September 27, 2006

Oh Dear God, They’re Coming Back!

As fads come and go, each one leaves its indelible mark on our culture. From Skip-it to the PT Cruiser to autoerotic asphyxiation, fads breed fond memories of a simpler, more idyllic existence.

Somewhere in the last twenty years, however, trendomotrists began to notice a new pattern in fads. The ancient Mayans viewed time as cyclical, and their fads—rock juggling, gold hoarding, and a primitive game where you get slaughtered by invading Spaniards—tended to recur.

Similarly, our own nostalgic infatuations are beginning to get a second life as so-called “retro trends.” As evidenced by the grossly distended tattoo of Alfred E. Newman on your upper arm, some fads do not age well, but in our ever-expanding appetite for the newest, latest trends, Americans have nevertheless taken to that most creative of all endeavors: taking something that already exists and making it cool again. Maybe with a flame decal or something.

It’s a lot like digesting food, draining it of all nutrients, crapping it out in a steaming pile, letting it ripen for a couple decades in a chest of old Tiger Beat magazines and Meatloaf cassette tapes, then devouring it whole once again. Our high-speed, low-fi, high-tech, broadband generation is so desperate for new trends that we will gladly ravage our own cultural past, like huddled vagrants picking through a pile of corpses, or a kid going into Hot Topic.

Using sophisticated cultural predictors, a DVD Box Set of every episode of Saved by The Bell: The College Years, and one huge bag of weed, we were able to predict which of the fads from our own youth are likely to come back…to the extreme. Hang on to your Ring-Pops, kids, as we explore the Oroboros-like future/past amalgam that passes for our lives.


Ah, the pog. That loveliest of small paper discs, spangled with an action-packed artist’s depiction of a surfer “carving” waves, or perhaps an iconic and popularity-inducing eight ball. What better way to pass the time than wrest No Fear pogs from the greasy clutches of your greedy, hoarding “friends?” And when it comes to stopping a bottle of Pineapple Orange Guava juice, nothing else will do. They’re stackable, tradeable, and technically edible. That, and I heard that the thin laminate coating can be scraped off and smoked. I’m not saying to do it or anything, I’m just saying that’s what I heard.

Although the game was originally meant as a holy recreation of God’s righteous destruction of the Tower of Babel, Pogs quickly devolved into a schoolyard competition of seeing who can more efficiently whale the shit out of a stack of paper with a giant metal coin, or “slammer.” The boy with the biggest slammer often has the competitive edge (and yes, it is a boy, because no girl has the destructive urge, the sheer will for meaningless violence necessary to becoming a true pog champion). And if that slammer happens to have a hologram-style flaming skull decal, well, you can bet that lucky boy is going to be receiving some congratulatory blowjobs after the match.

Slap Bracelets

These little gems combined the haut couture of neon eighties prints with the excitement of light bondage. In terms of articles that are as fun to put on as they are to wear, the slap bracelet is rivaled only by the flavored dental dam. They had an extremely broad appeal. Boys enjoyed their dynamic snapping action and ability to be thrown at any vaguely cylindrical object, while girls reveled in using rhinestones, glitter, sequins and the like to decorate their bracelets with words and designs. Young boys later adopted this method, chasing girls down and slapping "branding" bracelets on a chosen female, thereby claiming her future ovum.

However, slap bracelets began to lose popularity in the late nineties, when the first batches started to age, shedding their protective nylon coatings and becoming little more than coiled hoops of rusted, serrated metal designed to be violently and repeatedly wrapped around the wrist. While the resulting minor cuts helped spawn the LiveJournal emo trend, they meant the death knell for slap bracelets. With the recent advent of superior synthetic fibers, it is hoped that the improved slap bracelet designs currently being tested by NASA scientists will undergo a Renaissance in the near future.

That Beer Commercial Where the Guys Say “Wasssssuuuuup!”

