TMCG: Wiseman, Watchman I

BUg67ItRkFrTaDrEAKq6btDz

S5EP5-22Feb2011-Metal Detective

 

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
I wonder if there is a long con afoot in the Curious George universe. I no longer have any idea who is watching whom, who is the subject and who is the observer. To keep what remains of my sanity, I must believe that someone is in charge, that there is some sort of grand experiment being conducted, and that a Watcher in some sort of Foucaultian Panopticon is gleefully f*cking with his prisoners.
Is this God?
Am I God? Am I the Watcher? The nature of television seems to dictate that this is so, that I myself am the all-powerful, He Who Can End Misery With the Holy Clicker.
But I cannot end it. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. A god would be able to stay away, and I am therefore a toad. I will therefore be a toad. Stoned like Stephen, still hanging onto ideology, so soaked with misguided belief that it would take a Crane to get it out. I am the prisoner, not the watcher.
So is there a simpler explanation? Is there an in-universe puppeteer who controls the destinies of all involved, so that my delusions of control and omnipotence are akin to someone reading about an experiment in a scientific journal and irrationally declaring his own hand in the results? If I am not around to hear Curious George chortle and shriek, does he make a sound?
Consider Yorbo. Yorbo is a robot, an ephemeral robot that exists for one episode only. He is dubbed George’s favorite toy by both the Man in the Yellow Hat (MYH) and George himself. If Yorbo has not achieved AI self-awareness, he is very close—Yorbo can understand George’s grunts and chitters as if they were a language, he follows complex commands, and he coherently answers questions. In my own universe, such a robot would be worth many thousands of dollars and exist either in the robotics lab of an American university or the lobby of a Tokyo car dealership.
Curious George takes Yorbo to the beach. When a storm rolls in, George and MYH rush into the house and leave Yorbo in the sand. When George suggests they need to get Yorbo, MYH says it is raining too hard. In fact, Yorbo the sentient robot is not even worth searching for until the storm is over, and by that time he has either been buried in the sand or washed out to sea.
MYH and George go out to look for Yorbo. MYH and George rake up all the seaweed and then just randomly dig holes. A passing beachcomber offers the use of her metal detector, but it soon runs out of batteries. What to do?

 

Deus ex machina. The Watcher, the Prime Experimenter, appears on MYH’s laptop screen. It is Professor Wiseman. She knows all. Wiseman has been watching. She knows there was a storm. She knows all about Yorbo, bewails his disappearance, and then instructs George on how to build his own metal detector by taping a calculator to an AM radio (I Googled this. It is not bullshit). Wiseman knows what drawer the calculator and tape are in; she knows what shelf upon which the radio can be found.
Wiseman is the panopticon. Her name is neither random nor ironic.

 

With the help of this gadget, Yorbo is unearthed. He is no worse for the wear, which is a stick in the eye for MYH, who had suggested earlier that water would rust a metal robot. MYH a damn fool. Yorbo jumps with glee at being found and hugs George; together, monkey and robot disappear over a sand dune, playing and living joyfully.
No one ever sees or discusses Yorbo again. Yorbo is Richie Cunningham’s older brother. Yorbo existed for George to love and lose, so that Wiseman might teach a lesson about electronics and engineering.

 

How do I know? Because friendships and robots and bit players are as impermanent as storms, but George does not forget a lesson. By the very next episode, Curious George is building his own machines.

 

 

-Professor Zac Showers

Advertisements

TMCG: It’s Pronounced “Spaghetti”

MV5BNzA4MzA1MTUyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQ4Mzk0MjE@._V1_

S3EP5-13Oct2008-The Amazing Maze Race/The Color of Monkey

 

The demeaning Italian stereotype that runs the local restaurant in Curious George’s universe is named Chef Pisghetti.

He too, is certifiably insane.

MYH, Professor Wiseman, and Pisghetti the racist caricature decide to go birdwatching.

