. the Cave Of Time (book #1, 1979)
tagline: “YOU ARE THE HERO OF YOUR OWN ADVENTURE”
reasons this book is awesome: okay, beyond the fact that the tagline is weirdly generic (though it IS the first book in the series, so that might help make some sense of the matter), let’s just note that it involves you adventuring in a cave that exists outside of time and space. i’m not sure how i was supposed to make sense of this when i was about 7, but apparently i did. also, if you play your cards right, you might just get a chance to hang out with Abraham Lincoln. one downside, however, is that i’m not a huge fan of the protagonist’s “green sweater and jeans” look.
favorite ending in this book: the one where i build a thriving printing business and it “begins to look as if the Eighteenth Century is a pretty good time for you to be alive.” it’s WAY more ridiculous than the generic “bad endings” where you get eaten by the Loch Ness Monster or killed by Chinese people.

Escape
in which you appear to be escaping from some kind of gigantic (if totalitarian) flower

05. Vanished! (book #60, 1986)
tagline: “WILL YOU BE LOST FOREVER IN THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE?”
reasons this book is awesome: because while the premise starts the same – your friend has gone missing in the Bermuda Triangle and you take a plane out to look for her – the encounters are incredibly varied: deadly waterspouts and seiches, versions of yourself from the future, robots from the even more distant future, fish people from beneath the sea, angry shirtless pirates, and ghost pirates (pirates who are ghosts, not ghosts who are pirates). it’s also cool that the book’s title involves an exclamation point!
favorite ending in this book: okay, so it’s hard to top ghost pirates… but then again, there’s also an ending where you get attacked and eaten by a giant squid (your friend does escape, as i recall). and everyone knows i think giant squid are awesome. what’s even MORE awesome is that this sad, fatal ending is depicted on the cover of the book.

04. Terror Island (book #59, 1986)
tagline: “CAN YOU STOP THE OMICRON MASTERS?”
reasons this book is awesome: oh, i LOVE it when the taglines just make you MORE confused about what’s going to happen in this book, which involves you getting marooned on one Bounty Island, where there’s something called the Omicron Masters who are working on “mind control and genetic mutation.” in practice, this seems to involve adventures with anti-gravity devices, the creation of Tyrannosaurus Rexes and getting attacked by teams of mind-controlled tigers that wear special matching helmets. the cover of the book also seems to imply there’s a vampire that fought for Japan in World War II involved, but i couldn’t actually find one in the book.
favorite ending in this book: so it’s pretty ridiculous to get attacked and killed by a swarm of helmet-wearing tigers, which can (and does) happen in the book. but what’s MORE ridiculous is to get attacked (and theoretically killed) by a swarm of helmet-wearing RATS.

03. War With The Evil Power Master (book #37, 1984)
tagline: “WILL YOU SAVE THE UNIVERSE FROM TOTAL DESTRUCTION?”
reasons this book is awesome: so the tagline is already awesome… and the title is already additionally awesome… and the cover features you and your alien sidekick (who wears short shorts) shooting an evil alien in the chest with a laser (said alien is wearing He-Man pants) under the smiling face of the Evil Power Master. the major things i have learned from this book are a) aliens in the future will NEVER wear more than one article of clothing and b) even though there’s an Evil Power Master (and that’s his full name, he’s not just an evil Power Master), there doesn’t appear to be a Good Power Master. sad.
favorite ending in this book: …having just said that, there’s an ending where you cave in and side with the Evil Power Master because you’re not sure he’s really evil. (he is.) however, i prefer the ending where you join up with a super-intelligent robot, which appears in a picture hovering and seemingly giving you a high-five.

02. Escape (book #20, 1983)
tagline: “THE YEAR IS 2035. YOU ARE IN ENEMY TERRITORY.”
reasons this book is awesome: well, for starters, i actually thought this book was called Sabotage (there is a book in this series called that) and that i couldn’t find it, which concerned me because this book is TURBO-RIDICULOUS. how so? well, here’s how it starts: “the year is A.D. 2035. a combination of civil wars and foreign attacks has split the United States into three hostile political areas–Dorado, Rebellium and Turtalia.” AWESOME. and you’re an spy mission leader escaping from Dorado (the evil country in the former US). and not only do you adventure in a futuristic plane from 1997, but also awesome is the fact that where i hail from – Rebellium, or “all territory east of the Mississippi” – is a “haphazard collection of minor city states” that’s not helpful. i choose to assume this means janklow himself could be running his own city state in 2035.
favorite ending in this book: there’s this one ending where you don’t risk using a jeep and head off into the desert, but here’s the thing: it’s completely ambiguous. you don’t know if you live or die or escape or not. it declares “good luck” and leave it at that! “good luck?” i wanted a real ending! anyway, awesome.

