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john wick.

I’m a sucker for revenge flicks. We’re talking shamelessly violent, reactionary anti-hero shit. Have you ever met someone who actually enjoyed Mel Gibson in ‘Get the Gringo?’ I have. He’s been staring back at me in the mirror ever since the first time I saw the film.

If I were ever tasked to pitch a movie script guaranteed to be seen and celebrated by millions, it would go something like this:

Posthumously gifted a puppy by his deceased wife, a retired hitman with nothing to lose seeks revenge on the gangsters who kill his new, four legged friend.

If I was feeling particularly ballsy at the pitch session, I would require that the part of the retired hitman be played by Keanu Reeves and that we make Willem Dafoe and John Leguizamo play a couple of his friends.

Why? Because I fucking say so, that’s why.

I realize that this sounds crazy, but this is EXACTLY what I think happened when two of Keanu’s stunt doubles from the Matrix trilogy created, and pitched, John Wick.

Don’t believe me? See the trailer for yourself:

Not only is this film clearly the most important film of 2014, but there’s apparently already talk of a sequel. And if it’s not titled ‘John Wick 2: No Kill Shelter,’ I’m going to lose my damn mind.

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secret rooms and history boners.

I had a conversation recently with someone who claimed to have ‘wasted’ her time majoring in history in college. When I smacked her across the mouth, stood over her and screamed ‘WHAT DO YOU THINK INDIANA JONES MAJORED IN? BUSINESS?!’ I think she realized the important place that history takes in our society.

All the same, I found her outlook unsettling. Perhaps what the worldwide students of history need is a new leader. Someone that can inspire them to reapply themselves to deciphering the lessons of the past, someone that won’t end up starring alongside a vine-swinging Shia LaBeouf, and someone that isn’t scared to talk to the media about hidden rooms filled with skeletons and treasure. Perhaps that someone is D V Sharma, of the Archeological Survey of India.

Following the recent discovery of a secret room with no entrance at the National Library in India, D V Sharma had this to say to the media about what might lie inside:

“It could be just about anything. Skeletons and treasure chests are the two things that top our speculations because it is not natural for a building to have such a huge enclosure that has no opening.”

Think about that for a second – a real life historian is being quoted in the media about a secret room that’s been walled up for 250 years as saying that ‘skeletons and treasure chests’ are their biggest leads on what it could contain. If this doesn’t give you a history-boner, I don’t know what would.

Secret Chamber in National Library [via BoingBoing]

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AMC is ruining my life.

Having trouble sleeping over the last week? Are friends and family members expressing concern about your limited eating habits and the desire to board up all doors and windows in your house? Are you spending every waking hour cowering in the corner, clutching a weapon and mumbling about ‘the walkers?’
You aren’t alone, my friend.

On Halloween night AMC did the unthinkable: they aired the premier episode of ‘the Walking Dead,’ a show depicting our unavoidable future struggle against the undead. To make matters worse, the second episode just aired this Sunday and Americans across the country are panicking in silence – afraid to be vilified for their perfectly natural inclination to survival. Well, I’ve had enough. The time for action has arrived.

Lucky for us, we don’t have to prepare alone. After doing some research, I’ve discovered the Zombie Combat Club. According to their website, they are an ‘open civilian group dedicated to providing accurate combat theory and education to fight the walking dead without a firearm, and survive.’ This jives well with the fact that I haven’t got any firearms immediately available to me and, frankly, we’re all going to run out of ammo eventually, right?

Of particular interest is a new feature on their blog that discusses the use of hand-to-hand combat in the show. The initial reaction that I had to ‘the Walking Dead’ was a mixed feeling of awe and paralyzing fear, but these guys at the ZCC seem to have taken it in stride – and they’ve got a point. If we’re going to all be forced to tune in to watch AMC’s latest prediction of our doom, why not use it as a primer on how to handle ourselves when the apocalypse finally begins? This week, they discuss the use of the baseball bat and how physically exhausting it can be.

While I’m not looking forward to one day facing down shuffling hordes of corpses hungering for my flesh, at least I can look forward to getting play-by-play analysis from the experts on ‘the Walking Dead,’ and maybe learn some non-fiction lessons from some fictional mistakes.

Zombie Combat Club
the Walking Dead [on AMC]
the Walking Dead [the graphic novel]

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the wise men, balthazar.

There are just some days where you wake up on someone’s couch, smelling of whisky, and craving an Egg McMuffin as though you could find supreme happiness buried somewhere between those stale slices of english muffin. On those days, you need an appropriate soundtrack. I propose that you give Balthazar’s ‘Applause’ album a shot.

At least, it seemed to do the trick for me today.

Apparently these guys are from Belgium. Crack as many waffle jokes as you want, once you’ve listened to tracks like ‘Fifteen Floors’ and ‘Throwing a Ball,’ you’ll have a new respect for breakfast and it’s place as the most important meal of the day.

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vagrantly funny.

I have the comedic maturity of a twelve year old boy. I’m all slapstick and dick jokes.
To quote Dorothy Parker, “there, but for a typographical error, is the story of my life.”

However, sometimes I just need a dose of intelligent humor. That’s where Kate Beaton comes in.

According to my ever-reliable sources (Wikipedia, people), Beaton suffered her way through a History/Anthropology major in college. Unlike Indiana Jones, however, she decided to work at a museum and doodle when she got out. Frankly, after watching ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,’ I kind of wish Jones had decided to follow that career path as well – but who am I to judge?

Anyhow, Beaton publishes her ‘Hark, a Vagrant!‘ comics online and they have quickly become one of my favorite webcomics. She cleverly mixes history and literature with humor in what is the intellectual equivalent of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
And we all know how deliciously that worked out, right?
Give a few of these a read for yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.
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band of brothers.

