This Week in the Mercury


The Apocalypse

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Robots Playing Soccer

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 11:29 AM

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!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cracked Explains Why Internet Journalism Is Terrible.

Posted by Alison Hallett on Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 1:57 PM

And why "How to Kill a Zombie," which Erik wrote in 2004, is suddenly on our "most popular" list.

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Read the article.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tonight! KATU Wants Everyone to Be Afraid of Marauding Crazy People!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Feb 9, 2012 at 12:44 PM

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.

Continue reading »

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fleet Foxes: "The Shrine/An Argument"

Posted by Raquel Nasser on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 12:14 PM

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.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Behold the Harbinger of Your Doom

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Thanks for the nightmares, io9.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good Afternoon, Uncanny Valley!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 1:14 PM

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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Flying Orb Robot Will Kill Us All

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 4:29 PM

It seems so clear now. Of course Skynet will actually be located in Japan.

As obvious as it is that flying orb robot will eventually enslave and brutally massacre us all, I do find it utterly adorable that it has a little plastic egg for a little house. Via io9.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TV Review: Terra-ble Nova

Posted by Goldy on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Oh... Hello.
  • "Oh... Hello."
Okay, so I watched that new TV show Terra Nova, because, I admit it, science fiction has always been a guilty pleasure of mine (even bad science fiction), and I hate to be a wet blanket or anything, but what is it with these dystopian fantasies where we somehow manage to develop an amazing technology like sending people eighty-some million years back in time, yet we can't figure out how to create clean, renewable energy, or use effective birth control?

Soylent Green, I get. It's a 1973 film set in not-to-distant 2022, so it's perfectly reasonable to anticipate the super-advanced food processing technology necessary to transform a stringy old Edward G. Robinson into a tasty snack cracker, co-existing at the same time mankind stupidly plunges itself into an ecological disaster. I mean, I could imagine a scenario like that a decade from now. Couldn't you?

And Blade Runner? Yeah, that Android technology is way too advanced for 2019, but there's all those great noodle shops all over the place, so it's hard to describe the setting as exactly a dystopia. I love noodles. So Blade Runner doesn't count.

But Terra Nova, honestly, 140 years from now we can send people through a fucking crack in time but we're still spewing shit into the atmosphere like in Al Gore's worst nightmare? Really? Sorry, I'm just having a little trouble suspending disbelief.

More after the jump.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In Which Bill Nye "Confuses" Fox News Viewers

Posted by Goldy on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 9:59 AM

But then, most Fox News viewers are confused by basic facts, so that's a good thing.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dead Letters: The Very Best Grateful Dead Fan Mail

Posted by Ezra Ace Caraeff on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Dear Jerry, I hate you. Signed, me.
  • Dear Jerry, I hate you. Signed, me.

I'm always looking for a millionaire dollar book pitch (Hot, gay Vampires that crave a good, hard staking! What? It's been done before?) so I can bail on this sinking ship and join the lucrative and profitable world of publishing.

Since Gaydracula is out (it gets better, buddy), looks like it's time for plan B: a book devoted entirely to Grateful Dead artwork that stoned hippies draw on envelopes. Now to sit back and let the Dead Head nostalgia money roll in...

Since the band's earliest days, Grateful Dead staff saved tens of thousands of decorated ticket-request envelopes sent to them by Dead Heads hoping to capture the ticketing staff’s attention with their mind-bending designs. These envelopes are inspirational and hugely insightful, not to mention brilliantly illustrated and unique within the world of rock. Now, for the first time in print, these unique pieces of art have found a home.

Crap.

From author, rock historian, and the Dead Head of all Dead Heads, Paul Grushkin, Dead Letters: The Very Best Grateful Dead Fan Mail collects more than 300 of these mind-blowing envelope masterpieces, all presented in 14 thematic chapters.

Are you ready to have your fucking mind-blown... by an envelope? I sure am. Of the "14 thematic chapters," 13 are devoted to "Dancing Bears and Skulls With Roses and Some Shit" with the final chapter being an epilogue.

End Hits: A coffee table book about fish that resemble Trey Anastasio! This shit is genius!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

David Yates and Steve Kloves Take On Stephen King's The Stand

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 9:58 AM

THUD.
  • THUD.
David Yates and Steve Kloves aren't exactly household names, but everyone who isn't Amish (and probably a even few of those particularly duplicitous Amish people—you know the ones) have seen their work: Yates directed the last four Harry Potter movies, including the outstanding adaptations of The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows, while Kloves adapted the screenplays of all but one of those eight films, which have made a combined total of far more money than I thought even existed. And once you're adapting the work of J.K. Rowling, there are few other pop authors who can measure up... except, you know, that guy. Says Hitfix:

Warner Bros. is in the process of finalizing the deals for David Yates and Steve Kloves to re-team for a multi-movie version of Stephen King's epic The Stand.

This makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons... The Mick Garris version for television is a very faithful telling, but there's something wild and terrifying about the book that television standards and practices just didn't make room for, a scope to the world of the book that still hasn't been captured. Kloves is a smart writer and given two (or possibly even three) movies to tell the story, he can let it live and breathe, and hopefully nobody's going to try to push this to a PG-13....

Yates had mentioned his involvement with The Stand when he was doing press for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, but he was still just thinking about it at the time. Word is that the deals are now coming together quickly, and that this is a priority project.

I haven't read The Stand since I was about 13, when I tore through every King book I could find at the library, but I remember thinking it was pretty badass. (I recall next to nothing about the plot, though, aside from: a plague, good and evil, Vegas, a woman laying on her back admiring at her boobs in a ceiling mirror, and a pyromaniac. As with most of the books I read at that age, I was mostly just scouring it for the parts that involved sex and/or violence, on which counts King rarely disappointed.) Still: King's a great writer, and Yates and Kloves are a solid team, so I'm guessing this could be pretty impressive. As long as they keep that excellent scene with the ceiling mirror, that is—I remember it being pretty pivotal—and also as long as this whole thing doesn't come to the same sad, whimpering end as Ron Howard's ill-fated Dark Tower adaptation. Chin up, Opie! You're a shoo-in for the big-screen Andy Griffith Show reboot.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pickathon HippieWarning!

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Future Hippies Pre-Patchouli Circus Freakout
  • Future Hippies' Pre-Patchouli Circus Freakout

Everyone's all, "Pickathon is such a cool festival. The food is so good. The bands are awesome. It's such a civilized affair!" True, true true, but here are some things they don't tell you:

You are surrounded by hippies, who do everything in their power to crush you in their soppy dank grossness. Let's not even talk about how inconsiderate these miserable fucks are—actually no, let's talk about it!
3 a.m.—First off, I did not realize that bands would be playing ALL NIGHT LONG right by my tent, but it's cool because a great pickin' 'n' grinnin' old-timey band starts playing, with a female dynamo singing.
5 a.m.—Band clears out for bed. Group of musically challenged hippies take up the reins.
5:30 a.m.—Clogging happens. Really loud clogging, with some spotty tambourine playing and enthusiastic bucket beating.
6 a.m.—Hippies make up their own song as the sun comes up. It goes, "Walking in the morning/walking in the morning/walking in the morning/walking in the morning." These are the only lyrics to their song. Rinse and repeat for an hour. Seriously, rinse and repeat, hippies! There are twigs in your hair!
7 a.m.—With the Grateful Dead playing in the background on a stereo, the hippies mistakenly and boisterously believe they know all the words to Neil Young's "Heart of Gold." They are wrong.
7:30 a.m.—Hippies crawl back into the dirty hole they came from.
7:45 a.m.—Nearby generator kicks on! It sounds like this, "RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" Thirty minutes and 50 decibels later, it mercifully shuts off.
8:30 a.m.—Feral hippie child shouts, "Mommy, I have to go potty!" The remaining li'l hippies in the tent village perk up their ears and come screaming from their tents.

Moral: Bring a bottle of Tylenol PM and some earplugs. Why did no one tell me this?

Other hippie boner-killers:
* Alison was struck by a runaway hula hoop.
* Ned saw a baby being bathed in a porta-potty sink.
* An intimidating hippie lady told Raquel the shower line would move faster if she just stood in line naked.
* A football huddle of four trustafarians untangled as I was walking back to envelop me in their hug circle maw. For two petrifying minutes, Aaron, Matt, Amy, and Ryan "hugged" me. I don't think I breathed the entire time, my body rigid, suspicious, and full of peace-love-and-understanding opposites. Reluctantly they released me. After chugging a beer, I walked back by to see them with two new hug-receivers in the belly of their hug beast. If only I could've warned them.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sweet Jesus, It's the Trailer for Sarah Palin's Movie

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 10:59 AM

In terms of aggrandizing braggadocio and melodramatic panic, I'd rate it somewhere between this and this.

