Tuesday, October 24, 2006

How to not get sued on Halloween

In a society that is as litigiously obsessed as ours, one can never be too careful. As the internet and its various file-sharing controversies (Napster, Youtube, et al) have demonstrated, people everywhere are willing to sue at the drop of a hat in order to vigorously defend their copyrights and trademarks, regardless of how invaluable they may be.

Sadly, the once-innocent joyous holiday of Halloween has fallen prey to this same "sue-happy" zietgeist. Time was, a kid could just dress up as Frankenstein's Monster or Dracula and call it a day. Now their candy-gathering revelry would be ruined by a lawyer from the estate of Bram Stoker serving them with papers or Sara Karloff (granddaughter of Boris and a big fan of suing people) chasing them down the block threatening to take them to court for their fun-size Snickers.

But we at Blogfot care about you, our loyal readers. Thus, we present a couple of costume examples that would stand up to scrutiny in any court in the land.

First up is one I spotted a couple of years ago at a costume store, and it made me laugh out loud. Thankfully, it can still be found on the internet today. It's called, in a stroke of brilliant duplicity, the "Wizard Boy Wig."

Say hello to "Larry Trotter", student of the mystic arts.
He may or may not be British, and his mail is
delivered to him by a duck.

Just to be clear, this is in no way meant to be a popular boy wizard of literary origin that has spun off a bunch of successful movies from a series of best-selling books that are protected by copyright. No sir, that is not what this is at all. This is a "Wizard Boy Wig." Just what it sounds like. If there was such a thing as a boy wizard, he might comb his hair like this. Lots of kids have bangs, don't they? That's all we're saying. Furthermore, said kid may need glasses to correct an astigmatism he might have, and if he did, he might look like this. So move along shysters, and take your legal writs with you. Absolutely nothing to see here.

Next up we have a costume that manages to be funny and yet tweak antiquated male expectations of femininity at the same time: the "Humorous Grand Ole Opry Star Costume", made available to consumers via the cunning legal minds at Party America.

As you can see, the costume gives its wearer humongous boobs and a giant bouffant of obviously peroxided hair. How ludricrous is that! Surely such a thing doesn't exist in real life. A character such as this could only be the stuff of fantasy. Just think, you could wear this costume to a Halloween party and charm everyone with your southern twang and sassy, straight-talking personality. Then you could grab a guitar and sing some of your own completely made-up country/western hits. Here's some ideas / suggestions for songs to get you started: you could sing a song about harassment in the workplace called "8 to 4." That would be good. Or perhaps a sensitive ballad about eternal devotion titled "I Will Forever Have Strong Feelings For You." Then, as a finale, you could pluck a male party-goer from the crowd (preferably a white haired, bearded one) and sing a duet about togetherness, maybe titled "Small Partially Sunken Pieces of Land in the River" or something like that. It'll be a blast.

So there you go. You are now legally informed and should be able to avoid any costume litigation. Happy Halloween-ing!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Element 118 is here

Or actually, it was here. For all of 1-1000th of a second.

The New York Times is reporting that "a team of Russian and American scientists said yesterday that it had created the heaviest element ever seen in a laboratory, a dab of matter that lasted for less than one-thousandth of a second but would add an entry at the farthest reaches of the periodic table and suggest that strange new elements may lie beyond."

Awesome. "Element 118." They had better not name it anything else, because you can't get much cooler than "Element 118." I guess "Element X" would be cooler, but I believe that was already coined by the nefarious villain Dr. Who is the classic Toho Studios production "King Kong Escapes." That's the one where the good Doctor creates a giant mechanical ape to dig said radioactive material out the antarctic ice so that he can sell it to the highest bidder on the international black market. Why build a giant mechanical ape to do this, you ask? Fool! You lack vision! Because if you're going to go through the trouble of making a giant, walking robot to do your bidding, you might as well go that extra mile and give it the face of a gorilla. It's what seperates the the artisan from the mere journeyman.

In the very near future Element 118 will be refined and ready
for use in various consumer-based applications, such as providing
fuel for a fleet of giant, labor-saving gorilla robots.

I'm also pretty interested in the quote referring to the farthest reaches of the periodic table suggesting that "strange new elements may lie beyond." I suspect they are referring to Flubber, or possibly a higher grade of Silly Putty that is safe to eat. Time will tell.

Thanks to Boing Boing for the link.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Graphic Design 101

The above movie poster is a rare example of perfect visual communication. In this age of photoshop trickery and distressed type, Bauhaus-inspired design such as this truly stands out from the over art-directed tripe that clogs the visual landscape.

All the important information is present, and laid out in a heirarchy that leaves no question unanswered, even at a glance. To wit: Tom Hanks and Adrian Zmed are starring in a movie called "Bachelor Party." Tom Hanks is the groom (they cannily put him in a tuxedo to indicate this). His zany friends (mouths agape / brandishing alcoholic beverages) are rarin' to go, but Hanks appears shocked, perhaps even reluctant to participate in the bacchanalia, which adroitly suggests a rich emotional backstory (one that the film delivered on in spades). Also clearly communicated is that women will be present, presumably in a state of undress, as conveyed by the stocking-clad female's legs in the foreground. With this, the viewer is informed that the women in this film will be "rarin' to go" as well. In other words, tits & ass will be served, presumably in copious amounts.