They leave the restaurant, Pisghetti’s livelihood and raison d’etre, in the charge of two idiot children, Curious George, and a hyperactive black dog named Charkie because why tf not.

Buckets of paint are in the kitchen. As the birdwatchers stalk their quarry, MYH remarks that he is glad he left George at the restaurant, where he can stay clean.

Foreshadowing.

Curious George paints himself bright orange. Charkie paints himself blue and goes running through the restaurant splashing blue paint everywhere. George chases him, making the restaurant look like Carrie White loved the Gators.

When they return, nobody is mad. Curious George remains unbeaten and unkilled. Pisghetti lets George eat cake. They then have the great idea to paint George red and put him on the cover of a birdwatching magazine.

Because the bird they went looking for is red.

Why can’t I stop this?

 

-Professor Zac Showers

Monkey Business

An experimenter puts 5 monkeys in a large cage. High up at the top of the cage, well beyond the reach of the monkeys, is a bunch of bananas. Underneath the bananas is a ladder.

The monkeys immediately spot the bananas and one begins to climb the ladder. As he does, however, the experimenter sprays him with a stream of cold water. Then, he proceeds to spray each of the other monkeys.

The monkey on the ladder scrambles off. And all 5 sit for a time on the floor, wet, cold, and bewildered. Soon, though, the temptation of the bananas is too great, and another monkey begins to climb the ladder. Again, the experimenter sprays the ambitious monkey with cold water and all the other monkeys as well. When a third monkey tries to climb the ladder, the other monkeys, wanting to avoid the cold spray, pull him off the ladder and beat him.

Now one monkey is removed and a new monkey is introduced to the cage. Spotting the bananas, he naively begins to climb the ladder. The other monkeys pull him off and beat him.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The experimenter removes a second one of the original monkeys from the cage and replaces him with a new monkey. Again, the new monkey begins to climb the ladder and, again, the other monkeys pull him off and beat him – including the monkey who had never been sprayed.

By the end of the experiment, none of the original monkeys were left and yet, despite none of them ever experiencing the cold, wet, spray, they had all learned never to try and go for the bananas.

This metaphor is used to discuss how upper management could control the atmosphere at work by shooting down any new ideas. Possibly this could cause your coworkers to join in to hinder your chances at trying something new to achieve a goal or bring new results.

Now I don’t have a way to relate to this at work. But, I think we all can relate to this experiment with the way things are in everyday life.

We’ve seen so many people get beat up about their choices to try something different. Have you ever seen someone try something new? Almost every time people can’t wait to jump onboard to gossip or talk bad about them. That’s nothing more than people showing they have insecurities. If you want someone else to fail whether it’s at work, or in their life, it’s 99.9% of the time because you feel so bad about your own performance or your own life, you don’t want anyone else to succeed.

When was it we stopped supporting people? I can’t think of a time someone else’s success made me look bad. Can you? Imagine how much we could do if we supported each other. How we could live with less stress, how things could become so much easier for everyone. How success could be taken to all new levels by having so much support behind it.

We’ve got to do something different. We’ve got to support each other.

The problem is, who’s going to try and climb the ladder first?

TMCG: Wiseman’s Hell

MV5BMTQ4NjY0MDQxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDQ4MTk0MjE@._V1_

S3EP1-01Sep2008-Ice Station Monkey/The Perfect Carrot

 

I am not sure what The Man in the Yellow Hat (MYH) does for a living.

Perhaps he is independently wealthy, since he has a Fifth Avenue penthouse and a summer house amongst locals who sound like they took elocution lessons from the Donnie Wahlberg school of Downeast Studies.

One of these friendly yokels helped MYH dig a hole in his backyard, the kind of hole Shia LeBeouf would dig to find lipstick.

Curious George filled the hole with water, and MYH said that was a good thing, because he dug the hole to make a pond. Yankee neighbor looked on approvingly, as if the pond would soon be filled with migrating trout.

