Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Lynnwood Public Library Equation

(A/2)N(P/100) = G

Where:
A = Age of man on toilet
N = Number of individuals in immediate proximity
P = Number of individuals in immediate proximity within one 24 period
G = Percent chance that an old guy will make loud, grunting noises in a public restroom when I am around

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On the Joys of Bachelordom

Living with five other people is bound to have disadvantages. For instance, nobody in the house really had any dishes when they moved in here, so we've resorted to using the dishes that were left behind by previous tenants, which are few. And, since there are six people eating meals here, dishes get dirty real quick-like. Myself, being the smarty pants that I am, have taken to eating directly over the sink, to minimize the time that I spend washing things other than my already filthy, sinful body.

Anyway, even though watching the crumbs of my toast sandwich fall into the sink reminds me of my own poverty, I have turned the whole thing into a game. How few bites can I take to eat this apple? (Current record: 10) What is the maximum number of bites it takes to finish a hard-boiled egg? (Current record: 7, and it's not as easy as it sounds) But my favorite game is water-chugging. Take your average pint glass, fill it with tap water, drink and repeat. See how much water you can drink before your own mortality comes under scrutiny! It's fun!

Of course, all of these games are immediately followed by a post-challenge moment, which I like to call "Wow, I need a girlfriend."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Yup




No other posts today! I've been busy learning about the mysteries of Buddhism! (Result: Just as lame as all other religions.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

But How Will They See Their Pareidolia Now?

I found this the other day through This Modern World (via Greg Saunders), and it astounded me. A few days later, my brain is quite literally racked with an intense agony trying to comprehend the mindset of these people.

KOTTAYAM, India, March 11 (UPI) -- Reports in India of a miraculous image of the Virgin Mary in the sky have led about 50 people to blind themselves by staring at the sun. (link)


I...quite honestly have no idea what to say to that...I mean, do you think they started to catch on once the first few people went blind? Part of me doesn't want to admit that they may have even wanted to go blind, because martyrdom is cool. Religion is a scary thing, folks.

I love how even the news report calls the image "miraculous". If you read the rest of the article, you'll see that local congregations have denied that this is a miracle and retaught them that staring at the sun is no bueno. I have to wonder if they denied the "miraculous" aspect of this specifically to prevent people from going blind.

You may think I'm a little harsh on religion. Let me assure you, it is because of shit like this.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bahai PR

Recently, I had a buddy of mine, a dear buddy, have his marriage proposal go unapproved by the consenting female's parents. The reason for their matrimonial dismissal? His wacky religion, Bahai.

What is Bahai you ask? How the fuck should I know? As a copywriter, my duty is not to understand something or even make a moral judgment on it, but to sell it, and so, with this in mind, I have come up with a few ideas towards making Bahai SUPAAMAZING.

1) The Bahai Kids Hour: Starring Bahee the Giraffe and the Obscure Religion Gang! -- Join Bahee as he goes on zany adventures and other business of the sort, spreading the basic principles of Bahai, such as...Well, I'm sure there are some good ones. Probably some crap about love or whatever. The point is, there will be talking animals.

2) Celebrity Endorsement -- If there's an obscure religion out there, there's a celebrity out there who will vapidly endorse it. Scientology, paganism, Sanjayaism, Sesame Street Satanism; you name it. The trick is to find the right kind of celebrity to endorse it. You know, somebody somewhat normal. What's William H. Macy doing these days? He doesn't suck yet does he? How about that Fred Savage character? He seems likeable enough. Is Flava Flav available?

3) Bahailand Theme Park -- It's the Bahaist place on Earth! Whatever that means. Eat delicious Bahai-themed food! Including...well everyone already knows what members of the Bahai faith eat, so I won't waste your time by listing all the delicious (?) foods available. There's also tons of Bahai rides, like the spinning coffee cup ride (teacups are forbidden in Bahai) or the Bahai rollercoaster (which is completely flat to emphasize Bahai's stable nature).

4) Take out the Shriners -- This is a great idea for several reasons. Firstly, conquering another small group of is a great way to establish dominance over other small groups. It's a lot like kicking somebody's ass on your first day in prison or taking the only blue crayon in kindergarten (Nobody fucks with Robin's Egg Blue!) Secondly, it will help draw attention to just how goddamn weird Shriners are, and thereby make Bahai look better by comparison. I mean, what is the deal with those hats and the tiny cars? Don't even get me started on the questionable relationship they keep with children (especially disabled ones! Shame on you!)

