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The Daily Jim

All the wit that's fit to spit

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Archive for February, 2010

Applying the Successful Business Model of The Wire’s Barksdale Organization to the Floundering Legion of Doom

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

For years Billy D. and Chin Ho have been disappointed with the lack of evil progress made by the Legion of Doom.  But after memorizing every episode of HBO’s The Wire, they might have just come up with a solution to finally rid the world of that do-gooder, Superman.  “Duke, if Avon Barksdale was running the show,” Billy D. shouts at me, “he’d have had Wee-Bay take care of Superman and LOD would be global!”

Chin Ho agrees.  “Lex Luthor’s got himself a pretty good team, but they keep trying to jump from A to Z without even addressing B.   It’s just a matter of restructuring to best synergize individual talents towards a common purpose, then holding everyone accountable for their success.”

“Luthor’s gotta be kiddin’ me with his bush league business model, Duke!  He’s supposed to be an evil genius, but Stringer Bell achieved greater success from a couple of night classes at community college! We’ve applied the same paradigm used by a successful television drug syndicate … in this case, the Barksdale Organization, to kick some ass!”

These guys tell me that the Legion of Doom has to compartmentalize to achieve their goal(s).  Not every villain has to go try and annihilate Green Lantern together.  More strategic planning equals more efficient and effective annihilating.  Solomon Grundy, Giganta, and Bizarro Superman are enforcers.  Essentially their job is to crush potential competition and the local law.  Riddler, Scarecrow, Sinestro, and Toyman are creative types, so they’re the earners who concoct the schemes that fund the organization.  Lieutenants need to be loyal to one vision; their focus can’t be split; the best move is to deputize Cheetah and Black Manta.  They’re smart, so they can run the LOD if Luthor has to go to the bathroom or something.  Now comes the tricky part … Lex Luthor has to kill Gorilla Grodd and Brainiac.

“You ever wonder why the Joker isn’t in the Legion of Doom?” Billy D. asks me.  “It’s because Luthor viewed him as competition to the throne.  He screwed up though, because he let in Brainiac and Grodd!  Those guys will wind up betraying him if he continues to let them breathe.”

“Does Brainiac breathe?” Chin Ho asks, “I thought he was a super-intelligent android, like a smart-alecky terminator.”  That comment was not received well and I have eliminated Billy D’s obscene response from this transcript.  Anyway …

So, essentially for this model to work, Lex Luthor has to be the absolute authority.  Any plans to kill Flash or Wonder Woman have to originate with him (and under this model, he’ll actually have more time to plot big picture stuff).  He can’t share power, because… well, they’re criminals!  It just doesn’t work like that.  Chin Ho reminds me of the mediocrity of Prop Joes’ New Day Co-Op, a democratic alliance of all Baltimore’s drug crews.  “A study in failure,” he says.

This much focused thought from two guys who don’t know their own Social Security Numbers is impressive.  Their plan seems pretty comprehensive to me until I ask about Batman.  “Duke, Batman is like Omar!  He’s an unpredictable variable.  Guy like that … you just hope a nine-year old randomly takes him out in a 7-11.  Now have another beer and try not to think about Batman.”

Just A.D.D. Sugar

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

I silently cursed the middle-aged couple smiling at me from the front of my Kashi-Good Friends cereal box.  As I chew mouthful after mouthful of fiber twigs I think that if they were really “good friends,” they’d help me out with a couple of marshmallows. The password has obviously been changed on the Honeycomb Hideout and these two sugar-free health zombies don’t know it.  I am not certainly going cuckoo for this.  I would never attempt to steal it from a leprechaun or protect it from a thieving rabbit.  I miss Cap’n Crunch and the brutal, but delicious, angles of his morning offering. Add extra sugar to create a pixie stick-like gray silt at the bottom of the bowl?  Sure.  I don’t care how little bran is in a Frankenberry, it’s bright and delicious.  My current breakfast neither “snaps” nor “crackles;” and in no way does it “pop.”  It just sinks beneath the milk and disheartens me.

