Open Thread for November 6, 2009

Welcome to the start of the Christmas shopping season, Overthinkers! Here’s the week gone by: Some Oscar-bait opening this weekend: Precious, a film about a black teenager who rises up from crippling poverty, and The Men Who Stare at Goats, … Continued

Welcome to the start of the Christmas shopping season, Overthinkers! Here’s the week gone by:

Some Oscar-bait opening this weekend: Precious, a film about a black teenager who rises up from crippling poverty, and The Men Who Stare at Goats, a film about a secret Army program to develop psychic powers and the hilarity that ensues. The former feels true but is adapted from a novel; the latter feels like a comedy but is based on a true story.

Question: if your life, education or job were made into an Oscar-season motion picture, what’s the one scene that audiences would think was too ridiculous to be true?

Activision’s new game DJ Hero has been out for a week now. Reviews have been largely positive, proving that gamers will buy a large expensive peripheral for just about anything. Except Steel Battalion.

Although if you played Guitar Hero with this, it'd be pretty badass.

Although if you played Guitar Hero with this, it'd be pretty badass.

Question: what profession, entertainment or otherwise, do you want to see emulated in a “Hero”-style video game?

And the New York Yankees won another World Series, which makes, what, 27 for them? Something like that. As surprising as it is that the highest payroll in professional baseball managed to net a championship, what’s even more surprising is how infrequently they pull it off. So the food’s no good and the portions are too small. I’m just being bitter. Fenzel’s a Yankees fan; I should let him say some nice things.

Question: should I let Fenzel say some nice things about the Yankees?

14 Comments on “Open Thread for November 6, 2009”

  1. Genevieve #

    Q3: NO! Never let anyone say nice things about the Yankees. It’s hard for me, because I’m a NYC-area Jersey girl transplanted to the midwest, and it’s tempting to hop on the “NY IS TEH AWESOME!!1!” bandwagon just to assuage my homesickness… but goddamnit, my daughter didn’t have her 1st grade school picture taken in her Mets outfit for nothing. Gotta keep the loyalty, man. Let’s Go Mets! …someday.

    Q2: I think brain surgeon hero would be thoroughly fantastic. It would be just like Operation, only harder. Plus, there would be the beautiful discomfort of, when you FAIL!, showing digitized images of weeping families.

    Q1: Wow, my life is boring. Thanks for the reminder!


  2. Greg #

    Q1: For any of the three, the absolutely massive amount of caffeine that I ingest on a regular basis. No one believes it.

    Q2: Janitor Hero. Full set of peripherals, lessons in basic home care, and an appreciation for those who do the work. Win-Win-Win.

    Q3: Never! NeverEverEverEverEverEverEverEverEverEverEverEver. Ever.


  3. Heather #

    Q1: Thank you Perich for reminding me that my life is, in fact, pretty unbelievable… when I’m not one of the 10.2% of Americans that are unemployed. As for craziest thing, I could tell you, but I want people to buy my memoirs.

    Q2: Zookeeper Hero.

    Q3: Let the poor man speak!


  4. Dan #

    I’d like to see “Gamer Hero”. You have to buy a game controller simulator, and then you play as a gamer playing a video game. You get “points” for accumulating points, and fill your “health bar” by filling your health bar, and so forth.


  5. Hazbaz #

    Q1: My Hogwartian youth.
    Q2: Novel Reading Hero – Correctly identify themes and subtext while working your way through the classics in timed trials.
    Q3: I guess so? Baseball is utterly alien to me, I much prefer Cricket. Can you really call it a World Series if only one nation plays?


  6. Gab #

    Q1: My life is a dramady, so it would depend on what you mean by “ridiculous.” Ridiculous because it’s funny, or ridiculous because you just wouldn’t ever think something like that could happen?

    Q2: I’m totally all over Dan’s idea. That’s totally meta and made of awesome. But my own idea was pretty geeky: Senator Hero. You’d make speeches and use a microphone with the goal of earning enough points to get your legislation through. Lose points for long pauses and stuttering, gain them for loaded or rhetorical questions, and a bonus filibuster round. You could use the points to buy kickbacks and shields from sex or corruption scandals, or for photo-ops and community outreach.

    Or Supreme Court Justice Hero, too: Comes complete with gavel and robe, but I can’t think of how points would work.

    Q3: You know we (read: I) love Fenzel’s rants. I say yes, let the man speak.


  7. Megan from Lombard #

    Q1: most likely the scene where people approach me saying that they want to make a movie out of my life so far. Somehow I think that ‘Confessions of a College Under-grad’ wouldn’t be Oscar gold.

    Q2: I love Gab’s idea, with the addition of bonus points for getting on the most Network and Cable news-stations in a single week to espouse your ideas. Triple points if you can get Jim Cramer to raise his blood pressure 20pts (and go into a tirade) just by hearing your economic policy.