Well, there you have it. If this doesn't help bring Bahai into the spotlight, well then I guess my friend is going to have to find in-laws with more Bahaiy tendencies (Have you tried bahaisingles.com?)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sitcom Ideas

The Democrat Who Thought He Was Conservative - Set in the not-too-distant future, John Q. Everyman, a senator from New Hoboken, Minnesota, bumps his head in a freak hang-gliding accident and wakes up thinking he's Conservative! Watch as John questions the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with him, refuses to fund the Iraq war, and demands the resignation of the Attorney General -- all while seeming to possess a spine! And what will John do when the president is caught lying to start a war in Iraq? You can bet he won't bend over and take it like a liberal! Saturdays at 11:00 am on Kids WB

Eve and Adam - Adam was having the time of his life in the Garden of Eden, naming all the animals, eating unforbidden fruit, and playing catch with his monkey friend, JoJo. There's just one problem -- His wife is a crazy bitch! Eve is a free spirit who doesn't buy into this whole "Creationist" deal. Plus, she hates being subjugated under religious law! Watch as Eve debates the moral and philosophical ramifications of treating women like objects, while poor old Adam just wants to watch TV with JoJo. Don't miss the very special season finale where Eve admits that Adam isn't very "satisfying". Wednesdays at 6:00pm on Lifetime

Kosher Werewolf Deli - Herschel, a poor twentysomething operating the best Deli in Brooklyn, has just met the girl of his dreams. There's only one problem! She's a from a well-to-do Saudi Arabian family, and he's a Hassidic werewolf! How will Herschel woo the girl of his dreams while keeping his Deli safe from atheist businessmen trying to buy him out? And what will become of Ginger Malone, everyone's favorite alcoholic Yeti meat slicer? Tuesdays at 8:00 pm on AMC

Jello!
Jello! Sundays at 6:00 pm on CBS

Backwards Learning Boy and his Incredible Handicapped Friend - Joey is the smartest kid at his school, until he starts learning that is! Whenever Joey takes in new information, he slowly devolves into a lower lifeform! Watch as Joey starts off as a normal human boy and turns into a super-smart paramecium! What will happen when Joey and his Incredible Handicapped Friend are hired to be Los Angeles top CSI team? And what is his Incredible Handicapped Friend's terrible secret? (He can't walk.) Mondays at 3:00 pm on C-SPAN

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fanboy Be I

Ladies and gentlemen, there comes a time in everyone's life where they realize that they possess an irrational love for something, and it is a very painful realization.

We've all met people in our lifetime that have some sort of stupid obsession and we can't stand them. In the nerdy circles that I run in, these people are referred to as "fanboys" and are usually someone who likes something just a little too much, like the guys who go nuts over the newest Legend of Zelda game or that one guy in high school that knew everything there was to know about Han Solo. The whole scheme can be applied to other things though, as I've met people who are nuts about bands (looking at you, Dragonforce fans) political candidates (Ron Paul supporters) sports teams (Cubs fans) or religions (...just about all of them). We see these types of people, and we don't want to become them.

My friends, today, I have descended into fanboydom (fanboyness?). I have discovered Spider-Man: India.

I love Spider-Man: India.


First off, can we all agree that this costume is all different kinds of awesome? Let's ignore the pointy elf shoes and focus more on the super sweet new spider symbol and the flow-y thing extending from his waistline. Dr. Zala's prognosis: Awesome-titus and a bacterial infection of Sweet Coli.


Spider-Man: India follows the story of Pravitar Prabhakar who lives with his Aunt Maya and Uncle Bhim as he struggles with being the "dhoti" kid at a school in Mubai, flirting with a girl named Meera Jain and being bullied by a loudmouth named Flash. One day, Pravitar is given spider-powers from a street yogi (whose name I can only guess is "Genetics McGee"). Meanwhile, millionaire Nalin Oberoi has summoned a demon, which looks a lot like a Green Goblin. I am not making any of this shit up. Bonus points for making Meera Jain extra hot, and yes, I even love Pravitar's emo personality and awesome earrings. Weatherman Kevin's prediction: A slight sprinkling of erection-giving comic books with a small chance for totally fucking awesome late in the afternoon.

