the devil's dump
written by various
Besides the fact that "Remake Yourself" remotely sounds like Atari Teenage Riot meets Self-Help Group 2000, it also indicates a pretty sad state of affairs in movies nowadays.
Granted, remakes and "updated" versions aren't a new thing. We've had 'em for years: those who try to remake the classics (ie. the non-violent "The Thing" with John Carpenter's visceral and gory version), but this year seems to herald in a new trend. We've got Christopher Reeve as realistically as possible portraying the photographer in Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window". We've got carbon copy remakes of another of his classics, "Psycho", and now there's news that "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is being remade for its 25th anniversary.
What a crappy present.
You'll also notice that these movies are all "thriller" related. Remember when "thriller" was the buzz word long ago? You saw it in TV Guide describing movies that you knew were 100% horror. You saw Siskel and that other guy describing "thrillers" - "horror" was a turn-off... it just wouldn't sell.
No, no, no, though. Not anymore. "Scream" made slightly more money than they imagined (ok, a lot more), and then "Scream 2" did the same thing, even being re-released to keep the audience coming. All of a sudden, we see old series being revitalized ("Halloween" and "Child's Play") and new movies being created that follow the same idea ("The Faculty" and "Disturbing Behavior"). And, oh yeah, you're goddam right it's a horror movie, and it's the best damn one you're gonna see this summer.
Yeah, right. Movie people are already running out of ideas... which is one of the reasons I'm attributing to the rash of remakes. This isn't all bad, and I don't want that to come across. Horror movies and the horror genre is my life. I love the idea of seeing a new horror movie on the big screen every week. So, why am I complaining? Because the QUALITY of horror movies on the big screen is becoming much like that big shelf of "unrented, unknown horror"... most of it sucks, but you'll probably find a gem somewhere.
Disney has the right idea, as this Christmas they'll be releasing "Mighty Joe Young". Most people don't know that this is a remake of a rather old film (which was quite good). But... no one has heard about it, so it seems new.
I firmly believe in the fact that you can't remake a classic, which is why "Psycho" (good Norman Bates, mediocre else), and "Rear Window" (bwa hahah... um. No. Bad.) will never match up. If you shouldn't remake a classic, at least remake an unknown. Hell, maybe you'll find a new series venture ("Suspiria 4: The Witching Hour" ... ahhhhhhhhhh!).
This had to come sooner or later. Long time readers of Devil Shat know of an article about those stupid Tamagotchi's that penetrated into our society, and then a follow-up concerning virtual life that could breed like rabbits. The Furby, that cuddly little thing, is the next in the evolution of non-life, as well as the model for next season's rip off toys.
Besides being a furry computer that can learn English as well as speak their native tongue (conveniently called "Furbish"), Furbies can transmit their own sickness to other nearby Furbies. Isn't that just great! Not only will our kids be talking more to their imaginary friends, but they'll also be beating up their neighbor because they made their toy sick.
I don't know about you, but that disturbs me.
Kids have an active imagination... they see things where adults don't, personify their toys, play guns with their soldiers, or dress up their dolls. That's not the problem - the kids control their play themselves.
Mixing "new" toy technology with unrefined imagination throws in a randomness that isn't healthy. Furby gets sick but the kid wants to play. The kid wants to play the next day but the damn toy is STILL sick. Sure, we see kids claiming their doll is ill, and for a day or two take care of it... eventually nursing it back to health. There is no right or wrong way of nursing, nor is the sickness a negative: the kid has created it.
A Furby that gets sick while the kid is having fun, or gets sick during the kid's birthday, or just plain old gets sick and stays sick, anchors the kid into an imagination they might not to play with.
Let alone the fact that they are carrying around a technological bombshell. What if the damn thing shorts out (which has happened)? What if it just starts growling due to some mechanical error? A growling Furby immediately floats "Kill the humans" through my thoughts, along with the nightmares that it'll give the child. Aren't toys supposed to be fun? How the hell can a toy be fun if you can't cuddle with it because of its hard inner parts? Or that you can't take it outside because it's dirty or raining?
