Archive for the 'technophilia' Category

terror cell

Television is bad for you. Not only does it rot your teeth, it also fills you with a lot of wrong-headed ideas. I try not to watch it, but sometimes I do, especially when the neighbors are out of town or too drunk to be any fun.

And I’m glad I have. It’s clued me in to a brand new shiny phenomenon in American film: the cell-phone drama.

Now sure, I know what you’re saying. It’s not like cellphones are a new thing, especially not on TV cop shows, and I’m not saying they are—they’ve been around for years. So where’s the “drama” in “cell-phone drama”?

The cops actually know how they work.

Seriously. I don’t just mean they can dial calls, or even use speed dial. I don’t mean that they hang up by snapping the phone shut without saying “goodbye,” the way all TV cops do. I mean that they can actually patch one call into another, without looking at the keypad, while they’re driving. I mean that they can receive two calls at once and put one on hold and answer the other and switch back to the first one without getting confused. I mean that they can upload and download and transfer call histories and all sorts of things.

All sorts of things, that is, that I know my phone could probably do too, if I were smart enough to figure them out.

That’s what sets these cops apart from ordinary schmucks. I fancy myself a pretty tech-savvy kind of guy. The kind of guy who can fix his email more than half the time. The kind of guy who knows that “terminal prompt” is not a third-world airport shuttle. But that does not mean that I understand every instruction in the novella that came with my cellphone. It does not mean I know how to use call-waiting. These cops have obviously got it going on.

And a good thing too. Because TV cop phones may have gotten cooler, but “freeze” lines have come down in the world.

What is a freeze line? It’s what you say when you pull your gun out, kick down a door, and say “freeze!”

Why not just say “freeze!”? Well, things have gotten pretty tight in the cop market lately. Used to be, you were a cop. Nowadays, you are a highly specialized component part in an arcane, heavily-armored investigative unit housed deep within a relatively-unknown-yet-vital part of the Federal government. Chances are, your acronym has a C in it, probably an I and an S, possibly a T, an N, a U, or a D.

For example, say you’re a special agent belonging to the National Command Center Internal Subterfuge Investigation Squad. That is, you’re a cop whose job it is to investigate all the other cops in the command center, because as you know, no national security drama could be complete without some sort of conflicted loyalty or double-agentry.

Most of the time, you sit bathed in the cool glow of eleven different flat-panel computer screens, which display satellite imagery, live video feeds of gritty street scenes, and lines of random numbers. Your days are spent looking suspiciously at the other agents at their desks, as they whisper innuendos about each other and giddily tiptoe around workplace sexual harassment laws.

Like all good agents, though, your time eventually comes to strike. Armed with your cellphone (which, in honor of the occasion, you have fitted with a special earpiece), your bullet-proof vest, and your gun, you set out with your posse—sorry, “strike team”—to the heavily-secured room where your quarry has holed up. All seems quiet. You give the nod. An agent kicks the door open and you burst in, gun held rigidly before you.

“N.C.C.I.S.I.S!” you shout. Your quarry looks up, confused.

“What?” he says.

“N.C.C.I.S.I.S.!” you say again. What else can you do?

“I see,” says your quarry.

“NO. I said N.C.C.I.S.I.S.!” you say. Now, however, you’re just being silly.

There’s really no way to recover from a situation like this. In fact, the only way to restore your credibility, both with the villain and with the viewing audience, is to pull out your cellphone and execute a communications maneuver so amazing that it effaces all memory of your cumbersome abbreviation.

Ironically, the result of all this telephone-posturing is that the hero ends up talking to headquarters constantly. Gone are the days of the hotheaded individual cop going it alone. There are no more solitary high-speed chases, only multi-unit helicopter dragnets using satellite imagery and at least nine people on hold at the same time. Individual characters can have catastrophic emotional breakdowns, but when they do, their co-workers—er, teammates—inevitably take them out into the hall for a restorative discussion of feelings.

Perhaps the new American cop is a genuine team player. Perhaps the new American phallic symbol is actually a device intended for communicating with other people. (Ponder THAT!) And perhaps the new American bad guy is not identifiably bad, but rather exudes a more nuanced badness bound up in tortuous ethno-religious politics.

I don’t know. But with all their firepower and integrity, America’s TV cops have always been the ones to call when trouble strikes. Now they can call you too.

green evilution?

In case you missed it, there’s a good deal of evil going on these days. About five years ago, evil accumulated enough mass and rotational velocity to have an axis. Since then, it’s spun farther out of control.

But just now, Wal-Mart—described by some as the most evil of them all—has thrown a curve. According to this (lite | heavy) article, Your Favorite Arkansas Retailer has decided to repent its sins and go green. Yesthat’sright: As you read this, Wal-Mart is becoming the world’s biggest vendor of compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

You ask: What’s a compact fluorescent lightbulb?

We reply: Come on, dummy! They’re those funny squiggly ones.

Actually, they’re those funny squiggly ones that produce heatless, flickerless, buzzless, high-quality light in exchange for only the tiniest sips of electricity, many years beyond the life of your ordinary, hot-to-the-touch incandescent.