    Q3: I say let the man have his say and then we can poke fun at him.


  8. Jon Eric #


    Q2: I think brain surgeon hero would be thoroughly fantastic. It would be just like Operation, only harder. Plus, there would be the beautiful discomfort of, when you FAIL!, showing digitized images of weeping families.

    This was already done. Twice.

    And I hear they’re shooting for three.

    So, yes.

    Q1: My career has taken me from night-bakery assistant, to political fundraiser, to mortgage collections agent, to FedEx phone monkey (all in about two years, with some play-acting as a professional musician thrown in for good measure). I’m not so sure that any of the individual vignettes would be considered too incredulous, but if taken holistically, my trajectory might just tread the line of ridicule.

    I’ve a friend who just finished a social work internship, and she tried fictionalizing some of the encounters she’s seen. It didn’t work. She paraphrased Mark Twain: “The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to make sense.”

    Q2: Fast food. The game could be branded as “educational” and “career-boosting” — preparing our children for the harsh reality of life in a down economy.

    Q3: Naaaaah.


  9. Jon Eric #

    I wrote a comment, but the site seems to have eaten it.

    Could it be because I linked to my own website? The first question seemed to invite autobiographical details, so it didn’t feel inappropriate when I wrote it…

    Oh well. Here’s the digest version, since I’m not doing all that typing again.

    Q1: No individual part of my life would be incredulous, but taken all at once, the product as a whole just might get laughed out of the theater.

    Q2: Fast food.

    Q3: No.


  10. Gab #

    Speaking of Senators, the health care bill passed in the House. They were all actually *there* for a change! I watch CSpan as it is (yes, I’m one of *those* people), but these are the debates I like watching in particular, when they get rowdy and the gavel gets slammed a lot. Good times. One Republican voted for it, John Cao from Louisiana. And 39 Democrats against. Kucinich was one of them, but that’s not a surprise- he’s kind of crazy (in an endearing sort of way, not a scary one).


  11. Genevieve #

    @Gab – did Kucinich have anything interesting to say at the time about why he voted against it? Also, that poor Republican: should we start taking bets on how long it takes for The Grand Ol’ Party to start pressuring him to submit or defect?

    @Jon Eric – Woah. Thrice. Yikes! I didn’t mean to be derivative; I don’t actually own a game system, heh. I guess that means it was a good idea, though?


  12. Jon Eric #


    Totally. They’re also on the DS, but for my money, what’s the point if you’re not using your Wiimote as a scalpel? Fun stuff. Bears about as much resemblance to actual surgery as Guitar Hero does to actual guitar, so it’s an apt analogy.


  13. Gab #

    @Genevieve: Cao said it was “a vote of conscience,” and I believe him, to an extent, because I’ve always felt health care is a moral/conscience issue, so really, it should be a vote of conscience for everybody. He says he waited until Shtupak’s anti-abortion amendment passed before making his final decision. But he’s from a very Democratic district, and he replaced a Democrat that insisted on re-running after getting caught with $90000 in his freezer (among other things) (literally, I sh*t you not); so he was kind of running on being a loose, uncorrupt Republican in the first place. I wouldn’t be surprised if he defects, and I especially wouldn’t be surprised if the Republicans throw him to the wolves (they’re much more willing to do that than the Democrats, even when they’re the minority). Here’s a video of him:

    As for Kucinich, his heart was in the right place because he felt the bill didn’t go far enough, but his actions were wrong because something is better than nothing (imo, at least). He wants the for-profit aspect of health care to go away, which I can and do totally agree with, but we need baby steps, not leaps and bounds, when votes are tallied in order for progress to be made on the federal level like that. I do think it’s cool to present radical, never-gonna-pass legislation to make a statement or to get an agenda going, but the next step is negotiating with naysayers and watering it down so that instead of all-out rejection, there is a little push in your direction; so when a vote that important is that close, I don’t think statements should be made with the ballot at crunch time. If everybody was too stubborn to concede anything or be okay with a middle ground, nothing would ever get done. (Because it may *feel* like nothing is getting done, but you’d be surprised if you tracked the gradual progress of reform on all sorts of issues.) (Again, this is me soapboxing, so don’t take my word as gold or the majority opinion by any means.) So I’ve always had mixed emotions about Spider-Man-I mean Kucinich. He does often present radical legislation, stuff that, in a perfect world, would pass without much debate and not be “radical” at all; but this is the real world, and he often doesn’t vote for the compromise, making him seem more like a stubborn, petulant child than a rabble-rouser. So it isn’t like I disagree with his *reasons* for voting against it, I disagree with his actual vote. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but… well… Ahem.

    Anyhoo, enough rambling/lecturing/whatever. Here’s a quote from his statement that I think sums it up: “But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies — a bailout under a blue cross.” (The whole thing is here: )


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