Category Archives: Updates

A traditional update in the grand update tradition

Trading Cards From the ’80s/’90s: Troll Force


Troll Force
Star Pics, Inc., 1992

I wasn’t sure if these cards would be based on the troll dolls popular around this period, or some other sort of trolls, and I’m honestly not sure what in my heart I was hoping for. But the only way I could have possibly been more disappointed is if actual trolls jumped out of the package and started biting me.

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Trading Cards From the ’80s/’90s: Dinamation


Every once in a while I see something that reminds me that I have a website. Usually I can safely ignore these feelings of guilt and neglect, but sometimes a sense of profound obligation overwhelms me. In Brooklyn I saw a store selling tons of trading cards from the ’80s and ’90s, which are provably worthless. Factoring in inflation, the price of Alf cards, for example, are actually cheaper now than they were in 1987. It seemed like a shrewd little investment.

There was a voice in my head telling me to ignore these cards, to grow up, that we had to go get brunch. But I ignored my girlfriend and rifled through the boxes upon boxes of trading cards, purchasing ten packs that called out to me most privately. This took a great deal of time, and an even greater measure of focus, having to tune out complaints of hunger pains and various cruel threats. I told her we might need to cancel brunch altogether and just have an early brinner.

In this special series, I will examine these trading cards pack by pack, highlighting a couple cards from each for closer examination. Most of these cards come from the very early ’90s, unless they contain bubble gum, in which case they are from the ’80s. There must have been a specific day somebody over at Topps realized that including a comestible in a pack of trading cards was disgusting. This gum came off the assembly line stale, and by the time the sticks wound up in your hands they were in a state of rigor mortis, no more chewable than a butter knife. Today in 2013 they have engendered an evolved civilization of extremophiles who know only darkness and worship of their mighty god Alf. But I’m pleased to report that at least now the gum has a little flavor.

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Home of the Wave

I was up at 4am last night, assaulted by an insane idea. I am certain it is simultaneously the best and the most idiotic idea I’ve ever had.

The idea was to organize the largest audience wave in history—the sort normally performed by the drunken spectators of a tedious baseball game. But for this wave, all of the United States would be encouraged to participate.

It would start on the eastern edge of Maine, upon the conclusion of a special opening ceremony describing shared unity, brotherhood, etc., etc. I don’t think we’d even have to invite U2—I think they’d just show up.

From there the wave would move westward in a great sweeping longitudinal line. How it would work is you’d download an app, which will use your geolocation to determine when it’s your turn to perform the wave. If you don’t have a smart phone, you could just log into the website, enter your location, and figure out when it was your scheduled time. Both the app and the website would be called “Home of the Wave.”

The contiguous United States are 2,880 miles across. I think you could reasonably expect an audience wave to move at like 30MPH, just faster than the limits of human footspeed. So we’re looking at 96 hours. I don’t necessarily expect people to set their alarms for like 5am so that they can participate, but you can’t simply halt the wave at night; that defeats the purpose of a wave. So if you live in the areas the wave passes through at night, you’re kind of fucked. The other option would be to have a really fast wave, like a jet plane, so that it can be completed in a single day. I am also open to this kind of wave.

Hawaii and Alaska can participate, too, but honestly by that point I don’t think anybody would care. I don’t necessarily expect a very high participation rate among Hawaiians, but maybe if they can set down their coconut bongs long enough, we’ll make it through Honolulu. Meanwhile, Alaska is not really populated enough on its own. I imagine just a series of isolated Alaskans haphazardly standing up and sitting down across the countryside, which kind of shits on the whole idea of symbolic unity.

I know what you’re thinking, and I hear you. The biggest problem would be engagement. Even I would be hesitant to participate, and I organized the fucking thing. I think it’s one of those things where if you have a few other friends participating, you might as well participate too, and pretty soon just about every able body is on board, and you’re kind of just an asshole if you sit it out. There might be a few traffic accidents as the wave crosses interstate highways and drivers temporarily let go of their steering wheels, but I do think they’re partially to blame for not pulling over and taking the wave seriously.

Meanwhile—and this is where the idea turns from nocturnal whimsy to deranged delusion—meanwhile, although the giant audience wave would ostensibly be a beautiful symbolic gesture, a coming together of all Americans regardless of color and creed, both the app and the website would contain advertisements. “Home of the Wave” is an absolute cash cow because the demographic is everyone. I’d donate a token amount to this or that charity—throw some retarded kids a bone—but I’d also keep an absolute shit-ton of money and retire upon the succession of the wave.

