In the wake of writing yet another earthquake story, I find myself once again more than a little annoyed by the surrender-to-the-fates, let-go-and-go-with-god attitude some readers seem to take toward preparing for the big earthquake expected to wreck the Northwest sometime in the next 50 to 100 years.
Here's my short answer to all this whiny nonsense: “Bitch, please. Grow the fuck up!”
My longer answer is hopefully more thoughtful.
Like the post’s title suggests, I’d like to share my flagrantly editorialized final thoughts before we’re all lulled into a false sense of security by the passage of time, and the general frenetic nature of our modern world, a world that has us constantly turning our heads this way and that as we try to take in the day’s barrage of distractions and novelties. And I'm pretty sure none of you will actually bother to take even basic steps toward preparing for a COMPLETELY PREDICTABLE AND LARGELY PREVENTABLE disaster. But as I hope my last story illustrated, the problem is only partially about what you as individuals do to prepare. It's way more about whether government officials and companies step up and start taking your well-being seriously. And let's face it, for that to happen, regular people like you will probably need to do the one thing that gets shit done in a democracy: get really loud and really angry and do it en masse.
When I write “preventable disaster,” I mean it. No, we can’t prevent our subduction zone from rupturing. But that’s not the point. The worst part about the earthquake won’t be the first four minutes of shaking it’s going to be everything that follows afterward.
Did you know I once applied for the Secret Service? (I was rejected for OH, so many obvious reasons.) HOWEVER! Now I don't feel so bad because I know who I was up against: SHAPE-SHIFTING ALIENS. According to this hilariously (totally serious, guys!) report, a "reptilian shape-shifting humanoid alien" was spotted working on President Obama's secret service detail during his 2012 APIAC speech. And he would've gotten away with it, too... if he hadn't accidentally shape-shifted during the speech! WHOOPSIE-DAISY! (Obama's gonna have his shape-shifting head for this!)
Obviously this is just another example of the Illuminati helping an alien race pull the strings of world power Jews 9/11 was an inside job. Also... FLUORIDE.
First of all, people need to stop "paloozaing" things. However! I will make an allowance in this one case for the upcoming film Rapturepalooza (due out in May), which stars my hopefully one day girlfriend Anna Kendrick, John Francis Daly, Craig Robinson and my hopefully one day boyfriend Rob Corddry. The world is coming to an end, which is like, such a super bummer for a group of teens, who are really put out by the whole thing. Bloody rain? AND a girlfriend-stealing, horny antichrist? Oh, c'mon!
From Yahoo News:
An asteroid half the size of a football field buzzed Earth in a historic flyby today (Feb. 15), barely missing our planet just hours after a much smaller object exploded above Russia, injuring perhaps 1,000 people.
The 150-foot-wide (45 meters) near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 cruised within 17,200 miles (27,000 kilometers) of Earth at 2:24 p.m. EST (1924 GMT) today, coming closer than many communications satellites circling our planet.
Okay, so I guess our plans for tonight are back on. Soooo... what do you want to do? I hear A Good Day to Die Hard is good.
As Denis mentioned in Good Morning News, Russia had some little visitors yesterday—meteorites that exploded over the Urals in Russia, damaging 300 buildings and injuring 900 people (mostly via broken glass). Here's an awesome news report from Russia Today in which the (fairly flippant) Brit host and his not-exactly-a-scientist-but-she's-cute "expert" reporter describe what happened and—here's the important part—show TONS of sweet video. And while I realize these meteorites were definitely trying to kill us, they're still kind of... beautiful? WATCH.
Maybe you're no longer worried about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse—but it could still happen! And if it does, you're gonna want to run straight to the Ace Hardware. And not just any Ace Hardware but the one featured in this 10 minute, award-winning documentary short that is currently a Sundance fave, "When the Zombies Come."
Actual, bored Ace Hardware employees dream up a incredibly intricate plan to ward off a zombie invasion and the results are pretty goddamn HILARIOUS. (Plus this mini-movie really pissed off the Ace Hardware executives who are trying to get the film eradicated from the universe. Good luck, jerks!) WATCH IT!
OKAY. You've had more than enough time to think about this... and now it's time to answer this question once and for all.
UPDATE: Apparently 2012 didn't want to be voted on, because my poll broke. We'll try again tomorrow! Eff YOU, 2012!
Like we all knew would happen, the Portland City Council yesterday officially moved up a referendum on putting fluoride in the water to May 2013—a full year earlier than fluoride foes had been hoping for when they went out gathering tens of thousands of signatures in hopes of summarily ending the whole affair.
It was a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Dan Saltzman out on an excused absence and Commissioner Amanda Fritz, concerned about low turnout and a rushed campaign, voting a full-throated NO. The vote also marked an official send-off for Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Randy Leonard, both of whom are stepping down in 10 days. And, like every other fluoride hearing to date, it didn't disappoint. In fact, it was pretty much just like every fluoride hearing to date, because everyone pretty much said pretty much the same things they said every other time.
