Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bottle-flipping fad is latest tween obsession

As "Lord of the Flies" taught us, if tween boys are left to their own devices, they will come up with some pretty adorable pastimes. Like hunting and killing the less popular members of their group, or flipping a plastic bottle in the air in the hope that it lands standing up. Whatever helps to pass that grim, drafty gap between childhood and the rat race.

What, you haven't heard of the plastic bottle-flipping craze which has swept schools this year? It began with a video of a boy who, as his "talent" at an assembly, flipped a water bottle and landed it on a table standing up. From there, it was on, coast to coast; boys tossing bottles through basketball hoops, off trampolines, over their backs, trying to stick that landing. Why? Because it satisfies that part of the pre-adolescent male brain which glories in meaningless skills, a trait which will pop up again years later when he discovers golf.

It is driving teachers nuts, apparently, the pop-pop-popping sound of one-third-full plastic bottles hitting the ground in the quad, or even in the classroom. Some schools have banned flipping, which seems like the wrong reaction. I say monetize it. Charge a buck a day per flipper, give him a wristband, have tournaments and split the pot between the daily champion and the ASB. Whatever it takes so I can stop having to bake freakin' brownies.

I think part of flipping's appeal involves the four elements of the physics involved; the water, the gravity, the rotation and the showing off. YouTube has entire channels devoted to clips of amateur sports stunts. Any kid can come up with a plastic bottle, a few ounces of water, and the free time to film endless retakes.

Our grandfathers pitched pennies, but the winner got all the pennies tossed. Those guys grew up to be captains of industry. My generation streaked; a joke which today would get you on a permanent sex offender's list. This fad seems more suited to our times, a celebration of random odds, modest in its risks and its pleasures. Irritating to adults. Irresistible.

Nobody I asked has ever seen a girl flip a bottle. It makes sense. Girls' brains at that age are too busy building the psychological padding they will need to ignore the dumb junk males do, a vital neural development which is the only thing that allows the species to continue.

. . .

See the original flip clip which started it all. I think it went viral because of the crowd's outsized reaction even more than the act itself. Overreacting to this modest success seems to be part of the appeal.

Here are more examples (since, like these kids, you have a lot of time to kill) all together in a compilation of epic flipping for you (many of them clearly faked with camera tricks, but some real):

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday Wa Pic - A little Star Wars humor

 The Kenobi family's favorite church.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Creepy Clownvasion debunked in candid interview

"Creepy" clowns have been in the news this week, probably because during an election like this, it's what we deserve. The rumor was, creepy clowns were coming to kill us, in our schools, in our homes, perhaps busloads but at least pickup-truckfuls, coming to slay us in really big shoes. As if every TV debate isn't a little death already. You'd be doing us a favor, Bozos. 

Last Monday I found the following ad in the Craigslist personals: "From Los Angeles to West Covina, I am comeing to kill u so be afraid. LOL." So I sat down with the creeper, who agreed to meet with me and chat about this whole clownvasion thing.

GW: Firstly, your name is Gat?

Gat: Yes, Gat. 

GW: Like slang for "gun"? Gat?

Gat: No, short for gato, like "cat." See [spreads his shirt collar] I have a tattoo of a kitty on my clavicle.
GW: Oh. That's...actually a tattoo of a clown eating a cat.

Gat: Yeah, I get a lot of compliments.

GW: You've, uh, never really...

Gat: Chowed down? [laughs] No, it's just to mess with people.

GW: So you consider yourself a creepy clown.

Gat: Not clown. I prefer "murder specialist."

GW: Fair enough. How did this rumor about killer clowns get started?

Gat: Some kids lied about seeing creepy clowns luring kids into the forest, and it took off. 

GW: How do you know it was a lie?

Gat: What kid over the age of one is gonna follow a clown into the forest, bro?

GW: But the idea was creepy enough, so other people spread it?

Gat: Yeah, suddenly it's nationwide clowns. It's dumb. Your bloodthirsty clowns, really, it's just me, and CrazyHair Bojangles, and Smiley Fofiley, and Ruffles. Just four of us.

GW: And your ad says you will terrorize everyone between...

Gat: L.A. and West Covina. It's limited, because we take the bus. 

GW: How many people have you murdered? 

Gat: Well, it's more of an intention thing, really. Like a to-do list.

GW: So you put on the frowny makeup and the angry eyebrows and pointy plastic teeth...

Gat: Yeah, and maybe stand on a street corner.

GW: And place ads online. 

Gat: Terror isn't gonna spread itself. 

GW: You're not really a murder specialist.

Gat: Well, when I'm not in makeup I'm actually a political consultant.

GW: Now that's scary.

Gat: Thanks, man. I appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday Wa Pic - Put a ring on it, and then maybe some super glue

 That feeling when you want to know the story behind something, and then again ya kinda don't.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Think this election is nutty? History provides precedent

Whenever I start to think this political season has brought America to its lowest ebb, I like to remember the beat-down of 1856. In short, a relative of a pro-slavery Senator took a cane to the brain of another Senator who had given offense. On the Senate floor. When others tried to stop the assault, they were held at bay by another congressman with a gun. On the Senate floor. This was before metal detectors, and before credentials, and doors on the Senate chamber, apparently.

It makes the war-of-words of 2016, with its rhetoric about heating up gas chambers, "deplorables" and Mexican rapists charmingly nonviolent.

In the election of 1800, voting lasted from April to October. Not campaigning. Voting. President Adams was so unpopular, Thomas Jefferson and his VP pick, Aaron Burr, each individually got more electoral votes than Adams. It was a tie, in fact, the win going to Jefferson only by some back room wrangling. To avoid this in the future Congress passed the 12th amendment, which stipulated that the country would be divided in half once Facebook was invented.

In 1872, sitting president Ulysses S. Grant (were there really so many Grants named Ulysses he had to pop an "S" just to separate himself from the crowd?) coasted to reelection because his opponent died before election day. Horace Greeley is the only candidate to ever kack before an election was completed. Greeley is famous for founding the New York Tribune, and for saying "Go west, young man," even though he later swore he never said it. For his health, he might have been better off taking his own advice, which he never gave.

In 1920, Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs got 3% of the vote even though he was in prison. Without the V, he might have been confused with many other Eugene Debses who were not incarcerated, and only gotten 2%. America loves a bad boy.

In 1992, H. Ross Perot, a Texas billionaire businessman (who spared no expense to put the initial in front of his name) jumped into the race as an Independent. Some think he siphoned away enough votes from VP George H.W. Bush to cost him the election. Historians know, however, that Bush was undone by attempting the risky two-initials-in-the-middle gambit, which any pundit will tell you can only be pulled off if you are a fantasy/science fiction writer.

. . .