Space Vampire
are you a bad enough dude to stop a space vampire? eh, probably not. look how much smaller and weaker you are!

01. Space Vampire (book #71, 1987)
tagline: “ONLY YOU CAN STOP A SPACE VAMPIRE FROM LANDING ON EARTH!”
reasons this book is awesome: really, i even have to explain why SPACE VAMPIRE is the best of all possible scenarios? okay, if there was a “rocket zombie,” MAYBE it would be in contention… but what we have here is space vampires and the related scenarios, and that is plenty good enough, even if the book doesn’t top it all off with a drawing of an elephant. the only real downside to this book is that the protagonist is constantly drawn as looking like a moronic douchebag. and best of all, unlike some of these books, where you can do wild and random things, there’s NO WAY you can avoid a vampire confrontation.
favorite ending in this book: most endings involve the vampire drinking your blood or preparing to drink your blood. duh. but i like it best when he gets loose on Earth; it’s like the Alien IV i never got, only with vampires!

so there we go with a glimpse into my childhood. i hope there were associated jokes.

on-set rants, tax issues and a little light homosexual blackmail

originally, this update was going to involve my tracking down of all the Choose Your Own Adventure books i could find that i owned as a child and then ranking them and mocking them and all that. this might sound like a whole lot of nonsense, but hey, that’s how these listicles develop: we discover we have no real topic for the week (i make this excuse a lot), we rush around furiously trying to think of something, we drink some alcohol and we settle on some kind of a random list. but in fairness, i was floating the idea for a day or so and i think those books are a) awesome and b) ridiculous, so i better not dump all over this for when i use the idea next week.

ANYWAY, i forgot to go dig out that box of books and so i guess i’m going to have to settle for cracking wise about things i see in the news on the internet. i’ll get as worked up as possible and swear and, in the end, if Ogre had lived, isn’t that what he would have wanted? wait a minute… he IS alive. well, scratch that last part.

Christian Bale
note: i am contractually obligated to use an American Psycho picture when talking about Christian Bale going crazy

Christian Bale losing his goddamn mind on a movie set
link to the story we’re talking about here (well, sort of): Christian Bale – the dark side of the star of Batman’s Dark Knight

basically, this gist of the story is this: Christian Bale was filming this fourth Terminator movie (he must need the money for charitable purposes or to buy a castle or SOMETHING) when a cinematographer walked into a shot or something and caused Bale to lose his fucking mind. now, whatever, it’s celebrity gossip to a large extent and maybe Bale’s prone to tantrums and maybe this cinematographer is equally bitchy to crew on movies and deserved it, who cares. i don’t care very much about it, except, i suppose, to make two comments about it:

01. sorry, random guys working with him, but Christian Bale is allowed to scream at you however and whenever he likes, because he’s awesome. he could randomly leap from the bushes outside my home and berate me profanely for several minutes, and all i would say is “you know what? you are the best Batman ever. FUCK Michael Keaton.” in fact, i would find the tirade oddly endearing: he’s of Welsh descent and apparently likes to FLIP OUT, and both of those apply to myself as well! hooray! in short, it will not stop me from watching and/or complementing his work. hell, if i was working on Terminator IV, i would probably be screaming at everyone all the time.

02. as you may remember from a post about feminism, i love to hate Gloria Steinem. so when the above linked article mentioned this: “Gloria liked to pontificate and was going on about something for ages at the dinner table one night. Christian suddenly let out a huge sigh and said, ‘For God’s sake woman, shut up!”
…well, what else could i say about it but “like i said, Christian Bale can do no wrong.”