Yes, I am totally a fanboy. If I can sit down and enjoy the same damn Spider-Man story repackaged in an Indian theme, I am a fanboy. But, in my defense, take a look at the Green Goblin.
You can't tell me that comic books don't get better with the inclusion of a giant green monster. Newcaster Kevin Warzala has today's top stories: This just in, I will like anything with Spider-Man's name on it. Also, his pointy shoes kick ass.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's ok! It's ok! That Puppy was a Terrorist.

I'm not sure how astute my readers are when it comes to the thin line dividing "the news" and youtube, but there's a video going around of a supposed US soldier supposedly killing a supposed adorable puppy. I'm not going to debate the veracity of the video, except to say that I believe it's true, but that's not going to be the issue here.

The problem, I think, is that this barely-even-news-item will get way more attention than it deserves, and the liberal masses will totally blow the situation out of proportion and ruin their credibility even further. I first heard about this on Matt Bors' Blog, where he states that "it has a chance of being touched upon by the mainstream media," which I think is a very conservative estimate. The video will be played on cable news, whether in pieces or in its entirely. Experts will be called in to debate the psychological effects on war. Left will condemn it; Right will justify it. Debates will be held and we as a country will go through the entire pointless motions until we get bored and move onto the next fabricated crisis.

I won't show you the actual video, because it is exactly what it sounds like it is, and it's not especially easy to watch. I will, however, be glad to show you some of the "reaction shots" of youtubers, just to give you an idea on how some people feel about the death of a puppy. By the way, the videos I've linked to here are the result of a full ten seconds of research.

Video Number 1
Video Number 2
Video Number 3
Video Number 4
Video Number 5
Video Number 6


I'm not saying puppy-killing isn't wrong or that I'm unsympathetic to the plight of animals being tortured or killed for no reason. Far from it. What I am saying however, is that maybe we should be less concerned with the death of a single animal and more concerned with the deaths of human beings happening simultaneously around the world. Here's some news stories of people being killed around the world, that I can guarantee will not generate even half the amount of media attention or youtube outrage that a single dog will.

Four People Killed in Pakistan, fourteen injured
Eight People Killed in Armenia
Twelve People Killed in Kenya
Seventy People Killed in Sudan

Again, a full ten seconds of research brought all these stories to my attention. I couldn't find any youtube reaction videos over any of these.

Eraserhead

Henry Spencer's Guide to Dating, Parenting, and Everything In Between ;)


Dear Henry,

I've been invited to my girlfriend's parents' house for dinner, but I'm so nervous! I had sex with their daughter, like, two weeks ago and I'm afraid they know about it. How should I handle this?
Scared of Angry Parents


Well, SOAP, first thing you should remember that married women are constantly horny. DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS! It is vital to your future relationship with this young lady that you do not fornicate with her mother.

Also, a great way to avoid any kid of fracas with the parents is to ignore just about everythign you see and hear. This includes: people speaking to you, your girlfriend crying, people staring at you, your girlfriend having a seizure, your girlfriend's mother having a seizure, catatonic grandmothers, dancing Cornish hens, dogs nursing their young, and copious amounts of blood in any capacity.

And, if the parents find out you've been diddling their pride and joy, marry the young lady with as little enthusiasm as possible.




Dear Henry,

My wife has recently given birth to a half-camel, half-cream-of-wheat sin against god. We're very proud and happy, but how do we get it to stop crying and laughing at our misery in the middle of the night? I have to work in the morning!

My Baby Is a Sin Of Nature


Wow, MBISON, crying babies can be the pits! But there are a few secret tricks that can help.

First, kick out your obnoxious bitch of a wife. She doesn't do anything but complain and feed the baby chocolate pudding anyway!

Next, have an affair with your slutty next door neighbor right in front of the child. This is important for two reasons: A) It shows the baby who wears the pants in this one-bedroom apartment and B) It is fun.

You may want to consider never picking up the baby under any circumstances ever. Babies are whiny little bitches and will do anything for attention. If you think there might be something wrong with your baby, take it's temperature and examine its face/inside of its lungs for syphilitic sores. Babies can get into some crazy shit sometimes!




Henry,

I've been having this weird sexual fantasy lately. It involves a hamster-cheeked monster girl in 50s-style attire dancing and singing while gleefully stomping my sperm to death. What does this mean? Am I normal?

Hot For Radiators


Hm, sounds pretty normal to me. Make sure you ejaculate on someone's leg while they're sleeping. You know, to PROVE you're not crazy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why I Still Have Faith in the Advertising Industry





Advertising, for me, has been a way to pay the bills for the past few months.

