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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Vega$ or Bu$t!

Viva Las Vegas, baby! It's Sin City--a place of neon lights and broken dreams and things that are illegal in 48 other states. Who could possibly not like Las Vegas? Why that would have to be someone who doesn't love self-expression, or fun, or dare I say it--good, ol' fashioned, red-blooded American Freedom(TM)! Basically, if you don't love Las Vegas you might as well be washing Osama's balls because you're a filthy terrorist.

And that grim reality is something that videogame developer/publisher Ubisoft is set to explore with their game Rainbow Six: Vegas. Terrorists have seized The Strip with their fun-hating--covering wholesome American strippers in burkhas and stealing buckets of quarters from our senior citizens who desperately need to win their retirement money. That's when Team Rainbow, a tactical assault unit, goes to work putting holes into bad people, usually in their vital organs. Sounds like a classic American ass-kicking in the vein of a Michael Bay film. Hells yeah, sign me up!

"Head shot, head shot... lemon! @#$!!!"

But what's this? Who hates fun as much as terrorists? Oh right, politicians. It seems like old fashioned American ass-kicking may be in trouble because of old fashioned American election year politics. In a desperate attempt to prove he does something, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has spoken out against the latest Rainbow Six game saying, "It could be harmful economically, and it may be something that's not entitled to free speech (protection)," and adding "It's based on a false premise."

Well, I have to admit, he's got a point--a FICTIONAL videogame is indeed not based in FACT. I'm glad Mr. Goodman was able to point that out to everyone, because I was confused. Here are some reasons that I've stayed away from Vegas in the past, that are all apparently bullshit:

  • Three casinos were robbed simultaneously by a ragtag group of charming rogues in a splendid caper. This happened twice--once in the '60s and then again a couple of years ago. Strangely enough the jobs were very similar.

  • The Stratosphere exploded. Apparently they've fixed it. (This happened in the movie Domino, which I haven’t seen because even I can't stomach enough Tony Scott-esque camera tomfoolery to get through it).

  • People turn up dead there a lot, often with bizarre circumstances surrounding their deaths, and only a bunch of people with infrared goggles can crack the case. Usually the case involves a) Furries, b) Dwarves, c) you later, and/or 4) bestiality.

  • The Mob runs a bunch of Vegas casinos. (Oh wait, that one's real.)

  • A crazy scientist accidentally enlarged his toddler to massive proportions. He trashed The Strip and was calmed only by a giant version of his mommy. He's still in therapy. Rick Moranis' career has yet to recover.

  • Martians trashed the city and only Annette Bening, the fabulous Tom Jones, some bitch named Janice Rivera and Jim Brown were badass enough to escape. Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito were killed--poor bastards. I hear they've gotten better.

So, you see, there's room for a little bit of that accursed Fiction in our lives, even if it is in a virtual form. So give us a break Mr. Mayor. I know that the voters are restless and you all spend a lot of money convincing people that it's okay to have fun as long as you're gambling away your life savings or spending your kids' college fund on strippers and indiscriminate sex with strangers, but somehow I believe that your marketing campaign can sustain the fallout from a simple videogame.

Photos by Ja$on.

Monday, July 24, 2006

DC Gets Minimated

More cute toys from Comic-Con. Note the ethereal glow, particularly from between Power Girl's legs. Now that's a superpower.

The Cuter Side of Comic-Con

Clearly, we here at Hands in the Air care a lot about toys. We managed to photograph a bunch of cute Marvel toys at Comic-Con.

Apparently, Nick Cage was high or drunk or just totally Hollywood at the Ghost Rider panel. He sez flaming skull tattoos are "honest."

So funny. He sings or something.

R.I.P. Mako

Mako, the actor who was so cool they named a shark after him, died at age 72 this past Friday. Okay, actually they didn't name a shark after him, but there totally should've been a species called That-Japanese-Dude- Who-Was-in-That-Crappy- Conan-Sequel Shark.

Aside from his role in Conan the Destroyer, Mako was a character actor who appeared in The Green Hornet and Bulletproof Monk. He also did voice work in cartoons, including Aku from Samurai Jack.

December 10, 1933 - July 21, 2006

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Snake and Bake

I've learned a few things on this trip to the San Diego Comic-Con:

- Global warming is a bitch. Why did Mr. Al Gore invent it?

- If the world premiere 10-minute preview we saw is a faithful representation of the flick, Snakes on a Plane will not disappoint at all. I dunno what y'all want out of it, but I wanted a big, stupid action flick with a sense of humor. Lookin' good.

- Sammy Jackson is a funny, cool guy, but Thursday night we overheard him introducing Hootie and the Blowfish next door to our hotel with a version of his Ezekiel 25:17 speech, which we choose to interpret as a "famous people know and like other famous people" thing and less of a "Sam Jackson loves him some Hootie and the Blowfish" thing.

