Rich and I are trying to get back to a sane schedule here, to return to that same sense of normalcy in our lives that so many others are struggling to do. This means making jokes with one another, laughing about things, and brainstorming about humor and feature ideas while trying to take into account the sadness pervading throughout most of the world after the events on Tuesday morning. We will tread with as much respect as possible, but if we offend your sensibilities with a joke here or there, don't take it as us lacking reverence for the dead. This tragedy has affected us all, but normal for us is making unfunny jokes and behaving like cynical assholes, so that's what we're going to do.
He looks like a drugged up smurf in a Japanese facial porno. Disturbing, but not my idea of otherworldly terror.Monsters have been with us almost as long as bicycles, perhaps even longer, existing in our legends and imagination, changing with the times, but carried from civilization to civilization. Some monsters lose their appeal and people just stop talking about them. Others are just plain stupid and when the culture that imagined them goes into decline no one bothers to retell the tales. A third type of monster exists, one that insinuates itself into the legends of nearly every civilization on the earth and continues to be shaped by the changing fears of the people who whisper about it.
Even then, it can become possible for the monster to get completely ruined by a bad advertising campaign that hopes to capitalize on the persona of the creature and instead trivializes it. I am not sure how many of you are aware of this, but there is a direct correlation between the rise in popularity of General Mills cereal mascots such as Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Frankenberry, and the decline in terror their more serious brethren inspire in the population. Whenever someone mentions seeing a ghost to me, the first thing I visualize is a blue-hued anthropomorphic sheet with lazy eyes, a bowler, and a shitty bow-tie. Not exactly terrifying.
So, for a moment at least, let's try and forget about the newer and more tangible evils in this world and reflect on those boogey men of days gone by. Some of these monsters I am profiling you may know quite well, others may already be lost to the collective memory of mankind.
Origins: It's hard to tell; every culture has a different version of ghosts. Spirits of the damned, tortured souls tied to the earth by suffering, specters that populate eBay feeding off the bad karma like cosmic leeches... they all still get a lot of word of mouth press.
Danger: Ghosts are immaterial which means they can pass through walls, doors (without opening them), windows, dirt, piles of rocks, other ghosts, other ghosts who are passing through walls, and even other ghosts passing through a wall built inside a pile of rocks. Nothing stops them, not even machineguns or tanks that shoot small walls out of their cannons. I think maybe if we had phasers like in Star Wars we could shoot the ghosts but this isn't the future (yet).
Devaluation: The aforementioned Boo Berry and his stoner eyes dealt a serious blow to the "horror" surrounding apparitions, but the real loss in fear factor came when everyone realized the people who sighted them were moronic inbred chucklefaces and lonely housewives who have a creepy number of even creepier cats.
Frankenstein's MonsterOn one hand mocking this pictures seems to be the right thing to do, on the other hand if I do that I also need to question my heterosexuality. Vampires
Origins: Possibly from the Jewish legend of the Golem, which was a creature created to defend Jewish neighborhoods from marauding hordes of non-Frankenstein monsters. According to legend, the Golem was accidentally set from "destroy bad guys" to "destroy good guys" one night, and needless to say it caused a whole mess of trouble.
Danger: Frankenstein's Monster is really strong, like stronger than a bus if you could measure how many people can ride in a bus in the same way you can measure strength, which I guess you could by weighing the passengers. Like the Golem, he is also unpredictable and often turns on his creators. I think one version also had flamethrower hands.
Devaluation: In addition to being made into a mockery by that disturbingly pink parody Frankenberry, Frankenstein's Monster has not had a good representation in film or other media since "The Re-Animator", and that movie didn't even feature his namesake.
Origins: Vampires began as a legend in Mexico or Aztlan or whatever it was back before the Spanish landed with their pox blankets. The Aztlantians used to speak about a man who haunted the jungles and could turn into a monkey with bat wings that shot blood out of its eyes. This changed when the Spanish arrived, spreading the word that the guy could turn himself into a bat and make his victims shoot blood out of their eyes by squeezing their necks. Crafty Americans made things even scarier by placing his nation of origin as Transylvania and having him drink the blood of people by biting them and doing erotic things like wearing a lot of black and being featured in Anne Rice novels.
Danger: Vampires are very sexy and they may convince you to do things you wouldn't normally do like let them bite your neck and drink your blood or drive off a bridge at high speed. In bat form they pose an additional hazard to the pilots of low-flying commuter aircraft, and have starred in such feature films as "Bats."
Devaluation: 1986's tour "Dracula on Ice". Count Chocula didn't help, but he sure as hell didn't do the damage "Dracula on Ice" did.
Origins: Zombies were invented in 1946 by Walt Disney.
Danger: Zombies have never been a threat; they are here to serve us and for our own amusement. The only danger they pose is if they are performing some critical duty such as holding up a collapsing bridge while they rot to pieces.
Devaluation: I lost all respect for zombies when I was a kid. I caught my dad making out with one on the couch. Oh calm down, it was a girl zombie.
Origins: While stories of giant objects date back thousands of years, giant anything didn't really come into its own until the beginning of The Atomic Age. Back in the late 40s and early 50s everyone was afraid that exposing pretty much anything to radiation would cause it to become enormous and psychotic like Brian Cox.