Furbies, virtual life, and all of its offshoots just seem to be a bad solution to a problem that shouldn't exist: parenting. "Ignore the kid, dear, he's got the Furby to talk to him."
Where the hell is Teddy Ruxpin when you need him?
I'm not one to be religious... hell, I could be considered an anti-religious zealot, if they exist. Yet a tip from a reader and writer of Devil Shat prompted this impromptu DEVIL'S DUMP.
It seems that one morning on the traditionally named "Morning Wake Up Show" of a WXPZ, Bill and Denise read something called "The Bible in 50 Words". I reprint it here since it'll probably disappear in a couple of weeks:
God made, Adam bit, Noah arked, Abraham split.
It seems to me that by summarizing the Bible into this nice little rhyming limerick, we give a horrible insult. When you go into a bookstore, more often than not, you see Cliff Notes somewhere within. Cliff Notes are for those who don't give a damn about the book and don't want to read it ("yeah, but this isn't an ordinary book, Morbus! This is THE Book") or for those who don't have time to read it ("don't have time to read the Bible? Sinful!")
Now, I don't know about you reader type people, but one of the major things which is always brought up when concerned with the Bible are the 10 commandments. Hmm... read, read, read ("hey! the Bible in 30 seconds! This is great!")... nope, nothing in here about any Commandments, guess they aren't important.
In a day where religion incites wars, hatred, prejudice, and as much media as it does, it seems that practitioners should try making other people understand religion's importance and merit. Dummying up the Bible into 50 words IS NOT the right way, nor does it show the respect, the reverence, or the moralistic teachings that so many people want us to see and understand.
You know, I think I am beating a dead dog. Or horse, or what have you. But spammers just keep amazing me. Sure, they can get inventive, but now they have gone one step further. Let me explain.
See, a couple of days ago, I got another spam in my box... no big deal. And as most spams do nowadays, it came with removal instructions. Most people are going to try to unsubscribe from the spammer list... it's understandable. I don't, because it is just another extra step in my life that wastes my time. For some strange reason, I decided to humor myself and go to the website that was listed at the bottom of the mail.
I guess I started laughing, I don't really recall. They wanted $4.95 to remove my name from this magical list that gives spammers access to millions of email addresses. Yet, in their little description of this great service they are offering, they tell of how most spammers VERIFY your email address if you reply with "Remove". And now, they want $4.95 along with my request for removal.
It's pretty funny that spammers now control the very way you remove yourself. If you don't want their product, "fine", they say, "we'll just get your money to stop bothering you". Which is, of course, a load of crock, as your name gets added to this magical master list you supposedly have paid to be protected from.
by Ivan S. Graves
It would seem that GeoCities is wholly intent on the destruction of one of the better additions to the world wide web. Their relentless struggle to toss in advertising at the cost of those who have diligently supported their efforts from the start, has grown to proportions that are not only highly intolerable, but downright horrific.
It can be conjectured that the original goals of GeoCities, while appearing on the surface to be that of providing valuable web space to those who either cannot afford, or choose not to fork out hard earned money for a home in which to share their interests, has quite obviously been incorrect.
It is plainly seen of late that their goals are clearly driven by greed. Their first attempt was to front hosted sites with 'stitial' advertising techniques that loaded before the actual website did. The problem was that for most, the stitial inadvertently locked the surfer on that page, leaving the site unvisited.
It is obvious that many voiced their dissatisfaction in regards to this approach, as GeoCities quickly scratched the stitial idea. For a short time the sites were once again returned to their normal caliber, and surfers could enjoy visiting their favorite websites once more.
But the bombardment continues, now with the advent of a separate page that opens simultaneously with the website, causing the website to download at a slower rate, and also causing some browsers to encounter internal errors which force the closing of their browsing software.
