Friday, September 22, 2006

The Best Cartoon Character

I've got babies on the mind, so you'll have to allow me to indulge in categories that are absorbing my thoughts nowadays. But, while I'll use little A & B as an excuse, the truth is that cartoons are never very far from my mind.

Cartoons have changed nowadays. They're all over the place, and they're nothing special anymore, it seems. When I was a kid (here we go with the nostalgia again...) Saturday mornings were for cartoons. There were some cartoons on Sunday, but they generally were religous-themed and so, of course, sucked. While I enjoyed the stop-motion animation of Davey & Goliath, it was too moral and too boring to enjoy for real. It might have been better if it had been more like this:

But it wasn't, plus the fact that we had to get ready for church took away the pleasure of watching cartoons.

But Saturday! Oh, Saturday! With its plethora of cartoon shows that changed slightly every year but always had my then-favorite, the "Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show." I still know the theme by heart and Bugs & Company had some of the greatest cartoons. They introduced me to some classical music ("The Barber of Seville") and had wonderfully existential episodes, like the one where Daffy was having trouble with the animator and it turned out Bugs was drawing the cartoon? Or the one where a hat truck crashed and as the hats landed on them they took on the personality of the hats (that was a favorite of mine and my brother's for a long time.) Or "Rabbit Season?" (

Shoot me! I'm a fiddler crab!).
You can see it made an impression on me. I still love them. And I love the other older cartoons: Tom & Jerry, which is almost completely forgotten now but which were great cartoons (I plan on making A & B watch them.)

Those were the classics that live on in my mind, and when I see cartoons nowadays, they hardly compare. There are great cartoons -- Family Guy, The Simpsons up until a few years ago when they stopped caring about being funny, South Park -- but those are more aimed at adults and don't quite fit this category. Plus they do not have any iconic characters and the general zaniness that fits, in my mind, into a "cartoon." The mood of each of those is such that they could just as easily be sitcoms as opposed to cartoons. Maybe it's because they feature people as the main characters. It's hard to picture a bunny being the main character of anything.

And cartoons that do aim for cartooniness are rarely good. I watched a free episode of Invader Zim, and liked it , but it didn't make me want to watch more (very much.) Other cartoons on the air now just suck or are too weird.

Except for one, and you probably already know who I'm talking about. There's only one new cartoon character I can think of since I was a kid who absolutely perfectly captures the spirit of a kids' cartoon while being entertaining for adults and, in fact, updating that feeling and improving on it. I give you...

Spongebob Squarepants.

Spongebob is GREAT. I heard about him a few years ago when The Boy was young enough to watch him and so I checked it out, and I was hooked. Here was the natural successor to Bugs Bunny: funny, weird, breaking the fourth wall, but, to top it all off, while he had the same mischievous bent as Bugs had, he had none of the secret malice.

Let's face it. Didn't you always think that Bugs was only pretending to be innocent? It's like he was setting everyone up and then enjoying watching them fall, and because he wasn't overly mean about it, and because he was picking on people who had it coming, we didn't mind. But Spongebob doesn't have that. He doesn't dislike anyone. So when he's making them miserable, he's doing it out of love.

I have watched nearly every Spongebob episode to date. I am proud to say, at age 37, that I own more DVDs of Spongebob than I do of any other TV series, and that I pop them in and watch them. But Spongebob doesn't really need me to say all of this; he'll win you over himself. So here's a series of Spongebob cuts. Watch them and agree with me: Spongebob Squarepants, the Best Cartoon Character.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

250=1, The Complete List Of Stories.

Page down for an explanation of this.

Here are all the stories.

HEY! Some of these links will take you to other blogs where I posted the stories but DO NOT WORRY because you can always read the story and hit the "BACK" button to get back here.  I'll be here, waiting for you.

1. Children's Magazines Are Full Of Lies

2. Everyone In The World Is Copying Me In Advance.

3. What Happens When The Symbolism of McDonald's Cheeseburgers Is Questioned?

4. What Hannah Said When She Hugged Her Competitor

5. Higgs Boson's Adventures In Space: Episode 37:

6.  One Morning A Mother Gave Birth... 

7.  Han Shot First. No, He Didn't. Yes, He Did. Wait...

8.  These Dead Composers

9.  Introducing The Beatles?

10.  Q+U, A Love Story (Part One)

11.  Junior The Third.

12.  The Things We Don't Tell Are Most Important.

13.  Icarus' Lesser-Known Sister.

14, 15, 16, and 17:  Five Stories about Time Travel, all in one post:  "Time Travel Has Always Existed", "He's A Perfect Boyfriend, But..." , "Time Was...", "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Hunker Down Behind This Lead Windowshade," and "Thinking About Time Travel At The End (Or The Beginning?) of the Universe(s)". 

18.  All Emotions Are Now Colors, and Also They AreAlive

19.  When a Really Good Song Comes On

20.  Skyfall

21.  Skyfall, 2

22.  Skyfall, 3

23.  Skyfall, 4

24.  Skyfall, 5 

25.  What It Is Like To Be A Frog (You Think?)

26.  July 17, 2057

27. Sometimes At Night I Imagine The Parrot Is Talking To Me

28. When The Rope Broke

29.  A story about a young man who one day or rather one morning...

30.  Stories I Wrote On The Way To And From Work 1

31. The Circus Of Twice

32.  Stories I Wrote, etc. #2

33.  Stories I Wrote etc. 3:

34.  Stories I Wrote, etc. 5:

35.  In the Beginning, 1 

36.  In The Beginning, 2

37.  The World's Shortest Mystery Story

38.  Advertisements From A World Not Entirely Similar To Our Own, 1

39.  Four.

40.  In The Beginning, 3

41.  In The Beginning, 4.

42.  It All Began With LOL.

43.  ,1

44.  Miniautobiography, 1

45.  The Bus

46.  At The Institute For Not Asking Questions

47.  Tips For Young Astronauts

48.  Then

49.  Some Zombie Stories: 1

50. We Were At A Party When We Decided To Quit.

52. 8 Things That Happened To Him, And Two Things That Didn't.

53.  Some Zombie Stories: 2

54. Some Zombie Stories: 3

55.  It's the Higgs Boson Xmas Special!

56.  , 2

57.  God, Part 2

58.  All These Things Happened On My Birthday

59.  Some Zombie Stories, 5

60.  How To Cook A Delicious Cake

61. Electricity

62. Ads From A World Not Totally Unlike Our Own, 2

63. Fences

64.  Ignatius In Hiding.

65.  Killing Time

66.  Meat.

67.  A Single Moment Of Red

68.  Naomi Does It Again, Again.

69.  Time Is A Penumbra

70.  Questions

71.  Resolutions To The Story.

(Yep: I skipped a number there; if you go back in the list, as I just did, you'll see that I missed counting 1 of those 5 time travel stories.)

250=1 is a challenge I've set for myself. I began it in 2012. It cae about because I like writing long stories. The longer the better, as far as I'm concerned, because if I like a story I never want it to end. And so I decided to challenge myself, the way I once saw a giant, steep hill in Oakland, California and went jogging there just so I could try to jog up that hill, but in this case the challenge was to write short stories.

And not just any short story: A short story of exactly -- exactly -- 250 words.

Counting the title.

I'll be posting new ones from time to time, so check back often.  When I get to 250 of these, I'll probably be done. Probably.