About My Interest In This Conan Thing

I’ve read some things here and there about how this Conan versus Leno thing demonstrates how easily distracted and shallow Americans are today.

No doubt I have had pleasure watching the back and forth between Conan and Leno. So let me explain two reasons why I’m fascinated by this whole thing, attempt to justify my interest, and make some outrageous claims in the process.

And clearly when I write “we” I really mean “me.”

It’s A Generation War

Some people hate Baby Boomers:

I know it’s a sin to hate, so let me put it this way: If they were animals, they’d be a plague of locusts, devouring everything in their path and leaving but a wasteland. If they were plants, they’d be kudzu, choking off every other living thing with their sheer mass. If they were artists, they’d be abstract expressionists, interested only in the emotions of that moment–not in the lasting result of the creative process. If they were a baseball club, they’d be the Florida Marlins: prefab prima donnas who bought their way to prominence, then disbanded–a temporary association but not a team.

I think that’s how young people view Leno. Maybe it’s because we aren’t that familiar with Leno’s work before the Tonight Show. What we do know is that he likes to write about cars, buy cars, drive cars, and he starred in a lot of Doritos commercials. And then when he got the Tonight Show he coasted for nearly 10 years on OJ jokes.

We know Conan differently. We practically grew up with him. Conan indirectly molded my generation’s sense of humor. He wrote the monorail episode of the Simpsons, one of that shows best episodes. And when he got Late Night he introduced us to characters like Pimpbot 5000, the Masturbating Bear, Preparation H Raymond, The Interrupter, and those siamese twins connected in an unusual way (through one’s butt hole and the other’s penis…and no, they didn’t look alike at all).

This was for us. Meanwhile, Jay was doing Jaywalking and Headlines, relying on the stupidity of others to fill his show. Conan didn’t do that. Conan was the hardest working man on late night television.

Let’s put it this way: Jay has a bit on his 10pm show where he uses Bing. Who the hell uses Bing? Old fogies who stick with Internet Explorer defaults and ask you to fix their computer every Thanksgiving.

The Airwaves Are Becoming Obsolete

I can’t remember the last time I actually sat down and watched the Tonight Show, or even Late Night. I’m under 30, but I can barely stay up past 11:30 on a weeknight. These days if something funny happens on late night TV I catch clips of it within the next few days.

Who watches late night television regularly? My gut says it’s new parents and retired people. But mostly retired people.

Assume this and it’s not surprising that Conan wasn’t doing well at 11:35. He’s a little too far out for them, and he knows it. That’s why he had to change some of the things we loved most about his show before making the move (like encasing the Masturbating Bear in carbonite). He compromised for a time slot occupied by an audience that didn’t want him. They wanted amusing headlines and Kevin Eubanks as a straight man.

How appropriate it is then that those who love Conan and disagree with NBC’s decision protest by changing their Facebook profile pics to the “I’m with Coco!” picture floating around. They don’t get their Conan fix through the airwaves. They get it through their laptops.

It seems to me that NBC giving the 11:35 slot back to Leno was the best business decision. Late night television is not really for people under 40 anymore.

That’s why I watch this Conan thing with interest. It represents culture change. To me it symbolizes the resistance to inevitable change that my generation currently faces and will likely inflict upon future generations when we’re using whatever the equivalent of Bing is in 30-40 years.

Plus, Conan makes me laugh.

I don’t think that’s so shallow.

Analyzing Christmas Carols: Volume 1

Angel Figurine Choir

Let It Snow

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. And since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Really means: I’m a selfish asshole who places my own carnal desires higher than the safety of others who may be driving in this blizzard. Screw ’em.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Oh, what a laugh it would have been if Daddy had only seen Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night.

Really means: What authority figures tell me is always true, and my parents told me that Santa Claus exists. It’s much more likely that my mother is a harlot than it is that my father has been masquerading as a fat man all these years. Santa Claus pays my mother for sexual favors with toys, which she gives to me the next morning.

The 12 Days of Christmas

On the [x]th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Really means: I’m breaking up with my true love after New Years. What am I supposed to do with all this shit? She is obviously not good with money and these gifts indicate that she will never really know me. It’s not meant to be. I think Jessica, one of the maids a milkin’, is pretty cute. Plus, she has skills.