Regardless, if the wave is successful, we can then organize a tremendous global Worldwide Wave. It’s a bit fucked up, though, because people near the poles would have to perform a really, really slow wave to keep pace. Like if there’s anybody in some sort of Arctic research station, they’d essentially just be holding their arms up the entire time. I guess it’s OK if they just hold one arm up and continue working—I think that’s fine. God forbid we set back their precious ice research or whatever the fuck they think they’re doing up there.

The Worldwide Wave will be the ultimate execution of an absurd vision. As the wave sweeps across the globe, I imagine soldiers putting down their arms, a temporary succession of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, a respite from riots in Turkey. This would be the wave that quelled wars, bonded religions, and taught us all about our shared heritage. There may be language barriers, and there’d doubtless be dead pockets as the wave sailed through leper colonies. But I really think we could make it around the globe. Compared to this, the lighting of the Olympic torch will seem as tawdry and pathetic as a Mexican donkey show.

Everything bagels

Everything bagels are a complete joke. The Einstein Bros can go fuck each other if they think rolling a bagel around in birdseed constitutes “everything.” “Here you go, sir! Some poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and a few scabs of onion. There, that’s everything!” Um no that is not everything. That’s actually far closer to nothing than to everything. You’re three items away from nothing, but like a hundred items away from everything. You’ve successfully created a nothing bagel. Are there holes in your bagels, or holes in your fucking head? Where’s my everything bagel?

Imagine going to Subway and ordering a turkey club with everything, and the guy just throws a couple red onions and green peppers and a few squirts of honey mustard on top of your turkey. “There you are, that’s everything! Three items!” Nobody would stand for this. People would yell, “Is this a joke? What country am I in? I asked for everything, not everything you can grab in the next three seconds. Go stick your head in that warming oven, you little dipshit.”

It’s not that I’m holding bagel manufacturers to literally “everything,” as in every conceivable food item, like creamed corn and marshmallows and those weird Japanese wafer candies. An actual “everything” bagel would be fucking disgusting. But you’ve left off a ton of entirely conventional bagel items. Where’s my blueberries, my strawberries, my cinnamon, my raisins? Would it kill you to put some Asiago cheese on this bitch? No wonder you people are considered stingy.

True friendship

Too often kids are told platitudes like, “If your friends can’t accept you for who you are, they aren’t really your true friends.” Hang on a minute there, let’s not be too hasty eliminating potential friends. Maybe some of your classmates aren’t the platonic ideal of a “true friend,” but you’re not exactly living in an enchanted realm of friendship in which endless streams of fun-loving peers are all clamoring to embark with you on a magical journey to friendship island. Maybe a “true friend” wouldn’t ever talk about you behind your back or sleep with your girlfriend, but if you limited yourself to “true friends” you’d maybe have two real friends over the course of your entire childhood. So you can either become some sort of highly-principled friendship martyr who spends most of his time by himself enumerating the many reasons you can’t be friends with your classmates, or you can swallow your pride and befriend a few people who occasionally cause you psychological harm. This is the real world, not the Babysitter’s Club.

To put this another way (and please feel free to share this with your children): if your friends aren’t always there when you need them, it’s because that’s their prerogative and sometimes they have other shit to do. They’re your friends, not your AA sponsors. Sometimes this is your fault; perhaps they shouldn’t accept you for who you are because who you are is irritating and makes others feel uncomfortable. But more often it’s purely a function of arithmetic. When you’re a young child, your friends are really just random miscreants who happen to share coincident geometry, often localized in a tiny broke-ass little classroom of 30 snotty little children. 15 of these changelings are going to be the opposite gender and thus ill-suited for true long-term friendship. Another three or four are going to be compulsive liars, bullies, tyrants, psychopaths. A solid two or three are going to be under-diagnosed special needs children who still wear diapers, or who still should be wearing diapers based on how often they seem to shit their pants. By the time you get to a workable group of potential friends, you’re down to a meager handful of motley little children. Assuming this slim remainder doesn’t preemptively reject you (definitely not a guarantee), are you really going to be all that concerned if they’re a little judgmental or sometimes publicly humiliate you? Your friends aren’t always going to have your back; sometimes they’ll even stab you in it — sometimes literally with a sharpened pencil. That doesn’t mean they’re not your friends, it just means that the world is complicated than Thomas the Tank Engine led you to believe. Welcome to kindergarten, bitch.