The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Dec 26th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

This is not a movie that I would normally see by myself, left to my own volition, on Christmas day. Left to my own devices on Christmas day, staring down the barrel of a reality celebrating the birth of Christ with a little but a graffitied-upon home, three goddamn cats and no Coffee-Mate, I am sure things would have ended up like this.

However, I was asked to go with my good friends Pinback and savvyraven, and I can say, quite categorically, that I had a wonderful time. It’s just that I would describe the movies that I do choose to actively leave the house for, on my own, as possessing one of the following qualities:

1) A comic book character

2) A character that, at some point, takes up a chainsaw or a glove with a bunch of knives in it, and runs after the other characters

3) #2, except in outer space.

So, this was gonna be a departure for me. I didn’t know that the director of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button had also made Se7en, Fight Club and Zodiac, although if I had been told that beforehand, I would have recoginized the essential truth in it: they have certain qualities that I enjoyed in all of them, and I’m all right with saying that David Fincher makes good movies. I know, welcome to like 2001, but still, a man can possess trivia about Arkanoid or cinema in his life, rarely both, so please cut me some slack.

TCCoBB is a movie that I believe benefits from knowing nothing about, before entering the theatre. It was a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’ve only read The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, and I am pretty sure that none of the characters in this movie appear there, so if you’re like me, and only did the bare minimum in high school English, you’re safe. If F.Scott believes in a Stephen King-like principle of a shared fictional universe, well, fuck me. I only knew that the story chronicles the life of a man — Benjamin – from his physical age 90, and down. So yeah, he gets younger as the movie goes on.

I am going to assume that the book actually had a plot. The movie really doesn’t, and I totally don’t normally enjoy flicks like that — The Royal Tenenbaums, Forrest Gump, whatever. Even There Will Be Blood is pushing it for me. This one was well made, with a minimum of jogging retards, and Ben Stiller in a jogging suit, so Benjamin Button gets high marks there. I would like to comment on its length. When we got out of TCCoBB, we found ourselves in a world we could not have predicted. The cash in our wallets were only worth pennies, thanks to years of inflation. Mars had been completely colonized – not by humans, we had been there and left, but rather, by dogs. And if the three of us seemed like we were closer in friendship, for having endured this lengthy film, it wasn’t an illusion: the Universe had expanded as far as it was going to go while we were in there, and had begun the process of called the Big Crunch.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a little long, I’d say.

The last bit I will leave you with is this: as the credits on the movie rolled, we gathered our coats and cups, and stood up, giving our legs some circulation. We heard a small boy’s voice one row back. He said, God bless him, “Was that a true story?”

And I know you “had to be there” to make that anecdote work, if there is even the hint that someone over the age of 5 came up with it, it is horribly unfunny and an example of someone trying to hard, but I knew, while dissolving into an embarrassing giggle, that I would never say anything as unexpected and funny in my life. Bless that kid. I also realized I really should abandon reviewing movies, since I’m never going to top that line. Back to shitty game reviews (I’ll let “shitty” modify either word that comes after it, depending on what you think of my writing and video games) for me.

It’s been fun, I’ll watch movies without commentary, everyone be excellent to one another, and party on.

*** out of 5.

‘Tis the Season
Dec 23rd, 2008 by Knuckles the Clown

Hey, it’s Knuckles again. Instead of asking questions on how to meet woman, I like to ask questions on how to deal with them after a night of awkwardily pawing and box eating.

I met two women Friday night. They were friends of my buddys girfriend. Girl#1 was of robust proportions, a good 5’11 280. Still she had the pretty face and good personality that keep some big girls from being ridiculed on a daily basis. Nice girl, a virgin too. Girl#2 was more my type except she dressed like Janine Garafolo. She had a shapleyness to her but dressed down as to not show it off. Long black hair possibly some hispanic involved. I was confident some spanish pirate has swashbuckled through the gene pool on at least one occasion in the last 500 years. 

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Rod Parker vs Rod Marinelli & Everyone Else
Dec 22nd, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Well, the Lions lost to the Saints 42-7 on Sunday. After the game, a reporter for the Detroit News, asked Lions coach Rod Marinelli the following:

“On a light note, do you wish your daughter would have married a better defensive coordinator?”

