Saturday, April 24, 2004

Six degrees of the Bacon Brothers

You've probably heard of the Kevin Bacon game. The theory is that any actor can be linked to Kevin Bacon; inevitably, they've appeared in a film with him, or they've been in a film with someone who's been in a film with him, and so on. It's said that, due to his extensive filmography, any actor is no more than six degrees of separation away from Bacon. When I was first told of the game years ago by Joey DeVilla, it was said that Bela Lugosi was the only actor who couldn't be linked to Bacon. In fact, according to the Oracle of Bacon at Virginia, Lugosi can be linked to Bacon in only three steps, which just goes to show that Bacon really is the star around which all other Hollywood luminaries revolve.

But this is all old news. What's new, relatively speaking, is that besides acting, Kevin Bacon has a second career as a musician, teaming up with his brother Michael to record and perform as The Bacon Brothers. (Where do the musical acts of today get their cockamamie names?) So a question is raised: Can you play a musical version of the Kevin Bacon game?

Let's set rules: A musician must have performed on a recorded track of music with the Bacon Brothers, or have played on a track with someone who played with them, and so on. And just as directors are not considered fair linkages in the film version of the game, that means that record producers, engineers, and knob-twiddlers don't count (that is, unless they also actually perform on the track as musicians).

To demonstrate, since Bela Lugosi was once judged the most challenging person to link to Bacon, perhaps an appropriate choice to begin the musical version of the game is to find the connection between the Bacon Brothers and the song "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus:

So Daniel Ash (to pick just one of the three members of Bauhaus mentioned above) played with Peter DiStefano, who in turn played with Daniel Lanois, who played with Emmylou Harris, who played with Jonathan Edwards, who played with Kevin Bacon. That's only five degrees of separation between "Bela Lugosi's Dead" and Kevin Bacon. Success!

Friday, April 23, 2004

You are a brave fighter to have cleared such a difficult stage

Well, it turns out that there have been some people to cover the Rastan theme music. There are a bunch of different versions and sound clips here but the three songs from the original game are the best. Check out Aggressive World, Re-in Carnation, and The Devil Boss.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Ladies and gentlemen ... The Minibosses!

I haven't posted for a little while, but I have a good excuse: My house was hit by a porous rock asteroid 10 meters in diameter, traveling 51 km/s at a 45 degree angle. All right, it wasn't, but if you've ever wanted to know how big a mess that would make, try out this site.

Anyway, as you might recall, I've always loved the incidental music of the old Spiderman cartoon, and was thrilled when I discovered a band existed that performed faithful rock 'n' roll covers of it.

Now, Salon presents a story on The Minibosses, a combo that, similarly, brings alive the thrilling scores of old Nintendo games such as Megaman 2 and Castlevania 3 and makes them available for download at their website.

I know it's a coin-op game, and they only do Nintendo, but I'd love for them to cover the score of Rastan Saga, which may well have the most exciting music of any arcade game ever.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Return of the living-on-in-reruns dead

This ought to make a few people happy. It looks like the criminally ignored Futurama and the won't-stay-dead Family Guy, after having been jerked around by Fox with poor and inconsistent timeslots before their eventual cancelation in favor of far inferior shows, are on their way back to television with new episodes.

The bit about Futurama is a surprise (albeit a welcome one), but it's not a surprise to see Family Guy back. It's doing great ratings in reruns and blockbuster business in DVD sales. And it's been killed and revived before. So, why'd it go off the air in the first place? Well, it didn't help that Fox put it up against Friends. But oddly enough, none other than creator Seth MacFarlane's old prep-school headmaster led a campaign against it that led advertisers to shun the show. And you thought your high-school principal was an asshole.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The Penny Arcade Remix project

Back when I worked for Canada's Other National Newspaper, one of our favorite ways of filling up extra space during the wee morning hours of press night was to photocopy old Calvin and Hobbes comics and then fill in the word balloons with alternative dialogue. Often the results were both hilarious and surreal, and the practice grew beyond a mere spacefilling gambit into a venerable comedic institution (so much so that the paper provides an interactive online version).

So a natural question, perhaps, is what happens when non-native speakers of English supply comic strips with their own alternative dialogue? Does the cultural divide result in a more surreal product -- and therefore a funnier one? Thanks to the link provided to me by Tyler, you can judge for yourself. The Penny Arcade Remix Project is the product of a high-school teacher in Japan who enlisted his students to reimagine the dialogue in old Penny Arcade comic strips.

The result, in some ways, seems particularly Japanese. For example, a couple of strips revolve around the idea that the protagonists live in a mailbox, which seems to evoke the cramped living conditions that are the natural result of sky-high real estate prices, capsule hotels being the best example. And another that involves releasing sarin gas in a subway can only have the fully tasteless resonance that it does in the land of the rising sun.

Bush bumps 24

Here's yet another reason to hate George W. Bush: Once again, he's chosen to hold a presidental press conference on a Tuesday, thus bumping 24 to Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. It seems like every time Bush holds a press conference, he manages to pre-empt 24. Clearly, he's doing it on purpose. It's obvious that this bungling boob doesn't want the American public to be able to look at President David Palmer and see what a capable, competent Commander-in-Chief is like in the face of a terrorist threat.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

A short hiatus

I'm out of town right now on a combined birthday/Easter break, so while I'm busy celebrating my birth and Christ's death, expect no posting until Tuesday.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Salon TeeVee

I'm pretty sure that this was an April Fool's joke of some sort, and it actually fooled me for a little while, mainly because I didn't see it until later. has put together a remarkably dead-on parody of the Internet magazine Salon, right down to the Tom Tomorrow cartoon. It's actually quite difficult to distinguish from the real thing.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Hot celebrity gossip!

You want celebrity gossip? Check out the A List for an incredibly extensive list of rumors about celebrities ranging from Willie Aames (drug addiction) to Renee Zellweger (bulimic former stripper).

Unexpected samples:

Landers, Ann. She and her sister [Abigail "Dear Abby" Van Buren] gave their all for the troops on leave during WW2. Sometimes they gave their all at the same time, in the same room, with two different men.

Leachman, Cloris. "THE most vile and unpleasant person in Hollywood."

Queen Mother. "The Queen Mother (or Elizabeth Bowes Lyons as she was then) was very well known in the local area (of Forfar) for being a "bike" (ie...everyone got a ride on her) before she was married to the future King."

Thursday, April 01, 2004

The party's not over

File sharing is legal in Canada, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday. And I do mean "sharing"; where up until now, it was considered legal to download music files by using peer-to-peer networks, but not to make them available for upload, Canadians can now legally upload and download with impunity.

Between legal pot, gay marriage, refusing to go along with illegal wars, and now this, this country is getting both cooler and more likely to make American heads explode by the day.

Speaking of being deliberately annoying, I just saw my housemate eating rice and asked "Can I have a handful?" I've also been wandering around in a housecoat and asking "Who wants an open-robe hug from Uncle Pete?"

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