‘May I Please Enter’ by Alan Resnick review

Alan Resnick, known for his creepy and strange lil’ shorts that he puts out every once in a while, made this Adult Swim “small” known as “May I Please Enter”. And with it being sorta one of the “newer” ones of his, I thought I’d review it, in an opinionated way, talking about what I personally saw in it, so yeah, here we go.

So, Alan Resnick has been making stuff for years and years, whether it be mini series’, shorts, music videos, etc, and the common theme which most people and I could probably notice when watching his stuff, is that he really enjoys making people uncomfortable. Through either building unrealistic, yet surprisingly tangible tension, or through breaking the viewer’s expectations so irrationally, that they might not even know how a scene was supposed to make them feel. It definitely might not be for everyone, but hey, I think it’s pretty good, so yeah, this short “May I Please Enter,” is assuredly no different. 

Once you get to this point in the article you should probably watch it on YouTube if you’re interested (https://youtu.be/TgxSIFcTvLo). It’s about 10 minutes, and at least I think it’s pretty good enough to the point that it’ll be worth watching to avoid what could be considered spoilers. (That and you’ll probably not really understand like 80% of this without watching the short beforehand anyway).

So, it opens up with Alan in some sorta cowboy getup, doing a sort of “reality show” where he tries to enter someone’s home, and that’s supposed to just be the show I guess. By the first minute, he already sets the tone pretty well by contrasting the somewhat “upbeat” opening theme with an eerie aftermath of him looming towards the door of the house he “selected” and being strangely threatening towards the random people who he comes across while they wonder if he should come into their living space.

One thing you’ll notice, is how blunt, awkward, and strangely obvious every line of dialogue happens to be. This, while also adding to the humor of it all, sets the unsettling tone pretty well, as it leaves the viewer to desire some semblance of normalcy in an already uncomfortable situation.

Even self aware stuff, such as the “He reminds me of North American colonialism”, almost parodying the viewer trying to make sense of, and take meaning from, what they are being presented with, really just feeds into how unnatural it all is from the start. 

Alan Resnick honestly builds tension in a pretty impressive way as well. As one YouTube commenter put it, “This is a horror movie without the horror”. There is so much rising discomfort in how the audio cues, visual hints, and even scenes that look as though they contain eerie foreshadowing, all ultimately go nowhere, and just leave the viewer dazed and confused by the end of it all.

Like, the “other people live in this house” thing, just perfectly had the atmosphere of the obvious cadence which tells you “something’s not right”, but it just ends unresolved with Alan wanting to just go and see more of the house.

There’s plenty of scenes like this throughout that also do the “fake foreshadowing” thing, like the whole breathing slipper/weapon scene and whatnot, but I think you get the idea.

Another smaller scene I wanted to point out, was the whole part about those “funny little phrases they bought on the internet” with most notably the one that went: “Imagine being so wealthy that your body stops moving”, which sorta predicted the whole phenomenon of NFT’s that’s going on right now if you think about it. It’s not too important specifically to this review, but I just found that interesting watching it again and wanted to mention it here for whatever reason.

But honestly, no scene in this short really is integral or meaningful to the plot, which at the same time, makes all of it equally important, if that makes sense. I mean, without the atmosphere this is total nonsense, and nothing anybody does really matters, but honestly, that’s kinda what makes it, and things like it so interesting.

I mean, most narratives in general, take place in a comfortable “grounded” reality in how people interact with each other on a day to day basis. Like if you watch a movie where it takes place in a sorta crazy ol’ fantasy world or whatnot, characters will still be made to be like, relatable to the viewer. But this makes it seem almost as though our own world is more unreal than any fantasy situation we could see in a movie or book, as we watch just how honestly strange and unsatisfying everyday interactions, and general human behavior, could be as viewed as, through the perspective of a sorta artificial intelligence based robot, or something like that, looking into the breakdown of human behavior as a whole.

So, that’s how efficiently I feel Alan makes our world seem fictional. Like everything they do in the short, easily could be something people do in their every day lives, but it’s presented in such an unconventional, yet uncomfortably blatant way, that it feels almost like an uncanny reflection of how we as people see ourselves, and how incredibly alien and awkward it all feels when you just ever so slightly offset the typical path of how life plays out as a whole in human society.

So yeah, I personally thought it was amazingly strange, creepy, and awkward throughout all of it. And like all Alan Resnick’s shorts, I could definitely find the humor in the discomfort of it all, so I’m not gonna give it a score or anything, all I’m gonna say is, if you’re into this sorta thing, I hope you enjoyed it, and if not, at least you can see where I’m coming from with this breakdown/review of it.

Why this article is ACTUALLY BAD!?!?

Image a compilation of images taken from YouTube

Late at night, you’re scrolling through your Youtube page, having a nice cup of sandwich on your lap, and you just can’t seem to find anything that interests you at the moment. You scroll further past your usual recommendations of Mr Beast building a house out of coffee filters, or whatever people watch nowadays, and you scroll so far you see something… disturbing. Something unusual. Something that makes you angry, upset, and confused. Something that so profoundly shatters your own comfortable conception of reality, that you just have to click.

The video in question: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Was Actually A Bad Show, And Everyone Who Likes It Is Stupid” by mrcoolguy2009. Now you say, “But… I like The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, is this person saying I’m stupid? Well I sure don’t wanna be stupid, so I’ll let this guy, who’s clearly smarter than me explain to me why this show I like is bad, so I wont be stupid anymore!” 

I mean, I know that’s not the exact thought process in regards to the psychology behind why people click these videos, But I feel like sometimes it’s supposed to be that way. It’s somewhat commonplace to use the ability of making someone feel as though they are missing out on something, by doing something wrong, or liking “the wrong thing”, just to either make people click over fear of missing out on the “correct” way of looking at things, or to garner controversy from those who disagree. Either way, it’s a pretty straightforward way to get somebody interested in what you have to say, by letting them know they’re “wrong” for liking something

But once people actually do click these videos after seeing the thumbnail and title, why are some so inclined to take this one lil person’s opinion as fact, and subconsciously give it a higher standard of credibility as opposed to when you hear a conversation in everyday life? Well, I feel like it’s more or less just the disconnect between being told an opinion via a real conversation, via flashy Youtube edits with big red letters and a graphic that has an arrow pointing at something, alongside its 300k views, so if a lot of people also read the same thing as you, sometimes people are just like, “Yeah, I guess it’s gotta be true, I mean why else did so many people watch it?”