It started a revolution. It became a national obsession. And it’s still as funny today as ever. That commercial where the guys say “Wasssssuuuuup!” will forever stand beside comedy legends like Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” character, Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine, and Farrell’s “Glass Case of Emotion” monologue. The freshness and staying power of the sketch spoke to the freshness and incoherence engendered by that particular beer. Guys who scream “Wasssssuuuuup,” we salute thee, and eagerly await your predicted return in the guise of a commercial where you say “Whaaaaaaat? Okaaaaaay!”

That Bud Commercial Where the Frogs Say “Bud. Weis. Er.”

As transcendent as the beer commercial where the guys say “Wasssssuuuuup!” is, it does not represent the pinnacle of beer-related humor. No, that spot is reserved for a trio of amphibious Budweiser enthusiasts with the audacity and farsightedness to have uttered the syllables that comprise the name of said beer brand. All I can say is, I’ve got the Budweiser frog poster, bed sheets, and beer cozy, and I’m well on my way to a crippling alcohol dependency. Thank you, Budweiser frogs. With any luck, you and your cousins, the guys who say “Whasssssuuuuup!” will soon be on top once again.

Beanie Babies

Remember when you laughed at morons paying thousands of dollars for misshapen sacks of beans? Good times, right? The Beanie Baby Empire is due for a Second Coming, and when Ally the Alligator descends to cleanse us of our sins, none shall be spared…from cuddles! From Hairy the spider to American Blessing, the American Flag bear who prays for those killed in the 9/11 attacks, Beanie Babies are nothing if not adorable, jingoistic, and vaguely disquieting.

In the trend to come, however, the market for Beanie Babies will no longer be limited to abandoned grandmothers trying to fill their lives with something other than loneliness. Instead, they will come to represent the ideal product for a quickly emerging cross section of society: the furry pedophile. Furries, of course, being that sect of freakish sexual deviants who get their depraved kicks by making love in oversized mascot suits or rubbing one out at the sneak preview of Over the Hedge, and pedophiles being those individuals who are tragically unable to stifle the urges all healthy adults have for the luscious, flirting little boys and girls who toddle about so suggestively in front of my tortured eyes. Take these two objects of lust—children and animals—throw them into a Venn diagram, and viola! You’ve got a stack of Beanie Babies done over Bukkake-style!

Feminine Hygiene

Did you know there was a time when women didn't walk around with their vaginas clogged by a plug of caked menstrual blood from the previous month's period? When soiled and distended panties were the exception, and not the norm? Yes, for a brief period in the mid eighties, it was fashionable for young women to exercise, bathe regularly, wear attractive clothing, and even shave their normally brackish underarms and groin areas. Unfortunately, we can only pray that this trend returns.

Be it A.L.F., Razor Scooters, or the Democratic Party, obsolete fads will always have an undeniable, if hokey appeal. Hopefully this guide will gird you for the future landscape of Trend County, and give you a few good investment strategies to boot (two words: buy Koosh). So enjoy the time you have, because soon we'll all be drowning in Tomogatchis and the spicy sounds of Macarena '07.

September 20, 2006

Channel 101 Attempt 4: Monster Law

As they say at the end of some of the best movies ever, here we go again! Monster Law was born after years of in-depth study and method acting research. I actually lived as a Dracula for a period of three months, draining vagrants of their blood and, while I didn't actually drink any, I must say I learned a lot. Like, how much blood is in a body. Actually, that's about it. Here's the damn movie.

Also, check out Weird Al's new song. You'll be glad you did.

September 15, 2006

The Griffin Rowell Random Fact Generator

My friend Griffin is epic. Those who know him are aware of this, and you should be too. Because of said epicry, and because we liked those other random fact generators until they choked on their own bile (get it? Bile is a bodily humor! Okay, there wasn't really a joke there) and started getting quoted on The View, Dan Zembrosky and I whipped up this one. He designed the page and made some jokes, and I made some more jokes. Now you can make jokes as well!