Here is an article calling for Parker to be fired. Here’s a quote from the above article that speaks to the reactions from the FOX analysts:

I think FOX’s Terry Bradshaw said it best when he called Parker a “flat idiot.” Actually, each of the analysts on FOX’s wrap-up show took turns bashing Parker. Michael Strahan said that Parker shouldn’t be a reporter; he should be an ex-reporter. Howie Long said “Rod Marinelli, through all of this — the good and bad — has handled himself with class; I don’t think that reporter can make that statement.” Finally, Jimmy Johnson called him a jerk, which is 100% true.

(I find it a little funny that these ex-players and coaches can’t wait to pile on a guy working for the press when it’s okay to do so, but that’s another story.)

However, this isn’t the first time that Parker has been involved in controversy. From his Wikipedia page:

On March 28, 2008, Parker declared on ESPN’s First Take that he had low expectations for college players Tyler Hansbrough and Kevin Love in the NBA, because they are white.

The African-American Parker is not shy to discuss the racial aspects of current sports events, such as the NBA off-court dress policy, or the lack of African-Americans in NFL coaching positions. He recently penned a much-debated column where he called Hank Aaron a “coward” for declining to attend when Barry Bonds would break the career Major League home run record.

In October of 2008, Parker erroneously reported that Kirk Cousins, a quarterback for the Michigan State Spartans, was involved in a fight with hockey players. After being publicly reprimanded by head coach Mark Dantonio at his weekly news conference, Parker was suspended by the Detroit News for two weeks.

OK, Parker’s not an angel. And I hope that Rod Marinelli gets fired and is instantly hired to run the New Orleans Saints’ defense, as there is no way to gauge his performance, with everything else that has happened since Matt Millen took over to run the Lions.

While Parker crossed the line, honestly, I see so much shitty reporting in sports, it’s hard to fault him for asking a question sarcastically. Let’s take a look at what some other writers produced last week. Gregg Easterbrook wrote the following:

Drew Brees played every down against the hapless Lions, on the field and still throwing when the Saints were ahead 42-7 late in the fourth quarter. Brees ended the game needing 402 yards to break Dan Marino’s single-season passing yards record. This seems unlikely, since New Orleans closes against the Carolina Panthers, who will be playing to win a first-round bye. (A Cats defeat coupled with an Atlanta victory would give the Falcons the division.) New Orleans fans will want the Saints to go all-out to get Brees the record — might as well salvage something from the season. But what about Marino? He will feel compelled by protocol to say he wishes Brees luck in breaking the record. TMQ has always felt that record-holders should be honest and say, “Tarnation no, I don’t want my record broken.” In this case, if Brees succeeds, it will be essentially a stunt, given the finale game has no meaning to the eliminated Saints. Marino’s record year came as the Dolphins reached the Super Bowl — those were all yards the team needed to win pressure games.

Gregg… Marino’s Dolphins were 14-2. The team they played in the second-to-last game of the season (the Colts) were barely better than the Lions. You couldn’t look that up?

Peter King said the following about the MVP race this year:

Philip Rivers is going to win the 2008 passing title. But it’s another title he wants. Rivers cannot be the MVP, not on a team that will finish .500 at best.

Peter… the most valuable player of the NFL does not have to be on a team that finished better than .500. You’re very fucking stupid to think that, but going after your terrible sportswriting is fish sitting in a barrel.

So I have a real hard time thinking that Rob Parker crossed some line. In 2001, the Saints, who I had seen win a single playoff game in their history, needed to beat one of three lousy teams in the last three weeks to make the playoffs (the Vikes, Panthers and Bengals).

Our quarterback, Aaron Brooks, hurt his shoulder. Jim Haslett wouldn’t play our backup, Jake Delhomme. (The current QB of the Panthers.) He cost us a playoff spot, trotting out Brooks when he wasn’t 100%. Haslett has acknowledged as much in recent years – would have been nice if we had some reporters out there challenging him, but I’ve never really seen that with the NOLA press.

I was too young to properly enjoy the 1980 Saints 1-15 season, but I am going to guess what Detroit fans are going through is pretty goddamn terrible. When you’re that miserable at your job, with that much money at stake, with that much exposure - is it that bad to get called out on it? Really? If a guy is going to hire his son-in-law as defensive co-ordinator, and stick with him through 15 winless games, I think it’s all right to bring it up.