In other words:

When you hear me say something stupid like “Drinking water is probably really bad for you, because eventually you’ll get water poisoning and die and your eyeballs will roll outta your head” or whatever, most people can easily go: “Yeah this guys an idiot, and I disagree with him because of this, this, this, and this,” and that’s a perfectly balanced system because you are the one deciding how you intake this other person’s viewpoint. But in the regards of an opinionated commentary video, there isn’t really too much back and forth between the creator who’s telling you his take, and “you”, who’s hearing it. You can’t just pause the video and say to the guy “Hey, maybe ‘Forrest Gump’, isn’t a bad movie just cause he walks past the same extra twice in the scene where he gives the speech”, you can only do that in your head and while using something known as your own common sense.

World famous professional Youtube personality known as “The Nostalgia Critic” who talks about how Disney’s “Hercules” is a bad movie because Greece doesn’t look how it does in real life

But with something being presented in such an official, and highly promoted format, with somebody who is only producing their argument through a lens in which no disagreements or personal criticisms can pass through for the entirety of said video, it seems slightly more futile to consider challenging this person on their take. I’m not saying it makes everybody seem objectively right all the time, I’m just saying with all these cards stacked in their favor, it makes people a just a little bit more inclined to believe what they say, even if it is based on some nonsensical nothingness.

So, I guess this article is pretty much just stating the obvious of “If you say something with enough confidence, and have a large enough audience, more people will take you seriously”, but with everyone (including my own)’s bias in everything they say, especially online, I’m just saying how I feel like it’s a little too easy to get caught up in believing/agreeing with words on a screen because of who’s saying it. So, I dunno, all I’m saying is; just take stuff with a handful of salt before giving into the worldview of “UncleFungus1941” over your actual peers and friends you know in real life. 

Streaming Services Are A Thing

In the spirit of this article, I’m making the header image literal advertising space for Pizza Hut. I don’t even know if I’m allowed to do this *Editorial disclaimer: we are not being paid by Pizza Hut for advertisement, but agree with the author’s decision to use the ad

So, recently, as I’m sure you’ve heard, Paramount launched it’s brand new streaming service known as Paramount+, and while I know it’s hard to contain your excitement at the idea of being able to watch as much ‘Young Sheldon’ as your heart desires for only $5.99 a month, this had me thinking of sorta how this all started.

Back when I was a drooling toddler, with a dent in my head, my family used to go to a lil’ place called Block Buster, where you could rent a DVD of ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ once a week, whenever you wanted to see a movie without having to go through the hassle of going to a theatre (or a theater, one of the two).

But now, in the Year of the Ox, 2021, the moviegoing industry is just a little different now that cinemas are considered boiling soups of disease and sickness.

Originally, people would’ve turned to Netflix in this specific scenario, where you could watch all the movies you want in the comfort of your own lil’ hut, for only a given price per month. But now, there’s like 30 different variants of Netflix, all with different shows which are all exclusive to each, so you gotta collect them all now like some Yugioh cards or whatever.

So now, the experience seems to go a little something like this:

Man, I really like the movie ‘Caddyshack’, but Netflix only has ‘Caddyshack 2’, so now if I wanna see the entire Caddyshack cinematic franchise I need to pay for both Netflix and Big Burrito+, but I can only get both if I get the SpaghettiTV+ package which includes ‘Two Broke Girls Express’, which is the streaming service that only has 1 show, and that’s ‘Two Broke Girls’, which is the worst show of all time, but at least I can listen to Donald Glover’s new album which is exclusive to Disney+ because Donald Glover himself is apparently a Disney property now and so is ‘King Of The Hill‘.

All the most popular streaming services, including everyone’s favorite; Big Burrito+

So, I dunno, maybe it’s just me being cynical, and it probably wasn’t any better during the days when you had to deal with all those cable packages and stuff, but honestly, I just wanted to mention how interesting it is to me that ‘King Of The Hill’ is actually a Disney property now.

But, nonetheless, companies are now realizing that that if anybody is going to watch anything, you need to make it in a “binge watching” format, so people can feel like they’re in control to watch whatever they want, whenever they want. Even though the selection of shows/movies are only based on algorithms designed purposefully to announce the removal of a given show they know is popular, so that people’ll rewatch it as much as they can, out of the hope they can catch the fleeting availability of ‘Friends’ before they pull the rug out from under you, and Ross, Joey, and whatever Jennifer Anniston’s character’s name was, are gone from your life forever. 

And aside from already established shows being stuck on to these services as exclusive items to collect, more and more “original” shows are starting to pop up all over these places. But what’s wrong with having original stuff? Nothing, but there is one show, in particular, me and a buncha other people are sorta upset about.

So, there’s this show called ‘Kamp Koral’, and it’s all about the “infant years” of SpongeBob, which only particularly makes me lose my big ol’ Cheshire Cat smile cause the creator the original SpongeBob, Stephen Hillenburg, sorta was known for always talking about how he never wanted any SpongeBob spinoff shows, like a ‘Muppet Babies’ or a ‘Patrick Show’, to be made under his watch, as he didn’t wanna over commercialize it and sacrifice quality for profitability whatnot.

So, the executives in charge of Paramount/Nickelodeon conveniently waited until about 7 months after he passed away, to announce 2 separate ‘Cleveland Show’esque SpongeBob spinoffs; one being exclusively about Patrick, and one about SpongeBob as a toddler (Kamp Koral), which is just peachy… 

Honestly, people in general are sort of expecting this sort of thing from the overall “industry” in general, because it’s nothing new that corporate higher ups would be disregarding this guy’s wishes like this in such a blatantly disrespectful way, and I mean you can always just pirate your shows anyway if you don’t wanna contribute to 0.000001% of these guy’s overall revenue.