September 11, 2006

The Student Travel Association’s Guide to France, Part Trois

In this last portion of our informative and edifying guide to the French, we will be examining common French etiquette and some specific customs. Though French behavior may seem “backwards,” or “unspeakably immoral” to you, remember: you are a guest in their country, and they can and will murder you if you fail to blend in. As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do! Though this axiom was not meant to specifically refer to pederasty, if you’re visiting France, it’s probably a good time to get comfortable with the idea. Finally, we will provide a handy guide of places to visit and things to do which no traveler should be without. From the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre Museum, we provide you with the little-known and near-secret destinations that only French locals know about!

Customs and Etiquette

The French can smell an American traveler like dogs smell fear. Their highly sensitive and oversized noses will pick you out of a crowd in no time flat unless you are able to “mask your scent” by adopting some of these uniquely French habits.


Much like a Federal Prison, most French trade is accomplished through the barter of cigarettes. Make sure you have a spare carton or eight on you at all times, as well as a lighter, if you want to blend in. If you really want to “party like the locals,” be prepared to smoke many cigarettes at once, sometimes from several orifices. Try to practice smoking between bites of food, before and during sex, and occasionally while swimming. Those unused to inhaling great amounts of nicotine may want to begin a smoking regimen prior to their trip, so as to build up the proper tolerance and develop an authentic phlegmy, hacking cough. And remember: the obscuring cloud of nicotine smoke that surrounds most French is a natural defense mechanism, so don’t be surprised if a startled local puffs smoke at you and sprints off, trailing ash behind him.

Expose Your Breasts

Unfettered by our own stifling cultural taboos, the French expect their women to have breasts exposed at all times. A failure to do so can lead to suspicion and doubt, as most French consider a woman who covers her breasts to be “hiding something.” This national paranoia probably dates back to the 1800’s, when it was common practice for a French woman to smuggle deadly vipers in her bosom, for hygienic purposes. If you are too modest or uptight to let the girls out, make sure to emphatically warn anyone near your breasts that there are no deadly vipers nestled between them.

Use a Bidet

Bidet toilettes were invented in France and, despite several bidet-related hemorrhages each year, are still popular there. These devices clean the user with powerful jets of water, rather than the US-traditional method of simply not cleaning at all. A little uncomfortable at first, most Americans ultimately find that the bidet is a rewarding and refreshing experience, akin to having your droppings whisked away by gently caressing clouds, or, depending on the caliber of the particular toilet, to being anally searched by a prison guard. However pleasant you find the bidet experience, however, be careful not to overuse them, or you risk being outed as a tourist due to the tell-tale splotch of wetness on the back of your pants. If confronted, merely remark that you have wet yourself, which in France is a common and completely acceptable occurrence.

Linger on a Rain-Drenched Street Corner, Mourning for a Lost Love and Peering Blackly From Beneath a Wide-Brimmed Hat, the Smoldering Remains of a Cigarette Held Loosely in One Hand, Dying, Dying in the Wetness of the Parisian Twilight

Fairly self-explanatory. Weeping is encouraged, but only if it can be done bitterly, and not in a way that makes you look like a pussy. The French hate pussies.

Things to do in France Traveler’s Checklist

Give yourself a point for each activity on this list you are able to accomplish while abroad. Snag those bonuses to finally prove that you are inherently superior to those around you!

__Marvel at memorabilia from the live-action Flintstones movie at Planet Hollywood, Paris
Bonus: Stare up at the nude model of Sylvester Stallone from The Demolition Man, compare your package to Sly’s

__Purchase a genuine French baguette at a Patisserie
Bonus: See how far you can fit it down your throat without gagging

__Confront your own mortality at the Paris catacombs, an enormous underground labyrinth of unsecured human skeletons
Bonus: Defile something

__Locate and get the autograph of French film legend Gerard Depardieu
Bonus: Locate all eight of the robotic Depardieu that the French government have built to wander the streets of Paris and entertain tourists

