Category Archives: 5 Random Thursday

Golden retriever destroys obedience course, wins Interwebs

This is funny, sure. But the Series of Tubes is packed with funny little things involving dogs, cats and kids with painted faces at county fairs who like turtles.

Let’s dissect this little piece of film to see what makes it work.

First, there are no words getting in the way of the images. This isn’t a PowerPoint slideshow. Nobody has to explain the joke, and it actually works better than English speakers like me have no idea what the announcer or anybody is saying, though it would not shock me if this is Scandanavian, if not Swedish, and make me have a sad for not speaking Swedish.

Second, there’s actually a structure to it, despite being so short. There are two setups before we get to the payoff, two different dogs doing the right thing, and ignoring all the food and chew toys, before the last dog decides obedience courses are a free buffet.

Third, the Benny Hill music makes it all work. Right when the setups are over and we get our payoff, the music puts you right there, and the golden retriever rewards us, not once or twice, but again and again, going after every treat in sight and ignoring all commands.

This snippet of moving pictures gives us the biggest possible gap between expectation (obedience) and result (chaos).

Well done, whoever edited this. Give us more.

More posts for your amusement and possible education:

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award and is represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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by | November 21, 2014 · 12:56 pm

Why TOO MANY COOKS blew up the interwebs

 

too many cooks

There is no shortage of funny or strange videos on the Series of Tubes, and it takes no great talent to find them.

HOWEVER: It takes some talent to make something as long, and interesting, as TOO MANY COOKS.

Before you watch it, listen: this thing starts out slow, and if you’ve never watched bad TV shows from the ’80s and ’90s, because you weren’t born yet, or have a rule about never watching the Glowing Tube, some of these parodies will fly over your head like a B-2 bomber.

I don’t believe there are any bad words or anything other than cartoonish violence and creepiness, but be warned that it does get weird, though I think in an interesting way. This really is something for people who grew up watching reruns of The Brady Brunch, TJ Hooker, Airwolf, Battlestar Galactica, Wonder Woman and about seventeen other shows. Funny stuff. Watch, then we’ll dissect it.

So: there’s no way to name every single genre and show that video just parodied. The list is ginormous.

From a big picture, though, the secret seems to be how this is different from Saturday Night Live skits from the bad old days, where writers took one funny idea and beat that dead horse all the way to the glue factory.

TOO MANY COOKS is the opposite. Despite repeating the opening song again and again (though they twist it), they’re actually cramming five metric tons of funny ideas into one parody skit, constantly changing their target to different genres and specific Bad TV Shows We All Used to Love.

Love is a big part of this. You can’t film a video of this breadth and style without loving those shows, and knowing them incredibly well. I could write a pretty good fake Airwolf script, and completely skewer it, because as a pookie, I watched that show religiously and adored the thing. Jan Michael Vincent FTW! And yeah, that thing was terrible when you fire up an old episode on YouTube now. But we loved our TV trash, and part of us will always love it.

Here’s why: entertaining trash, however trashy, is still entertaining, while pretentious nonsense, however well done, is still pretentious.

Well done, crazy makers of this parody. Give us moar moar MOAR.

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection Vol. 5: Five Epic Posts, Because AP Style Is Confusing When It Comes to Using Numbers or Spelling Them Out

  1. Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?
  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt
  5. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

1 Comment

by | November 13, 2014 · 5:05 am

Lake Sylvia, black and white

image

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by | September 20, 2014 · 8:25 am

Photo of the Day: The otter abides

This sea otter has style. Completely at ease and comfortable in his own fur. Well played, sea otter. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.

This sea otter has style. Completely at ease and comfortable in his own fur. Well played, sea otter. Carry on. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.

There’s something about otters that’s inherently interesting. They’re like water-cats, but as playful as dogs.

If you’ve visited aquariums or zoos with a glass shebang that lets you see them, they’ll do games with you, racing from side to side. And there’s all kinds of footage of otters playing in the wild, sliding down mud hills or snow. I used to love monkeys as a kid, and hey, they’re still fun to watch, but the otters are the one animal who seem to just have a surplus of joy.

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Photo of the Day: A castle passageway in Luxembourg

Tunnel below a castle in Luxembourg. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.

Tunnel below a castle in Luxembourg. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.

Castles are the best — but hard to shoot. The light in tunnels and dungeons is usually terrible. This passageway was a happy exception and I love how the shadows intersected.

This is part of a huge network of passageways beneath fortifications beneath a castle guarding the river in the capital. A great position. There was no cover, no way to get up the cliff, and there were cruder tunnels carved into the rock with firing positions. An interesting place. I’ve seen a lot of castles and this one was both ancient and well-preserved.  Continue reading

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Photo of the Day: How many students can fit in this autorickshaw?

I counted about 15 students inside, on top or hanging from the back of this auto-rickshaw. It's the Indian version of a cab, with three wheels and a lot more excitement than boring Yellow Cabs back home. With the right driver, an autorickshaw ride can be like a Formula One race through side streets and packed traffic. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.

I counted around 15 students inside, on top or hanging from the back of this autorickshaw. It’s the Indian version of a cab, with three wheels and a lot more excitement than boring Yellow Cabs back home. With the right driver, an autorickshaw ride can be like a Formula One race through side streets and packed traffic. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.

If you travel to India, autorickshaws are everywhere, working as cabs and hauling cargo. They have three tiny wheels, itty bitty engines and are more like motorcycles than cars, but they’re cheap and useful, especially in big cities.

These students commuting home after school broke what has to be a record for how many people can fit inside an autorickshaw. Well played, students.  Continue reading

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Photo of the Day: Hand this tiger a script and he’ll read the nightly news

This tiger is cooler than the other side of the pillow. He's got authority, doesn't he? Like you could hand him a script and he'd read the nightly news. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.

This tiger is cooler than the other side of the pillow. He’s got authority, doesn’t he? If feels like whatever he said, if he could talk, would automatically have weight, as if he had a British accent and the rumble of James Earl Jones combined. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.

Sometimes, body language is everything.

When I shot this tiger with the Nikon of Infinite Beauty, the tiger didn’t even look in my direction. He didn’t care. I don’t think anything would phase him.  Continue reading

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