Which, I mean, is a really cynical way of looking at things, but, I mean, if you think about it, what if people just don’t wanna pirate stuff, and are happy to pay for networks which host shows they have fondness for? And what if these shows carry memories which might seem silly to some people, but could be meaningful to other people? What if people actually enjoy the exclusive content, and remember it with happiness like I remember watching SpongeBob as a lil’ kid?

I mean, yeah, these shows could probably be made without these services so easily, and the conscious of all the ‘Kamp Koral’ stuff still is scummy on a moral level, but in a time where people just naturally want entertainment to distract them from all this wacky stuff around them, maybe I should just let people enjoy their ability to watch as much ‘Young Sheldon’ in peace as they want, because at the end of the day, it’s just entertainment and what matters more in an American’s life than their TV?

What is it with logos becoming more and more simple?

So, recently, the obscure indie tech startup known as Google, decided to change the icons of all their apps (sheets, docs, etc) to basically the same design except with different shapes. 

I mean it’s not really earth shattering to me, like, I’m not gonna be hopelessly lost and confused in my treacherous journey to decipher which icon’s Google Sheets or not, but it still makes me go “well that’s sorta dumb I guess”, and that’s what this article’s all about!

A lotta other brands have been going this direction too, of sorta simplifying their logos and other corporate symbols to be more flat and less iconically memorable. Some good examples are like, WB, Intel, Petco, and Pringles all just being basically more corporate and flat shells of their former selves, that don’t really devastate me, but just make me go: Why’d they do that? 

Logos are just sorta a small commodity, a nice lil icon on your packaged product, so honestly there’s more I could be worried about in my life. But if one thing’s true about humans for all of history, is that we like to complain about useless nothingness which doesn’t affect our lives in the slightest. But anyway, they probably do this just to make it easier to draw and incorporate into stuff in a way that doesn’t take too much risks, and are easier to animate with less individual assets to keyframe or whatever, but there’s just something about say, the 2000’s era Pepsi logo, or Windows Xp logo, that just stand out to me I guess.

Making an icon, or design that’s memorable and iconic as a brand or otherwise that’ll stick, is definitely not an easy thing to do, especially when you probably have 20 different executives and management teams that your design’ll have to go through before they can even consider using it. But it is important when you wanna get your brand out there, to be something remembered by people so they can, y’know, keep buying it.

So, I guess when you’re a company as big as Pringles or whatever, striking iconography isn’t really that important when everybody already knows who you are, like people aren’t going “Woaa Burger King? Their logo’s like…a burger or somethin…thats wild man I gotta tell someone about this stuff”.

New Firefox logo next to new Snapple bottles

But still, the worst offenders of this are definitely Snapple and Firefox. While the browser icon’s still there, the Firefox company logo’s sorta just a fire uhh, circle now?

But then again, it’s not as bad as the Snapple redesign. I mean like I’m legit mad about this one, I mean my face is definitely turning red as I spit up white froth on my kitchen counter like a fat baby with a big ol’ vein popping outta my eyeball cause a billion dollar ice tea brand changed how their bottle looks, but really though, IT SUCKS!

I mean art’s all subjective and whatnot, BUT IT SUCKS!

80% of the whole appeal of Snapple was those glass bottles right? And like, ok ok, they changed the material to plastic, that’s alright I guess… but now seriously?? It looks like a bottle of coffee creamer or somethin, like alongside that insanely flat corporate logo, it’s almost like a different drink now.

But here’s a lil beacon of hope so that you can end your reading of this terrible article what some consider a high note: The new Popeye’s logo’s pretty cool.

It ain’t too bad.

The bizarre aftermath of ‘Heathcliff’

So, in 1973, a guy by the name of George Gately, created a newspaper comic strip called ‘Heathcliff’ about a fat orange cat, who gets involved in wacky antics with food. It never really caught on, just because it happened to be overshadowed by a comic that came out 3 years later which just so happened to be about a fat orange cat, who gets involved in wacky antics with food. But nonetheless, it still managed to be mildly popular, with two separate cartoons in the 80s with two seasons each, both having the titular character of Heathcliff being voiced by Mel Blanc, alongside multiple illustrated novels, and even a small animated movie.

Image result for heathcliff
Screencap from one of the original Heathcliff shows

But why am I telling you all of this? Why do we need to care about an (not knockoff) orange cartoon cat comic which almost nobody’s even heard of nowadays?

Well, that was the ‘Heathcliff’ of old, the watered down ‘Heathcliff’, the version of ‘Heathcliff’ which restricted itself to a comprehensible standard that us mere mortals can understand.

Recently, there’s been an uproar in the internet community, on twitter and other internet boards, talking about how ‘Heathcliff’ lately has been… different. See, in around 2001, the actor Peter Gallagher took over the Heathcliff brand, as he was the nephew of George Gately, and since then, the natural balance of the universe has been upset.

Just for example, take a look at this old Gately era ‘Heathcliff’ from 1993, before Peter Gallagher took over:

Like, looking at it now, this makes sense. Everyone can at least agree that there is a coherent and understandable joke in here. You can look at this and go “OK, this has a setup, a punchline, and a meaning which can be understood by the common person”.

Now, take a look at this comic from after Peter Gallagher took over:

So, lemme break this down for you real quick: so, there’s Heathcliff the cat, playing the bagpipes on the roof of the house, because it is “pizza night”.

What’s that you say? This makes no sense? What do bagpipes have to do with pizza? What’s the joke even?

Well, that’s simple, there is no joke. You could look at this for hours like a magic eye painting, but instead of eventually getting to see a clear image, you just slowly degrade more and more of your sanity.

How about this new classic:

It sure does…

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? WHY’S HE WEARING A HELMET? WHY DOES IT SAY DIRT??