A pond the size of a trampoline.

A pond that had disappeared entirely by the next episode and was never spoken of again.

Which was fine, because they had to go to Antarctica anyway.

Why does everyone enable MYH’s delusions? Why do they suffer the presence of Curious George?

Do they expect to be included in the will?

Indeed, MYH must be rich enough to have an entirely kissable ass, because the eminent Professor Wiseman lets him bring his monkey along to gleefully destroy whatever scientific project she pursues.

Curious George has been to space twice (so far) and to the bottom of the ocean. In Antarctica, Dr. Wiseman marooned MYH and Curious George on an ice floe, telling them to take pictures of penguins.

MYH was so prepared for Antarctic survival that he had to be reminded that he wouldn’t find any igloos.

I think the check had cleared, and therefore Dr. Wiseman was trying to kill them.

Complete plausible deniability. “They were taking pictures of penguins,” she’d say, wiping away tears, “How was I to know they would get trapped in an ice cave? Nobody expected Curious George to eat his face!”

Cue the madcap dash to the penthouse, where the will would most certainly be found.

But no. Curious George and MYH survived and brought back pictures of penguins, which were vital to science, since absolutely nobody could find pictures of penguins posted on the internet by the millions.

I could sense Wiseman’s disappointment. It was palpable. Her plan had failed, and she could see her life unfold before her, nothing but gratifying the whims of a rich madman and his pet monkey. Forever.

No doubt Professor Wiseman envies the dead.

 

-Professor Zac Showers

TMCG: Schopenhauer Meets The Man

a92zQZZJrNfDvW2TZFDKTdcp6XE

S2EP12-21Jan2008-Scaredy Dog/Say Goodnight, George.

 

In the latest episode, Curious George wants more playtime, and he notices how important clocks are.

Clocks tell time, and therefore they influence time. George believed his clock to be omnipotent, and by moving back its hands he would be reversing time itself, potentially giving himself an infinity to play ball in the street.

The Man in the Yellow Hat (MYH) only had the one clock, so George’s little plan caused him no end of exasperation and torment. He was late; he was early. He was bafflingly gaslighted by Dr. Wiseman as to the nature of his tardiness. He began to question the universe itself. What immortal hand or eye could frame that fearful cruelty? Why him?

It did not occur to MYH that the cause of his misery might be a certain asshole of a monkey.

MYH buys another clock, and a watch. George grabs the watch immediately and begins to fiddle with the knob, in his mind causing time to jump wildly from one moment to another. To come unstuck, as it were.

MYH at last puts two and two together.

He neither beats nor kills the monkey.

He does guilt the monkey, saying that he had been planning to take him on a blimp ride, but his little game with the clock had caused him to miss several meetings with the blimp guy.

MYH fixes the clock, and then takes George to Dr. Wiseman’s office, presumably to learn what other parts of his life were fevered lies. But the blimp guy is there. MYH apologizes to blimp guy and says he is sorry they could not ride in the blimp.

For the most golden of moments, George is about to suffer a consequence.

But then the blimp guy says he didn’t know it was for a monkey, and so he takes them for a blimp ride.

George is so content he sleeps through the blimp ride.

 

-Professor Zac Showers

Knees In The Breeze Part 1

Eight years ago this week I left my duty station of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for three weeks at Fort Benning to attend the US Army Airborne School. With Veterans Day around the corner, I thought now may be a good time to share this.

It was autumn in Georgia and I remember driving in seeing the sign saying “1st Battalion (Airborne), 507th Infantry Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia”. I kept thinking, is this really happening? I’m going to have to jump from an airplane 5 times in the next three weeks. I was still relatively young, 24 at the time. I had just returned back to the states from my first 15 month deployment to Iraq.