- Nerds still don't know enough about hygiene. Steve saw a guy trying to wash up in the men's room. So on the one hand, he knew he was stankin', but on the other, he didn't realize soap and deodorant are usually involved in smelling good.

The Snakes on a Plane panel: Kenan Thompson, Samuel L. Jackson, director David R. Ellis and a snake handler who earned that title professionally and not because he's lonely.

- Kenan is funny without Kel, but you still miss Kel.

- Corsets can give you big ol' puffy cleavage at the top, but if you're not careful, or you know, slim, they'll also give you big ol' puffy um well it doesn't cleave per se, but it's a big puffin of puff puff right there at the bottom of the corset. Very nice when paired with shorts.

- The marina venue next door to our hotel books a lot of has-been bands. Apparently Semisonic and The Verve Pipe were busy so Bruce Hornsby played on Friday. We wondered which Comic-Con celebrities would introduce him -- Hurley from Lost? Jennifer Love Hewitt? Zombie #2 from Dawn of the Dead? Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst or the guy from Wings? Our guess: Hootie.

- It's fine to dress up as your favorite superhero, but if you can't fill out an Elektra or Superman costume like the comics, then you just look like a dork in pajamas.

- Season 3 of Veronica Mars will have 3 mini-mysteries that span 3 or 4 episodes rather than 1 season-long uber-mystery. That is, if the CW doesn't cancel it first. Give it a chance, because it's the best show on TV you probably don't watch.

- Dumbrella is wicked awesome, or as Steve says, "Wicket awesome."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Comic-Con 2006 Part 1: Nerds Descend Upon San Diego; City Suddenly Smells Like Doritos and Feet

Dungeon Masters from around the world fled their mom's basements today to attend the opening of San Diego's annual Comic-Con, an international nerd-orgy celebrating comics, cartoons, toys, sci-fi, video games, pop culture and questionable hygiene. While Jenni, Steve and I cringe at the thought of mingling with fat pony-tailed guys in trenchcoats, Level-23 clerics, girls dressed up as anime cats and 40-year-old men who have palmed more 20-sided dice than they have women, we decided to brave the show, which opened with appearances by guests ranging from Rosario Dawson and Deepak Chopra to my personal favorite artists Shag and Tim Biskup. The new toys and sneak peek at Snakes on a Plane will be worth the trip, but them nerds has gots to learn some social graces. Seriously guys, don't try to have a light saber fight where people are trying to walk -- I think that's how Luke lost a hand.

Art Asylum displayed prototypes for a potential line of Battlestar Galactica toys, but everyone knows that the best show on the Sci Fi Channel is the show with the shortest running time.

New Minimates for Marvel and DC, including the convention-exclusive giveaway, John Stewart Green Lantern. Other apparently hard-to-find items at the show included deodorant and dudes with girlfriends.

"Atomic County" maquettes from TV's The OC, featuring Summer as Lil' Miss Vixen, Marissa as Cosmolass, Seth as The Ironist and Ryan as Kid Chino. Season 1 actually had an episode in which the kids pretend to go to Comic-Con so they could sneak down to Tijuana. And here I am typing this while loaded on tequila in the front row of a donkey show. Isn't it Ironistic?

Monday, July 17, 2006

R.I.P. Hooters Founder Guy

The founder of the Hooters chain of restaurants (apparently, those hot chicks are there to serve food!) has passed away. A true American hero and restaurant revolutionary, Robert Brooks kicked the chicken bucket and sprouted spicy buffalo angel wings so he could fly up to heaven this past Sunday. Brooks is the marketing pioneer who realized that if pantyhose and short shorts were sexy enough for the Three's Company gals, then they'd be sexy enough for his waitstaff well into the 21st century.

Robert H. Brooks
1936 - July 16, 2006

Thanks to Brooks, Hooters restaurants have paved the way for other innuendo-based eateries like the Pink Taco (no, really). Brooks' legacy will live on only if other restaurants named after sexual euphemisms continue to be founded, so here's looking to a bright future of fast-food chains with names like The Bearded Clam Shack, The Baloney Pony Deli, The Nice Rack Ribhouse, Funbags Sack Lunches and The Hard Rock Cafe: Vagina Town. Insert your own "Knockers," "Jugs," "Honeypot," "Weenie" and "Beef Curtains" jokes here.

Happy 54th Birthday, David Hasselhoff

We got him the gift of unsexy, because that seems to be the only thing he doesn't have.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Think Small

If you're wondering why people are camped out in front of the multiplex, it's because blockbuster season officially starts today. Forget about X-Men: Last Stand, Cars, Superman Returns and Pirates of the Caribbean -- the season's first bonafied hit premieres today and it doesn't rhyme with "Schmoo, Schmee and Schmupree." It's a little gem called Little Man. This is the Wayans brothers comedy about a tiny dwarf with a big ugly head who poses as a baby in a plot that I think was lifted from some Looney Tunes cartoons.

