Archive for the 'News' Category

21
May
14

Last Night, On Twitter . . .

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“I can’t remember the last time we were all together.” – Principal Skinner
“Last year, on that stupid Dame Edna special.” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

Al Jean continues to ever so gingerly dip his toes into the never ending torrent of love, hate and general bullshit that is Twitter.  Last night, he tweeted out this undated picture of some of the old staff:

JeanWritersPic

I wasn’t sure who everybody was, so I asked him, and he was kind enough to reply.  From left to right it’s him, Mike Reiss, Wallace Wolodarsky, Jay Kogen, Jon Vitti, and Jeff Martin.  He also said this:

Aren’t you the guys that trash us every week? Peace and love, man.

I’d quibble with “trash” and substitute “criticize”, but I don’t begrudge him his point of view on that.  Al, we love you all the same, and thanks for the picture!

31
Dec
13

Off Topic: A Friend’s Ripping Good Read

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“These Hardy Boys books are great, too.  This one’s about smugglers.” – Homer Simpson
“They’re all about smugglers.” – Bart Simpson
“Not this one, The Smugglers of Pirate Cove, it’s about pirates.” – Homer Simpson
If you’re reading this post then you’ve probably already read the “Zombie Simpsons” mini-book.  That little thing would’ve been much worse if not for the help of, as I said in the acknowledgements, “my friend Liz”.  Well, today Liz became a for-real published author with her first dead tree book, Hunted:
Elizabeth-Heiter-Hunted
As you can probably judge from the cover, it’s a mystery novel.  Specifically, it’s about an FBI profiler on the trail of an asshole who murders young women.  It’s a real page turner, the ending is both scary and great, and I can personally attest that she did her homework.  Liz has been to the FBI’s training center, has shelves groaning under books about modern homicide investigation, and has a sharp eye for which procedural details are cool and move the story and which ones aren’t and don’t.
The main Amazon link is here (Kindle or paperback), her Goodreads page is here (where Hunted has four stars on 28 ratings), and this is her website (yes, that is her in the sunglasses with the semi-automatic pistol).  This is the first book in a series, and if you like fun and pulpy mysteries, it will suck you right in and keep you turning pages long after you planned to be doing something else.
26
Oct
13

RIP: Marcia Wallace and Mrs. Krabappel

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“Bart, it’s such a nice day today, let’s have detention outside.” – Mrs. Krabappel

Sad news, Marcia Wallace, Mrs. Krabappel herself, died yesterday.  The cause was “complications from breast cancer”:

She would also build a second career as a voice-over actress, giving life to Edna Krabappel, Bart Simpson’s cynical and chain-smoking fourth grade teacher on “The Simpsons.” The role, a sublime parody of disaffected instruction, earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992. The show’s executive producer Al Jean said Saturday that the character would  be retired out of deference to Wallace’s death.

Good on Jean.  So long, Marcia.  We’ll miss you. 

RIP Marcia Wallace

Left image shamelessly yoinked from The Wrap link above.  Right image, one final “Ha”.

07
Aug
13

Simpsons T-Shirt Designs Galore!

Ripoff

“Eighteen bucks for this?  What a ripoff!” – Some Guy

Yesterday was the entry deadline for Threadless’s Simpsons design contest.  All told they accepted 820 submissions (and there was a real rush at the end because that number was 494 when I checked it yesterday afternoon).  You can view all of them here, and scoring goes on until Tuesday, so you’ve got plenty of time to vote. 

I’m not sure how many they are going to actually print, but there are definitely a couple that I’d consider actually buying.  Below are some of the ones I liked best, but there are a lot more at the site. 

Wow! Chocolate, half price! – It’s a little busy as a design, but it’s a very recognizable scene so it shouldn’t be a problem. 

BONESTORM – Oh, nothing, just the Bonestorm logo. 

Hitmen… best friends – Lenny and Carl in a fantastically well drawn guns out version of Travolta and Jackson from Pulp Fiction

Movie Poster – Man Getting Hit By Football, an official selection of the Springfield Film Festival.

The Stingy & Battery Show – The black and white broadcast look is a nice touch.

Monorail Emblem – Just what it says. 

They Fight & Bite – Giant Itchy head.

They Fought & Bit – Scratchy version.

Lincoln Squirrel – This is one of those you could basically never wear to anything but a gathering of geeks, but if someone recognized it you could probably be their best friend forever. 

You don’t win friends with salad! – Illustrated with all the constituent parts of a common hot dog.

I got toasted at Flaming Moe’s – This shirt would be ideal for taking off before you sit down to a family dinner.

Lisa&Marge&Homer&Maggie&ElBarto – Nice usage of the “bunch of names” t-shirt design. 

The Fraternity – The Stonecutters emblem with “Stonecutters” and “Est. 776 BC”.  I’d like this better if it was just the emblem, make people figure out what it is.  (Also, they were established long after 776 BC if their “fifteen-hundredth anniversary” was in 1995.)

Simpson & Son Tonic – You look like a man who needs help satisfying his wife.