This is clearly a desperate attempt by GeoCities to abuse the support of over one million site holders gained due to their prior outstanding business practices.
It has been agreed that advertising fuels the web, and should be encouraged. But we need not, in this process, be bombarded much as we have in the television medium, with advertising. It, in essence, detracts from the entire experience without a doubt, and demoralizes the wonderful advent of technology realized with the introduction to and vastly increasing number of people hopping on for the ride.
It can be stated that advertising is fine when it is behind the scenes and provided to us as a suggestion, but when it is shoved down our throats - it is without a doubt, an intolerable nuisance.
I will pay my respects to GeoCities in advance if this is the direction they have chosen.
Way back in Issue Eight, I wrote a piece entitled, "Your Life is Void" describing these cute little toys called Tamagotchi's. I made the point that with these things representing pets... representing life... that we dummy our lives to the point of a little toy. Something to tool with, something to play. Our life loses meaning because we try to simulate it (poorly) in a small, egg-shaped toy (with optional key chain attachment).
I knew this little phenom would get bigger, cos we're stupid and self-destructive, so they made this thing called Neko Unjatta. In Japanese it means "I produced a cat". Well, according to this press release, these things can mate with other Nekos to make Neko Babies. The process is called "love-love communication" but it comes with a non-politically correct error. See, Takara (the company who makes 'em) says that "you have to be careful, because you cannot 'communicate' two males or two females together". Does it teach your kid anything? Hmm... having sex is easy, your baby can have sex within 10 days, and that males and males can't love each other, as the same with females.
That's not very nice... I'm waiting for the Lesbian Alliance to start raising a fuss. This could cause a repeat of the same social issues from years ago, when we first started worrying about homosexuality. Should there be gay Neko Unjattas?
But the neat thing of these little toys is the fact that in ten days, the little babies can start mating too! These things are like rabbits! But, they don't experience the pain, or the love like humans do. The next advance they need to make should be some sort of pain button. If your Neko Coolatta is in to much pain, you can feed him some sort of drug which makes it like a sweet, dreamy, sea breeze.
Other updates in virtual life include talking. Yeah, some other company has implemented the ability for your little pet to talk to you. If it is hungry, it whines to you, like a modern-day Seymour. When you feed it, of course, being all polite, it thanks you. I doubt it will teach your kids anything besides maybe being more rude ("Feed me!") although it might teach them to be polite ("Thank you").
You've got to have some sort of respect for spammers for a number of reasons: first off, they keep trying; secondly, they don't get bored easily... they always send around the same get rich quick money scheme. But you have to wonder why? What possesses people to spread this great big money thing around besides to get more money themselves? It makes sense, but it creates hatred. And finally, you just gotta respect spammers cos they can be creative. I received this in my mail a while ago:
Subject: $100,000.00 Reward kidnapped Aids Murder
Now, stuff like this is just great! You don't have to do anything except go to a website and check it out! And you could win a crapload of money. The best thing about this little piece of spam is that it appeals to our hearts. There is a girlfriend, and two very old decrepit parents, and now their life is forfeit (hey, come on... she was 77, anyway). It brings a tear to my eye to think that there are people out in this world who want to take a life indirectly. Of course, lucky spammer, HE wasn't injected with the virii (he must have been at his computer), but we'll ignore that fact right now.
And what the hell does that subject line mean? Are those keywords? Or is there some massive spam engine where you can search for the most interesting bits you can use to annoy other people and murder just happens to be relatively high on the buzzword list?
by D-Word, heavily modified by Morbus
True "Pats" fans got off to a great start this season with a 4-0 record. Just when we think Super Bowl Champions, the first huge game comes up and they get crushed. [Insert extensive football stats and other stupid info]. The "Pats" are a great team, but they don't have the staying power.
But, of course, they sure do know how to have a great time. How many people had a little chuckle when the news came that three Patriots injured some lady by stage diving? The injury isn't a big deal... people get injured at shows all the time when they start doing stupid things and thinking they are all bad-ass. The only difference in this case is the fact that they are "athletes" and are relatively "famous".