Be sure to check out the official website, because there's a nifty poster maker that lets you put your face on top of the ugly baby's head. I'm not sure if there ever was a White Chicks "pigment bleacher-transgenderizer" for that movie's website, but if there wasn't, then the Wayans boys totally missed the boat.

I uploaded the Hands in the Air gang's faces and you can check them out at the links below.

Chris version 2
Jenni version 1

Jenni version 2
Steve version 1
Steve version 2
Jason version 1
Jason version 2

Warning: It turns out that Little Man is NOT a sequel to the Luisa May Alcott classic.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Supersize My Bottle of Rum

Behold the cuteness of the stuffed Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Happy Meal toy collection from McY D's. There's also a cute stuffed skeleton and the rest is pretty much booty.

I guess McDonald's and Disney are rethinking their exclusive promotional relationship, which means cute things like this could be endangered. Then again, last year's Star Wars superdeformed stuff and the stuffed toys from BK turned out to be supercute, so it's probably gonna be okay.

And yes, we do have a toy pirate ship at home. What of it?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Steve Jobs Needs Jesus!

Everyone in the know knows to NEVER take pamphlets from anyone on the streets or in the subway. That is everyone but ME. From adverts for sleazy clubs & Guatemalan bars to evangelical pamphlets, New York is a goldmine for humor. This week I got the following Jews for Jesus pamphlet that provides a very detailed argument for why each of us (and especially Steve Jobs) need Jesus.

Needless to say, this brightened my day...
"Hi. I'm Jesus."
"And I'm a Mac... and a Jew."

Photographed by Jason at Jesus Glamour Shots.

Monday, July 10, 2006

No Scrubs!

As I first reported on this very website, Zach Braff is pursuing birthday girl Jessica Simpson. I just hope birthday candles are the only thing she's blowin' out tonite.

'Cause awww, shit, someone musta told Jess that Zach Braff actually is famous. They've been spotted together in the Hamptons and at places like Bungalow 8. That is so grody to the max. Jessica, get yourself together, girl! Please do not tell me your self-esteem is really that low--I know you have daddy issues and virgin issues and wah wah but come ON. Nick is bagging relatively hot chicks, you can't show him what's what with anyone from frickin' Scrubs, least of all Zach Braff. Stop it this instant, before your sister is more famous than you are, because you know if she gets herself some tittys while you're banging Chicken fucking Little then that's pretty much it for you, doll.

As a Matter of Fact, I Am Feeling Sinister

Steve, Jason and I went to a truly great show at the Hollywood Bowl last week--Belle and Sebastian with the L.A. Philharmonic, and the opening act was The Shins. The music was incredible. The crowd, not so much. When we first sat down I surveyed the joint and said "Who knew Belle and Sebastian fans were all people I want to beat up?"

To justify the taking of the cute picture, here are the top five things I hate about going to concerts:

5. The Concessions
Yeah, the food and drinks are always ridiculously priced, but in this case, I'm talking about the t-shirt/poster/sticker booth. Booth singular, unless I somehow missed the others. The Hollywood Bowl was sold out that nite, something like 18,000 fans. How many people do you suppose were manning said singular booth? That's right, three. Needless to say, our impatient asses came home merchandise-free. I guess they don't give a shit if the bands sell t-shirts, but still. Don't have one, then, if you're gonna be all stingy.

4. The WOOOOO! Guy
Doesn't have to be a guy, doesn't have to keep to just screaming "Woooo!" but usually it's a guy screaming "wooooo!" I guess in a crowd of several thousand, there are bound to be multiple woo guys, but somehow, I'm always sitting super close to one of 'em. I could feel his screams in my breastbone. He was that loud. I hope he can't speak anymore but I know he can. Who knew Belle and Sebastian would have a woo guy for a fan?

3. The Talkers
We weren't even in the "good seats" but I know I didn't pay $45 a ticket to fucking talk the entire fucking time, which is what these clowns did. The talkers were friends with the woo guy and they thought he was hilarious. When he wasn't screaming fucking "woo" at the top of his lungs, he was cracking outrageously funny jokes like "I want to marry you" and "I want to have your babies" and "No, up here" and "It was an awkward silence--I had to fill it" (that was post-"wooo").

2. The Phish Dancers
There was only one in my line of sight, but my God, isn't that one too many? It was a Shins/Belle and Sebastian show. What part of that says "Hey French lady (I assume she was French--she just looked French. Sorry, France/Canada, but she did.), how 'bout you kind of aimlessly move your arms and spin around and do weird hand shit like you just ate the biggest Mary J-stuffed brownie of your life?"