Barack Obama
yes, i know this blurb is not about Obama himself; i just like to use ridiculous Obama photos whenever possible

Barack Obama’s Cabinet nominees do not believe in paying taxes
link to the [latest permutation of the] story we’re talking about here: Vote delayed for Labor nominee Solis after husband’s tax problems revealed

okay, let me be clear here: i don’t want to pile on and start bitching and moaning about the Obama administration because a) it hasn’t even been in office a month and b) it’s just tacky. when even my fairly conservative grandfather is complaining that his right-wing talking heads should just give it a rest – seriously, he’s been famously bitter about Obama’s election while ALSO hating on Hannity and others who trashed Obama relentlessly before he even took office, so this all cracks me up – well, hey, i think that means we all know it’s in poor form.

but that being said, let me run down the list of Obama nominees that have had tax issues develop during the confirmation process: Tim Geithner, Nancy Killefer, Tom Daschle and now Hilda Solis (i don’t know what you classify Bill Richardson’s issues as, but i guess it’s not EXACTLY a tax issue). that’s what, three secretaries and a “performance czar” with tax issues?

now granted, okay, i understand that every nominee has SOMETHING to pick at, and at least in Killefer’s case, we’re talking about a small amount of money. but really, when part of your selling point for all this HOPE and CHANGE is that you’re much more competent than the previous guys, isn’t it a little odd that so many nominees have tax issues? where’s the background investigations? when you add in some of the other hiccups (like, say, Bill Richardson), this whole thing seems as well put together as, say, the concept of nominating Sarah Palin as a VP candidate. wow, what a mess THAT was.

Corgi puppies
you know what? i’m not even TRYING to come up with a photo for this last story; here are some puppies instead

some random kid in Wisconsin somehow blackmailing teens into repeated homosexual acts
link to the story we’re talking about here (well, sort of): Police: Teen Used Facebook To Blackmail Students Into Sex Acts

now, we all know that the internet is the most evil thing ever devised (seriously, i mean that, there’s no joke here) and thus it’s always good to throw up a story on the local news about how MySpace is getting our teenagers killed by sexual predators or how Facebook is making them illiterate or whatever. actually, i’m not saying these stories are wrong, just that they’re cynical attempts to grab ratings and not the real concern for the human race that flows forth from my keyboard. but THIS particular story… well, it’s pretty crazy.

apparently this kid (he’s 18, so we can name him as Anthony Stancl) e-mailed some bomb threats to his high school, and when that was getting investigated, investigators uncovered an elaborate plot… to force male students into having sex. so far, i’m sure you’re thinking “you have to FORCE male teenagers into having sex?” well, it turns out that Stancl posed as a girl on Facebook in order to trick these males into sending him naked photos or videos… and then he would use those photos and videos to force them into having sex with him. yeah. you know what? let me just quote this part of the article:

“Investigators said when they confiscated the 18-year-old’s computer, they found 600 professionally made images of child pornography and more than 300 photos and movie clips of fellow male New Berlin students. Many of them were nude. Investigators said Stancl used the social networking site Facebook to pose as a female and persuade the male students into e-mailing him nude photos of themselves in exchange for nude pictures of who they thought was a female.

Police said it all came to light when a 15-year-old boy came forward and told them he was repeatedly forced into sex acts with Stancl, who took pictures of the encounters. Police said Stancl blackmailed at least seven boys ranging in age from 15 to 19, forcing them into sexual encounters that happened in the high school bathroom, parking lot and area parks.

Authorities believe these students aren’t the only ones. “We do believe there are additional victims,” New Berlin Police Lt. Mike Glider said. “Don’t suffer in silence; you’re not alone.”

okay, so here are the comments that follow THAT:
01. didn’t these boys think anything of it when the blackmailer started taking MORE photos of the homosexual acts? if he blackmailed you into homosexuality with a mere nude photo, can you imagine what he can do with photos of you giving him oral sex in “the high school bathroom, parking lot and area parks?”
02. additional victims, you know what? suffer in silence, because i have to assume that a batch of those boys are closet homosexuals. now, look, i feel bad for these kids because this is going to be a huge story at their high school and they will be mocked and taunted until the other students get tired. however, while i can’t see myself sending anyone a nude photo (mostly because of my “never take off your clothes” policy), if i HAD done so, and if the person that had it was saying “if you don’t blow me in a bathroom stall, i will release the photo,” i would have to say “you know what? release that shit.”

anyway, next week: Choose Your Own Adventure! or something like that, i have to go to the dentist and so i might be filled with wonderful drugs.