Have I treated my body so horribly that I am reduced to this daily punishment?  Yep.  I ate miniature chocolate chip cookies in whole milk well into my twenties.  My mornings were colorful, noisy, and tooth aching.  On the days a prize fell from the box, our kitchen table had the frenzy of a prison cafeteria during a cigarette shortage. It was glorious sugar fueled chaos, but it couldn’t last.

These days I quietly listen to the morning news and try not to think about what I’m eating.  However, I sometimes catch eyes with the box and grow angry.  How the Hell did these two Kashi cultists get their own cereal?  I was never a big Wheaties guy, but at least I trust Mary Lou Retton and Michael Jordan!  Say what you like about Count Chocula, these people are the real breakfast vampires, draining my soul dry five mornings a week.  My only consolation is coffee, the socially acceptable adult sugar cereal substitute.  That tagline is for sale, by the way.

Ben Contenplates Taking Olympian and Provocateur Scotty Lago as His Intern

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Ben, my intern, is a diabolical genius.  He was late coming into the office this morning, so he took his beating without excuse.  Moments later he presented me with a director’s cut DVD of Walter Hill’s 1979 multi-racial gangs run amok in New York masterpiece, The Warriors.  Completely disarmed, I asked him calmly why he was late.  He exhaled and rubbed his neck.  “Things got a little “Friday night’ yesterday.”

Let me stop here and give you a brief explanation of “Friday night.”  Ben considers Friday night a holiday that only comes once every seven days and therefore worthy of massive celebration.  It’s the furthest point from Monday, when he has to return to work or school.  On his calendar, “Friday night” does periodically occur on other nights of the week.  Apparently the Vancouver Winter Olympics prompted last night’s unscheduled “Friday night.”

“Man, the ladies love Ice Dancing.  Then USA Hockey beat Canada.  Freakin’ Canada!  Everyone was all Scotty Lago doesn’t party that hard … and …” He kept moving his hands dramatically even after he stopped speaking to indicate that there words, but he couldn’t say them fast enough.

Okay, a little bit about Ben.  He’s an exceptionally average looking guy, so he’s had to develop brains and charm in order to woo women.  He’s also a born researcher, which make him a valuable asset to my team.  Through anecdotal inquiry he has catalogued a shocking amount of information regarding women.  For example, female non-athletes, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, enrolled in college and maintaining a 3.0 average or better will follow both Summer and Winter Olympics.  Their favorite events are Women’s Floor Gymnastics and Ice Dancing respectively.  He goes on with this information for a while when asked.  It’s usually so reasonable I don’t question it even when I’m sure that he’s exaggerating.  That’s how he gets you; he sells his logic so completely, that you believe him on nothing more than his word.  That being said, when I do occasionally investigate his findings they always turn out to be true or close enough to true.

So when he tells me that he was late this morning because the smartest girl in his Psychology class, who loves Olympic Ice Dancing and boys who are potential “projects,” was without a television last night, forcing them to watch it in a bar where all “Friday night” broke loose, I believe him.  After all, he can back it up with research.

Lex Luthor Needs to Stay Out of Idaville

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Growing up the two guys who had the last word on brainpower were Encyclopedia Brown and Lex Luthor.  Whatever side of the law on which you eventually fell, these were the thinkers who inspired you to get there.  Now, in retrospect, Encyclopedia’s continual adversary, Bugs Meany, wasn’t exactly a criminal mastermind.  He could never get out of his own way; and if you couldn’t successfully perpetrate a crime in Idaville, you deserved to get caught … the freakin’ police chief took investigative advice from his eleven year old son.  Bugs should have never gotten into crime; he never showed the aptitude for it.  He’s going to grow up to make someone a wonderful cellmate one day.  Encyclopedia however, despite the level of competition, was sharp, like a fourth grade Columbo rockin’ a v-neck sweater, he could read a room and ask suspects the tough questions without tipping his hand … very smooth.