CFLs save energy, and therefore greenhouse gases. Which means that those of us living within about a dozen feet of sea level will have THAT MUCH LONGER to enjoy the comfort of our own homes before global warming eats them and they float out to sea.

Wal-Mart is saving the world!

Maybe. However, while we have chosen to forgo the Green/green pun, we think Y.F.A.R. has more on its mind than saving our house. Despite assertions that “energy efficient bulbs are what America needs as it recovers from Katrina” and similar patriotic sentiments, Clandestine Panda Service analysts think it’s possible—just possible—that Wal-Mart may have a profit motive. Which brings us to the question this blog post has been posted to ask:

Does Wal-Mart deserve nice-points for this? If so, how many?

Answer below if you see fit, or don’t. Regardless, analysis of reconaissance imagery (obtained by Clandestine Panda Service specialists) suggests that all of this may soon be moot: Nuclear energy—peaceful, civilian nuclear energy only, mind you—may soon make energy-efficiency an obsession of the past—always at always-low prices.


40. Circumcision
32. Celebrity sex tape
22. List of sex positions
19. Pornography
18. List of gay porn stars
10. List of big-bust models and performers
2. JonBenet Ramsey

Wikipedia is perverse.

On a side note, so are the search terms people use to find this blog. Most recent: “vegetable penises.”

perpetual notion

The Clandestine Panda Service regrets the following transgression of its “No blog posts about random internet crap” rule, but it seems necessary to note that the Irish have done it again.

From the uni-diet that defied nutrition,

to the dance troupe that defied gravity,

to the liquid that defied just about everything,

to the author who titled his memoir with nothing more than a gutteral noise,

You’ve come to expect a lot from the Irish. Now—even now—another mighty tenet of western thought crumples before the genius of the emerald isle:

Say goodbye to the first law of thermodynamics.

You heard. According to this reputable leftist rag, this Irish tech firm has devised a way to create “free energy”—that is, energy without fuel, without decay, without inputs of any kind.


No doubt it should prove beneficial to the Irish space program, which, in case you didn’t know, will launch a mission next week to buy up newly-downgraded Pluto at a discount and simultaneously begin an ad campaign to interest the public in trans-neptunian real-estate.

MORAL: with a sexy website and a delightfully-batshit quotation from an indigenous playwright, there’s nothing you can’t scam. Cheers!


Dear future employer,

First off, thank you very much for offering to sell me a laptop.  The discount you offer is considerable, as is your generosity in offering it.  I already own a laptop, however.  It’s one of my best friends, and, in fact, is sitting on my lap as I write this.  

Consequently, I do not plan to avail myself of this particular perquisite.  However, there’s something I need to get off my chest.   I suspect that, if I did buy a computer from you, it would be a PC.  (I Don’t KNOW for a fact, OK, but I suspect it pretty hard.)  To put it politely, that twists my tits.  

I know, I KNOW that there are all sorts of arguments out there about why Macs are better than PCs, and plenty of piss-poor counter-arguments too, and I KNOW that you’re not in the mood for an angsty rehash of the party line.  But let’s just take a step back.  Let’s think broadly about all the things Macs do better.

1.  Macs do better graphics.  I’m not talking software.  Software’s all the same these days.  No, I mean Macs look better when represented graphically.  Imagine yourself in a photograph: 

—you, the Student, diligently clattering at your dorm-desk; 

—you, the Businessperson, multitasking in office-utopia; 

—you, the Fuckingobnoxious Coffeeshop Denizen, re-ordering your 75,000+ MP3 collection by song-duration while trying to suck latte through your cellphone; 

—you, the Romantic, cuddled with your lover as you watch a DVD of some British romantic comedy/wealthporn that takes place at Christmas.  

You expect me to believe that you’d prefer to be seen with a PC?  Do you really think that “Inspiron” describes that paper you’re writing?  No?  What about “Pavillion”?  (Or is that where you watch DVD’s?  Right.)  Do you even think “VAIO” is a real word?  Because I do: it’s the noise I make when I talk while brushing my teeth.  And don’t get me started on “ThinkPad.”  It sounds like the term for the single philosophy major’s apartment, which would be funny if “pad” weren’t so distant from the truth.  

No.  When it comes to appearances, you’d rather be seen with the sleek metallic flanks of a Macintosh warming the surface of your thighs.  If you appeared in the Viewbook, or the AFLAC commercial, or the Starbucks Propaganda Pamphlet, you’d like to do so with a computer that outwardly describes the sleek techno-coolness of your mind, not something that says “i like spreadsheets!” or “backpack me i’m bulky!”  You would, in short, rather be seen with a Mac.

2.  You can have sex with a Mac.  I don’t know this firsthand but I’ve heard rumors.  

3.  Macs don’t make those annoying Windows symphony-alert-noises.  You know the ones I mean.  That in itself seems reason enough to buy.

4.  There are more things.  But you’re so convinced you’ve stopped reading anyway.  

Suffice it to say, Macs are better, and I’m keeping mine.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.