The Vatican City State bas broken ground on a project advancing the frontiers of theological research, excavating crypts and tombs below the walled enclave to begin construction of the Large Camel Compressor.
“Matthew 19:24 tells us that Jesus said ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of god‘” said Experimental Sacrament leader Monsignor Croseus. “But in the last two thousand years the Vatican has more wealth than even existed in Jesus’ time. We need to investigate if Jesusian charity still applies in this extremely high wealth regime. Leading Opulo-theological researchers from the Instituto per le Opere di Religione theorize an ultra-relativistic regime of charity, where a Pope can command billions of euros and yet live charitably if he lives in a slightly less luxurious palace than his predecessors.”
“I mean, it would be pretty silly if the Pope lived in conditions blatantly and defiantly opposed to Jesus’s teachings.”
Tunnel Boring Machine B6, once used to drill the Channel Tunnel, has been recommissioned for the project. It has also been entirely coated in gold plate so that the bones of any saints powdered by its progress might still technically reside in a reliquary expensive enough to feed an entire city block of the sick and needy, as per church tradition.
Designs for the Large Camel Compressor call for twenty-seven miles of marble hallway spiraling under the Vatican, entirely lined with priceless Renaissance art and frescos so that the camel might attain a suitably humble disposition while accelerating to threading velocity. The spiral centers on a Needle Chamber directly underneath St Peter’s dome. Work has already begun on a ten meter tall solid platinum needle.
More religious research:
Humanity’s greatest hope soared through space, apologized for the inconvenience, and self-destructed.
The President watched the replay of a trillion dollars of rocket science, space laser, quantum-interference baffling tech and the cream of the brand-new Space Force apologetically immolating itself. She sighed.
Her military advisor shifted awkwardly. She pretended not to notice that he’d been crying.
“Zero. This confirms that the machines have totally hacked the human semantic centers. If we can so much as see them, they can convince us to switch sides. Those pilots were as close to brainwashed as you can get without opening the skull, and they were still convinced inside a minute. Our only hope would be a human brain utterly immune to new input. But that’s the opposite of what a human brain is for! We’d need some-one incapable of following even the most obvious logic, rejecting even the clearest data, one who could start at one plus one and end up with their favourite ice cream flavor and then react violently against anything which tried to convince them otherwise. ”
The President closed her eyes. She’d hoped it would never come to this.
“Go to a Steven Universe forum. Find someone who’s written four thousand words about the gems being straight.”
About as straight as silly string in a hurricane
If there’s anything more tragic than stitch-fiction, rewriting properties to remove homosexual aspects, I’ve never heard it. It combines all the fun of writing, watching, and imagining sex into something less inclusive, and with less sex. That’s not just the opposite of slashfic, that’s the opposite of quite a lot of being alive.
Modern slashfiction fun started with Spock/Kirk. It provides many of the relationships mass media lacks because mass media doesn’t understand sex. Because if you don’t include that people can be homo or bi or asexual, then you don’t understand sex, in the way someone who doesn’t recognise sixes and eights can’t be good at math.
Inserting a homosexual relationship (or whatever other items you’d enjoy) doesn’t damage the existing story. It works for the fans by adding elements on top of (and interacting with) the official material. But trying to canonically straighten obviously queer characters means dissecting their every appearance, ripping out their heart, and stitching the bits back together in a different shape. And any science-fiction will tell you that never ends well. Queer characters don’t happen by accident, we’re still struggling out of a climate where they have to be deliberately constructed and carefully escorted past layers of lazy filtering which think it’s easier to be monotonously biased than risk writing more real people.
If you want more relationships of any orientation, write them in! But if you want a show without queer characters just change the channel. I guarantee you’ll find plenty.
A transporter accident in discussion of the “Thunderbirds vs Star Trek” column has created Doctor JJ, an American reboot of Doctor Who by J.J. Abrams.
(That one would work)
Or you could read more potential futures of the Doctor in Doctor Who’s Next, with this helpful graphic:
Or witness one of the worst tropes with Natural Selection of Science-fiction Victims.
Buy the Jaws towel, thoughtfully pre-dyed yellow so that your terror pee doesn’t embarrass the bloody chunks of your family!