Lex Luthor on the other hand, while a super-genius, in the old days was about as subtle as the subtext of Avatar (We’ve got it!  We’re destroying the Earth for profit and there will be consequences!).  Granted, Lex got stuck with the last guy you want as your nemesis.  It’s tough to beat someone who’s essentially perfect.  That had to be pretty frustrating.  But he would do stuff like publically announce that he was going to destroy Superman.  Superman took that kind of stuff seriously back then. But he wouldn’t admit defeat.  Lex could have moved to another city with a lesser superhero.  Perhaps by building a giant robot with a glue gun, for example, he could have confounded the Flash.  Hell, if he painted the thing yellow, he’d have defeated Green Lantern at the cost of one trip to Home Depot.  He knew he was smarter than Superman, but it took him a long while to change tactics.

It wasn’t until ol’ Lex got himself elected President of these United States that his genius really took stride.  He worked public opinion, made Supes and enemy of the state … that’s the kind of curveball Bugs Meany couldn’t pitch.  He made himself the good guy and Superman the villain.  He got foiled in the end, but the brainpower to come up with that one is tremendous.  I’d like to see him and Idaville’s boy detective go head to head at some point.  Maybe Lex could steal Sally Kimball’s chocolate milk in an exhibition match or some such thing.

Sir Anthony Hopkins Chimes in Regarding My Vocabulary

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

During an interview for the February, 2010 issue of Vanity Fair, Sir Anthony Hopkins was asked what he most disliked.  His answer? “The words ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’.”

I will wager that he’d be none too fond of the other commonly utilized artillery in my idiom arsenal either, such as “freakin’,” “dude,” and “douche bag.”  Just a guess.  That being said, I respect Anthony Hopkins immensely for his body of creative work.  Personally, he’s kind of like my crotchety, British grandfather who complains about my hair and that damn “roll and rocks” that dominates the two stations he gets on his transistor radio in the garage where he paints miniature figurines and sips tea with just a dash of brandy in it.   Also, I still have reoccurring nightmares about Hannibal Lecter eating me before I’m completely dead.

He is right though.  I tend to overuse the words of a much younger man.  Phrases for which, at this late date, I should be using adult equivalents.  “Splendid” and “tip-top” seem to be suitable replacements for “cool,” while “astonishing” and “awe-inspiring” seems fine substitutes for “awesome.”  “Freakin’” can likely be eliminated all together.  It adds gravity to benign statements, but little else.  “Dude” is going to be significantly more challenging to supplant since I use it in a variety of situations each with a distinct connotation.  Perhaps a series of alternatives based on the particular circumstance?

Dude, can you direct me to the library?” “Excuse me, can you direct me to the library?”

That foie gras was delightful, dude!”  “That foie gras was delightful, Madame.”

Dude!”  “I find your current actions unacceptable.  Please consider ceasing them or I shall have to provide you with a sound thrashing.”

As for “douche bag,” I actually don’t use it that much, because I find it distasteful.  However, if some dude from the Ed Hardy Squad elbows in front of me at the bar because he needs six more Tequila/Red Bulls for his posse of well-manicured boy-apes and that word escapes my lips, I would hope Sir Anthony would be cool and cut me some freakin’ slack.  That would be awesome!

NOTE: I would like to personally apologize to Sir Anthony Hopkins for the material posted above, on the off chance he tries to eat me with wine and beans.  Thank you.

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

ONGOING COMMENTARY FROM THE STREETS ON BEING A BETTER MAN

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

“The difference between a ‘good’ haircut and a ‘bad’ haircut is two weeks.”

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

“There’s nothing worse than a guy who’s all mouth and no trousers.”

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

“If your posture sucks, what you’re wearing is irrelevant… still… you should pull up your freakin’ pants.”