1. The Singing Guy
Again, doesn't have to be a guy, but this one was. He was a very stoned, very annoying fan of The Shins. Since the Hollywood Bowl is an outdoor venue, it was very easy to hear this assmarine sing along to The Shins' songs. He sucked, and messed up my experience. Why go to a concert if you're just gonna sing along, and therefore not hear the people you came to see? Man now I want to go back in time and stuff this guy's balls in his mouth. Dear singing guy: you better fucking hope they never invent a time machine because if they do, it's your balls in your mouth. Hope you had squeaky-clean balls that nite, son.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Superman Blows

Before you pack away all of your Superman Returns merchandise to make room for your poofy-shirted collection of Pirates figures, check out some of our additional uses for your toys in tights. Granted, all of the Superman products are about as dumb as Lois getting super-knocked-up and having a Superbaby in the movie, so only you're to blame if you actually purchased any of the movie merch.
In a follow-up to a story that Jenni posted two months ago, we're putting the spotlight back on one of this year's most ridiculous Superman toys -- the Super Breath Superman action figure. When the man of steel is permanently puckered into his blowing face, you're pretty limited with the superhero (or super-hetero) possibilities for your toy. Aside from the overall vomit-launching caliber of the movie, blowing isn't really a major theme in the film, so we've concocted some other situations for the exhaling Superman to get all huffy about...

Col. Sanders Gets Makeover, More Finger-Lickin' to Be Had

Struggling chicken chain KFC is clearly shifting into desperation mode. To lure new customers, KFC recently added new menu items like its Famous Bowls, a monstrosity of bite-size chicken on a bed of corn and mashed potatoes topped with cheese, but the result is more like when your TV dinner finds itself mixed into the same tray compartment minus the overcooked brownie with the random pea in it. In an even bigger sign of desperation, KFC has been test-marketing a new look for Colonel Sanders that gives a facelift to his extra crispy mug.

While an alleged nose job is failing to do wonders for Ashlee Simpson's career, KFC is hoping the Colonel's makeover will drum up business and make him more finger-lickin' good to the eyes. According to a press release, the new Colonel has been updated to look like a more "hip" and "active" 65-year-old from 2006 rather than a "crotchety" and "pee-reeking" 65-year-old from 1966. In either year, it seems that 65-year-olds bear a strong resemblance to Sigmund Freud as a plantation owner.

It's all in an effort to make the chicken slinger look "friendlier" and "more approachable," which is good news because we'd all really prefer to eat at places with mascots we could totally pick up in a bar.

In other makeover news, Subway has decided to make Jared wear a bag on his head.

A Hot Topic makeover for Ronald McDonald's face paint could make the mascot "edgier," "extreme" and more like the creepy loner who lives down the street.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Comics + Science = Nerdy x 2

The Marvel Super Heroes Science Exhibition made its world premiere at Los Angeles' California ScienCenter this past March, and today we decided to take on the double threat of geekiness by visiting the exhibit. Ever wonder about the science behind Wolverine's stoopid haircut? Or how everything but those purple pants pop off of Bruce Banner when he hulks out? Disappointingly, it turns out the museum won't be tackling those mindbending questions. Check out the official list below to see what exhibits will actually be on display.

Marvel Super Heroes Science Exhibition exhibits:
Spider-Man: Hang from a Thread, Crawl like a Spider
Banshee: Shout out the Sentinel, See Sound
Storm: Zap the Bad Guys, Crank Out Electricity, Touch Lightning Screens
Invisible Woman: Watch the Invisible Woman Disappear
Doctor Octopus: Control Doc Ock's Arm, Tie Shoelaces
Daredevil: Navigate Blind Alley, Explore Touch Boxes, Create an Echo
Wolverine: Find the Implants*
Magneto: Push on Magneto's Shield, Explore Magnetic Principles
Iceman: Shake Hands with Iceman
Professor X: Scan Your Hand, Discover Shared DNA, Create Mutations
Iron Man: Lift Weights with Simple Machines, Lift a Car with the Exo-Suit
Hulk: Probe Hulk's Brain, Make Your Angry Face**

* Sounds better than it really is. No actual groping was involved.
** I was already wearing my "Angry Face" after the big disappointment from the misleading "Find the Implants" exhibit.

The Spider-Man Climbing Adventure teaches kids fun with harnesses and "crampons."

The "Shake Hands with Iceman" exhibit teaches kids that nothing is worse than a clammy handshake.

Professor X's device would declare you a "Mutant!" if your hand scan qualified. There was also a hand scanner that told comic book fans to move out of their mom's basement while the screen cruelly displayed "Virgin!" for all to see.

Probably the best part of the exhibit was the bulletin board that asked museum goers to post pictures they had drawn of their personal superheroes.