Winter Wonderland

In the meadow we can build a snowman, then pretend that he is Parson Brown. He’ll say ‘Are You Married?’ We’ll say ‘No man, but you can do the job when you’re in town!”

Really Means: Let’s get married before you slip and fall and die. Here’s the prenup, heiress. Also, I had to speak jive to make this rhyme.

Little Drummer Boy

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum, I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum. I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum. That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum. On my drum?

Really Means: WAKE UP JESUS! BAM BAM BAM! Absolve the sins I had to commit to get this drum! You don’t even want to know. I wanted to be a drummer so bad.

Really – just like a musician to buy his own drum and then not have any money to spend on Jesus. So selfish. That is not what Christmas is all about.

Photo by Flickr user laanulfean and used under a Creative Commons License

Conspiracy Theory: Gifted and Talented = Product Research and Development

When I was a kid in school there was a gifted and talented program called DELV. To this day I don’t know what those letters stand for, which is probably why for years I wasn’t invited. Some of my friends would leave the regular class and go to a place that was probably more fun than what we were doing, I assumed.

In 4th grade I was finally accepted among the DELV elite. I don’t remember a lot of what happened, but it was usually some outside-the-box kinds of exercises where we didn’t learn by rote. Perhaps the school administration thought that these bright, young minds would be wasted doing the same math problems as other students. That sounds pretty harsh, but then again most schools called this program GIFTED AND TALENTED, implying that other students were more likely to be failures all their lives.

Nevertheless, there was one day I remember. Our DELV teacher asked us about hula hoops. We’ve known them all our lives, but they’ve pretty much been the same since they ever came out. So we were divided into teams of two and given the task that apparently most toy companies failed to tackle. How could the hula hoop be improved?

By the end of the session pretty much all the teams had arrived at the same idea. Hula hoops are dumb, they don’t count. There should be a way for the hula hoop to tell you how many hoops you did, or for how long you’ve been hula-hooping. My team also thought it would be cool if the hula hoop could change colors.

We left the class to continue our regular studies, pass notes, and so on. I didn’t think anything of it until about a year later while watching saturday morning cartoons. A commercial aired, advertising a product I was pretty familiar with.

A counting hula hoop.

I’ve always wondered if Wham-O, or whatever toy company came out with this version of the hoop, had gone to elementary schools in the early 90s and asked the school administration to have gifted and talented programs improve the hula hoop.

The funny thing is that it doesn’t seem like the flipped-out hula hoop lasted long. Wham-O only still sells the original Hula Hoop along with a portable, folding hula hoop. There are hoops that change colors, but it’s hard to find one that counts.

The counting idea did spread to other products, including Skip It!

…During a second production occurring in the early-1990s, the toy was manufactured with a counter on the Skip-It ball; designed to make the number of skips impeccably accurate.

September ’07 Posts Roundup

In case you missed them the first time around…

August ’07 Posts Roundup

In case you missed them, the most notable posts on Barbarism.net from August 2007

Finally Got A New Camera

Patches on the Ottoman - 3 I really like Flickr, and while there’s a lot of hoopla about it going to hell because of Yahoo buying it I think I’ll only use it more until I find a better alternative.

Part of the reason I’ll use it more is because I got a new camera: a Canon Digital Rebel XT.

This is my second digital camera and my first SLR. I’ve always hated the way point-and-shoot cameras take pictures – always after a few seconds of delay and with no blur if you’re lucky. This Canon is super-fast and takes excellent shots even with the included lens. I haven’t gone beyond autofocus shots, but I’m taking the baby steps.

So I’ll probably use my Flickr account a lot more.

Christmas Shopping At Home

Amazon is getting pounded tonight. Trying to buy something is like watching molasses flow out of a glass in -20˚ weather.

After about an hour of browsing Amazon and trying to remember the name of some toy, and then giving up and buying board games and other things, I guess that most of my shopping is done, but I will probably need to make a stop at the thoughtless gift center – AKA Bath and Body Works.