I was live-tweeting it all yesterday. I got punchy. Enjoy some highlights.
Whoopsy! Okay then, folks! I guess that's all that's left of planet earth—so let's go live to various corners of the globe to see the Mayan Apocalypse currently in action! (And check out the soundtrack! BEST APOCALYPSE EVER!!)
Happy Mayan Apocalypse Day, everybody! Before we sign off forever, it's time for all of us... in particular, me... to make amends and apologize for all the crappy things we've done while on this planet.
I got nothing.
HOWEVER! A bunch of reality TV stars got together under the baton of The Soup's Joel McHale to sing this stirring apology ballad entitled, "We Ruined the World" because... well, they kinda did. (How many of these reality stars can you recognize?)
Just a friendly reminder that the world is ending tomorrow, Friday, Dec 21, and it might be a good idea to get your affairs in order. That's what we're doing today at the Mercury—right after our holiday white elephant gift exchange. (Does anybody have the exact time the world ends tomorrow? I'd like to get in a quick workout beforehand.)
Anyway, if the end of the world slipped your mind, no worries. You can quickly read this week's Mercury Guide to the Mayan Apocalypse, which is specifically designed for all you last minute apocalypsers. Such as...
The End of Times: Cheers and Jeers
Here Are Some Things I've Been Wanting to Tell You
A Non-Survivor's Guide to the Apocalypse (this one is specifically directed at YOU)
A Last Minute Bucket List
And of course...
The Mercury's Word Search of Eternal Strife and Never Ending Frustration to Celebrate the Upcoming Banal Everyday Armageddon that Will be Our Undoing
I hope these articles will be of some help and solace... but if they're not? It's not like you're gonna be able to complain about it. See ya when I see ya.
I happened across PBEM's media roll-out yesterday while haunting city hall for council coverage; they'd set up outside the city council chambers ahead of a vote that cements Oregon Public Broadcasting as the city's official outlet for emergency broadcasts. And I came away intrigued enough, after looking over the shiny and serious-looking sample station, that I went to the bureau's website and used a form to enter both my home and work addresses to figure out the closest BEECN to each one. (St. Johns Park and the Fields park, respectively.)
It's an ad, I know, but it's also a pretty good look at what the hell just happened:
To the great
interest boredom of many, I've written at length about my complicated feelings regarding M. Night Shyamalan*. I finally jumped off the let's-defend-Shyamalan train around the time of The Happening, vowing to never be tricked again, and yet: After Earth, the Will Smith/Jaden Smith sci-fi flick that Shyamalan's directing, but not writing? Um... well aside from the fact I'm pretty sure it's actually set before humanity and not after it, as it implies, I think it looks kind of... I'm not going to say it. But this is worth a watch.
YES YES I KNOW FOOL ME ONCE, ETC. But I don't know. Animals and spaceships and Karate Kids and stuff! Those things are neat. So I don't know. Part of me wants nothing more than see Shaymalan make a genuinely awesome movie again. The rest of me knows that even entertaining that hope is what made me watch The Last Airbender and then hate myself for doing so, so there you go.
I did get a mean-spirited kick out of the fact that they don't mention Shyamalan's name at all anywhere on the trailer, though. I think they learned their lesson from the Devil trailer—an otherwise effective preview that made every audience that saw it start laughing when Shyamalan's name came up.
*Short version! He's got a remarkable ability to create stunning images and set a genuinely haunting tone—a fact that usually gets pushed aside so people can talk about how they always see his twists coming** and how deplorable Lady in the Water, The Happening, and The Last Airbender are***.
**No you don't, liar.
***And yes, those are genuinely terrible. But Sixth Sense and Unbreakable are great, and Signs is underrated, and even The Village has some great stuff.
Amusing, perhaps. But also terrifying. We are relying on robots to harvest our food and thereby giving them the tools to destroy us. When the robots turn evil we'll have no leverage to negotiate with them. We can't unplug them or we'll starve.
Even scarier is a quote from near the end of the story: "If your leg looks too much like a pot, it might try to move your leg." This is my biggest fear with all robots. What happens when (WHEN!) they think I look like something that needs to be harvested? If my leg looks too much like a cherry tree, will the robot shake me until my cherries come out? Because that'll be a lot of shaking.
Here's a video of the boring man claiming to be the robot's master explaining the "harmless" technology he's peddling.
Note how the people working in the robot office ignore their impending doom as it whirls around its playpen happily moving plants with its cute grasping arm that could be so easily reprogrammed to choke humans.
Like with all robotic inventions, it's not the amazingly cool way they work today. It's the slippery slope they're sliding down (or building up, I'm not sure how the slope metaphor works for robots). I don't know how anybody could watch them work and not see the obvious links between this and the end of the world.
World War Z: good book, troubled film production. Max Brooks' oral history of a worldwide zombie plague is clever and fun—and at this point, it's the one exception that proves the rule that zombies, as monsters and characters/metaphors/whatever, are totally exhausted.
