Reading Digest: Quality(?) Over Quantity Edition

Quantity and Quality

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Xopher Smith.

“Guess what?  For a dollar a man sold me thirty-five “Casper”s and a dozen “Lois Lane”s.” – Lisa Simpson 

I think the total number of links is down this week, but I also think I spent more time on some of them than I usually do.  Whether or not this means an increase in quality or an increase in useless bloat is up to you, the reader.  There’s an Ortved book review, a great blog (it’s the first link), some fan made art that combines Krusty and vodka, a philosophical question, and lots of usage. 


Update 5:57pm: The link about the interview with Simpsons alum Bill Oakley doesn’t video, but someone from the show he was on commented and pointed it out on YouTube.  I’ve put up a separate post with the interview embedded.  Many thanks. 

my favorite songs from the simpsons – This list is 100% pure Colombian WIN.  It’s all classics, it’s got YouTube for all of them (though embedding is disabled on one) and the title of the blog is “lovely entropy”.  Mmmmm, lovely entropy.  As a special bonus if you click over there – which I strongly recommend you do – check out the graphic on the right hand side of “Links for Sunday”.  If you have picked up a Nintendo controller in the last quarter century you will not be disappointed.  (Also, she liked Ortved’s book.)

BE MORE FUNNY! – This review of Ortved’s book strikes me as rather harsh.  He criticizes using the concept of an “oral history” without freshly interviewing many big names but doesn’t mention the fact that getting guys like Simon, Swartzwelder, Meyer or Groening might be impossible.  This, in particular, strikes me as rather narrow minded:

But hey, we spend lots of time talking to various execs from Fox, and learn all about how the show got on the air–as if that’s the story anybody wants to hear.

I wanted to hear that.  I really enjoyed learning about how the show first got off the ground, if anything it gave me a fresh appreciation for just how fucking lucky we are that The Simpsons ever existed.  The alignment of planets that allowed a show with that much editorial freedom to be so widely distributed at such a ripe moment for cultural satire will very likely never come again. 

I would also take exception to this:

He claims The Simpsons was unique in sitcom history for its caustic worldview, though everything from Sgt. Bilko to Buffalo Bill prove otherwise. He wants us to believe that the show appeared fully-formed in a sea of prime time mediocrity, though its first season was wobbly and the network landscape already included Cheers, Roseanne, The Wonder Years and an early incarnation of Seinfeld. (True, none of these shows were as good as The Simpsons at its best, but they weren’t chopped liver.)

Yes shows like “Cheers” and “Roseanne” were very popular and probably better than most of the dreck on television, but they were also formulaic as hell and nobody quotes them anymore.  Whereas people still talk about and quote Season 1.  Different strokes for different folks, I guess. 

Lack of interest, or short attention span? – I don’t really agree with this guy’s point (especially about the History Channel, which is now a non-historical cesspool almost 24 hours a day) but he does start it off with a great quote and he gets it dead on correct.  So, excellent usage. 

Absolut Krusty – It’s an image that’s exactly what you think it will be, but it’s still neat. 

FOX 2009-10 Season Finale Dates – Summer vacation from Zombie Simpsons starts May 23rd. 

Top 9 Cartoon Characters with Glasses – Frink is on here, and Hans Moleman is #1, but I get the feeling (especially looking at the honorable mentions) that this list could’ve very easily been all Simpsons and South Park

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future – Way to go kid in the comments.

Jokes For Your Mobile Phone – This is just horribly mangled:

"If a man wants to earn any money in this world, then they have to work! Now shut up son I’m trying to hear the lottery numbers."

The actual quote is:

“Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it.  Now quiet!  They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”

Poor usage.

Bart Simpson Kids Bicycle Bell New – This is exactly what it says it is, I’m only linking it because on the picture you can clearly see the copyright is 1997.  Anything and everything that can have a Simpson slapped on it will, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. 