Break up albums are hard to do. Unless you’re in a band named the Black Keys and your name is Dan Auerbach or Patrick Carney.

Ever since I got my hands on the ‘Brothers’ album by the Black Keys, my bucket list has gone from ‘get married to Rashida Jones and make a million babies,’ to ‘get married to Rashida Jones, make a million babies, and don’t be Dan Auerbach’s ex girlfriend.’
Give this album a spin and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

We’ve all been through a hard breakup, but how many of us channeled that rage to pen the ultimate example of modern blues rock? Songs like ‘Next Girl’ and ‘Howlin’ For You’ are the type of ballads that make me want to call up all my previous girlfriends to tell them that size really DOESN’T matter, unemployment actually IS sexy, and that their opinions on mustaches are unimportant. Not only that, but it makes me really believe these things.

Now then, I need to write a million more posts before Scott writes a breakup album about me. For now, enjoy the following video. It both aroused me and entertained, all in one sitting.

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how to survive a shark attack

As always, summer is coming to Southern California much faster than it is to the rest of you suckers out there. And, while most of you view this as an awesome opportunity to stare down beautiful women who are wearing next-to-nothing at the beach, it only means one thing to me: shark attack time.

There’s something hardwired in my simple, simian brain that makes me fear the ocean – the vastness, the depth, the millions and millions of gallons of fish poop. Throw in the possibility of being attacked by a giant predatory fish that can smell my blood from miles away AND out maneuver me in the water? No thanks.

However, while I don’t know that it cured me of my galeophobia, I did happen to stumble across a post titled ‘How to Survive a Shark Attack‘ on the Art of Manliness blog today that made me feel a little better about my chances of dealing with a man-eating fish.

For those of you too lazy to read a well-written post, I’ll give you a few highlights here:

  • you will probably never get attacked by a shark
  • get out of the water if you see a shark
  • punch that thing in the gills

Sadly, I did an image search online to try and find a cool picture of a shark for this post and immediately forgot about all the good advice in the article when I saw this picture of a shark eating a Tyrannosaurus Rex.


So go on and enjoy your tanlines, skimpy bikinis, and sand. I’ll stick to just staring down the not-so-beautiful women at the apartment complex pool.

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clowning around.

As a grown man, I find that there is only one legitimate reason to ever crash a childrens birthday party: sexy mothers. What else puts a single female of the birthing variety into the ‘hot zone’ but a screaming mess of children running around to celebrate their escape from the womb?

Imagine how blown away I was to find out that there’s a second reason: profit.

Dominic Deville is an Austrian actor-turned-entrepreneur-turned-evil-genius. For whatever reason, Deville has decided to harness that perfectly normal impulse that we all have for traumatizing children. He’s decided to harness it and turn it into a business. Deville is an evil clown.

First he contacts ‘victims’ to tell them they’re being watched.

Then he taunts them with texts, phone calls and booby trapped letters warning them that at sometime in their party he’s going to smash a cake into their face.

Sound too good to be true? You can read all about it here.

Now I just need to figure out where I can get a believable killer clown costume, myself.

(via Neatorama)

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james kochalka, superstar.

Freedumb Rock

James Kochalka is a genius.

I don’t remember what vortex of good luck and happy endings I must’ve walked into to find this guy and his art, but the discovery of his diary comic over at makes me feel better about the future of the entire human race.

Yes, where I once saw the world as hopelessly flawed by the evolution of so wretched a creature as humankind, I now realize that there could be nothing more beautiful than the work of a flawed madman with comic flare.

If this doesn’t make sense to you, I’d suggest that you take a gander at his work. It gives you the same warm-fuzzies that past generations experienced with comics like Family Circus and Ziggy.
Only instead of cliches about love and life, it’s filled with punk rock.

Got it? Good. You’ll forgive me for the short post, but I’ve got to get back to his website and catch up with the last ten years of diary comics that I’ve so carelessly missed.

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My Parents Were Awesome

The possibility that my parents were ever young, attractive, and fun to be around never really crossed my mind until I reached adulthood.

Or, at least, until I felt like I had reached adulthood.

But yes, those two squares that brought me into this world kicking and screaming were, at one point in the not-so-distant past, young and invincible and in love like two dumb kids should be. That is, until they settled down, got married, and squeezed out a few little snot-nosed smartasses like myself. Did they ever regret that choice? Probably. But at least they enjoyed their glory days.

Your Mom Wasn't Your Dad's FirstA couple years ago, Canadian Club whisky had an advertising campaign that first brought the possibility of my parents ever being any fun at all to my attention. Known as the ‘Damn Right, Your Dad Drank It’ campaign, these ads are rife with the sexism and gaudy styles that make the 60s and 70s so lopsidedly appealing to me.

And, while these ads suggest that your mother was something of a whore and your father was closer to a cigar-smoking character from Mad Men than the guy that came to every one of your high school football games, you can’t argue with the fact that these things immediately make you think.

It’s hard for us to look into the future and accept the fact that we’re going to end up like our parents. Yet, someday you too will be the grizzled and greyed mid-lifer who has trouble getting out of bed in the morning. You’ll be the one holding up Christmas morning with your cantankerous grumblings about the holidays being such a big pain in the ass.

Difficult, though it may be to imagine, your parents were once like you.

My Parents Were Awesome‘ is the time capsule that I think best puts this into perspective. This blog lets you submit old photographs of your parents and posts them without any explanation beyond the names that get submitted with the image.

From the handlebar mustaches to the powder-blue tuxedos, our parents were actually once a cool group of people.

Before we came along, that is.

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