I don't see anything coming out of this besides either, (a) it is quietly settled with a large sum of "shut the hell up, we'll buy you a new car" money or, (b) "hey, look! i'm gonna sue their football asses!". Everyone thinks they can make a buck, but not everyone can. Everyone thinks it is always a lot easier just to sue someone and get some of the bucks they have made. And what if they lose? Write a book, or sell your "He Raped Me in the Crowds!" story to the National Enquirer. It's all the same.
by Rick Dobs
Pardon me for sounding antique, but I can't help wondering if the "automobile" was the bright idea of a genius inventor, or the "demon seed from hell". Consider this... while the four-wheeled wonder propelled mankind into super-racedom, it also began to slowly poison our air and compact and pave our soil. We certainly would not be where we are today had it not been for this invention, but I find myself asking... "Is this such a good thing?"
Our lives revolve around the fact that we can now get "there" quicker, and get more of a thing to "there". I speak from slight experience... I'm a professional truck driver. I'm the driver of that big thing that's in your way, or in your mirrors, each and every day, trying to get more of a thing to "there", and there, and there... We, as a civilization, have become so stressed out about getting "there" quicker than the driver beside, behind, or ahead of us that we forgot that it's not the "there" that is important. The MOST important thing about getting "there" is what we do and learn along the way... who we meet and talk to... how our souls are stirred.
That, however, isn't nearly as important as being the first to get "there". By the way, where is it again, that we're going?
by Ivan S. Graves
Has anyone seen the latest from GeoCities, what once was a wonderful place for websurfers to visit, and webmasters to have access to? It has turned into an absolute nightmare whose basis and direction has taken an awful 360 right into the abyss.
While I'm all for free enterprise and advertising - hey funding keeps all this stuff alive - when it detracts from the web surfers original intent to see a website, and makes it nearly impossible to even get in... then it's a nuisance. A downright outrage! FrightNet Online Magazine uses banner ads, yes. And if FrightNet gets chosen by it's sponsors to be bumped up on the 'totem pole' then it may have an ad that pops up before the website does. Fine. Dandy. No problem at all. It's how we keep the web free. But there is a button you can click on the screen that will allow you to get past the screen and into the website you came for. Although distracting at first, it does not detract and allows the web surfer to continue on to his desired destination.
Not so at GeoCities. Of course, this is not the case for every surfer. Some browsers will do what it says it will do: automatic refresh to the desired page within 10 seconds. I use MSIE and it DOES recognize the META HTTP REFRESH tag that makes this feat possible... but my browser won't go. Instead I'm stuck in this awful advertising page that loads and reloads, and reloads, and... well, you get the idea.
If you feel like it, you can sit for an hour trying to guess what one of the interior html files may be called and get in that way... but this could take days, weeks, months. Time the average surfer does not have. And everyone knows web surfing is driven by speed. If it takes a page more than a couple minutes to load he's likely to traipse right on out of there. In other words, you can nuke a sandwich in less than 30 seconds in the micro, why sit waiting for a website to load for longer than it would take to nuke it... and then consume it?
Part of the attraction of the GeoCities area has been for it's wide assortment of popular websites devoted to speculative fiction, artwork and the like. It's a goldmine of horrific artifacts any fan of the genre has surely frequented. Some of our favorite sites are in GeoCities.
I think they SHOULD advertise... they are providing a worthwhile service to those who want it and need it. I would have no problem whatsoever if I saw a banner ad on those pages somewhere- and, if I was using GeoCities to host my site, I'd have no problem having a banner ad on my site either at the top or the bottom of the page. Hey, otherwise I can go spend over $1000 a year to get the same thing.
by Rick Dobs
Did you ever see the commercial on TV done by the actor who plays Frazier Crane's brother? In this commercial, he points out that by taking time to have ALL the family sit down at the table to eat, ALL at the same time, you are taking the first step to becoming a "family" again.