Even the last one you could sorta stretch it and say like “Maybe he’s happy that it’s pizza night, so he plays the bagpipes when he’s happy I guess…?” But there’s legitimately no way you could even pretend to understand what’s going on here.

Gallagher seems to sorta have a thing for helmets, as shown by this next one, where Heathcliff becomes the “life of the party” because he wears a helmet that says “Hey”.

You could maybe explain this by theorizing how on Gallagher’s home planet, helmets give people special abilities depending on what it says, thus giving Heathcliff the confidence to be more talkative at social gatherings.

So, nobody really knows why these are even still being made, people have a couple theories, but there’s no concrete evidence as to if he’s strangely satirizing modern day newspaper comics, forgetting to add punchlines to his jokes, or just messing with people, but one things for sure, it’s fascinating to just try and pretend to understand the meaning of any of these things.

Here’s one with some gripping social commentary:

Everybody loves the Garbage Ape, and for good reason, it’s cause he… uhh…

I could go all day showing off some of the most interesting articles of Heathcliff literature, but I think you get the idea.

Some say Gallagher’s bitter at the fact that another comic about a fat orange cat has had infinitely more success in the industry than his (even though ‘Heathcliff’ was first published about 3 years before the other one), so he’s just taking out his frustrations by dumbfounding the nation with his surreal comic panels.

But ‘Heathcliff’ (at least while under George Gately), had a decent run in its time with all the old merchandise, shows, and movies, but something about the brand under the control of Peter Gallagher, always happens to be sort of…”corrupted”, for lack of a better word.

See, there was going to be a new modern day ‘Heathcliff’ movie, animated fully in 3D back around 2011, but for some reason it was suddenly cancelled. And while we do know that there sadly isn’t that much interest in ‘Heathcliff’ nowadays, and it sorta makes sense that the movie wouldn’t seem worth the budget from a major studio to be fully produced, this movie sorta has a strange post production history behind it.

See, 8 whole years after the promo trailer released (a trailer which is probably one of the most generic animated movie promos of all time), a guy named Michael Dominguez uploaded the only footage of this movie to ever surface outside this promo, probably ever. He posted a video called “Heathcliff Theme [3d] 12 Hours Long” which featured 3 seconds of animation, from said movie, that’s looped for 12 hours straight, while the theme of the original ‘Heathcliff’ cartoon from the 80s plays on repeat for those same 12 hours. Which is… strange to say the least.

Screencap from the video

Was this the only thing ever finished by the production team? Why is it 12 hours? Why is there a link in the description which leads to what looks like one of the most virus infected websites of all time, with a jpeg of Jesus to the side?

The most (and probably only) consistent thing about modern day ‘Heathcliff’, is the word “Why”. The word which pops up in your head when you look at any modern day piece of Heathcliff media.

Now, has Peter Gallagher just accidentally shifted from another dimension, another dimension in which the entire concept of humor is completely different, and involves a lot of helmets? A dimension in which an animated movie consists of a 3 second loop being played on repeat for 12 hours? Or is this just some strange modern art piece, mocking and satirizing modern society and its regulations of humor?

I don’t know, but one thing’s for sure “The Garbage Ape is what dreams are made of”.

The official fast food tier list

Image via debatewise.org

As long as American’s have had a public health crisis, one thing’s been for sure: We do love our fast food. From Burger King to Dairy Queen (I’m too clever, I know), there’s plenty to chose from, and how would any reasonable person be able to pick the best option?

Well, since you’re desperate enough to click an internet article called “The official fast food tier list,” I’ll be kind enough to show you my official ranking system for every fast food place that matters, and I’ll also advise you to please consider immediate therapy.

The rules for the rankings below are simple: the higher tier on the list, the better, the furthest to the left on a tier, is the best place, and the furthest to the right is the worst. Now that you spent actual time in your life, that you could’ve used doing something productive, by making an attempt to sincerely understand how this works, I present to you, the official tier list (now if this isn’t the most exciting moment in your life, you’re an actual liar):

Now you may be looking at this image with shock, or be frighted in some way. But don’t worry, it’s just the truth you’re looking at. It’s glory is truly one to behold. Now, this is based off of taste, restaurant quality, and objective facts. I’m essentially coming down from fast food heaven giving the world its ten commandments on which paper bags filled with grease and meat, that we like to call food, is worth delightfully shortening your lifespan with the most.

First of all, Olive Garden is in fast food purgatory at the very bottom of the F tier, as even though it’s more of a restaurant than a fast food chain, it’s food is pretty much equal in quality to fast food, and it’s the worst at that even.

It’s sharing the room with Starbucks because, well… nobody really likes Starbucks, we just kinda…go there. I mean there’s frappachinos, aka milkshakes, that are placebo’d to make your mind trick you into thinking it tastes like coffee, but even then, you could just get the same quality at a coffee shop where you have to sacrifice the chance of possibly seeing a B-list celebrity in order to get slightly above decent food.

Also, KFC is there because the quality really speaks for itself over there. (It’s not like I wouldn’t eat at any of these places if given the chance, I mean hey if it’s deep fried, how bad could paper towels really taste?)

D tier really is nothing particularly interesting, as they are just equally abysmal restaurants, but their food isn’t as inedible. And as you know from reading this article, I definitely appreciate quality exquisite fine dining™ as I’ve been quoted by saying my favorite food is Pringles.

The pinnacle of capitalism known as the Double Down Dog via foodbeast.com

Coming in at C tier we have food that’s just starting to be palatable, and taking baby steps into my fast food hall of fame. Now, as a person who’s lived in the “Whole Foods” of countries, known as Canada, I’ve been to a place known as Tim Horton’s, and man it’s really…. average, I guess. It’s pretty much Dunkin’ Doughnuts, but with sandwiches, and less doughnuts. But it’s better in quality than all the other places I’ve named so far because, I said so, and most Americans who’ll read this probably don’t know this but, Justin Trudeau has an explosive microchip implanted in the brain of every Canadian citizen, and I can’t risk giving Tim Horton’s that bad of a score at this point.

