Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Desert Bus - Penn & Teller, Video Games, and Charity

Here is a story that begins in the mid 90's.  Clinton was president, the world was at peace, and Jay Leno would nurse you into a slumber every weeknight. (no longer nostalgic)

Janet Reno teamed up with Hillary Clinton to get all into a moral panic about violent video games.  She actually wanted educational videogames or something.  Penn & Teller got word of this, as they were designing a game for Sega Genesis.  So they had the idea to include a mini-game that very realistic and even educational.  It taught you to be a bus driver!

Specifically, Desert Bus would consist of driving a bus from Tuscon to Las Vegas -in real time.  8 hours, through the desert, on a straight road.  With no other cars and a top speed of 45mph.  You could imagine just taping down the accelerator button, BUT they made the bus pull to the right so you constantly have to be correcting it.  And if you mess up and go off the road, they tow you back to Tuscon -also in real time.  What happens if someone had the determination to make it all the way to Las Vegas?  Well, for your excruciating work you get, wait for it.. 1 point.  And then you drive back to Tuscon.

Yes, I know what you're thinking: GENIUS.  Here's some gameplay:

Tragically, this game never made it to stores (surprising, I know).  But bootlegs made it to the internet, so the studious among us can now find and play it.

Which brings me to a recent development, which is an online comedy group who is doing a Desert Bus driving marathon for charity.  Calling it Desert Bus for Hope, they are driving back and forth between Tuscon and Las Vegas as long as donations come in.  Penn Jillette himself has taken note, and the local news reported on this particular kind of torture-for-charity.  People have flooded their site with bus- and desert-inspired images and art, almost constituting a mini-meme.  It's been like 4 days straight now and they've actually raised $83,000 so far.

And they've made an all-time high-score of 13 points!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Apple can now swing +6 mace of multitouch at enemies"

That's the title that drew me in to this digg post.

It's reporting that Apple has been granted a patent on the touch gestures (like "pinch and zoom") from the iPhone.  It'd been reported long ago that they were trying to get these patents, which has been real controversial (i.e. "What? You can't patent that! It's like patenting right-clicking!").  And then in January we found out they got it.  Hence "Apple granted +6 mace of multitouch" which they'll be able to swing at companies like Palm which has gone ahead and included pinch and zoom in its Palm Pre.

So I was looking up stuff about that whole deal (actually I was googling "apple touch prior art minority report" but that's another story) and among all the dry headlines was the aforementioned gem.

But really, this post is about the tragedy of unreproducible but genius comedy.

Let me explain.  I was reading the comments on the original digg post, which is pretty much everyone crying out in one voice about how much of a d-bag Apple is being.  I happen to agree, but all I'm going to say is that prior art isn't restricted to Minority Report and goes back to the 80's (also this is an awesome presentation and from 2006).  Then after a litany of serious and diverse points against Apple, I see this (the highlighted one):

I know, I know, I killed the joke long ago.  That's the point, really.  The humor cannot be experienced by anyone else except by coming upon this in the same way I did.

But the more fun point is that this is, like, the point of the internet.  Stuff like this.  It's awesome, and it can't happen in any other medium.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

R.I.P. Captain Lou Albano: Oct 14, 2009

Ok, so if the name and photo don't ring a bell I hope this does:

Honestly.  This may rank as the second most tragic celebrity death of all of 2009.  It's right below Billy Mays.  That's saying a lot.  Oh, and sorry but I'm not just trying to be ironic "oh it's funny to focus on the obscure/humorous figures."  Turns out these guys were just awesome in their own right, and in on the joke.

I looked up stuff about Captain Lou last year and found out that guy was fuckin' awesome.  In the 80's he was a pro wrestler, famous in his own right.  Then he basically just decided to do the Mario Show "for the kids."  Here's his jolly take on his whole career.  The Mario Show comes up at 0:54.  I hope he was as satisfied with everything as he seems there.

Monday, November 2, 2009

High Heel Drag Race 2009

Just realized it'd make sense to post this here. It's my footage of the Dupont Circle Drag Race last Tuesday.

If you're uninitiated, here's Wikipedia's brief introduction.

It was a fun, if rainy time.  I actually knew four contestants, one of whom dressed up as Bea Arthur from the Golden Girls.  Bad. Ass.  Also, I found out later Mayor Fenty was there too.

Max what do you want for dinner?

<3 the first 22 seconds of this:

If I ever have a child, he needs to be this kid.