I think he has a very important point! I also think that you and I see our kids in passing. Our spouse is either on their way to work, or just getting home - being "dog tired". The phone is ringing every other minute, and your favorite TV show is about to start. When, in all that ruckus, do we have time to sit and talk to each other??
At 10 pm, the TV station used to ask if you know where your children are. It never asked if you know WHO your children are! Or your spouse for that matter. I know. My wife complains daily that I never listen to her, I just talk about me (a slight exaggeration, I am sure...). Do you know WHO your children are? What they like, dislike? What they want to do with their lives as they grow up? Is there anything more important than our children, the next "rulers" of this planet??
Whatever you think you need to do, take time to sit together for a meal, and talk to each other! (but more than once... of course...)! I think the world will be a better place because you did
One of the biggest pet peeves that I have is the difference between growing up and growing older. For example, kids are always saying "when I grow up, I'm gonna be a rocket scientist". I never understood why people don't start their "dreams" when they have them. Why doesn't the kid start learning about rockets now? Why doesn't he find all that he can about rocketry... even if he doesn't understand it, at least he'll be one step closer to his "dream". Sure, we all know kids are fickle and probably tomorrow he'll want to be a "dinosaur man", but you should be what you want now. I got sick of people saying, "you can do anything you want" and then adding the whispered "as soon as you get out of school". Do what you want to be NOW...
It is doubly sad when you see people who are 17 saying that when they grow up they are going to be a psychologist. You are 17. You are grown up. You should already be on your way to being what you want. If you still keep changing your mind day after day, and being suicidally fickle, then you should start saying "when I grow older".
What is this world coming to anyway? I saw the movie "Hackers", and I was appalled. In my experience in... um, I mean, what I've seen about hacking, little blue, gold, and green shiny images don't float around in "Cyberspace" while "running around in a unix system"... its all code, hackers dont wear power gloves, and last I knew virii don't project images of people that are explaining the course of action the virus is going to take in plain english. Now, I understand that this movie was aimed at the alternateen's who worship their MTV culture, but giving the message to mommy's little rebel that hacking is that exciting and realistic is just wrong. Granted if the movie industry made a film realistically about hacking, it would be boring... plain and simple
SHIVERS is a UK published horror magazine that dotes upon the X-Files like every other magazine. And, the purpose for this little entry is a small little comment that received little attention. The situation called for a bunch of little children to run around screaming while 60,000 bees (all real) flew and buzzed around their heads. The director says, "And four or five [children] got stung. We had paramedics there who took out the stingers and put on little Band-aids."
The clincher comes in her next line: "But the mother or father would say, 'Get back out there! You're on the X-FILES!"
I guess being able to show your neighbors a videotape of your kid running around getting stung on the X-FILES is far more important then being a parent. It's not like your neighbor's would actually SEE your kid anyways. Kinda reminds me of those people who get photos of the Boston Marathon, and circle this little pixellated dot, all the while yelling out "That's Me! That's Me!"
We all know this happened. And we all know that we're sick to death of hearing it. And after seeing the photos of the car crash, and literally seeing the number of Princess Di websites that sprung up from her death, I have grown just as sick of it too.
Whoop ti doo. I just think it's funny that Princess Di is getting far more media coverage than Mother Theresa. And then they have the audacity to proclaim that Mother Theresa was "saddened" to hear of Princess Di's death. Isn't it great how they pull the two tragedies together, but still make Di seem more important?
What I want to know is since Mother Theresa's last words were "I cannot breath"... were Princess Di's last words "I'm a bloody princess"?
So I'm walking into a convenience store before I go to work. You know, I'm kinda hungry so I buy a Twix bar. No big deal... it wasn't until I was sitting down and reading the back package out of boredom that I saw 3 innocent words: "May contain peanuts".