Other than that, Subway is pretty much just a dream come true for 3rd graders who’ve always wondered what it would be like if they made the food from Lunchables mystery meat sandwich packs into a restaurant.

Also, Mac and Don’s, as your 46-year-old uncle calls it, is pretty much the same as Burger King food wise, except for the fact that you don’t have to hide your shame as much when eating at Burger King, so it’s slightly higher on the list.

Now, at number B (number B?) we have Wendy’s. Now, Wendy’s being the only corporation in human history to successfully appeal to teenagers using advertising, is pretty good. I mean, it’s a solid fast food place, that doesn’t make me have to use one of my sick days after eating it. But personally, I would put Jack in the Box above it, but I won’t because it kinda sorta um…gave near 750 people E. coli in the 90’s…sooo…it gets docked a point in my book.

But A&W is a better burger place than both (I’m pretty sure they aren’t in America, so just take my word for it), and Little Caeser’s is the best fast food pizza place by far. I am willing to fight you on this in a wild western style duel in which one of us shoots after walking ten paces in the opposing directions. I am 100% serious, this is completely not a joke, meet me during High Noon at Town Square you Pizza Hut lovin’ scoundrel.

Zupas logo, via cafezupas.com

Now we’re in the big leagues, the big zone, rookies keep out, this is professional football here. This article is getting too long for me to sound like a human being with sanity, so let’s keep the highlights brief. Jimmy Johns essentially succeeds everywhere that Subway fails. It’s like somebody tried Subway and was like “Hey, this would be pretty good if it were made out of actual ingredients instead of paper mache.”

And now for my most controversial opinion yet: Taco Bell is, and will always be, better than Chipotle. You heard it here first folks. Now, before you execute me like French Royalty in the 1700s, let me speak my piece: Taco Bell will always be there for you, Chipotle will not. At three in the morning, with only five bucks to spare, and your life is spiralling out of control, Taco Bell will embrace you with admittedly gross warm open arms. And unlike Chipotle, Taco Bell takes risks.

Chipotle is good for when you want actual cuisine which at least mildly resembles Mexican food. But Taco Bell is different. Taco Bell triumphs over all the rest and are like “Hey, what if instead of a taco shell, we use a waffle covered in maple syrup for a taco? Or what if we just use a breaded piece of Dorito crusted chicken for a taco shell, and call it a Chalupa?” They say this as every Mexican that ever died does an Olympic triathlon in their grave. Which is bold of Taco Bell, like you gotta just look at it from the angle of, not a Mexican place, but an American place which parodies Mexican food. And if you do, it gets a whole lot better.

Not like any of that matters, because Naf-Naf is like a pick your own ingredients thing, but it’s with really good Middle Eastern food, so it’s like infinitely better in every way.

Okay, so finally, this article is coming to a close, and you’ll be free from reading this excuse for journalism I call an article. But before that, we must discuss the top tiers. The alpha wolves of the pack, I’m talking – Five Guys, and Panda Express. First of all. Five guys is the Ace of the burger restaurants. It triumphs over every other one, in every argument, no matter what. It’s just too powerful…the Cajun style fries have a level of sodium that just can’t be beat. Five Guys is pretty much the fast food equivalent to the gates of heaven.

But heaven itself? Well young reader, that’s what we call the Holy Land: Panda Express (Pandrusalem). My young and naive reader, you’ve come so far, you’ve read this entire article for some reason, and finally, you’ve reached the truth; there is no other truth but Panda Express (yes this is a cult now just go with it). For those who’ve had the devastating misfortune of never attending one of the SACRED locations of the divine Panda, it is an American Chinese food restaurant which shall not be compared to a mere mortal such as Leean Chin. It had FOUNDED the very staple dish known as Orange Chicken. It has built its empire only upon the foundation of Honey Walnut Shrimp, and I PITY the mere fool who doubts the power of the Sweetfire Chicken, all delicately placed upon a bed of chow mien fit for an Emperor on thy throne. No other restaurants matter; it’s all Panda Express now. Panda Express is the Kendrick Lamar of restaurants; it is the GOAT of eatery. Need I say more?

And, I’d like to sincerely apologize for having anybody read this, as you can tell I have too much time on my hands to be healthy.

Tyler the Creator: A discography

Image via rollingstone.com

(I just want to preface this with the fact that Tyler the Creator’s music isn’t super “PG friendly,” so um… keep that in mind before giving him a listen).

Tyler Gregory Okonma, more professionally known as Tyler the Creator, is an American rapper, producer (like actually a producer, he makes all the instrumentals he sings over) from the musical conglomerate known as Odd Future, will have released his fifth studio album by the time this article is published, and his fans are undoubtedly pumped. But, for all you new fans out there (or even potentially new fans judging how good this album will be), where do you go from here? Whether you just finished listening to the album, or you’ve just overheard your peers talking about him, if you want to know more, you’ve come to the right place. So, here’s a little bit of a timeline of his musical career. (I’m not going to do anything about his personal life, because this article is more about the art, rather than the artist).

In 2009, Tyler released his his first debut project, known as Bastard, it was almost entirely produced on FL studio, and so it is not necessarily considered a real “studio” album; some simply consider it a mixtape. It went on to become critically acclaimed, ranking at 32 on Pitchforks top 50 albums of 2010. It was also very popular for it’s single “French.” The album followed Tyler going through somewhat of a therapy session with his therapist character known as Dr. T.C. (wonder what that stands for), sometimes intervening, and asking Tyler concept questions in order to start off a song. It contains noticeably intense lyrics with lots of devotion to shocking subjects. It also contained many samples from various songs from artists such as Dexter Wansel, Cortex, and Jay-Z.

While the album was very popular at the time, Tyler really did not jump into the mainstream until he signed a record deal with XL Recordings. He then announced his new album Goblin, then promptly released his first single from the album “Yonkers,” on radio, (which came along with a music video where he iconically pretended to eat a cockroach).