Cobra Commander’s Fashion Impact on this Winter’s Olympic Games

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

I have oft made it clear that I am no fan of Cobra Commander or his shoddy attempts at world domination.  With that being said, I have always been curious however, about how his iconic mirror-ball battle helmet doesn’t get fogged up while he’s working.  I can’t even see out of my swim goggles after about six seconds.  Turns out I’m not the only one thinking about this stuff as evidenced on the “world’s greatest stage,” this year’s Vancouver Winter Olympics.  All one hundred and ten Luge athletes are fitted in the full-face, fogless fashion of that fanged felon. He and his minions have always been fashion forward, but is his influence now reaching beyond the underworld and onto the runways?

There is a long tradition of shock and awe when intimidating your enemy.  Blackbeard, the pirate, used to twist lit cannon fuses into his beard just before boarding an enemy ship.  This would give the appearance that he was a demon, come to drag those who resisted to Hell.  The Scot, William Wallace, wore a belt made from an enemy sergeant as a grim message to the British.  In this regard, Cobra Commander is no different.  Like them, he was controversial from his earliest days, when he wore a cowl that was ironically remnisant of both a KKK hood and Dumb Donald from Fat Albert. It provided easy access for a quick lunch during a bank robbery, but it was too hokey and derivative to inspire true menace.

It wasn’t until he got the helmet, that people started to recognize him as a dashing evildoer, angry at the world.  He could stitch a fallen hem and bedazzle a bulletproof vest on a budget.  The snake looked so put together that it didn’t matter that he was an idiot, as long as he could get you into the hippest secret lairs.  Other chic villains began coming around, and before you could say, “Yo Joe,” he had the trendiest army in terror.  Destro’s humungous ‘70’s porn-star medallion necklace complete with S and M helmet, Zartan’s basketball court style washcloth headwear, even the Baroness’s full body cat-suit were all designed to impress the Commander. I’ll hand it to the guy; he understands flair when he sees it.  So I guess it’s no surprise that Adidas and Reebok are emulating his style.  Fortunately for us, what that dopey fashionista doesn’t realize is that looking good is only “half the battle.”

Lessons in Bad Media Franchising and Merchandising

1) Saw 8: The Reality Television Gameshow 2)Live action movie of Hungry, Hungry Hippos 3)The Tonight Show, starring Chewbacca 4) Deadpool vs. Punisher: The Musical 5) The Human Centipede sleeping bag 6) C-Span Live Action Role Playing Group 7) The new Texas Chainsaw Massacre ride at Six Flags Over Texas 8) Your Parents Basement is Always […]

Where is Our Modern Barney Miller?

The single camera glory that was Barney Miller can probably never be reproduced.  There’s heavy debate in the office whether it should be or not. It was essentially a 22-minute, 3-act play with minimal characters and only one set (after Season One that also featured Barney’s dining room at home).  The thing is, the writing […]

Non-John Hughes High School Movies from the ’80s

Yep. Most of the high school biggies were our man, Hughes. But if you can name the 1980s high school movie quotes listed below, your might have been paying attention to something else in ’88 other than the MTV Beach House and that cute girl with freckles in your 11th grade Chemistry class. 5)”Last night, […]

Mark Your Calendar, Nerds!!!

This Weekend is legendary Indy 500.  Please don’t think geekdom is limited to cosplay and app programming.  Oh no, my friends. Two years ago our Mid-West correspondent, Billy D, and I watched those car dorks jump a humongous Hot Wheels truck  over a bunch of school busses and twice as many drunks while Florence Henderson […]

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Attention lonely geeks! “Drunk” is only a superpower at Red Sox games and ex-girlfriends’ weddings.

Gentleman Jim

  • MONDAY – Movies. Their glory and their hilarious tragedy.  

  • TUESDAY – Television.  Our favorite drug; constant and comforting, but often packaged with regret.  

  • WEDNESDAY – Wildcards! Probably a piece of weird fiction in which Spider-Man has to talk down Laura Ingles from making a bad decision.  

  • THURSDAY – Thesis-level Dorkdom. Jargon, geek terms and weird insight explained for the rest of us.  

  • FRIDAY – Fantasy, Sci-fi, and comics.  Like living in your parents’ basement only without the inherent desperation. Well…