No Portland release date yet, but god, I hope it opens here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

In an Emergency, Sam Adams Would Be King—If He Survived

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 11:59 AM

The Portland City Council this week is going to vote on all of the various pieces that make up city's plans for coping with all manner of tragedies: earthquakes, floods, terrorism, etc. Sounds grim, yes. But in reality, it'll all be pretty dry.

So why should you care? Two reasons. Tucked into city code are a pair of interesting little nuggets. First is the line of succession in Portland should the unthinkable happen and the mayor find himself among the first wave of casualties. After Sam Adams, it goes like this:

1. The President of the Council (Randy Leonard); 2. The council member who has most recently served as President of the Council (Dan Saltzman); 3. The council member holding the position with the lowest number (Amanda Fritz—this doesn't make clear where Nick Fish would fit in...); 4. The first of the city officials in the order listed in Section 2-206(9) of the charter of the city of Portland (city auditor (LaVonne Griffin-Valade), city attorney (Linda Meng), chief administrative officer of Office of Management and Finance (Ken Rust), executive assistants (ie, chiefs of staff) of disabled Council members in the order of their seniority as an executive assistant).

Second is an enumeration of what kinds of powers we'd cede to whoever emerged as mayor during an emergency. Among them:

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And then there's also these:

Continue reading »

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Surefire Proof that the Rapture is on for Tomorrow

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Because after watching this, you'll say to yourself, "Yup. Now I've seen everything."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Arnold's Back as the Terminator

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 11:33 PM

Terminator 3. NEVER FORGET.
  • Terminator 3. NEVER FORGET.

Hey, look at that: Not an hour after I get back from an advance screening of Fast Five, the news has gotten out that Fast Five director Justin Lin's officially on board to reboot the Terminator franchise (yes, reboot again, but I think we can all be grown ups here and, when discussing movies about killer robots, agree to pretend that Terminator Salvation never happened). This time Arnold Schwarzenegger's attached to star, because of course. Deadline has the scoop.

Cool by me. The Terminator series was awesome for two movies, crappy for a movie, awesome again for a TV show, and then crappy again for another movie, so it's not like this franchise is some sacred cow—James Cameron washed his hands of it long ago, and god knows they're gonna keep going back to it until they get it right (possible!) or until people get sick of watching rampaging robots go on rampages (impossible!). Lin's a decent action director, they'll no doubt come up with something entertainingly ridiculous to explain why the T-800 is all old and paunchy now ("I hahve been prograhmmed vith ah new mission... to terminate Snickahs bahrs!"), and regardless of how the actual movies turn out, at least we can rest assured that delusional Salvation director McG is currently crying himself to sleep. So let's just chalk this up as a win.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prepare for Judgment

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Screen_shot_2011-04-21_at_11.04.55_AM.png

"The Skynet missile defense system goes online April 19, 2011. Declares war on mankind and triggers a nuclear apocalypse two days later." —Cameron, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

So, y'know... get your stuff in order, I guess.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Don't Know How Some of These Homemade Sex Machines Are Supposed to Work

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM


Here's the video for "Elektrotechnique" by Dutch electronic/hiphop group De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig. (What? That's their name! They're Dutch.) Artists/directors Lernert & Sander created this extraordinary video of homemade sex devices, which are like Rube Goldberg meets Herbie Hancock's "Rockit," but, you know, SEXY. My favorite is the leaf-blower/chair device that spins out of control. But I admit, maybe I'm naive, but I'm not completely certain how some of these work. Like, are you supposed to put your thing in that other thing? Where does the umbrella go, and what does?.... Ohhh, I get it.

I do appreciate the incontrovertible truth-ism that this video purports: that eventually our robot subservients will go haywire, overcome us, and destroy us—possibly while rupturing certain tender parts of our bodies. Because that is WHAT WILL HAPPEN, people.

ht: Simon

End Hits: Also, what's up with the watermelons?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

PSU is a Nazi Liberal Alien Conspiracy!

Posted by Dave Bow on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 1:42 PM

And much more! My friend just moved here to get her masters at Portland State University. Last night she and I did an internet search on the comically named current PSU president, Wim Wiewel. Little did we expect that the first site we clicked on would clue us in to the REAL truth about PSU! The 9/11 UFO Genocidal truth!

A snippet:

What is the reason that PSU Safety Patrollers, routinely profile, harass, and wrongfully cite elderly, black and white American men for trespassing, while continually to grant refuge to and harbor illegal aliens from Mexico? How come all of Portland State University presidents, have to be from out of state, or in the current case of the present, president, to be from Holland? Why is it that no graduate of Portland State University, is ever smart enough, or good enough, to ever become PSU president?