No, not completely true. I have fun with it. I really do. The art of persuasion is something that has always interested me, from writing stories, to making new friends, and yeah, even advertising. On some days, I feel like I can make anything sound good.

But the advertising industry is more jaded than anything I've ever seen before. Most campaigns for products repeat themselves over and over again in the most shameless of manners. And sadly, the state of "activism" advertising is not much better, usually involving a cheap visual trick which does more to shock and disgust than to persuade. (This example for Equal Pay Day in Belgium strikes me as particularly shameless example. I can't read Dutch, but I think even if I could, I wouldn't bother with that copy.)

It's not to say that I don't think other issues are less important than the one's Dove (more specifically, Ogilvy and Mathers, the ad execs behind this campaign) tackles, but this is the issue that effects me the most on a personal, being an especially big fan of women and seeing -- in an almost infinite number of ways -- the damage modern advertising does to women's self-esteem. If I had my way, I would make sure everyone was made aware of this campaign. All I can do is share it with the half a dozen people who read my blog, which is good enough for now, I guess.


Campaign For Real Beauty

Monday, March 3, 2008

Democracy Wins Again!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have one question for you: DO YOU BELIEVE IN TEH MIRACLEZ???

Dmitry "Anna" Medvedev was born in Leningrad, 1965, and his life was to be one of hardship and struggle. Before he was five years old, his father was killed in a farming accident, and it was difficult to make ends make afterwards. Dmitry was unable to receive the same schooling as those in the upper-class, and was often found reading second-rate books and trying desperately to shake his unavoidable stutter. The children at the government-sanctioned would frequently taunt with names like "Stuttering Medvedev" and "Dmitry, he who is unable to speak properly", both of which rhyme in Russian. Through the hardship of growing up in a rural Russian community wrecked by poverty, Dmitry saw firsthand the poor state of affairs the country was in, and realized that the government could be the one to fix it. Even though he came from a poor family and had speaking problems, he wanted to rise to the highest office in Russia to change the situation for other families in the same plight. In fact, when asked by his third grade teacher what he wanted to be when he grew up, Dmitry replied, "Pah-pah-pah-pwesident."

Dmitry's political career would get its start at the University of Russistan, where he was double-majoring in Politics and Law (with a minor in French). Russia, being notoriously communist at the time, had no democratic system in any facets of its government until one day when Dmitry was arguing with his friends during movie night in the dorms over whether to watch "Police Academy 4" or "In Soviet Russia, Movie Watches You". He is reported by several eye witnesses as offering, "Hey, why don't we vote on it?" Ever since then, Medvedev has been a beacon of democratic fairness the world over. They chose Police Academy 4, by the way.

After his formal education, Medvedev continued his fight for democracy and freedom by organizing several extremely successful grassroots campaigns across the Russian countryside for positions such as "City Council Member" and "Member of City Council". There were only a few providences that did not vote for Medvedev, but he these didn't bother him, as he was just proud to be able to see free and fair elections happening in the country he loved so much.

And today my friends, this very day, from these humble beginnings (btw his mom died when he was like, eight), Dmitry Medvedev has been voted into office of Russian president by a landslide. His anti-governmental stance and harsh criticism of the former President may have been a hindrance to his campaign, but in all, the Russian people respected his candor and good-humored insight into the state of government. I can say with no exaggeration that today marks the beginning of a new era in Russian politics, one where freedom and democracy are the standards, and the people of Russia can be freed from the shackles of oppressive monarchies. Ladies and gentlemen, today, the citizen is the hero of Russia. Long live democracy.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Journalism, Part One

I can say without the slightest bit of melodrama that the news media is failing us, has already failed us in the past, and will continue to fail us in the future if things don’t change.

Let’s say you have a classroom of 50 students, and one of them fails. The majority of the responsibility of that failure falls on that student, since the rest of the class apparently didn’t have a problem with obtaining a passing grade. What if there were ten students failed? How about twenty-five? How about all the students? At what point is individual responsibility overshadowed by institutional responsibility? How many students would have to fail before we learn to teach differently?