Brad Pitt's adaptation of World War Z, which appears to trade intimacy for spectacle, looks absolutely nothing like the book—io9 nails when they say it looks "like 2012 with zombies." Which is probably to be expected: a faithful adaptation of World War Z would be a Ken Burns-style mockumentary, and that shit doesn't make money!
But here's the thing: Yeah, it's a bummer that the book is gonna get shafted, but I'm kinda digging what the World War Z movie appears to be doing. The first 45 seconds of that trailer are great—and even if from there on out it feels like an episode of Michael Bay's The Walking Dead, it still looks like something I'd watch. It's impossible to judge a movie by its trailer (the previews for Life of Pi—another film based on a good book, and another film with one or two problems—have been fucking atrocious, but the movie's really solid), and who knows, maybe World War Z will turn out to be as smart as the book. But even if it's just a dumbed-down disaster flick with waves of lemming-like zombies crushing everything in their path? Hell, it'll still be a disaster flick with waves of lemming-like zombies crushing everything in their path.
For those of you who think Michael Bay doesn't give a shit what people on the internet say, you are 100 percent correct! But sometimes he hears what people on the internet say. So when nerds started guessing that Mark Wahlberg might be in Transformers 4, Michael Bay was all, "Pfft! Please. That is ridonkulous, on the serious." But then Michael Bay was all, "Hmmm! That gives me an idea... what if I put Mark Wahlberg in Transformers 4?" AND NOW MARKY MARK IS STARRING IN OPTIMUS PRIME AND THE FUNKY BUNCH, AND IT WILL MAKE 14 TRILLION DOLLARS.
Be careful what you say on the internet, nerds. You never know who will be listening.
Via the Onion, which has yet again proven to be the best place to go for eerily accurate post-election analysis.
...except in this case, you probably can.
Tempest comes out September 11, and will sound like a squeaky screen door being battered by the wind.
Now I'm not saying we should replace the Timbers with adorable robots—ummm... actually, I think that's exactly what I'm saying. Check out this robot soccer blooper reel!
And why "How to Kill a Zombie," which Erik wrote in 2004, is suddenly on our "most popular" list.
Have you seen this yet? KATU is airing a melodramatic commercial for an "investigative" piece tonight that's apparently all about how the Oregon State Hospital keeps on letting crazy people lumber free from decrepit cages to menace innocents and little children.
They're pulling out all the stops: sinister music, a raspy narrator, gritty black-and-white footage—even a hallway confrontation between a reporter and a state official. Update! Here's a YouTube embed; seems the KATU embed stopped working. Update again! And then the station's YouTube embed went down, too. Curious. Very curious. I've left a message with the newsroom to find out what's what. Another update! The Mental Health Association of Portland shrewdly made their own copy and posted it to YouTube. So it lives again.
Good for them and their gumshoe reporting, right? Wrong. Mental health advocates are ripping it as a bunch of stigmatizing, insensitive hogwash.
The Mental Health Association of Portland is calling the story "crap" and wants people to call KATU and raise hell:
The Mental Health Association of Portland has sifted through a lot of crap news stories about the Oregon State Hospital—but this looks to be a doozy.
What’s true? The hospital HAD four basic problems — decrepit and dangerous buildings, demoralized under-educated staff, stigma/fear/panic on the part of just about everyone but especially mental health providers and the media, and the association with Psychiatric Security Review Board.
Number one is resolved. Number two is changing fast. Number three, as evidenced by Dan Tilken‘s hysterical reporting above, is still a basic every day problem. Number four was addressed with major legislative changes in 2010.
Tonight KATU is the problem, not the solution. Too bad Dan couldn’t find a real story.
And here's what the Multnomah County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness had to say:
KATU is running inflammatory, fear-mongering ad spots about people being treated at the state hospital. The key word in Oregon State Hospital is "hospital"—not prison—as KATU portrays.
Lucky for you, we've obtained an advance copy of KATU's special report! It's after the cut.
Here is a new and absolutely brilliant video for Fleet Foxes' "The Shrine/An Argument," off this year's Helplessness Blues. Directed by Sean Pecknold—with gorgeous character illustrations by Stacey Rozich—this engrossing eight-minute epic follows some sort of elk on a trek through the dawn of the (refreshingly zombie-free) apocalypse.
Video. Watch. Now.
End Hits: And then the two-headed underwater dragon ate him.
Thanks for the nightmares, io9.
Meet two new robots the Japanese have invented, both designed to scare the poop into your pants.
First there's "Mask-Bot," which according to The Week, uses "facial emotion data" to emulate an actual human face. This is super creepy, and not to be mean, but I'm pretty sure I saw this thing protesting at Occupy Portland last week.
Then there's "Asimo" which was inexplicably built by Honda—because one day we're going to give up our cars for freaky running robots??
Imagine that first robot's face placed on the second robot. Now imagine 100 OF THEM CHASING YOU DOWN THE STREET. Pleasant dreams, everyone.
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