Album art to Goblin Tyler’s first studio album via pitchfork.com

When Goblin released, it was noticeably similar to Bastard in a few ways (while also being wildly different, if that makes any sense). First off, it again starts off with a therapy session with Dr. T.C., but this time, instead of Tyler starting off by talking about his depression, or other negative aspects of his life, he talks about how he had gotten famous, and how his newfound fame is now affecting him.

But on the final track “Golden” (fittingly after a song called “Au79”), it’s revealed that Dr. T.C. is simply Tyler’s conscience, along with everyone he had been conversing, and interacting with, throughout the entirety of the past albums. The album goes on to have graphic imagery, and intense language just like last time, but with a slightly more desolate, or moody overall feel to them. And similar to Bastard, his lyrics contain an excessive amount of violence, and well… not PG themes, having songs like “She” which details him being a stalker, to lyrics where he details stabbing Bruno Mars… for some… reason…

The production value is much increased this time around, and again, it was somewhat mixed in reception, as there was a larger audience Tyler now had to deal with, people comparing his dark demeanor to what Emenim had done years before. But nevertheless, his loyal fans loved it, and still continue to enjoy his album to this day. But things started to radically change when he released his second studio album; Wolf.

One of the many album arts for WOLF via
sidewalkhustle.com

Wolf was an intense change in tune for Tyler the Creator, as his music had much less intense synths. He also displayed a vast shift in lyrical themes, with making music with a more relaxed aesthetic along with shifting away from the horror core genre he previously established for himself in his previous two albums. The album also accompanied the single “Domo23.”

This album also uses a very similar, and unique synth throughout every song on the album, which makes for a very positive consistency throughout the album (it’s not used as much on “Trashwang,” but my point still stands). Though there is a lot more calmed down nature to the album, he does in fact still have a little bit of his trap influenced hard lyricism, and background drum kits.

It had received very positive reviews, and generally positive reviews from critics. Craig Jenkins from Pitchfork said, “With Wolf, Tyler, the Creator displays a radical growth as a producer, composer and arranger, even if, as a rapper, he’s still up to some of the same antics. Still, the album contains a few of the best songs he’s ever written.” (Personally, this album is the best album he’s released so far in my opinion – given this was written before Igor comes out, and from the writing of this article Igor has only gotton brief teasers, so I can’t really form an opinion on it yet).

One of the album arts from Tyler’s album Cherry Bomb via genius.com

Tyler then went on to release his third studio album of his, known as Cherry Bomb. It featured a very unique sound, which elevated itself throughout all of the songs of the album, in a kind of similar way to Wolf. But the certain sound was this very intense grainy bass, as opposed to this rhythmic dreamlike synth (okay I’ll stop praising Wolf for a sec). This grainy bass was very consistent throughout all of the tracks, which made this album very unique in nature, and very different from everything Tyler had produced up until this point, as he somewhat refrained from using raw noise like this (which I do commemorate him for on that, and for taking such a risk).

The album did indeed get mostly positive reviews, by critics, but it wasn’t enjoyed as much by the fans as his other works, as it’s never really listed as one of the more popular albums of his, unlike Goblin or Wolf. Tyler even said in an interview that he didn’t really like how poor the reception was of the album by fans, and how he wanted to try something different for his next album (I mean, I liked “Buffalo,” and the song with ScHoolboy Q, but to each his own I guess).

But again on the note of critics enjoying it, Angel Diaz of Complex said in a review that Cherry Bomb is Tyler greatest creation to date. However, the album is bit of a mess in the beginning, and while Tyler’s grown immensely as a producer, his rapping isn’t consistently up to par.” (I actually think that the album gets weaker as it goes on, and the beginning songs are some of the best parts, but alright then).

But things really started to pick up in 2017, with his newest album (of writing this article) Flower Boy.

Album art from Tyler’s Album Flower Boy via genius.com

Flower Boy is (as before IGOR drops) Tyler’s newest (released in 2017), and seemingly most mainstream album. It is VASTLY different from any of his other works and I don’t just mean it uses a unique sound kit, I mean it’s almost as if he’s a different artist entirely. The lyrics feature an infinitely less violent tone, and more of an introspective or “deep” thoughts to them.

And the production, don’t even get me started on the production, because you don’t need to… I’m doing it anyways. The production is unlike anything we’ve seen from Tyler. It is very detailed in instrumental design, as songs could be heavily described as grandiose, and orchestral, accompanied by his revolutionized hip hop drum beat, which is while traditional to his work, brings an entirely new feeling to his songs.

His lyrics also have been intensely diverged from the traditional, going from messing around to a point where his friend Taco just starts eating chips in the middle of “Tina” on Bastard, to having the line “How many riots can it be until them black lives matter” on “Foreword.” That is just one of many examples on this album.

Another thing with Flower Boy, and I believe that some change is kind of good, I mean this isn’t really my favorite album of his (in fact I think it might be the weakest of his in Tyler’s discography), but I enjoy him doing new things. There were a couple songs that I did in fact like, and while I do appreciate the production, and effort put into the songs, I just couldnt really enjoy some of them, such as “Pothole”, which featured Jalen Smith, whose presence, and musical style is well… unexpected to say the least.

But nonetheless, the reception was EXTREMELY well, as for one example, Av Club has said that  Flower Boy is the first time he’s been equally as forthcoming in his actual music. His flow has tightened up, and for a man whose voice basically destined him for rap stardom, he’s become even better at stretching his booming baritone into novel shapes, employing a plethora of flows.”

One of the album arts to Tyler’s upcoming album IGOR, via complex.com

So yeah, that’s basically it. Since then, he’s released a couple singles, but nothing really of note (I mean he did the soundtrack for that new Grinch movie, but I don’t really think that’s worth my time, or yours for that matter). But on May 17th, he will have released his newest album IGOR, and from what I’ve seen from the kind of odd, but not very futuristic (pun fully intended) teasers, he’s uploaded to his youtube channel, its gonna be pretty good.