Danger: The danger of dealing with a giant varies based on what the original animal or insect was before it become roughly 500 feet tall. A giant ant might mistake a kindergarten for a piece of sand and use it to build a giant anthill, while a giant ghost might pass through a giant wall built inside a giant pile of rocks.
Devaluation: I think we collectively lost our fear of giant atomic monsters when the scientific community pointed out that radiation just kills you a lot instead of making you gigantic.
The Hut NannyDrop that zero and get with the hero! Fish Men
Origins: The legend of the Hut Nanny began in Rhode Island at the turn of last century when children began mysteriously disappearing. The townspeople in Providence blamed a creature they called "The Hut Nanny". She was supposedly an infertile woman who, out of desperation, sought the help of a witch doctor and had been given a potion. Instead of deicing her womb, the potion made the thatched hut she lived in capable of flight that only she could control. She set off in her flying hut, stealing children from their cribs and raising them in her hellish airborne home, teaching them the horrors of racial tolerance and sharing.
Danger: Under normal circumstances, Hut Nanny is not really dangerous to people over the age of about six-months. However, if a Hut Nanny is cornered, she will offer her captors three wishes in exchange for her freedom. This is a trick; when the first wish is made she will fire bolts of lightning from a ring she wears and then try to bludgeon survivors with a broken vacuum cleaner.
Devaluation: Hut Nanny was shot down over the Bering Strait in 1973 by a French Mirage fighter plane. The legends died soon after she did.
Origins: The murky deep holds the answer for many questions. The legend of Fish Man assumes that one of those questions is "what would the baby of a fish look like if a human retard got the fish pregnant?"
Danger: Fish Men leave tracks on carpet no matter how far they are from a body of water. These stains can be difficult to remove even with the help of a steam cleaner or immigrant. What Fish Men lack in cross-country speed they make up for in ugliness and possibly cunningness. No matter how fast people run from him and how slow he seems to lurch forward, he always manages to catch up to women in bikinis. Therefore, if you are a woman and you are being pursued by Fish Man, just take off your bathing suit.
Devaluation: The Fish Man myth was debunked when retired plumber Ronald Jenkins of Sandy Creek, Georgia, confessed to being Fish Man. Some rumors of Fish Man persist but they have mostly been attributed to intoxication and / or date rape.
There are many new horrors we must confront every day. These new threats include the Octopusquidshark (an octopus disguised as a shark disguised as a squid), Harry Potter merchandise, Raw Head and Bloody Bones, Derek Smart's Talking Car, the Tokyo Tornado, and possibly even inflation. Confronted with these new horrors, I sometimes wish for the kinder and gentler times when I just had to live in mortal fear of having my neck eaten by a monkey with bat wings.
Awful WTC Tribute of the Day
"Cake Mix Disaster" by Unknown - If it were possible for data to physically overflow from a computer there would be weird foam shooting out of every system connected to the Internet right now. The "World Wide Web" has been inundated with flash tributes to the World Trade Center tragedy that are so woefully inadequate or misguided that they are laughably offensive. With that in mind, I'd like to bring you "Cake Mix Disaster". I'm not sure who made this and I'm not sure if that's the real title because New Grounds is painfully slow to navigate anymore and frequently causes my browser to lock up. We're mirroring the file on our server because the last time we linked to the file on New Grounds it was deleted less than a minute after it was linked.
"Cake Mix Disaster" begins easily enough, with a horribly animated but otherwise sincere message about never forgetting the disaster. It is followed by photographs of the disaster ripped from news sites around the world. No big deal there, maybe this one will turn out okay after all.
The images are followed inexplicably by the image of a blue jet with red racing stripes. The jet has "UNCLE SAM" written on the side in bold white letters and has an explosion of some sort attached to the back. The explosion is then erased before our eyes, disappearing in pieces as if some sort of anti-explosion machinegun is taking its grim toll. The viewer is left to assume that this explosion-pursued aircraft represents Uncle Sam's vengeance on those responsible.
Uncle Sam's jet plane is replaced by the descent of a red and blue pill towards a city of simple gray buildings. By reading between the lines and using my powers of intuition I have come to the conclusion that this falling pill is, in fact, a cake pill. This deadly form of warfare has never been used by the United States, let alone Uncle Sam's jet plane, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.
The cake pill disappears behind the buildings and the nightmare begins for those who have called down the fury of Uncle Sam's jet plane. Cake mix begins boiling and bubbling around the buildings in the city, a spreading doughy menace consuming all of the structures that stand in its path. Woes betide he who thinks himself invulnerable to this cakey onslaught.
The cake has finished rising to its full size, a proud muffin of delicious death overwhelming the enemies of Uncle Sam's jet plane. If what we see is to be believed, no one has escaped this taste sensation with their lives.
Naturally no one could eat such a big cake, and it quickly molds, but in the sky we see a message for those who might still consider taking action that could invoke the wrath of Uncle Sam's jet plane and its culinary doom.
Today's Awful WTC Tribute might not have been as spectacularly bad as yesterday's, but it did remind me of baking cake. That is something I'm going to do as soon as I put out this kitchen fire I somehow started when I tried to put jelly on sliced bread.
With college finals approaching, it's time once again for Microsoft Word autosummaries of all the old, boring books you were supposed to read.
"Don't you get it? What we have to understand is it's them or us. It can't be all of us, or one. It's got to be us, or they become it. Then we lose what makes us we."
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.