An unequivocal ‘no’ – The question is “Does suffering improve us?”.  I tend to agree, suffering, on balance, sucks ass.  And this is excellent usage, apt and perfectly quoted:

I suspect that, as usual, The Simpsons gets it right. In one episode, Homer thinks he has 24 hours to live, but actually survives into the 25th. Jubilant, he declares, "From this day forward, I vow to live life to its fullest!" Over the credits, we see him back in front of the TV, his belly the only thing filled to its fullest.

Why Smithers Picked Me . . . – This is funny, but not, I think, in the way its author intended.  The blog is from some consulting company in Utah (it seems to average about three posts a month).  They’re peddling a book on “leadership” and seminars where people probably sit slack jawed and listen quietly in order to learn how to be inspiring leaders.  Here is the opening of this post (bold in the original):

In his typical upside-down thinking, the popular cartoon character Homer Simpson once observed, “I think Smithers picked me because of my motivational skills. Everyone says they have to work a lot harder when I’m around.”

I don’t think Homer quite gets it. He is confusing obligation with inspiration. When Homer is “on the job,” his co-workers are obligated to work hard because he’s slacking off, rather than choosing to work hard because he inspires them. There’s a big difference.

He gets the quote slightly wrong (there should be an “always” between “everyone” and “says”) but the real fun is No-Shit-Sherlock quality of the second paragraph.  Are you trying to tell me that Homer Simpson – Homer Simpson(!) – isn’t a good employee?  Holy shit, I had no idea.  It goes on from there and eventually concludes that even Homer could become a good “leader” with their books and seminars. 

For bonus fun check out their actual website.  It is a masterpiece of generic, small business web design.  It features the unnecessary use of Flash, a contact page that doesn’t list an e-mail address but does have a submission form with 10 required fields, and, the paramount requirement for all websites of this type, lots of stock photos of smiling, multi-ethnic people in business attire.

60% Off Abraham Lincoln Children’s Book – Through February 21st you can get a kids book by Mike Reiss for just $5.  The book is called “The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln”, check this out:

Life isn’t easy for Benjy. He looks just like Abraham Lincoln — right down to the wart and beard. He receives stovepipe hats for every birthday and has to play Lincoln in every school play — whether he’s part of the story or not. The teasing never stops.

But then he spends a summer at Camp What-cha-ma-call-it — for Kids Who Look Like Things!

And if you’re wondering, yes, Reiss is credited on “Homer’s Triple Bypass”. 

Friend Qualifiers – Can you be good friends with someone who doesn’t like The Simpsons?  I suppose you can but I am always dismayed when people shrug their shoulders at the show.  I blame Zombie Simpsons for cheapening them. 

Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Amber Riley to appear on The Simpsons – Some of the cast of Glee is going to guest voice next season on Zombie Simpsons.  Cross promotion troopers, forward! 

Bill Oakley – Oakley was on a Portland area TV show that broadcasts at 6:30 in the morning on Sundays.  Uh, I missed it.  Unfortunately I can find neither video nor a transcript. 

The Simpsons Movie (2007, Animated Satire) – 1/10 movie review – I’m not a big fan of the movie, but this guy really hates it:

Made several years after The Simpsons ran out of ideas, jokes and even vaguely competent writing and story-telling ability, this is an embarrassing (featuring the ever hilarious lynch mob, glassing, homosexual policemen, suicide and pig beastiality), unconvincing, boring and amazingly unfunny big-screen outing for the yellow ones. According to IMDb, it took 158 drafts to remove all the jokes. It culminates in the most horrifying word they could possibly utter: sequel.

At least we know he hates Zombie Simpsons. 

3 Responses to “Reading Digest: Quality(?) Over Quantity Edition”

  1. 19 February 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Here is the link to Bill Oakley’s appearance on Outlook Portland if you are interested:


  2. 19 February 2010 at 2:11 pm

    hey thanks for the pings, guy! great site too!

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