I was there with another guy from my platoon. He was the only other person I knew out of about 200. Some people were just a few days out of basic training. They were enjoying their first few days of freedom. Not complete freedom, but they were allowed to have cellphones again and leave base at night and on the weekend. They had only been in the army just a few months. By this point, I had been in about 2.5 years. There were others who had been in longer who were hoping to graduate Airborne School to receive enough points for promotion or cross it off their career bucket list.

The first day of Airborne School started with a wake up at 0400 for everyone but me. I was randomly selected by one of the Black Hats for “fire watch” at 0300. Fire watch was really just guard duty. Black Hats are Airborne Instructors who wear a black hat with Airborne Wings on them. They are also addressed as Sergeant Airborne. So, I was tired and nervous but wasn’t given the opportunity to be cold because at 5am we started a PT test. Physical Training tests were administered before every school. They consisted of 2 minutes of push ups, 2 minutes of sit ups and a 2 mile run. If you didn’t do the required amount of push ups, sit ups, or run fast enough to pass the test, you were sent back to your unit. I promise you they were sent back to an unhappy platoon sergeant and squad leader who were expecting you to come back with wings, instead you came back a failure. The Airborne community, as it’s called, hold themselves to a higher standard than others. These are the people who have volunteered to train over and over again in hopes to jump behind enemy lines. They were better than everyone else and they let everyone else know it.

After the PT test we had 30 minutes to eat breakfast and get into our Army Combat Uniform. Don’t even think about eating the fruit loops that were available at breakfast. Toucan Sam had wings, we didn’t. That was said by the Black Hats every morning over and over again. Nothing was easy. Every time we entered the dinning area and our barracks area, and every time we left them, we had to do 10 pull ups and 10 push ups. This was said to work the “pull up muscles” that would be needed to pull on the parachute risers later in week 2. We did at least 100 pull ups and push ups a day easy and that’s not counting morning PT. There was also no walking. EVERYWHERE you went was at an Airborne shuffle. It’s not a run, but you’re not walking and don’t get caught walking.

The first few days consisted of physical training and practicing parachute landing falls or PLF for short. In the Army, literally everything has an acronym. PLFs were practiced first by jumping off small play forms to land on the balls of the feet, calf, thigh, butt and then that famous pull up muscle which was basically just your side and back. Each one of these places on the body was a point of contact to hit the ground. 5 points of contact. My favorite was when someone would screw up and a Black Hat would yell “Get your head out of your 4th point of contact!!” meaning get your head out of your ass. A PLF was nothing more than hitting the ground and rolling to distribute the blow to avoid injuries. That didn’t always work. There were plenty of injuries.

All day for the first week we practiced PLFs. We would practice in rock pits to help cushion the landings. We would start by practicing with no gear on. We were instructed to look up, pull down the imaginary parachute risers to our chest and then jump into the rock pit keeping our knees and feet together. Once that was mastered, we were put in a harness and would jump from a higher platform until that was mastered. It was made clear, jumping out of the airplane is easy. You’re just falling under a parachute. The hard part was the landing. When we weren’t doing PLFs we were being yelled at or doing PT.

Sergeant Airborne loves to run for PT. So we ran, a lot. We ran at an Airborne shuffle pace, all 200 of us together in formation. We would sing motivating cadence to take our mind off of running and to control breathing. Cadences that were said so many times I could never forget.

“C-130 rollin’ down the strip
64 Rangers on a one-way trip
Mission Top Secret, destination unknown
They don’t even know if they’re ever coming home
When my plane gets up so high
Paratroopers take to the skies

Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door
My knees got weak and I hit the floor
Jumpmaster picked me up with ease
Tossed my knees into the breeze”

I remember getting back from a run and being in a mass formation of 200 people when one of the Black Hats yells “Cardwell!” “Who the hell is Cardwell?” I answered up, “Here Sergeant Airborne!” I had no idea what was going on. Sergeant Airborne approached with a smile. “I know your Platoon Sergeant back at Bragg. He just called me. I was his squad leader 10 years ago. We are going to have a fun two weeks together.” I knew that meant it was only going to be fun for one of us. Just my luck.