The news in America is in an embarrassing state, and people are beginning to take notice. For quite some time now, those in the journalism field have been involved in a industry-wide panic over the declining sales and dwindling numbers of print media. The effects are not hard to see either, with most metropolitan areas only hosting one newspaper after a period when it was not uncommon to see at least two newspapers in even a small city. If you’re in the 18-30 demographic, ask around and see how many of your peers read a newspaper every day. The statistics are less than pleasing.

Cable television is not a worthy heir, either. 24 hours of “news” requires that a lot of space be filled, and it’s not surprising to find shows dedicated to the latest Trump/O’Donnell fracas, which minor celebrity is in rehab, or other garbage with little-to-no redeeming value. And, if it’s not pointless news, it’s slapstick political “punditry” that typically amounts to little more than an elementary school argument. “You’re wrong.” “No, you’re wrong, and furthermore, you must hate America for saying that.”

We all would like a noble, honest and unbiased source of news and information. These things are hard to come by in the media though and even harder to recognize, because our newspapers, our radio stations, our magazines and our television channels are all businesses – their responsibilities are paying the salaries of their employees while offsetting the cost of doing business and turning a profit at the end of the fiscal year. Because of this, they are dependent on advertisers, viewers, audiences and subscribers, and their priorities are shifted away from the black and white issues of the world, and move towards the black and red issues of running a business.

And we are living in a nation that is inundated with this kind of news, far too much for one person to take in, actually, when you take into the account the multitude of different forms journalism takes within the media. And each outlet within the media is striving to be different than the other, not wanting to show the same footage and report the same stories as the next guy. The result is that each media outlet copies each worthless story somebody else repeats and tries to put a new spin on it, with things like "exclusive" coverage and "behind the scenes" reporting. The real news behind all this garbage is left unaccounted for, and no new insight is being provided, and yet, the story continues to get air time and print space.

“Left” and “right” are two adjectives that can be self-worn with pride or applied to someone else with malice. It’s gotten to the point where we can’t even acknowledge a news source without labeling it. Not only is our country and its citizens divided between left and right, but so is our information. And, if there’s ever a piece of information someone disagrees with or doesn’t want to hear, it’s too easy to shrug it off as a media bias. “Oh, that can’t be true, it came from Fox News” or “Of course the NYT would say something like that.”

I believe the news is necessary, important and sacred. It’s what separates the citizens from the subjects, and it’s something that we should show pride in and constantly strive to improve. In these times, our information is the strongest, most prevalent weapon we can wield, and we – yes, all of us – are guilty of letting its blade grow dull. It is time for a change.

It Means "Dreamy" But Not Like "Patrick Dempsey Dreamy"...

This article is all about surrealism, and why I hate Stanley Kubrick.

Well, ok, no, I don't hate Kubrick. I just think that his use of the surreal should be toned down a bit. Let me explain.

Every story, and I want to emphasis this point, every story contains an element of the surreal, from horror movies, to Shakespeare, to "Dude, you'll never believe what happened to me today".

I just finished reading Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces and it was very enlightening. One of the main points that he talks about is the difference between reality and the "other" world. The hero of myths and legends is born and raised in reality, but then crosses the threshold to the other side -- be it underworld, heaven, the dessert, land of dreams, etc. -- and then emerges a better person and brings back his or her knowledge to the "real" people.

This theme of "crossing the threshold" is so reoccurring in fiction and myths, that it would be pointless for me to recount all the possible times it could happen. One of the ones that always sticks out in my mind is the forest in Midsummer Night's Dream. Everybody is having a cool time in Athens with their twentysomething drama ("OFMG I heart you so much but this other guy is a douche lawlz") but when they enter into just a regular stupid old forest, shit gets crazy yo, with fairies and goatmen and...well, I guess just fairies and goatmen, but isn't that enough?

This whole idea of the surreal world is especially prevalent in horror movies. Think about Halloween. Whenever Mikey Myers was nearby, you'd always hear that godawful breathing (you know the one), but never during "normal" times. The breathing noise is a slap in the face for the audience that says, "things are going to crazy about nowish."

Another quick example is the use of light and setting in Suspiria. Whenever the protagonist is inside the haunted school, not only are the surroundings very "artsy" to begin with, but there's always some strange light with nondescript origins around, and makes the whole thing very jarring. In fact, for the few scenes where you see the outside world, you almost forget that the world could look that way. Again, the light is your queue to start feeling weird. Start paying attention to this in movies and you begin to see the indicators very plainly -- like the snow in Fargo.