The type choice could hardly be considered an afterthought, either. It is colorful and bouyant. Direct, yet celebrational. It clearly says "party." The streamers and confetti are more examples of the tiny-yet-not-inconsequential brushstrokes that bring this rich canvas to life.

Taken in totality, the message is undeniably clear: some crazy shit is about to go down.

Design students and would-be-practitioners, study this well and take note.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm torn

I'm in the market for some new shoes. But I'm tired of rocking the same old New Balance sneakers, so I decided to get some ape shoes. You know, the shoes worn in the "Planet of the Apes" series of films...shoes that are molded with a thumb-like digit on the side to make it look like the wearer has ape feet. Here's where my dilemma comes in.

Pictured above are the chimp feet (chimps being the scientists and citizens in the films), which clearly look ape-like. But they're made of suede, a material which isn't exacty famous for being resilient to the elements, a concern since I reside in the midwest. Also, I'm not super-enthused by the Peter Pan-esque green color they come in, as I believe for the most part that shoes should be black or brown.

And here are some boots, as worn by the gorillas, the soldiers / military arm of industrial-agro ape complex, which certainly fit my boot-wearing idiom. But to be honest they look more like camel feet. Camel toes, if you will. But being constructed of traditional leather, they would certainly wear better than the sueded chimp feet, and also look better with denim, my pant fabric of choice.

I'm clearly going to have to give this some more thought.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hail Samson

As this year marks the 25th anniversary of his passing, I thought I should take a minute to pay my respects to Samson, the mammoth gorilla who ruled the Milwaukee County Zoo from 1950-1981. Samson was truly a Milwaukee icon, easily besting other pretenders to the throne such as Bob Uecker, The Culligan Man and "Bowling Game" host Howard "One Nut" Guernette (look it up). Samson was featured on mugs, t-shirts city bus passes, etc...they even showed him on the local evening news eating special holiday meals year after year. Dude ruled that 'burg. And when he died, it was front page news. And I mean lead story, right-under-the-masthead front page news.

Samson came to the Milwaukee Zoo from Cameroon in 1951 and soon became a zoo favorite, right up until his death from a massive heart attack on November 27, 1981, a dark day in my life (An autopsy showed that Samson had suffered 5 previous heart attacks that had gone undetected! Samson was tough.). Although Milwacky does have its weak spots, its zoo is not one of them. It has a great reputation, and deservedly so. I mean, come on...it has Monkey Island.

Do not drink the water around Monkey Island, as it is 87% poop.

At his peak, Samson weighed 652 pounds (the average weight for an adult male gorilla is 400-450 lbs). And he was grouchy. He sat on his throne ( which was actually a scale ) glowering at the slack-jawed yokels like a hirsute Archie Bunker, and was famous for rushing at the glass and pounding on it. I saw him do this many times, and it was impressive to say the least. But he was in actuality pretty docile and quite attached to his long-time handler, a fellow named Sam Mamalfa. They tried to mate him (Samson, not Sam) in 1975, but Samson would have none of it, apparently deciding that a monastic existence suited him best.

Samson's skeleton is now kept on display at the Milwaukee County Museum, where a new exhibit dedicated to him will soon be unveiled. Yeah! Samson like a mu-fucka! The exhibit will include the skeleton, video footage of Samson at the zoo, a death mask made of his face and more. A sculptor is also making a full-body replica of him, and you can watch a video diary of that here. Info on the exhibit itself and more about this legendary brute can be found here.

I did not know that

Did you know that more men have walked on the moon ( 11 ) than have flown jetpacks? And that there are currently only 4 working jetpacks in the world? And that jetpacks are actually referred to as "rocketbelts" by flight cognescenti? I didn't know any of these things, but now I do, thanks to this article on slate.com about the world's first rocketbelt convention, which was recently held at the Niagra Aerospace Museum.

The featured guests were a bunch of old leathery fellas who spent their lives in the steadfast and unwavering pursuit of a dream: to rise in a wobbly fashion 20 feet off the ground and then surge forward at a speed of 6 mph, ignoring the other easier, cheaper and safer forms of transporation that society had to offer.

"Why, it seems like only yesterday that Larry "Buster" Crabbe and
I would go fishing together. Or was it whoring? I need a nap."

And if you thought comic book conventions were rife with obsessed weirdos (which they are), this convention sounds like a similarly blue-balled affair, as the article states that "the rocketbelt builders who gathered in Niagara tended to have plenty of garage space, a good set of tools, and an understanding wife (one rocketbelt builder was with his on their honeymoon). A few came with their works-in-progress in tow—none functional yet, but all promised to be "95 percent there."

Which begs the question: what is the missing 5% of a super-dangerous device?

