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Monday, June 20, 2016

Like/Don't Like: June or Whatever

There are plenty of things I don't like this month: guns, homophobia, radicalized religion, alligators, the Jeep Grand Cherokee.  But Giant Electric Penguin is a safe place, a spot on the internet where we can forget the troubles of this world (unless I feel compelled to drag said troubles into my infamous "Spotlight of Shame," and go to town on them like some kind of verbal Rocky Balboa) and laugh for awhile or make fun of a TV show or praise a fast food item or recommend a film or talk about a burrito in almost pornographic detail.  GEP is a place for happy good times, and so that is the spirit in which I present to you this week's/month's super-sized edition of Like/Don't Like.  Please understand that I know what's going on in the world right now, I just want to forget about it for awhile.  I invite you to do the same.  For awhile.


Like: I enjoy pizza.  Aw, hell, I love pizza.  I might even be in love with pizza.  But I'm a simple man.  Not unlike Comedy Bang! Bang!'s Big Sue, I like a round pie, with some cheese, sauce and toppings.  I prefer what is commonly described as New York- or Brooklyn-style slices--flat triangles bigger than my face, dripping with grease.  I've eaten my fair share of corporate pizza, and enjoyed it.  And I'm not immune to the charms of a frozen pizza, be it fancy schmanzy or of the 'party' variety.  As long as there is pepperoni present, I'm a happy man.

That said, I don't usually eff with Chicago-style pizza.  I'll do a Pizza Hut pan, but that's about as thick as I'm comfortable going most of the time.  I am by no means a healthy man, but Chicago-style pizza feels a bit much to me.  Like, what is Chicago-style pizza trying to prove?  That it can give me a bigger, more painful heart attack in half the time?  I don't need to be reminded of my own mortality when I'm eating a pizza.

That said, Acme Pizza Company in Holly Springs, NC makes on of the best Chicago-style deep dish pizzas I have ever eaten in my entire life.  This thing is something special.  You might currently live somewhere in this great nation that has a pizza parlor famous for it's deep dish pizza, and I encourage you make plans this week or the next to give it a try.  If you live in the Triangle area of North Carolina, like I do, go ahead and set a course for Acme, because, I promise, you will not be disappointed.  The sauce, the cheese, the crust, the meat--it's like a pizza and a lasagna made sweet love to each other one night, and nine months later gave collective birth to the most delicious pizza baby imaginable.  We ordered a medium, and had leftovers for days.  And here's a fun fact: Acme's deep dish pizza, like a fine wine, gets better with age.  I can't explain it.  It's like they inject it with eerie Italian pizza magic or something.  This pizza defies all laws of time and space.  And deliciousness.

Also try the wings.

Don't like: I have a nasty habit of falling into YouTube rabbit holes from time to time.  I think we all do.  The holes I'm attracted to however are clogged with the very worst of humanity.  I will spend hours watching compilation videos of people engaged in fisticuffs in a fast food restaurant or screaming at one another on the side of a major highway after a perceived injustice has occurred or an angry customer berating the teenage employee of a phone store because said employee refused to treat said customer like the heavenly gift to all humankind said customer feels her or she is.  Most of these compilations include heavy doses of people being racist on subways and city buses.  Per my extensive and nauseating research, the most racist place in the world is a city bus anywhere in Australia.  It's true.  And weird.

Recently, I witnessed something in a public freakout compilation that really bothered me.  This particular compilation featured an inordinate amount of customers complaining about the dumbest shit imaginable.  The catch: these videos were being filmed by the complaining customers themselves.  See, most of the compilations I watch of this nature are third party videos, videos in which we watch a fellow member of the human tribe bitching and screaming about something or other.  This video I'm about to describe however was filmed by the complainer, which leads me to believe that the complainer thought his cause was just and that his complaint was unquestionably valid, and that anyone who watched his video would immediately join his side, hold him aloft as a hero, a hero who isn't afraid to look like a whiny racist cheapskate who finds it appropriate to repeatedly use the word 'fuck' in front of children.  Pardon my language, but, fuck this guy.

We join the complaint already in progress, but it isn't difficult to figure out what's happened.  An angry dad has returned to the front counter at McDonald's to return three cheeseburger Happy Meals.  He says several times that this is the third time the restaurant has gotten his order wrong, and he wants a full refund.  The manager is not willing to provide this customer with a refund, and here's why: ALL OF THE FOOD HAS BEEN EATEN!  

Well, hold on, I'm sorry, all of the food has not been eaten.  My bad.  See, Angry Dad specifically asked that his children's cheeseburgers not include pickles and onions, but, oops, the McDonald's employee who made the order forget.  Now, granted, that's annoying, but here's the thing: the guy in the video is trying to get a full refund while returning A PILE OF SCRAPPED OFF ONIONS AND PICKLES!  The kids have finished their cheeseburgers, enjoyed their delicious fries, sucked down their sugary soft drinks and cracked open their Angry Birds: The Movie bobblehead keychains.  But here's a pile of pickles and onions--give me all of my money back.  FUCK.  THIS.  GUY.  FOREVER.  