The reason that this technique has so much potential to make the audience feel uncomfortable is because of the disparity between the surreal world and the real world. Think about a movie like X-Men. The opening scene there is Magneto as a teenager (in WWII era Europe, which, by all accounts, was surreal enough anyway). When he uses his powers, the audience gets a "shocked" sense. Nobody could have seen that coming (except for the nerds in the audience who already knew that Magneto was a Jewish Holocaust survivor, but other than that, NOBODY). This, of course, pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the movie and even in the next scene, we see just how normal moving metal without your hands really is. After that, is it really surprising or unnerving to see someone shoot lasers from their eyes?

Now, I love Dr. Strangelove, which was directed by Kubrick. Love it. The reason that surrealism works in that movie is the switching back and forth between reality and surrealism, but instead of snow or creepy breathing, the settings themselves distinguish between the surrealistic and the realistic.

The movie was made back when I was at the tender age of negative twenty something, so I'll recap it for everyone. The United States Military has nuclear-equipped war planes in constant motion near specific targets at all times. At any point, one of these planes could receive the order to drop a nuke and essentially start World War Three. At some military base, a spunky but batshit crazy military leader decides he's going to fire up the old Apocalypse and tells one particular plane to bomb the bejesus out of someplace foreign. The higher-ups in the US command get word and all convene in a shadowy room and talk about it, in the silliest manner possible. I won't ruin the ending for anyone, but let's just say, in scientific terms, things get blowed up.

Most of the movie switches between three locations -- the plane, the base, and the shadowy room. The reason that surrealism works in this case in because each location either makes the audience feel either "at home" or "weirded out by all the crazy shit." In this case, the guys on the plane are all completely normal, and react pretty much exactly how you think they would act in this situation in a remarkably believable manner. It's the guys in charge that display their insanity. You know that when you see Dr. Stangelove in a poorly-lit gigantic room with a large table that some ridiculous things are going to happen. This creates an atmosphere of complete terror, as you see that our world leaders are out of their fucking minds, and it works, and works really well. In fact, the movie closes with a series of nuclear bombs going off that gives you a sense of "Wow, this cannot be real," and it's remarkably terrifying.

In The Shining surrealism takes a wrong turn.

The reason it doesn't work, at least, according to me, is because there's a lack of an indicator. The whole hotel is pretty surreal, but not any more so than some of the other scenes, and not all the time. For instance, when we first enter the hotel, it looks very inviting and completely normal. The problem is that at the exact same time we have a scene of the family back at home where the kid starts hallucinating and freaking out and things are actually more surreal than the hotel. It's very confusing for the audience if there is no point of reference for normality.

The hotel gets progressively more surreal as time goes on, and there are definitely smaller indicators of insanity along the way. For instance, I think that the ballroom is a pretty good clue that things are about to take a trip to Crazytown. The problem with the "progressive" approach of the hotel as opposed to the "threshold" style is that a bad first impression is hard to recover from. If it you don't learn early on that a place or a sound or a particular use of lighting is "weird" than it's hard to retrain yourself later on.

Towards the end of The Shining, two scenes I think help illustrate this. The first is one where the wife (Duvall) happens across a dead-looking guy in a hallway and he says, "Enjoying the party?" or some such. There is no shock value with this scene, and I would argue that it's barely even jarring to the audience. It is a little weird, yes, but it does nothing different than wasn't already done with an elevator full of cherry kool-aid. The appearance of the dead guy doesn't do anything because it doesn't establish a new level of surrealism, only plays upon the level of surrealism that had been occurring for most of the movie.

The second scene that caught my attention is the one with the guy in the wolf costume (I presume) giving head to some old guy. This pisses me off. One thing that I cannot stand is the superfluous use of shit that be freaky. It wouldn't be any different than if the little boy had just plucked a balloon from the hedge maze and used it to float away. In the end, you can justify any kind of surrealism ("The balloon represents a child's fleeting hopes and dreams being chased down by the heavy responsibilities of adulthood and parenthood. Sky = innocence") but the question will always remain with what you're trying to say with it. In Strangelove the message with surrealism is that we should always be cautious of our leaders. In Fargo, it's the fact that surprising things happen, even under the most mundane of circumstances. In The Shining, it's the fact that directors with over-inflated egos will almost invariably throw weird shit into their movie solely for the sake of being weird, and not give a damn about any kind of message they want to send. And that's why I hate Kubrick.

*Floats away on a balloon*