So yeah, if you wanna get into Tyler the Creator, I suggest starting with Wolf, but that’s just my preference, and try not to get put off by his extremely “arty” music videos. They’re um… kinda weird. So if you don’t mind me, I’ll be listening to his entire discography while vapidly refreshing my twitter feed to see if the album has dropped yet. Bye.

The hidden genius of ‘The Eric Andre Show’

Image via screenrant.com

The Eric Andre Show is a satirical comedy following a talk show host known as Eric Andre. It is a high energy parody of most, if not all, late night television shows such as Jimmy Kimmel, James Corbin, Jimmy Fallon, Conan, Trevor Noah, you get the idea.

On the surface, most episodes consist of Eric “““Interviewing””” any celebrity he can find, and by interviewing, I mean the Eric Andre interpretation of what an interview is. Basically his main purpose seems to be as to make the guest as comedically uncomfortable as possible. Many guests such as Jack Black, to Jimmy Fallon to even Wiz Khalifa, suffer the consequences of going on a show where a bad Hulk impersonator would try and start a fight with the guest, as the host sits back and pretends to burn his mouth on a hot pocket.

But you may be thinking to yourself, “What sets this apart from other shows were they mess with, and prank celebrities?” I think I have the answer as to what makes this show so special, and what caused this show to go on for four individual seasons, and still get raving reviews from critics and fans alike.

Screen cap of a “cold opening monologue” segment in the show with Eric’s co host Hannibal Buress via tvguide.com

I believe that one of the things that makes The Eric Andre Show unique, is how Eric purely dissects the comedic process. Many times throughout the show, you’ll notice that Eric makes a mockery of typical tropes that are supposed to be sincerely funny in other shows. A good example of this, is his satirical bit he does at the beginning of every episode, in which Eric gives an opening typical comedic monologue to the likes of the everyday late night talk show host, except for the twist of it getting derailed. He intentionally screws up punchlines, and tells all around poor taste jokes so that his co-host Hannibal Buress can just call him out, or he has an an outrageous visual gag (such as an attempted assassination, or a Scientologist take over) derail his efforts to preform stand up comedy. I think because of how we are conditioned to just see all jokes be well… jokes, that have a traditional setup, then punchline, I think that immense diversion from the normal comic setup is what makes Eric Andre unique.

So, along with this, it seems as Eric possesses a complete, and utter disregard for how comedy is handled in the mainstream industry, as instead of doing a sketch, or a comedic bit for the sake of his audience, he pulls ridiculous stunts and gags, just for what seems like his own enjoyment.

Sometimes, Eric will just bring his insanity out into the streets of New York City, where he does quite literally anything to get a reaction out of people, which surprisingly shows his range as a comedian, as they will ABSOLUTELY NOT stop filming until he does all he can to disorient the people around him.

A really good example of this is from season four, episode five, in which Eric just starts off by going to a car repair shop, and asking the owners how much it would cost to fit a busted up part of his vehicle. While they are explaining this to him, he just starts destroying the car with a crowbar, asking how much it would cost to repair now, with each additional strike he takes to it. And he just keeps going until he gathers a big enough crowd to further the joke, by instead of attempting a payoff to the end of it, he just flips the entire thing, and furthers it into even more insanity, and he strangely acts like he had no idea that this was even happening, and pretends to desperately call for help as “some rough teenagers” destroyed his car.

But even after that he decides to further it EVEN MORE, by asking people why they aren’t helping him with the whole situation, inferring that they’re weirdly prejudiced against him as he says “Hey, I’m a car too ya know!” and just starts drinking gasoline directly from the tank in awe of the enormous crowd he had already gathered. (You can view the clip here).

Now, it may not be for everyone, but you have to appropriate his immense effort, and complete disregard for his surroundings, and for the social embarrassment he gains in his intense commitment to the joke here.

Image via common sense media

One last note here before I send off and finish this article, to rewatch clips of this show ad infinitum on Youtube, as I drift off to sleep tonight; it’s just that this show has a very different energy from what you’d just think at first glance. At first glance, it seems like Eric has essentially gone insane, and had gotten a camera crew to film his raving lunacy. But there’s something weirdly controlled about this insanity. As I’ve mentioned, Eric has this co-host, who is comedian Hannibal Buress, who is somewhat of the really-not-really voice of reason throughout the show. As in, while retaining the same spontaneous humor as Eric, Hannibal has a more “chill” or “subtle” energy to him, as sort of a counter contrast to Eric Andre’s constant energetic actions.

He is the polar opposite, yet ties the entire show together. This is shown in its purest form by one scene, and one scene alone, which was during the time when Eric was giving one of his “interviews” to an unsuspecting guest, Lauren Conrad, and at a specifically, lets just say “tense” moment, when Eric was pretty much making the poor woman feel like she’s going insane, she looks to her side to find any sanity in the one other guy in the room, just to see Hannibal, standing there, completely unphased by the entire situation, and world around him, just chomping at an entire head of lettuce while standing up. Lauren looks to Hannibal, and all he says in his most dazed fashion is “Man you gotta eat the lettuce… it’s like straight up… it’s lettuce.”

And moments like that, to me at least, make the entire show. You might not think it’s funny, you might think it’s too vulgar, or shocking, and you might even consider it the lowest of the low brow, but you’ve gotta admit, it has something special to it that no other show can emulate. And I think that’s what more media these days need.

The world’s first picture of a black hole, and why it matters

Photo via theguardian.com

So, unless you’ve been living a prehistoric, or nomadic life, traversing from cave to cave on a journey for wild boar meat, you probably already know about how a group of astronomers, from something called The Event Horizon Telescope Project, have taken the first ever real, and (somewhat) clear picture of a black hole, from millions light years away, in the galaxy you’ve only heard the name of once known as Messier 87. You see the blurry orange circle, you compare it to its infinitely more interesting looking, not real cgi renditions, and think to yourself, why?

Why does it matter that we just took a picture of an orange circle from far away? Well, my ignorant, yet now thoroughly offended hypothetical reader, there’re lot’s of earth shattering scientific breakthroughs which are the result of this discovery.