The only towel to keep you dry by scaring you out of getting wet
And that’s not even nearly the stupidest item of Weird Jaws Merchandise. You can also assemble the entire sea out of jigsaw pieces, celebrate Brody’s alcoholism, and behold the most blatant case of intellectual property theft outside of Shia LaBeouf.
More terrifying to the company’s copyright lawyers
Now go be terrified by tubas! Or failing that, find out why sharks must be masters of disguise.
My original ode to Splatoon is extending into a saga. The more I play the more I love it. I’ll have written the Inkyssey by the time I’m done and I’ll enjoy every second of it. Especially in the (dank) light of ridiculous complaints about the original piece. Like those who insist that every point is erased by pretending there’s a functional difference between modern first- and fixed camera over the shoulder third- person shooters.
“This might SEEM like a wasteland of desaturated murk, but if you look closely you can make out that we’re looking over his scapula! Checkmate!”
If they want to get technical they should talk about how precision console shooters are a contradiction in terms. Easily a cursor is what we invented mice for. Sharpshooting with a thumbstick is like performing heart surgery on a unicycle: you can learn to get precise enough, sure, but it’s awkward and clumsy and people are doing to die more by accident than intent. Splatoon is the first truly console shooter, the first to invent a weapon mechanic which works with that level of control.
ROLLING INTO A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Other reasons I love it:
- Enemy players who “hide” and let me paint half the map to get close so that they can “surprise” me.
- Including a ranked mode for those Stockholm Syndromed players who still need the risk of wasting entire games on zero result so that their little numbers and letters feel more important.
- The steering skill and reflexes of Roller Chicken. Feint straight down the line then that little sideways shimmy like you’re judo-throwing them into an ink vat explosion.
- XP and gold for the losing team so that even a team of idiots is just a new game mode where you extract as much value as you can. (Nothing like a spawn with four paths and three teammates all taking the same one.)
- Enemy players with the most splats and the least points.
- Ink-sharking: roller, squid backwards around a corner from a range enemy, and when they follow RISE UP LIKE A BRIGHT PINK JAWS! (And speaking of ridiculous Jaws…)
- The next round of Dark Souls feels dark and oppressive again instead of “Gritty game rendered in a gravel quarry flooded by a sewage leak #3,432,843.“
Now, if only someone would render de_dust2 so that we could finally colour that place in…
Improved graphics give us a reason to remake, but retelling the exact same story with improved graphics is the work of obsessively nostalgic fan-projects instead of new releases. Altering something fundamental allows old and new fans to enjoy wondering what will happen next.
Thunderbirds pulled that off as an incidental detail in the very first action scene. A child’s father plummets toward his death, and Virgil decares “No-one is losing their father today”, and you just know. It’s the perfect change for the series. Jeff Tracy was the commander in the original series, the powerful paterfamilias, the wise old authority figure. Removing him is the perfect plot change. The Tracys have learned his ideals but can struggle with the experience, and you’ve get a powerful plot hook to take them places trying to discover the truth of what happened.
“No time for boring exposition, too busy PUTTING THUNDERBIRD 2 INTO A SUPER-TERMINAL DIVE AND LEAPING OUT TO RESCUE SOMEONE BEFORE WE EVEN RUN THE OPENING CREDITS”
Compare this to Star Trek where Spock, allegedly the smartest character in the text, takes an entire scene to carefully explain that blowing up an entire planet might have changed the timeline. Twice, because his older self did it as well. They had two different versions of the same character carefully explaining that changing the timeline might make things different instead of pointing at each other and shouting “Duh!” That scene spoon-feeding us the details took longer than spoon-feeding us the entire rubbled remains of Vulcan. We didn’t think things were going to go as before, with Kirk and Vulcan eventually Pon Farring it up in spacesuits, stomping around the cloud of asteroids which used to be a planet unable to hear the fight music because of the total vacuum.
“Also, hinging our entire plot on you just happening to wander into the exact right cave on a random world is not logical.”
I could adore the new Thunderbirds and hate the new Star Trek for twenty more pages. So I picked out the best two and wrote them up:
Speeding in the most glorious nerdiness ever made.