Shoe Dude vs US Presidents: A Historical List
Dec 15th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

OK, I am sure we’ve all seen this:

 Ha ha ha, say what you will about Bush, the guy missed, and he laughed at him as the second one came. Here’s how the other Presidents in our history would have fared:

1. Washington: Brings out the goddamn axe to cut it in two, unfortunately, cleaves the dude next to him in half. Does not tell a lie about it.

7. Andrew Jackson: Blocks the shoe, and orders the death of three distinct tribes of Native Americans as punishment.

9. William Henry Harrison: Shoe instantly kills him, and as he falls backwards, triggers an explosion that causes Mars hurl itself out of its orbit and crashes into the earth.

15. James Buchanan: South secedes.

17. Andrew Johnson: The shoe misses by being over Johnson’s head, giving it something in common with AJ himself.

22. Grover Cleveland, First Term:  Shoes Successfully Strikes Him

24. Grover Cleveland, Second Term: Shoes Strike Him Again, Really Making Him Wonder If This Fucking Job Is Worth It

25. William McKinley: Shoe sails wide right.

27. William Howard Taft: N/A, There’s no way Taft is able to fit through the doors of that tiny building.

29. Warren G. Harding: Well look, if Bush was able to avoid it, and Harding is generally regarded as the “worst” US President, like how Stairway to Heaven is always gonna be regarded as the best rock song, and Citizen Kane the best movie, well, it’s got to hit him. There’s got to be something people can point to that makes his term worse than GWB.

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt: The shoe misses, and the thrower, embarassed by not being able to hit a guy in a fucking wheelchair, WITH polio (i.e., not just some normal asshole in a chair that got that way by falling out of a silo during the Great Depression looking for an ounce of corn ) does a complete 180 on his attitude toward American imperalism. He brings his newfound global compassion back home and… well, shit, this spiraled out of control… er, he brings it home and settles the Israel/Palestine conflict? Okay?

38. Gerald Ford: N/A, Ford had already fallen down like he got struck by something multiple times during the press conference.

42. Bill Clinton: Snatches shoes out of the air, and shoves them both up Moni– okay, ha ha, blah blah, that’s enough for today.

(The unused, undeveloped joke, since Adlai Stevenson lost twice, dealt with either the giant hole in his own shoe, or him asking the dude on his left what throwing a shoe means, and then screaming to answer the question immediately, without waiting for the translation.)

Dreamhost: Fantastic
Dec 10th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The webhost I use for Jolt Country is POE Hosting. I can’t say enough good things about them. They are utterly fantastic. If I could, I would use them for everything. 

Ah, but I can’t: the other site I run,, is oftentimes a drama-filled mess. Caltrops was created when the forum on Old Man Murray was removed. The founder of POE Hosting ran Old Man Murray… you can see where this is going. For Caltrops, and Caltrops alone, I needed a different host for the sake of simplicity and good feelings for everyone involved.

For years I had been using midPhase. Now, I am not going to trash them:  for the longest time, they were okay. I have a few complaints, and rather than make it this huge thing, I’ll just list them. Oh, let’s do it after a jump so I’m not dorking up the place!

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Is No Laughing Matter
Dec 9th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Two of my Internet friends, Jhoh and Jsoh Cable, recently had a spell with a carbon monoxide leak. Luckily, they were able to get the situation corrected, and they’re both gonna be fine.

I contacted a few posters on (where I “hang out” with the twins) and together, we all signed a get-well card for them. 

Would you like to know more?

Invading Spaces by Rob O’Hara Review
Dec 8th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

“He can get the virus.” – Bill Parcells, speaking of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton’s pass-happy playcalling. 

Oh, I hear you there, Tuna. We all have those little, involuntary spasms of impulse, don’t we? Maybe it manifests itself in a former college quarterback calling his 47th pass of the day as a coach, his proxy All-Pro QB destroying defenses in a way he never could. Maybe we see it when we’re listening to a catchy song in our car, and we flick the “rewind” knob for the eighth straight time because the song’s so catchy.

Or, more appropriately for our discussion today, maybe we see the virus as the silent protagonist in the new book from Rob O’Hara titled, Invading Spaces: A Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Arcade Games. In this instance, the virus takes control of our mind by having us click on the “reply” button to a guy on craigslist selling a three-hundred pound wooden joybox that plays a single game that can be emulated on a watch you could find for free after eating enough boxes of “Circus Fun.”