A Vintage Intro – There are a lot of these that involve using the outlines of the characters, and this is probably my favorite.  The clouds are great, but it’s especially nice the way they worked in Snowball II and Santa’s Little Helper. 

Duff Beer Can Pop Art – Andy Warhol Duff is a great idea, and the colors are fantastic.

Spruce Moose – This could’ve done with a few less elements, plane and airport names alone would’ve been enough, but I can’t design for shit, so what do I know?

dnjk – The bullies.

Duff Ad ! – A pinup Marge selling Duff!  Viva life!

Silhouette Night – Again, this one is very obscure, even moreso because it comes from “The Principal and the Pauper”, but it’s still pretty cool.

The Simplesons – Another silhouette one, but very, very minimal.  It especially looks good on the black background of the t-shirt.

Bleeding Gums Murphy – A jazzman deserves a portrait with some style. 

Meet the Be Sharps! – There were a few Be Sharps designs, this one is their album cover in all its silly glory. 

Worker & Parasite – Exactly that.  Are those letters even actual Cyrillic?  I have no idea.

Brave Corporate Logo – Mr. Sparkle says “Join Me or Die!”.

TRONUT – Ah, old school Tron.

A Super-Simpsons-Spectrum – Yet another silhouette, the colors are nice but I might get rid of the logo at the bottom.  It’s pretty obvious what this shirt is.

Up and Atom! – Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy in a simple, 2-d design. 

Food Chain – The food chain, with Homer at the center. 

The Frogurt is also Cursed – Like so many of these I think this one is trying a little to hard to make people get the reference, but evil frogurt is evil frogurt. 

Lisa Plays – And if a jazzman deserves a portrait in style, so does one of the great little ladies of jazz.  The spotlight is a nice touch.

The Painting – Just the sailboat from behind the couch.  It’s simple and generic looking, and would probably fly over the heads of even casual fans, but that’s what makes it cool.

THRILLHO_ – 8-bit (16?), monochrome Thrillhouse.

Shudder – Translating the rake scene into a still image is tricky, but this design pulled it off.

Mr. Plow – Just the logo with an enjoyably pleased looking Homer.

Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse – Milhouse jumping from the end of “Lisa’s Date with Density” combined with his winning phrase from “Mom and Pop Art”.

Precious Venus – Mmmm, gummy Venus.

Doof – From Sweden! 

Angry. Angry Young Man. – Sideshow Raheem with black power hair picks.  Nice.

Ben – Just a bear with a microphone strapped to his head. 

YELLOW – I like the inventive nudity and all, but how come Marge doesn’t have a mouth?

The Happy Sumo – The neon sign from the outside of Springfield’s first sushi restaurant.

Down With Homework – Simple and effective for starting riots.

Guy Incognito X Homer – A great design showing off Homer and his exact double. 

Can I borrow a Feeling – It’s got his picture on it!

JARRING MIX – Nice little Futurama cross over. 

Eye On Springfield – And now, Part 7 in our eye opening look at the bikini. 

The Be Sharps – Another Be Sharps design, this time just of their name and a hat.  Cool.

3 Ralph Moon – Three Wolf Moon is nigh ancient in internet time, but this is pretty funny. 

Yay! It’s laser day! – Speaking of Ralph, here he is in another meme that’s not exactly fresh but really works well with him.

Springfield: Good – A Springfield postcard design with Jebediah’s motto. 

let your spirit soar – Mona’s painting of Homer as a kid would probably be good for a real life kid, particularly the kind who enjoy running around naked. 

It’s just a little airborne! – Just a flying pig with an apple in its mouth.  Simplicity itself. 

The Godburns – Finely detailed drawing of Burns as Vito Corleone. 

Demoiselle D´Simpson – An artsy Homer, Marge and Maggie. 

The Simpsons’ Present… – Homer’s Hitchcock outline from “Treehouse of Horror III”.  This would get double pop culture reference points on a t-shirt. 

WITH IT! – I’m generally not a fan of t-shirts that have more text than Ivanhoe on them, but Grampa’s quote about not being with it anymore is awfully tempting. 

As I said above, there are a lot more.  The list here isn’t even 10% of them, and Threadless’s site is easy to scroll through (it’s 30 designs to a page), so check ’em out and vote for your favorites.

17
Jul
13

Free San Diego Swag and Summer Guest Posts

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“As Roger Meyers Jr., the owner of the park, I’d like to thank you for stopping the killer robots.  And to show my appreciation, here are two free passes.” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“But there are five of us.” – Homer Simpson
“Here are two free passes.” – Roger Meyers Jr.
“That’s better.” – Homer Simpson

Last week I mentioned that Simpsons singing group from New York that will be performing in San Diego this Saturday.  Well, they’ve been very generous and offered us two free tickets to their performance.  Like last year with the Mr. Burns play in D.C., none of us can go, but we’ll be giving those tickets to the first person who offers to see it and write us a quickie review for it.  You pick, 5:30pm or 9:30pm on Saturday the 20th at the C3 Performing Arts Center.  (You can watch the trailer video here.)  If you want to see the show but don’t want to write a review, you can always toil in our underground sugar caves or work the lima bean harvest for the first 100,000 years, but we’d rather have a few hundred words about whether or not you liked what you saw.  