Wim Wiewel: Nazi Alien
  • Wim Wiewel: Nazi Alien

If I were asked to pick a favorite part of DimWeasel.tripod.com it would probably be the unexpected pro-cockfighting advertisement. But there's so much crazy, low-hanging fruit to pick from!

h/t to Rachel Hunter

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Get Motivationalized, Ya'll!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 1:28 PM

As mentioned in GMN, the reason it took you so long to get to work this morning is because of the GET MOTIVATED! business seminar currently underway at the Rose Garden. Though this may come as a shock, I decided against attending this seminar... but not because I think I'm too awesome (though—let's face it, guys—I am pretty stinkin' awesome!!). I chose not to attend this huge pep rally because it has already done its job: I'M SUPER DUPER MOTIVATED, YA'LL! Here's how I got that way:

1) The Get Motivated! seminar motivated me to run 13 stop signs in the central eastside this morning in an attempt to get to work on time.
2) The Get Motivated! seminar motivated me not to attend because of their repulsive guest speakers, which include Laura Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Terry Bradshaw, Bill Cosby, and Colin Powell. Hey, Get Motivated! Where's Ann Coulter and Muammar al-Gaddafi?
3) The Get Motivated! seminar motivated me to read an article from the Oregonian (a great feat in and of itself) on the Get Motivated! seminar, which thanks to the following paragraph motivated me to get kinda depressed.

Willis and Carmody, assistant managers of a Southeast Portland Burger King, waited outside the Rose Garden ticket office to meet fellow Burger King team leaders from eight franchises around the Metro Portland area. Their district manager suggested they all attend.

4) The Get Motivated! seminar motivated me to go to Burger King for lunch!

GET MOTIVATED! to hit the jump for more of my motivations, as well as a totes motivating motivational video that explains why motivation killed the leader of the civil rights movement. MOTIVATE!

Continue reading »

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Your Perfect Family

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 10:14 AM

As you probably already realize, your family pretty much sucks. They're kind of evil people who don't really care about anything but themselves and their boring, stupid problems. HOWEVER! There is a family out there who is much, much better! And it is THIS family!

best-family-portrait-ever-17593-1299106249-2-1.jpg

Oh, overweight centaur—would you please adopt me? (HERE'S A FUN GAME: Imagine you could be any member of this family... including the lonely girl in the wheelchair. WHO WOULD YOU BE, AND WHY?)
via

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This Is How Close We All Came to Dying. Horribly.

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Nobody wins a nuclear war... unless you're the United States and you take a whole mess o' them dirty red Ivans with you! That's the cheery premise of a 1956-1957 military training film recently unearthed by the National Archives.

George Washington University says this once-lost film is perhaps the only government production that ever explicitly depicted the nightmare scenario that haunted generations of Americans: all-out, global nuclear combat with the Soviet Union. It's just like you might imagine, except for one thing.

Notice how calm the actors are, despite having to pretend to issue orders that will kill hundreds of millions. Me? I get apoplectic when the office coffee maker seems to take too long. Watch the preview (of the nuclear holocaust, not me getting angry) below:


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Seen Today in PDX: CHILDREN FOR SALE

Posted on Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 12:13 PM

I came across this sign during a recent drive along SE 17th Ave:

SSPX0114.jpg
It definitely gave pause to my driving, as my mind wandered towards Swiftian notions of children for sale. Good thing they added that "s" in there at the last second.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Being Catholic: There's An App For That

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Who says popes are old fashioned?

The Catholic church just approved the "Confession" app (which at $1.99 is a bargain compared to the 10-percent-of-income tithe), in which you can "keep track of your sins"—w0000t. Peep the handy sinning checklist system:

_51146321_51146320.jpg

It's being marketed as "the perfect aid for every penitent," and if that doesn't sell it to you, I don't know what will.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

India's Terminator Makes Our Terminator Look Like Poopinator

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 10:16 AM

If you are James Cameron, Michael Bay, or for that matter any person currently living in the United States of America, prepared to get your ass HUMILIATED by the most AH-MAY-ZING robot flick ever. What follows is a ten minute (and worth every goddamn second) excerpt from India's incredibly popular flick Ethiran (or Robot) which makes every American-made Terminator and Transformer look like a Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop. This clip is dubbed in Russian, obviously because there aren't any English words to sufficiently describe it. WATCH. IN. AWE.



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