Sunday, June 3, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode 24: June Madness!!!

Hello and welcome to Hoopla!, the (sort of) weekly comic-book review column that sometimes isn't about comics at all.

I'm your host, Paul Weissburg, and I'm tired as hell.

This month - June, that is - is celebrated around the world as a month when people who normally review comic-books take a deep breath, stretch, and think, "Man, I have just got nothing left to say about comics for a while."

In the spirit of this international month-long holiday, Hoopla! will be featuring reviews of non-comic book things.

This may be jarring for some of you who have come to depend on these reviews to tell you where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. You may be thinking, "But, Paul, aren't you going to tell us what you thought about The Umbrella Academy preview? The Astounding Wolf-Man #1? Gutsville???"

Well, the answer is no. I'm not.

Moving right along...

This week we're going to review a bunch of non-comic-book-y stuff and we're going to start with...

Non-Comic-Book-y Review #1: Master Plunger - Black

Ain't she a beauty?

So, a year or two ago, my brother called me up to tell me about this new kind of plunger that goes inside the hole in the toilet instead of outside. You know how with the old-fashioned kind of plunger, you try to create a seal around the hole of the toilet, which is next to impossible because it's not a flat surface, so you end up splashing toilet water all over the place and getting frustrated?

Well, not with the Master Plunger!!! Master Plunger feels your pain; it wants to help you unclog your toilet as quickly and painlessly as possible. So, Master Plunger goes inside your toilet hole, where most plungers fear to tread.

This thing has changed my life forever. I used to dread clogged toilets, but now I relish them as an opportunity to use my Master Plunger!!!

[Well, that last part isn't true. I still hate clogged toilets. But, it is true that they are super easy to unclog with this handy dandy device.]

Thanks for the tip, bro'!

Non-Comic-Book-y Review #2: Traffic Lights

I'll be honest: I have kind of mixed feelings about traffic lights.

On the one hand, I have to respect the design. They're iconic, for god's sake. How many of us can say that?

They have kind of a cool art-deco thing going on. They don't try too hard to impress, like so many modern-day items do.

And, too, they work remarkably well. I don't know how long ago these things were invented, but this simple design has been sufficient for all this time. It's easy for people to read and understand; even stupid people!

Red = Stop

Yellow = You better stop before you get to this light or else really hit the gas, buddy. It's your call.

Green = Go

So, in terms of both aesthetics and function, I have to give traffic lights two thumbs up.

My only complaint, and it's a bit nit-picky of me, is that I can't help feeling that traffic lights have become a bit... complacent. They're not even trying any more. Yes, there was that one innovation of having little timers to let you know how much time you have to cross the street.

And I like those; don't get me wrong.

But I just can't help feeling that there's a major improvement just waiting to happen. I mean, life has changed a lot since the invention of the traffic light. Isn't there some new function it could perform for us?

So, I salute the traffic light. I admire it.

But, I also challenge it... Please, traffic light, think a little bit harder. Are you really doing all that you can do to make this world a better place to live?

Non-Comic-Book-y Review #3: Minnesota

Too damn cold.

I'm sorry, but it is.

My mom lives in Minnesota and I used to live there, for four miserable, frost-bitten years.

It's really, really cold.

"Yes, sure," you say. "But that's only during the winter."
"But," I counter, "winter is a six month ordeal in Minnesota."
It starts to get cold in October and then, by November, you're dealing with below zero temperatures.

December and January... don't even get me started. "Below zero" doesn't begin to describe it.

February is still far too cold, but it has the added benefit of being grey and, by then, everyone is really sick of the excessive cold and the uber-excessive snow. Cars are rusting heaps, slowly being dissolved by the salt that is spread out daily on the streets like butter on toast.

By March, it' still cold, but you're up to zero and everyone's celebrating. "It's zero degrees!" they shout with glee. "Winter is over! Let's have a picnic!!!"

The blind, blind fools.

And it's not just the bitter cold that makes Minnesota so utterly repugnant to me.
No, there's also a whole mind-set that goes with being in Minnesota. Everyone talks about being "hardy." Everyone tries to incorporate Norwegian words into their daily conversation so that they can subtley let you know that they're descended of "hardy stock", dammit, and they are not afraid of snow.

No, they frickin' love it.

"Bring it on!" say the Minnesotans. "Is that the best you can do, Mother Nature??? Ha-ha! I laugh at your puny efforts to freeze the blood in my veins! More cold!!! More snow!!! MORE, MORE, MORE!!!"

I hated living in Minnesota. Truly. But if my words can inspire just one person--just one!-- to not move there at some point in the future, it will have almost been worth it.

Almost, but not quite.

Don't be fooled by those smiling faces. They seem to promise you this...

But what you'll really get is...

Well, I hope you've enjoyed Phase One of our June Madness Hoopla!

Be here next week when we look at a bunch of other stuff that has nothing at all to do with comic-books, including (possibly) how to reward and incentivize your employees and some dating tips that are guaranteed to get you thrown in jail.

See you then!

- Paul


JK said...

Traffic lights: do you prefer the ones hanging over the intersection, or the ones mounted on poles at the street corners?

M said...

Hey, that plunger truly is a miracle worker. Glad to see it finally getting the acclaim it deserves.