Blogfoot trudges onward

Congratulations to me, Senor Blogfoot, for on this past Sunday this scrappy little site received its 5,000 visit. No, that is not a typo. 5000. In conclusion, I would to thank my 19 readers for checking in 47 times a day since our inception a mere 7 months ago.

Blogfoot birthday tip

My birthday is fast approaching, and you're all probably wondering what to get me. Well, wonder no more: simply harness the staggering search power of the internet and find me one of these battery-operated remote-control Yeti toys from the 1960's. It should only run you somewhere in the $400-$800 range, but I'm worth it. Barring that, I also enjoy cookies and cupcakes.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Fonz will teach you how to honk

Apparently at some point in the 80's there was a sweeping public safety initiative that decided the best way to keep children safe was to teach them how make a sound like a bull moose in heat whenever danger threatened. And then the powers that be took this further and brought in the one man who had his finger (thumb?) on the pulse of America's youth but could still give this topic some much-need gravitas: Arthur Fonzarelli. And it worked great, as everyone can remember. To this day in fact, children from coast-to-coast can be heard honking whenever danger rears its head.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I'm gonna get me some chickens

I recently was told and have confirmed that it's perfectly legal for me to have live chickens on my property in the sleepy (well, sleepy except for the K-Fed-esque assface who drives up and down the block pumping the bass in his Delta '88) hamlet of St. Anthony Village, Minnesota. And I really want to take advantage of this. I want some chickens. I want fresh eggs, and I want to throw feed around my yard and let them peck at it. Our back porch or yard has ample room for a coop, and I think the chickens might chase my wife's chihuahua around, which would be funny. The only problem that I can see is that the neighbors across the street have some foxes living under their porch. This may necessitate the purchase of a shotgun, which I could fire as I burst forth from the back door in my overalls when they try and storm my hen house.

Building a handsome coop such as this should be snap.
I may have to go with something more modern / pre-fab, though.

Now I just have to figure out where to get some chicks. I could even try and get a show bird and enter it in some contests. I already own a copy of "The Standard of Perfection", which is the bible for selecting, breeding and judging prize-winning poultry. "Your Chickens: A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing" also seems like a tome that would be chock-full of invaluable tips.

And for any neighbors (or wife) that may be nervously reading this and fearing that a loudly crowing rooster will soon be shattering the tranquility of our 'hood, take heart: one does not need a rooster to produce eggs! Hens produce eggs in response to day light patterns. In other words, the eggs we buy in the store are not fertilized (meaning they don’t hatch), because a rooster did not "make love" to the hen. Most hens that lay grocery store eggs have never seen a rooster, and an unfertilized egg will not grow into a chicken, no matter how long you sit on it and care for it.

Chickens are interesting to me because unlike other animals, there is absolutely no glimmer of intelligence in their eyes. You can look at dog or a cat, or a gorilla, or an elephant, and divine some sort of reasoning going on therein, however rudimentary. No suck luck with chickens. They are just dumb. Moronic, even. I think even frogs are smarter. It's impossible to even get a chicken to look at you and recognize that you exist (I've tried). They just snap their heads around, cluck, screech, flap, and peck. The perfect pet! I've read that they grow more attached to an owner over time, though it's most likely just a basic response to recognizing a food source. I guess we'll see.

More on this as it develops.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Famous last words

"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."
-Francisco ("Pancho") Villa

"Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies."
-Voltaire, when asked by a priest to renounce Satan on his deathbed

"I have a terrific headache."
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage

"Don't disturb my circles!"

"Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius. Will you remember to pay the debt?"

"My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go."
-Oscar Wilde

Choose wisely

Some interesting figures I recently happened upon:

Estimated cost of raising one child and putting them through college: $297,000.00

Estimated cost of maintaining a chimpanzee in captivity for 60 years: $300,000.00

That's pretty close, dollar-wise. To make a decision as whether or not to get a chimp or have a child, you'd have to consider other factors. Pros and cons, if you will. Both look adorable in striped shirts and suspenders. Both can learn to ride a tricycle. And both can do a rudimentary imitation of applause. But only the chimp can successfully execute a backflip. Then again, the odds are good that the chimp will attempt to tear your balls off when it reaches a certain age in order to assume the dominant place in your famial heirarchy.

A head-to-head comparison of a baby chimpanzee and an actual human baby.
The chimp is obviously much cuter.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the above child / college estimate is just that: an estimate. It's based on the most updated college costs projections I could find, which are for the year 2020. If you had a child now, he/she would not be entering their first year of college until 2024, at which point first year tuition would probably be another 28% higher, and the same goes for the subsequent 3 years.

A chimp on the other hand, can make you money. That's right. You can charge people to come look at it, or you could rent it out to a monkey wrangler who could get roles in commercials, movies or TV shows. And the cost of carrots and Monkey Chow will certainly remain more stable than always-escalating college costs.

There you go. You have the information. What you do with it is entirely up to you.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Superhero birthday party

It's Professor X's birthday, so what do you do to mark the occasion?
Simple: crank the tunes and call the Sub-Mariner, Thor, Hulk and the boys over for some brewskis and some innocent man-on-man pool wrestling.