Animator and member of Monty Python Terry Gilliam today apologized for the escape of Nigel Farage.
“I was animating a satire about ridiculous political beliefs, and one day I left the studio without gluing him down.” explained an abashed Gilliam. “The next morning he was gone. I just didn’t think such a blatant parody of human behavior could do much damage.”
Farage now has a successful career of leading UKIP and standing at precisely 90 degrees to every camera at all times. The comic basis for his existence continually shines through with ridiculous claims, satirically bad policies, and an inability to resist turning every leadership contest into a farce.
Farage’s brother Conrad Pooh distanced himself from the political movement, explaining that he didn’t want the army of solid chunks of brainless skull-matter that danced to his tune sullied by association.
More political news:
Some people say you shouldn’t add anything you can’t spell to your body. I’m not sure exactly how they said that while constantly reminding themselves of pyruvate dehydrogenase, adenosine triphosphate, and the presumably hypnotically-induced mantra of “adenine-guanine-cytosine-adenine-thymine” they must constantly incant to make sure they don’t forget a bit, causing their cells to disappear or die because of their anti-magical* thinking. But they still said it, which is why I offer to help with my incredible 100% Chemical-Free Raw Natural Diet.
*anti-magical: deliberately NOT using complicated words they don’t understand, in order to reduce their own abilities BELOW standard.
The Mad Max Furiosa comic is worse for the women involved than Darth Vader’s Guide To Bring Your Daughter To Work Day.
Step 1: Introduce her to your co-workers!
I’d point out the problems but that’s already been done in great detail. At least now we know how the movie avoided the awful obsession with rape, sexual abuse, and total male domination which usually dominates such stories. It funneled those flaws into the comic, in the same way Twins split Schwarzenegger’s flaws into Danny DeVito. But without the humour. That’s how bad this comic is : a humourless sex-offending Danny DeVito.
It couldn’t have missed more of the point of Fury Road without being misspelling the title. Which would have improved it, because then it would have looked like been the sex-obsessed schlock ripoff it seems to think it is. It could have spent its forty pages poking at women’s crotches like a cross between unopened Christmas presents and unexploded bombs without damaging the good name of the franchise.
And that good name is Imperator Furiosa.
Anyone who’s watched the movie could write a better story in twenty minutes. And having thought that, I couldn’t resist following through. I gave myself 1200 seconds and a glass of Jura to see what I could come up with. Obviously the result isn’t a real script, because that’s a gigantic amount of work and I’m not being paid for this. It’s just a rough sketch of one of the infinite number of ways the comic could have gone instead of “all women are catty caricatures who get grapes without the g“. I’m doing this so that it gets out of my head, lets me get on with paid work, and lets me pretend this is what was written instead.
But seriously, Imperator Furiosa spending the night before the convoy writing the 16-Point Manual for War Rig Carburettor Maintenance would have been a much better book. And truer to the characters.
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The green place. Beautiful and lush, no-one else can be seen, no sign of humanity at all. Absolutely idyllic with an unreal quality, as if it’s heaven, a hope, or the last good memory of a child who grew up in hell. Of course it’s all of those things.
An online squad-based shooter on the Wii is more adorable and less expected than kittens performing a piledriver. Splatoon is being mocked by hardcore gamers as a silly underpowered gimmick for children. You know, the same way the Wii was. Back before it was bought by every single person on the planet. One of my earliest positive career memories was getting triple-pay office temping during a bank holiday, which meant the bosses weren’t in, which meant I got 300% pay for playing Doom for eight hours. And Splatoon is even more fun.
My latest Cracked column is an ode to this rainbow bursting across the bland rubble of modern online shooters. I still mourn the migration from Battlefield 3,I’m overexcited for Overwatch, my custom shooter mode is GoldenEye John Woo mode (Facility, DarkBots on a team against me, slow motion with pistols and shotgun only), and I’m telling you: Splatoon is the most exciting shooter on the market.
For more first-person action:
The Real Online Shooter Classes
The Counter-Strike Guide to Grammar
The Dark Side of Duck Hunt
Surviving Smash TV with Four Fantastic Twin Stick Shooters