I apologize for my language.  Earlier I gave this idiot shit for so freely using the word 'fuck' in a public place, and now I've gone and used the f-word myself.  It's just...just...this clip made me so livid.  The man who made this video uploaded this video to YouTube because he thought we should all have his back.  "You guys get it," he's saying.  "McDonald's is run by incompetent non-English speaking garbage people who think it's perfectly fine to put pickles and onions on a hamburger sandwich.  Can you believe these pieces of shit wouldn't give me all my money back when I tried to return my order?!?"  But here's the thing, bro, you didn't return your order, you returned three bags of trash!  You and your dumb kids ate the food your given, so, you take the hit.  Quit asking the man at the counter if he speaks English.  He is ignoring you, fuckstick!  Stop hanging around the front counter like a weird stalker.  Other reasonable people are trying to order their food.  They don't care about you or your whiny kids or you pickle pile.  If you can't handle the occasional fast food franchise fuck up, maybe you should stop going out to eat.  We don't need you out there making the world safe for pickle-haters.  We need you to shut up.  GAHHHAHHGHGH!  This guy makes me so mad!  I want to punch a pickle into his eye socket!!!!

Like: Earwolf's premium podcast app, Howl, just added the first 13 seasons of comedian Jimmy Pardo's Never Not Funny podcast, which is kind of like 150 Christmases all happening simultaneously and each brightly wrapped present waiting under the tree is filled with doughnuts, freshly baked Totino's pizza rolls and orgasms.  I've basically listened to nothing but NNF since the first 13 seasons dropped, There's never been a better time to pay for a premium podcast app.

Don't like: A few weeks ago the above picture of actor J.K. Simmons started popping up everywhere online, accompanied by declarations "look at that hot old man" and "dayum, son, the Farmer's Insurance guy is ripped."  I think he looks like an anorexic Santa Claus with He-Man action figure arms.  Creepy.  Thumbs down.




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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Sky Sharks and the end of an era


I can remember a time--let's call it late 2015--when something like Sky Sharks, the trailer for which is featured above, would've filled me with the kind of joy reserved for a child at Christmastime.  The neighborhood covered in blinking lights and inflatable, farting Santas; the thick-as-an-encyclopedia toy catalogue from JCPenney; every available surface of the kitchen covered in cookies in various holiday-appropriate shapes; vaguely creepy stop-motion Christmas specials on TV: December is filled with non-stop delights for every kid (provided they're not Jewish or Jehovah's Witness), and the accompanying feelings are what I imagine older people are trying to recapture when they turn to hard drugs in adulthood.  Believe it or not, that's how stupid movies used to make me feel.

I can't remember how I stumbled upon the trailer for Sky Sharks this week, but I know I watched it because I read the description as "Street Sharks," and immediately thought to myself, "They made a movie out of Street Sharks now?!?"  

They haven't.  Yet. 

I realized my error pretty early into Sky Sharks' trailer, which, if you didn't watch before reading this, is riddled with Nazis.  I'm not terribly familiar with Street Sharks--I imagine they were, much like the Samurai Pizza Cats, an attempt to grab some of that sweet cash the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were bringing in--but I'm pretty sure they didn't live in World War II times.  And if you were wondering, yes, I do know how to read.  I guess I just saw what I wanted to see.  The important takeaway here is that I watched the Sky Sharks trailer.  And my reaction to it perplexed me.

I didn't laugh.  I didn't shake my head, wryly smile to myself and mutter, "What'll they think of next?"  I didn't immediately post the trailer on social media for everyone to revel in.  I didn't Google, Bing or Ask Jeeves for more details on the film's production.  I just let the YouTube player move on to the next trailer, which was for Jeepers Creepers 3, by the way.  Ugh.  

Am I growing up?  Have I lost my childlike wonder?  A movie about flying, machine gun-firing sharks controlled by Nazi zombies used to be enough for me.  Bad special effects, poor acting, a dumb tagline: this has always been my bread and butter.  But the Sky Sharks trailer left me cold, numb, bored even.  So, what happened to me?!?

Quick answer: nothing.  I still like fun, crazy movies, but maybe I like my wackiness with a side of skillful filmmaking, a dash of class, and at least 75% less crap.  And like the Sharknado series before it, Sky Sharks appears to be focused directly to the pre-made "so-bad-it's-good" market, and I've never been fully on board with that, first Sharknado excluded.  And also, I think it's because I'm 37-years-old now. That isn't old, but upon entering your late 30's, one is reminding that time only marches forward, and it's all a barrel roll to the grave from here.  I can't justify wasting my time with tripe like Sky Sharks anymore when I still haven't seen Godfather 2 or The Deer Hunter.

So, today, I pass the job on to you, younger generation.  It is now your duty to watch these terrible movies, find the ones that should be praised for sucking so hard they are unmissable, and toss the pretenders to the shit throne in the crap pile.  I can't do it anymore.  I'm too tired, too bitter.  My bones ache.  Plus, I'm a dad, and all the time I had for bad movies is now time I need to watch kid's movies with my daughter, and that's more fun.  Have your parties, drink your beers and smoke your weeds, and watch Sky Sharks and laugh your drunk/high heads off.  And then write about it on a blog, so I can read it on the toilet.  Because I'm old, and I've put my sky sharks away.  R.I.P., me.


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