Underwater Still

Monday, December 15, 2014 at 6:47 pm

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Get it?

The flood repair is requiring more of my time than I thought. Even just a quarter of the carpet being moldy and damp requires that I uproot my entire life's worth of collected stuff and relocate it creatively into the other rooms of the apartment, and this will take some time.

So tomorrow I leave you in the worthy hands of my friend and colleague Tom Akel, formerly editor of MTV Geek when that was a thing that existed. I will probably not be available to answer emails, but you might be able to get his attention by posting in the comments below. Then when I'm back, you can all tell me how much better he did.

Seriously, Tom rocks. You'll have fun.

Weekend Open Thread: 2 for LYT

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm

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April Killingsworth

I didn't want to spend the second anniversary of my debut here at Topless Robot with a splitting headache, sopping wet floor, water-damaged comics and toy boxes, and more minimalist posting than I'd planned. But fate laughs when men make plans.

Suffice it to say I'm really proud of all my contributors this year - I'm an editor but I'm also a fan, albeit a fan with the rare power to help you make your work stronger. I'm particularly pleased with the way Charles and then Jim stepped up to doing a weekly comics feature, and Kyle for Robotic Gaming Monthly, which I wish I had the budget to make weekly. No small thanks also to Peggy, my transcriptionist, without whom you'd see a lot fewer interviews on the site. And of course all the great regular commenters - my invisible family with whom I communicate more than my actual family.

This site is always a work in progress, and not all my ideas will be good - but when I look back at last year's idea submission contest, I think we managed to get a lot of that in here: the column my mother-in-law suggested, the retro-reviews (only really two so far, but still), the live TV threads, the weekly wrestling column, and soforth.

Here's to the next one.

L.A. Storm Mini-Open Thread

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 11:57 am

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Hi, readers,

Water is bubbling up through my carpets right now. I'm going to need to take a few hours to deal with it, if my computer and many other things are to be safe.

Please talk amongst yourselves in the interim

9 Nerd-Insulting and/or Generally Annoying Things About Birdman

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 6:00 am

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One of the critical hits of this year's movie award season has been Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). It's about a movie star best known for playing a superhero called Birdman back in the '90s. Two decades later, this guy, played by Michael Keaton, is struggling to mount his own stage adaptation of Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, at Broadway's St. James Theatre.

Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the talented Mexican behind Amores Perros, 21 Grams and others, Birdman is an impressive piece of filmmaking. It also has its "meta" aspect, in its loose parallels with the career of Keaton, who more than two decades later is still associated with his starring role in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman and its sequel Batman Returns (1992). Although Keaton has worked prolifically, often to critical acclaim, in the years since, he is, perhaps, perceived as never quite having fully shaken off the cowl and cape.

Birdman has changed that; this week it racked up the SAG and Golden Globe nominations, and it will almost certainly land Keaton an Oscar nomination, and his won't be the only one. But for all the movie's undeniable merit, I find myself lagging behind the critical bandwagon; I can't bring myself to jump all the way on. Certain aspects of Birdman have been irritating me since I saw it, and more than a couple of them are nerd-relevant.

Examples...

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Ask Luke's Mother-in-Law: Mexico and the First Year Alone

Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 8:00 am

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A veteran of the LAPD, widow of a Green Beret and self-described crazy cat lady, Martha Boyd fears no questions. Ask her anything in the comments section - no issue is too big, too trivial or too weird for her to tackle, but if you get out of line, she will let you know!

All questions and answers are real.

Greetings - as some of you know I just returned from another week in Mexico. Stayed again at the Melia Puerto Vallarta. So this time we went on Delta - first time in ages I have been on a plane with a movie and they did not charge!!!!! However we were 1.5 hrs late getting off the ground out of LAX. The return trip was another first; only 40 people on the plane, everyone had their own row of 3 seats - they ran the flight with only that small number, so overall I was happy with the airline.

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What You Do With a Manicorn Hand-Puppet Is Your Business

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 10:00 am

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Forget Manos - "mani" is the REAL hand of fate. And I think we all know what people might do once they get them "in hand." According to the description, "Unicorn Man," well, "Runs the biggest corporation in Fantasyland." I would assume he therefore has a firm grip on its operations, running up and down the long, hard, corridor of power to ensure a decent output.

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Weekend Open Thread - Happy Repeal Day!

Friday, December 5, 2014 at 6:01 pm

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Matt Chan

Whether you are Democrat, Republican or other, the fact that FDR repealed Prohibition on this day in 1933 makes him one of the greatest presidents of all time in my book.

As I'm sure the first external item anyone will be posting in this thread will be about Roberto Orci and Star Trek 3, let me offer my thoughts on that...

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TR Interview: Igal Hecht, Director of That Iron Sheik Documentary

Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm

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The films of documentarian Igal Hecht have previously focused on Israel - 2011's The Hilltops centered on West Bank settlements, while 2013's A Universal Language covered Canadian comedians on a trip to the Holy Land. An Iranian pro wrestler might not have immediately seemed to be the next logical step, but it will probably become the film he is best known for. Self-described as a huge wrestling fan, Hecht was hired to assemble many, many hours of footage of the Iron Sheik that his managers had shot - and somehow turn it into a feature.

He has, and it's a good one, documenting the erstwhile Khosrow Vaziri's career in Iran as a bodyguard and wrestler, the reasons why he left, his early career and marriage, his success as the Iron Sheik, and the tragedies after he fell from WWE's good graces the first time, and had to suffer the pain of a daughter being murdered. These days, of course, he's a must-follow on Twitter, where he tells everybody reading to go fuck themselves.

I spoke to Hecht to find out what it was like working with the self-proclaimed Legend.

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Super Terrific American Thing: Shittens

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm

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For use on babies, pets AND adults? Well, I mean, I wasn't gonna buy it if it were only two out of three.

No One Wants Poop On Their Hands... Clean Up Any Mess With ShittensTM

Dammit, you trademarked that? I was going to.
Shittens are disposable, mitten-shaped moist wipes. While old fashioned, square wet wipes put your hands at risk for all kinds of accidental fecal contamination, the genius mitten shape of a Shitten provides not only safety from poop, but on a larger scale, emotional peace of mind.

The GENIUS mitten shape, you say? And emotional peace of mind? How ever did you survive wiping your own ass these many years, you presumably grown-up person, you?
If you turn them inside out they are perfectly reusable for a second time wipe.

That would seem to defy the point.

Oh, but then we get to the Amazon customer reviews...

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Cute Puppies in Amazing Rocket and Groot Costumes

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

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Via James Gunn's Twitter, here are a couple of critters who really put the "bark" into a tree person, and are as unable as Rocket to shut their yap.

I just hope the Rocket one isn't TOO convinced by the tree suit...as in lifting his hind leg, if you know what I mean.

Unless that's Groot-dog's fetish. It could be. I mean, you can ask him, but I'll bet'cha the response is "Ri ram Root!" Which could be misinterpreted as another fetish unto itself.

I should stop now.