__Grab a bite to eat at the Louvre Museum Cafeteria, home of the all-you-can-eat salad and cheese bar
Bonus: Visit the world’s largest museum gift shop, directly adjacent to the cafeteria

__Get fleeced by a filthy gypsy
Bonus: Demand your money back and receive a terrifying curse in return

__Enjoy a bottle of French wine
Bonus: Enjoy six

__Experience the thrill of the Lion King stage show at EuroDisneyland
Bonus: Enjoy a Frosted Lemonade, one of France’s most exotic iced beverages

__See the Mona Lisa, world’s most famous painting, and the Venus De Milo, world’s most famous sculpture
Bonus: Act like you’re not disappointed

__Ride the Paris Metro all night, meeting interesting people and getting into adventures
Bonus: Survive

__Try the Europe-only KFC Chicken Tower, a chicken sandwich with a deep-fried potato patty on top
Bonus: Smuggle a dozen of them back into the US, and contact the webmaster of this site for shipping information


September 6, 2006

The Student Travel Association's Guide to France, Part Deux

French Culture and Customs

Though they may appear to be little more than slimmer, better-dressed Americans, the French have their own rich history and culture. Between surrenders, they have cultivated a unique cuisine, pioneered new political systems, and wholly embraced public drunkenness/urination. France is stuffed to the brim with fresh, cosmopolitan experiences for the student traveler. For example, did you know that France is home to more than four hundred McDonald's restaurants? France also boasts monuments like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and, legend has it, a place where naked ladies dance! Take the time to learn a little about France and its people, and before you know it you’ll be sipping escargot at a street café with the Sultan!

Some Useful French Phrases

The French, like the rest of the civilized world, have been forced to learn impeccable English in order to better serve their superiors. But try making them feel special by memorizing and tossing off a few of these useful French phrases. (Translations courtesy of Alta Vista’s Babel Fish translation tool!)

-Non, merci. Six crepes est ma limite.
-No, thank you. Six crepes is my limit.

-Vous ne fumez pas. Êtes-vous se sentant bien?
-You’re not smoking. Are you feeling all right?

-Je suis un Américain. Quels escomptes pouvez-vous m'offrir?
-I am an American. What discounts can you offer me?

-Celui qu'on est la plupart d'alcoolique, svp.
-Whichever one is the most alcoholic, please.

-Vraiment. Je suis très bien, merci. Crepes étaient délicieux.
-Really. I’m fine, thanks. The crepes were delicious.

-Ce lit a-t-il été deloused récemment?
-Has this bed been deloused recently?

-Est-ce que - cela vous dérangerait de s'asseoir là-bas ? Le parfum mélangé de votre odeur de corps et de Cologne qui ne le masque pas commence à brouiller ma vision.
-Would you mind sitting over there? The mixed scent of your body odor and the cologne that fails to mask it is beginning to blur my vision.

-Est qu'une baguette dans votre poche, ou vous ont contracté "la maladie de gonflement?"
-Is that a baguette in your pocket, or have you contracted “the swelling disease?”

-Que le train va à Amsterdam?
-Which train goes to Amsterdam?

-Regardez, quand je veux un autre sacré crepe, je l'ordre foutu un de volonté!
-Look, when I want another goddamned crepe, I’ll fucking order one!

Important Events in French History

French History is a rich tapestry, woven of nobility, legend, revolution, empire, and the films of Gerard Depardieu. Feel free to scan through this loose timeline, which barely touches on major events while compressing the span of thousands of years into a few brief paragraphs. Congratulations! You are more knowledgeable in French history than ninety-four percent of adult Americans!

Prehistory: Cro-Magnon man creates this sculpture in Dordogne, France. It is the only one of its kind in the world, believed to have been either a complicated time-telling device or a private area for young French Cro-Magnons to experiment with homosexuality. Some historians posit that it was, in fact, both of these. In any case, it is tragically demolished by flood in 3500 B.C., shortly after this photograph is taken.