I’ve also been reminded via e-mail that it is now summer, which means that it’s also the season for guest posts.  I’ve got a couple in the hopper, but if you have a Simpsons related rant/theory/favorite episode/personal story/editorial reply, we’d love to read it.  Pictures and images are welcome, and we’re happy to link back to your blog, Twitter account, or other on-line haunt.  As always, no money and (very) minor internet fame can be yours! 

Please e-mail us if you want the tickets or if you have a guest post or post idea.

14
Feb
13

Zombie Simpsons on Wikipedia

Wikipedia Logo

“Lisa, I’m afraid we’ll have to stop getting you those volumes of Encyclopedia Generica from the grocery store.” – Marge Simpson
“But, Mom, next week is Volume IV, Copernicus through Elephantiasis.” – Lisa Simpson

Wikipedia has a simple test for whether or not something merits its own article: notability.  Like the rest of Wikipedia, it doesn’t work in theory, only in practice, and the current guidelines list five criteria:

  • "Significant coverage" means that sources address the subject directly in detail, so no original research is needed to extract the content.
  • "Reliable" means sources need editorial integrity to allow verifiable evaluation of notability
  • "Sources", for notability purposes, should be secondary sources, as those provide the most objective evidence of notability.
  • "Independent of the subject" excludes works produced by those affiliated with the subject or its creator.
  • "Presumed" means that significant coverage in reliable sources establishes a presumption, not a guarantee, that a subject is suitable for inclusion.

Basically, “notability” means that someone besides the subject or its author is discussing something and that there are multiple citable sources of such discussion.  In that vein, Wikipedia has now brought us:

Quality issue of The Simpsons

The missed capitalization and odd phrasing of the title are in the original, but don’t let that throw you, the article is a remarkable piece of work.  (And I’m not just saying that because it cites us several times.)  There are two primary authors, Coin945 and Martarius, and while I have no idea who they are, they have pulled together a staggering number of sources and references from articles discussing the decline and fall of the show.

From a readability standpoint the article is way too long (someone on the Talk page pegs it at 17,000 words).  But they have amassed 173 individual sources documenting criticisms, and a few defenses, of the quality of the show.  As someone who has a little experience researching and writing about the show and its descent, I am awed by that.  Just organizing all of those had to be an enormous amount of work, and good on them for doing it.  The sheer scale may make it tough to read all the way through, and I’m sure it’ll get pared down eventually, but they’ve got an outline of the opinions around the show that looks fairly accurate, and that’s a valuable thing to have.  Three cheers for notability and diligent Wiki/Simpsons geeks!  Well done. 

14
Jan
13

The Simpsons 23rd Anniversary Yellow Jubilee

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“Push out the jive.  Bring in the love.” – C.M. Burns

If there is one persistent misperception about this blog on the wider plains of the internet, it is that we simply hate Zombie Simpsons and that’s it.  Beneath that strong and oft expressed dislike, however, is the real reason we’re all here: love.  We love The Simpsons.  It was a show beyond even the most enthusiastic superlatives, and it remains so more than two decades after it took America and the world by storm.  Its creation was a once in a lifetime alignment of immensely improbable coincidences that came together with perfect timing.  It never should’ve happened, but it did, and the world is a much funnier place for it. 

That incredible show has endured so well that, in nearly four years of weekly Reading Digest posts, we’ve been able to link to thousands of Simpsons related pages that were viewed by untold millions of people, and that’s just the stuff that came into the narrow slice of the internet that we survey.  Every week there are blog posts about favorite episodes, fan art of various kinds, and an endless stream of people who quote the show when something in their life resembles that collection of twenty year old television episodes.  All the time, thought, attention and creativity that goes into generating that endless torrent of words, images and real world stuff is a testament to how much joy The Simpsons still produces.  It seems unlikely that any other two decade old piece of culture – in any medium – still generates even a significant fraction of that interest and activity.  So we are hardly alone in our love of this show.

To celebrate that, and keeping in mind the show’s traditional disdain for meaningless milestones, today we are launching The Simpsons 23rd Anniversary Yellow Jubilee.  What is that?  Well, we’re not entirely sure yet.  For starters, we’re going to be watching Season 1 and following along as the episodes move through the 23rd anniversary of their original broadcasts.  Starting today and continuing throughout the week with “Bart the Genius”, we’ll be looking at the DVD commentaries, the animation, the quotes, the sign gags, and the episodes as a whole.  As for what precisely that entails in terms of recurring posts, well, that’s what we’re still figuring out.

And we want to hear from you.  (Yes, you!)  Whether in comments or via e-mail, we want to hear about your favorite parts of the episodes, personal memories, and anything else you can think of.  Guest posts about each week’s episode are most definitely welcome, but this is much more “Do What You Feel” than “Do As We Say”. 

The important thing is that we’re watching television.  So if you’ve got the DVDs at home, know where to watch them elsewhere [legally unactionable stage cough], or can score them from a library, Netflix, or Amazon (Season 1 $25 new, ~$6-10 used), sit down and bask in television’s warm glowing warming glow with us. 




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Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.

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