It’s got to be a virus. No healthy person would make it a habit to collect real arcade games. Right, ha ha? But hey, there’s good viruses and bad viruses. Bad ones make you lose STR, DEX and CON, while good ones have your team passing for 400 yards against the hated Niners, and put two Scrambles in your home.

Er, all right, onto the book! O’Hara begins by putting us into a situation that is not untypical for the type of person that is interested in collecting arcade games: he’s somewhere between Oklahoma City and Austin, completely lost. (In fact, the very first sentence of his book takes a shot at MapQuest, and there is no better way to get me, a reader, onboard, than to correctly paint MapQuest as a server of lies.) Rob and his buddy Justin are on their way to get a game called Heavy Barrel, which is just a great name for a full-size arcade game, like calling one Out of Space or Staircrusher. It isn’t even a game that O’Hara particularly likes, but he makes the decision to go get it anyway because he loves these goddamn things, and this one is a good deal. 

The pair ultimately find their destination, after an eleven hour journey, and meet one of the, ah,  ten types of people you meet when purchasing an arcade game.  They return home with a grim sense of satisfaction, and while reading this, I’m personally struck by how comforting is in knowing that there are other people making the same type of journeys that I have made, for these things. If there is a book out there that stands as a written testament to how maybe, just maybe, I haven’t been driven insane trying to recapture my favorite hobby as a child, then Invading Spaces is it. 

While the tales regarding ‘the hunt’ of an arcade machine make up a significant portion of the book, the other goal that Invading Spaces easily achieves is in describing how to maintain or fix them once they are home. It can be intimidating to find a problem with the monitor or joystick of a thirty-year old machine if it’s been years since your last course on electronics. I bought my first machine in 1999, and did not get another one until 2005 – not really because of space issues, but because I was scared to death to even work on my first game, much less a few others. I got over my fear at first by paying almost retail prices for nicely restored games, but things eventually did go wrong, and I had to scour the Usenet group for help, picking up whatever bits of knowledge I could from others. I can safely say that, almost literally, every single piece of information I picked up about this hobby over the first two years is in this book. I was almost smiling in anger seeing it all collected here. (The anger really stemmed from having to use Google Groups to search Usenet all those years, I should clarify.)

For instance, O’Hara explains that a common problem of PCBs is that they are not getting five volts from the +5v line – I cannot begin to explain the frustration I had with a couple of my games acting wonky, until that dawned on me a few months ago. When I read the chapter on Repairs(Electronics) and got to the bit about +5v, I held the book skyward and cursed, loudly. It was here. It was all here. Invading Spaces is an invaluable resource for the non-electrical engineer thinking of purchasing their first arcade game. 

More, O’Hara’s style is friendly and conversational. He doesn’t go off on a berserker’s rant about MAME, like Stuart Campbell or I would do, but does explain that, while it’s nice, it’s not the same. He describes why someone would be miffed to see one of the 26,000 Defender cabinets converted to, say, a 48-in-1 cab, without unfairly slagging the more, ah, extreme group of preservations. And the stories! The stories really are entertaining and well-written throughout – anytime somebody’s retarded brother (their words, not mine or O’Hara’s) mysteriously skulks around a game that may have once functioned before some retard strength saw to it, like some kind of luddite-touch BigFoot… well, I know I am in for a good time.

My absolute favorite part of the book is the last bit, where O’Hara talks about the games he has owned over the years, and how he acquired them. I can personally listen to that sort of stuff forever, and each little story has a photo of the cabinet associated with it. I have a theory that RoboCop games are unique like fingerprints, and sure enough, both of O’Hara’s RoboCops are different. (Once we assign all three hundred million Americans JAMMA RoboCop games, crime in this country is going to disappear overnight.)

I’ve had Rob’s book around the house for weeks now, and I still find myself going back to it, to re-read a chapter or passage here and there, just to stay sharp. I can’t recommend it strongly enough. If you find yourself with the arcade-purchasing virus, while I am sad to say that there is no cure, this book functions as a wonderful protease inhibitor to let you live with the sickness and still maintain a happy and healthy existence, otherwise. I’ve found that chicks are more than willing to accept this hobby if all the games work, and as this book is a means to that end, it is worth its price four times over in couples therapy. 

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