768: Charlemagne is crowned “best king ever” after publicly wrestling a wildcat which he then mounts, eats, and subsequently gives birth to. The mystery of this elaborate and confusing feat has long been debated by historical scholars, although Charlemagne’s testicles, unearthed by archaeologists in 1964 and each the size of a mature hedgehog, seem to support the legend.

1337: A French farm girl named Joan of Arc sees visions in which God tells her to lead the French against the English, ending the Hundred Years’ War. After talking the French King into making her a General, it is found that she has no military experience and is likely suffering from acute Schizophrenia. She is immediately and rightly burned at the stake. This marks the last time in history that anyone who claims to talk to God is ever granted military authority.

November, 1337 to February, 1338: All French cathedrals built. The massive construction frenzy, which begins as a government plan designed to create jobs, ends when builders finally ran out of stone, colored glass shards, and paintings of bored-looking saints. The abrupt end to cathedral building results in the famous “Half-Built” cathedral of Avignon, whose flying buttresses are fashioned out of the bones of those who died during its construction, and whose ceiling went unpainted until 1981, when Spanish artist Salvador Dali was hired to provide a mural he entitled “Jesus With Ants.

1519: Leonardo Da Vinci dies in the arms of French King Francois I after failing to perfect his “Whirligig Lifemotron,” a wood-and-paper device designed to grant the user immortality. The contraption, which does nothing more than accomplish the world’s first manned flight, goes down in history as one of Da Vinci’s many great failures, alongside his “Car That Drives *You*” and a picture of a man who clearly has too many limbs.

1682: Louis XIV moves the royal court from Paris to Versailles, in an effort to keep his notorious three-day, foie gras-fueled, king-only sex orgies out of the public eye. Unfortunately, due to a freak coincidence, the Hall of Mirrors is in the perfect configuration to project the image of Louis jacking off onto the face of the King of Prussia onto a thirty-foot high topiary hedge in the royal gardens adjacent to the palace. A group of scandal-hungry peasants gather with easels and quickly paint the images that appear, distributing these paintings in Paris and becoming the first Paparazzi. They are all later beheaded. The paintings however, which show Louis in various sexual positions with other nobles, become the most valuable set of works on Earth, and are later owned by American John D. Rockefeller until they are destroyed during a three-day, filet mignon-fueled, oil baron-only sex orgy.

1789: Thirteen years after the American Revolution, the French stage an elaborate recreation as a flattering gesture. Thousands die. We later build the Statue of Liberty as our way of saying “thanks, that was cute.”

1804-1815: Napoleon rules France, and expands the nation’s dominion into a RISK-worthy empire. Unfortunately, the seven bonus men he gains from ruling Asia are not enough to counterbalance the losses he incurs while trying to hold it, and English troops, who took Australia on the first turn, are able to overpower him at the battle of Waterloo. Napoleon angrily knocks the board aside, scattering pieces everywhere.

1871: The Third Republic is born, marking the end of the Monarchy in France. Without any viable form of government to succeed it, French people revert to a prehistoric tribal barter system for a three-month period, later dubbed “one crazy summer.” Finally, Americans lend the French Democracy and Freedom out of pity, because we’ve got so much to spare anyway. We only ask that they become non-threatening caricatures of themselves who wear mime costumes and laugh like a car engine trying to turn over. They agree.

1890: Impressionism becomes the premiere art movement of France, prompting eight-year olds everywhere to claim “I could have painted that.” The artists themselves laugh all the way to the bank, becoming obscenely wealthy and serving as the model for the expression “gluttonous artist.” People officially stop caring whether art successfully depicts anything, and worry only about whether it evokes a feeling. Bazille’s performance piece, “I punch you in the crotch,” is named greatest work of the decade.

December 27th, 1948: Gerard Depardieu is born, marking the single most important event in French history. Scientists later determine that for four seconds following his emergence from his mother’s womb, time literally stands still. The era of Depardieu is begun.

Next: Jesus Christ, More Shit About France?!
2009 Those Aren't Muskets!