July 15th, 2009


From Twitter 07-14-2009

  • 17:16:12: @3x1minus1 I think Vitamin Water in general comes in unappealing colors.
  • 17:17:30: @sapsorrow Ralston Mansion? Does that have anything to do with cheap licensed cereals?
  • 17:18:25: @gilibugg Let's just hope the Scientologists don't get to him! Wait, maybe he's actually the next Napoleon.
  • 17:19:11: @gilibugg Well, why do you think Ron suddenly got interested in her? :P
  • 17:20:15: @TheRealTavie What's a maxi dress? Anything like a maxi pad?
  • 23:59:12: Thanks to Sanford, now no one can hike the Appalachian Trail without someone thinking they're having an affair in South America!

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Sprite-on-Sprite Violence

bethje and I watched the Bullshit! episode on video game violence, which was pretty good. I think it was fairly early on that they brought up the quite convincing argument that violent video games are so ubiquitous these days that pointing out that a school shooter enjoyed them means about as much as saying he liked ice cream. (That wasn't their example, but it was along those lines.) Another point was that kids learn early on to separate fantasy from reality, which I would also consider a valid argument against the fundamentalist fear that kids who read Harry Potter or play Dungeons & Dragons will start casting magic spells for real. I can't say I've ever been too big on the ultra-violent video games myself, even though I can see their appeal. I think I look for much the same thing in games that I do in books, which means I prefer the ones with good stories, and preferably a sense of humor as well.

Speaking of video game violence, I have to say I like the idea that Jared Davis proposed on Twitter of a Super Smash Bros. sort of a game starring Oz characters. It might be a little difficult to come up with a reason why Oz characters would want to fight each other (the Oz books aren't free from violence, but they aren't exactly known for epic battles, especially between the good guys), but then, I remember hearing that the first Super Smash Bros. said something about the various Nintendo characters actually being toys, hence avoiding the issue of why, say, Mario would want to beat up on Link. I don't know whether this idea carried over into Melee or Brawl, though. I haven't played any of those games, and I consider it a hole in my life. Anyway, though, I could see a lot of the Oz characters working well as brawlers: the Tin Woodman with his axe, the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, the Wizard of Oz with his Black Bag, the Tin Soldier with his sword, the Woozy with his fiery eyes, Reera the Red with her transformational powers, etc. The Scarecrow might have to sit this one out, though. And while I'd like for Dorothy to be a part of it, I'm not sure how the censors would take to a little girl engaging in street fighting, even if she DOES have a Magic Belt. Besides, if they included Dorothy fighting Wicked Witches, it might lead impressionable youths to start throwing water at old ladies.

The Magic Carpet Treatment

I've wanted many kinds of magic items from fantasy stories to actually exist, but one of my personal favorites is the flying carpet. It seems a more comfortable and stylish way of flying than other devices. Granted, I'd probably actually be scared to death if I were to ride on one (I have a problem with heights, after all), but it's still fun to imagine. And imagine I have, since such a carpet is the kind of thing that could be hiding anywhere. Maybe that's one reason I'm not too fond of wall-to-wall carpeting. There's no way you're going to be able to fly off to adventure on THAT, is there? I remember being at my grandmother's house and pretending that the rugs on the upstairs floor were like the carpets from Super Mario Bros. 2.

One thing I have to wonder about the SMB2 carpets is why the Pidgits are able to ride on them indefinitely, but your characters only get a few seconds on them before they disappear. Is it a weight issue, or do they have some sort of self-destruct feature for when someone other than their rightful owner uses them? Pidgits reappeared in a few other Mario games, but only occasionally did they use their carpets. If you can beat the Special World in Super Mario World, the Bullet Bills all turn into Pidgit Bills. Pidgits didn't appear that much in the Super Mario Bros. Super Show cartoons, but there was an episode in which they ate carpets instead of riding them. Was the fact-checker who'd actually played the Mario games on vacation at the time? Actually, though, it might be convenient to occasionally take a bite out of your means of transportation. I suppose you wouldn't get much of a trade-in value for it after that, though.

Magic carpets appear in a lot of different fantasy stories, but they're most closely associated with the tales of the Arabian Nights, and most specifically with the story of Prince Husain's carpet. Islamic legend also claims that King Solomon had his own flying carpet, and this page claims that they also featured in Egyptian, Tibetan, and Indian legends. So I'm not sure of the original source of such rugs, but they were surely the greatest invention since pita bread.

Oh, and by the way, happy birthday to gloworm59!