I was mystified. I turned the Twix bar over... Nope, it said caramel. What the hell is this all about? Is the Twix-making factory right next to a peanut factory and every once in a while a peanut sneaks in? Did they put this clause on the package so they wouldn't get sued?
It just makes me wonder if someday "virtual pets" will contain an advisory "may contain life".
Stop on over to WHITEHOUSE.COM and catch Hillary and Bill making love in whips and chains. Yes, it's true. The Whitehouse is now corrupted, and Bill does a lot more than "just gettin' it on".
Or at that website, at least. WHITEHOUSE.ORG is the official website for our President and First Lady, but most people might make the mistake and type in COM instead. And what they will see is one big porn site. Apparently, the owner first had made a political parody... people would come, get a few laughs, and then never come back. So, in order to keep people coming, he changed it all to porn.
Now the site gets from 100,000 to 200,000 hits a day.
I guess my main problem with this is the fact that all he could think of doing was changing it to porn. Whoop to doo. There are already millions of porn websites out there, the only thing that is making his any better is WHITEHOUSE. I wonder why he couldn't do anything more... intelligent? If all these people are searching for the real Whitehouse, and they stumble onto his site, why doesn't he have articles and reams on information about why the administration is doing a bad job, or what people can do to make America better.
Porn is overrated. Thinking is underrated.
(advertisement, first couple of pages)
Alright, I saw this ad, and all I could say was "Hahaha, Screw You!". The ad shows a in-your-face of Tiger Woods with the caption: "Stuff Tiger Doesn't Need" and then has superimposed randomly the words "Cosmetic Surgery", "His Own Talk Show", and "Tattoos". What that has to do with the ad I have no clue. They are pitching the "Tiger Woods Tudor Chronograph" which is another word for "Really Expensive Watch". But the clincher is another tagline: "IT'S TIME TO BE YOURSELF". What the hell? Be myself? You're showing me a huge picture of Tiger Woods (the be-like-me sports celebrity of 1997) and telling me to be myself? By wearing a watch? Who's gonna notice a watch? This is a pure example of "BE LIKE ME BUT BE YOURSELF"... a pathetic attempt to sell more trinkets.
(rants & raves, page 30, third column, first letter)
Wow, WIRED earns two "dammit"s this issue. The "dammit" in question is a letter regarding the June cover of WIRED. The cover was of the Apple logo duped up so that it represented Jesus on his cross. A crown of thorns and drops of blood were other noticeable features. The letter is reprinted below (without permission) in full:
Why is this a "dammit"? 'Cause someone actually wrote in to complain about it. Yes, I suppose it could be degrading the holy Jesus and so forth, but trivializing it? If Mr. Kilmer wrote a letter for every instance where we see Jesus trivialized (or his life) then he would not have time to pay off his internet payment to write the above email. He wouldn't have a job. There are just too many instances in which he would have a problem.
Is he justified in doing it? Yup. Was it the right place to do it? Probably not. In a magazine like WIRED, which has the reputation of covering under culture in ours and the digital world, something like that should be expected. I thought it was an incredibly good cover. Did I understand what it was implying? Yup. Did I read into it? Sure. The relations between what Apple is and what Jesus represents were apparent. Both died (or would have) after making a radical change to the environment around then, and both died (or would have) before their time. The picture, as the saying goes, spoke a thousand words.
(a weekly mailing list describing top websites)
A minor "dammit" here. Most everyone knows that Burroughs died earlier this month. William Burroughs, an icon of our culture (even as he tore it apart), wrote a number of books (amongst other things) and was the last surviving member of the Shakespeare Squad. Well... in "tribute" of his passing, Yahoo! delivered their descriptions in the style of other famous authors. What follows is their attempt at J.D. Salinger. Although it was a good mockery of "The Catcher in the Rye", it remains just that: a mockery. Even if my latest book DID suck, I still would be angry at the following:
Oh, by the way, it's a good website.
But, you're going to have to find it yourself.