There’s so much more and it only gets better. Week 2 and 3 of Airborne School will be posted as Part 2. I’ll have it posted before Veterans Day. Stay with me.

The Sea Nymphs Secret

 

IMG_2562[1041]

In red is the route that they took, probably. The thick black circle is where they were “rescued”. and the thin black line is the route from the Hawaiian islands to Tahiti. Source: My iPhone.

If you haven’t heard about this story yet I’ll give you the rundown; 2 Women, Jennifer Appel & Tasha Fuiava, Left Hawaii in May for a 2,600-mile trip to Tahiti in their 50-ft. sail boat named “Sea Nymph”. They were rescued by the Navy the other day, 5 months later, 900 miles off the coast of Japan and 5,000 miles from Tahiti. During their journey the two claimed to have endured 3 major storms, 2 attacks from groups of tiger sharks, and lost function of their motor and normal radio communications. Pictured below are the women, pictured above is a rough diagram of the trip they made.

563189-jennifer-appel-and-tasha-fuiava

Now you might be saying to yourself, “What a harrowing adventure! The grit and determination of these two ladies is noteworthy and I’m so glad that they made it out alive!”. Well I’m saying, “Lemme ponder the many variations of what actually happened because I am bored, and this story seems fishy” (if you’ll pardon the pun).

download

First, I’ll give you a breakdown of what I think these women look like. Jennifer Appel looks like if Carrot Top and Willem Dafoe had a child and that child decided to compete on the TV show Survivor. Tasha Fuiava looks like Queen Latifah with a hangover. Although I don’t actually know the nature of their relationship, I would assume because of their appearance and mannerisms in the video (  click here for video  ) of them thanking the Navy, Tasha & Jennifer are familiar with The Game of Flats together in a romantic way. They also had two dogs aboard the boat named Zeus and Valentine, not relevant but cool dog names.

willem-dafriend-pic

Initially when they were interviewed about being lost at sea, they said that it was “hopeless and depressing” and on many occasions during the 5 months thought they would die saying, “…there is true humility to wondering if this is your last day or night…”. After further questioning by the Coast Guard and many media affiliates they changed their story stating, “…we never truly felt distressed…” when asked why they did not use their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. Take it away Aretha.

tenor (1)

The women also said that within the first few days at sea, they were met by a fierce storm responsible for most of the issues with the vessel. Which was proved false by the NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. Yeah, that loud annoying voice that comes on cable television when inclement weather is present, rendering the dialog of your show unintelligible and spiking your heart rate from the volume and alarm of the notification, even though you can clearly see the weather outside and it’s been like this for 2 hours. I imagine that they might know what they’re talking about.

3b741e24e75558caf75ea0381326ce52512ffe6e62ad4c6a30b9275a5e6ba732

The Coast Guard may be the inferior branch of The United States Military, wishing it was more like its flamboyant sister branch, The Navy, but it was key in exposing these women for the frauds they are. A modern day “Deepthroat” some are saying (if you’ll pardon the pun). In June, after they claimed to have their radio communications wiped out by the ghost storm, Coast Guard officials contacted the Sea Nymph near Tahiti and records show that our heroic females stated they were A-Okay. Our sea women claimed to have left detailed plans and an itinerary with friends and family of the trip after they meticulously mapped it out. Coast Guard comes back with another slam dunk releasing a statement saying the women, by their own admission, told no one about the trip.