Katie Bouman, the main woman behind the image, watching in disbelief at the reveal of the image, via CNN

Well, not only was this photo taken from 50 million light years away
which means, the light we’re seeing in this photo, is from millions, and millions of years ago. And to photograph something so impossibly far away, the team would need a telescope almost the size of planet earth itself, but the Even Horizon team, all came together and connected 8 different telescopes from around the planet, to combine their data to get an accurate image using a technique called interferometry. Which is such obviously a massive breakthrough as it shows that not only is our technology at THIS level, but it will just keep better as the years progress. And who knows what this could possibly lead to, for future generations.

But not only that, but the researchers say that, this whole thing, helps further prove the theory of Relativity, which was first talked about in 1915, by this quite obscure scientist, I dunno if you heard of him, his name was ALBERT FREAKING EINSTEIN, so basically, this means, he predicted that black holes well, exist, and that they have things called event horizons. And there were also tons of equations he came up with, which predict the exact size, and shape, of the black hole, based on its mass, and that’s pretty much what the image revealed. You can read more on this at space.com ( Yeah “space.com” I mean what else would you name it?)

So, if all this isn’t already enough evidence of the extraordinary feat of this black hole, from an entirely different galaxy, millions of light years away, being well, see-able. Then I dunno what to tell you. It might not be super interesting to see a blurry orange circle. But this “blurry orange circle” has extremely extraordinary implications, which will effect the way we view the outward universe for pretty much the rest of time.

And for this, we can thank Katie Bouman, along with many others in the Event Horizon team, but Katie Bouman was a very integral part, as sometime back in 2017, she led the work to create a specific algerithum which was used to generate the picture of the black hole. Before then, Bowman was then a graduate student, earning a PhD in computer science, and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a.k.a. MIT). And now, according to the guardian, while Katie is as-of-now, a post-doctoral at MIT, and is due to obtain a position as an assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology, she instead prefers to continue her work with the Event Horizon team, as it is her passion, and there is still much to discover, and much to learn, about this wide world we live in.

What’s going on in West Papua?

Image via theguardian.com

If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ve probably seen an article or two about what’s going on in West Papua, Indonesia, but most articles don’t give you the full idea, and not many people know the intense situation which is going on. Anyway, let me give you some background here from indonesiamatters.com if you don’t already know.

So, in the 1800s, there was this island called “New Guinea.” The British took the East half, and the Dutch took the Western half, and then it became a part of the Dutch East Indies. Then, in the ’30s, the former colonies of the Dutch East Indies all became independent except for Western New Guinea. But, in 1952, the Dutch prepared the people, for independence, for this remaining colony, and by the ’60s, the parliament of that part of New Guinea (now called West Papua) was formed, and the country created a national anthem, flag, and national seal.

 

Flag of West Papua via freewestpapua.org

Everything seemed to be going well until in 1962 when the Indonesian government started invading West Papua, and tried to push out the Dutch who were staying in the country, taking care of it before its total independence. The Dutch forces successfully stopped the invasion, but then Indonesia went to the Soviet Union for support, and because of Cold War anxiety, the US government tried to help out the Dutch in West Papua.

In August, later that year, an agreement was reached, in New York, between the Netherlands and Indonesia, where the UN gains custody of West Papua until they hold a vote. But, when the vote actually happened in 1969, it was said to be heavily rigged by the Indonesian government, thus making West Papua a province of Indonesia (two provinces actually).

Via worldpoliticsreview.com

Now, according to a paper put out by the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the people, culture, language, and just overall heritage of West Papua is vastly different from the rest of Indonesia, as they are a Melanesian people, more similar to the many different groups within the bordering country of Papua New Guinea, which is VASTLY different culturally and linguistically from the South East Asian culture of Indonesia. The government is said to be trying to force Indonesian culture on the people of West Papua.

This, to some, would be a reason to secede already, but why should we care? The main reason is the deep seeded oppression which is going on within the West Papua region, as  it is one of the longest running modern day illegal annexations/occupations.

There are intense reports of brutal torture as described by a study in 2015: torture seems to be the unofficial form of governance. It is said that the Indonesian regime is not reluctant to use killing, surveillance, and arbitrary arrest to control the illegally occupied West Papua.

An example of this is when graphic footage was leaked to YouTube in October 2010. There are two separate occurring events which were captured in this footage. The beginning shows eight highlanders forcibly stripped naked in front of two Indonesian army soldiers. And while interrogating these terrified Papuans, and calling them “monyet,” “anjing,” or “bajingan” (monkey, dog, bastard), the soldiers kicked their heads with their edged boots, and hit their heads using their helmets.

The soldiers demanded that they would confess to being members of the OPM, which is an independence movement with the overall goal of freeing West Papua from Indonesian control. The latter half of the footage displays two people, with one having a knife to their throat, and another being burnt on his bare skin by Indonesian army men, as so the men would confess the location of OPM weaponry near their town. It was very public, and many people were forced to bear witness.

This is said to be a very frequent occurrence in West Papua, according to that study. Along with that, terrible Indonesian policies which cause environmental damage such deforestation, severely undermines the foundation for West Papuan society and culture.

Via freewestpapua.org

So, it would be evident to say that independence would be a fair option for these oppressed people of West Papua, and that’s what they are trying to achieve now more than ever. According to theguardian.com other Pacific Islander countries, such as Vanuatu, have shown support for the struggle against the oppression. And according to UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization) almost 2 million residents of West Papua have signed a petition (which could have had more signatures if it wasn’t heavily kept away by the Indonesian government), practically begging the UN for equal, and fair independence, and self determination for the West Papuan peoples.

Sadly, according to theguardian.com, the UN denied the petition after all that, and said that it damaged the territorial integrity of Indonesia. I believe this is a violation of equal rights, freedom, and the democracy on which the very principals the UN were supposedly founded on. Though maybe, in the future, brave governments such as Vanuatu may eventually speak out loud enough, and take action. I believe that it is the UN’s duty, as a global peacekeeper, to find, and create justice for the West Papuan peoples, as they deeply deserve it.