SMLPOCoast-Gouard-strikes

Other than Discovery Channels Shark Week and Sponge Bob Square Pants, I have no knowledge on sharks or the sea but my dude, George Burgess (the director emeritus of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History) is for sure at least familiar with sharks and stuff. Ole Jen stated that on two separate occasions while stranded that they were vetted, stalked, and attacked by tiger sharks. She said that five 30-foot tiger sharks coordinated an attack, “ramming” their boat and slapping it with their tails, to teach two other smaller sharks in the water how to hunt. All of which lasted for 6 hours.

giphy (2)

Confirmed by our man George, those were all fabrications. “It sounds like something a 4-year-old would tell you,” he said. “No. No, no and no and no. There’s not an iota of accuracy relative to our knowledge of the tiger shark in any of that.” Tiger sharks are not social, do not teach their young in that way and have never been known to grow that large, he said. When asked, Mr. Burgess added that it was also unlikely that the women were describing another type of shark. “The only one that fits that pattern was the star of the movie ‘Jaws,’” he said. My boy George with the BURN. Comparing their story to the tall tales of 4-year-olds AND referencing Jaws… Man, what a hero.

tenor (2)

Questions & statements I have for these women after reading all the news stories and watching random videos of them talking:

  1. The fact that they didn’t pack toothbrushes for a 2,600-mile trip at sea is not only questionable but deserves a punishment of life in prison.
  2. Why is Jennifer not more sunburnt? You would think after 5 months on the sea with the sun reflecting off the ocean that she would be all red like a strawbrary.
  3. Jennifer said in a video that she was surprised by the Navy’s performance in a foreign situation. THAT IS WHAT THE NAVY DOES LADY NOTHING ABOUT THAT SITUATION WAS FOREIGN TO THE NAVY.
  4. Were the pink Crocs yours or given to you by the Navy? Because the Navy issuing PINK Crocs would make sense. Respect for the brand, a big ole NOPE for the color.
  5. What inspired you to name your 50-ft. sail boat “Sea Nymph”?
  6. What is your obsession with glow sticks all about?
  7. Will you go to sea again?
  8. Why didn’t y’all bring a camera? Or cell phones? And again toothbrushes?!?
  9. If you’re telling the truth, for real, why didn’t you use the Emergency Beacon? But really, Why?

And now for my theories on what ACTUALLY happened:

  1. The wonder of Sharknado has struck in the Pacific.
  2. Pacific Lesbian Fun Cruise gone awry in the form of:
  • Infidelity… Passion murder… Cover up
  • Abuse of psychedelic drugs… Accidental death… Cover up
  • Actually getting stranded… Cannibalism… Cover up
  • Argument about “Lip-stick Lesbians” … Murder… Cover up
  1. Actually made the trip but made up the story in an attempt to get a book/movie deal or become famous
  2. They’re mercenaries and they killed someone out there and made up this elaborate story to cover that up
  3. Killed a rich relative out there to get their fortune
  4. They are North Korean spies
  5. Failed attempt at smuggling any of the following: Dogs, flannel, fanny pack, drugs, Indigo Girls memorabilia, unreleased episodes of Orange is the New Black, corduroy pants
  6. And the least likely, women being bad at sailing

giphy (1)

Listen, if these women actually set sail for Tahiti in May and everything they said is true then they are pretty dope ladies. Although I love the ocean, I don’t imagine I would have lasted any longer than 3 weeks in the same situation. I would have selfishly eaten everything I brought in the first week, hallucinated more food in the ocean and been bitten by a shark trying to retrieve it, pity murdered my dogs because I ate all the food and wouldn’t want them to suffer by starvation, fell into a spiraling depression because of loneliness and remorse for being the reason for my dogs deaths, and succumbed to my shark bite injuries, meeting death just at the moment I remembered about the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon that I drained the battery on trying to connect it to my phone somehow to Tweet: “Sailing is easy, “sea” yall in Tahiti! #ifyoullpardonthepun #itsamansworld #becauseoftheimplications #imonaboat #prestigeworldwide #betterslowdownontheuncrustables” on day 2, and using my last breath to let out a muffled laugh, thinking about Always Sunny and the episode titled; “The Gang Buys a Boat” … But DAMN IT I will pack a toothbrush!

giphy (3)