Sunday, April 08, 2012

H is for "How In The World Is This An Alien Alphabet?" (THIS is a THING!?!?!)

I watched exactly two news stories this morning and now they are forming the basis for my entire existence.  This post, at least, doesn't involve people dying because a US Senator wanted a cute photo-op/no actual responsibilities

THIS is a THING!?!?! exists, as you'll recall, to chronicle THINGS that THIS turns out to be: wherever there is a THIS that has become a THING, you will find The Best Of Everything, ably breaking it down for you piece-by-piece, usually years after other people got sick of it.

Today's THING that THIS is turns out to be a bit more timely than usual, as today's THING is


In addition to being all up in arms about the only two news stories I bothered to watch today, I also am already two chocolate eggs into my Easter Breakfast (Cadbury Creme Egg, Maple Whipped Filling Egg, and coffee) and I haven't even gotten to the Peeps yet, which is good, because otherwise I'd be missing out on my own opportunity to take part in THIS exciting new THING if I just ate the Peeps.

And to help you get in on the action, let's take a peep

- yep. I said that -

at what THIS THING is all about.

What THIS THING is, in a nutshell: Peep Dioramas are what they sound like: a diorama made out of Peeps.  And although this morning I saw a story on CNN Headline News about a contest involving Peeps dioramas (a story in which the reporter interviewed the second-place kids' winner and a "contestant" there was no mention of who actually won), I've actually been hearing about Peeps Dioramas for longer than that; it goes back a couple of weeks at least.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Peeps' Dioramas are little scenes made starring Peeps.  We've all made dioramas,  back in grade school, haven't we, as demonstrated by this classic The Simpsons snippet in which Lisa made a diorama of Poe's The TellTale Heart:

Ok, I couldn't find the clip, but you get the point: if there were no lawyers... My GOD, what am I saying?  I don't want there to be no lawyers.

I want there to be one lawyer.


When did THIS THING start?  As I said, for me, it started a couple of weeks back -- when I saw, on IO9, a story about a Peeps diorama in which Peeps were seen operating the Large Hadron Collider:

It's funny because they're going to cause the world to collapse in a singularity... of marshmallowy cuteness!

(If we... when we end by having the world accidentally... "accidentally"... destroyed by the Large Hadron Collider, I bet our end will look a lot like the way Peeps die in microwaves.)

That diorama is amazingly detailed -- the books in the construction were created based on actual books with Peeps-related physics puns in them.  And not to be beaten, the person who originally reported on it said he thought Peeps would be more into the soft sciences

Now you know why the Large Hadron people haven't found the Higgs Boson yet: they've been spending all their time building Peeps Dioramas.  (Well, that and it doesn't exist.)

But, of course, just because the Large Hadron Collider is how the world will end doesn't mean it's also how Peeps Dioramas began.  According to Wikipedia, the first-ever Peeps Diorama contest was held by the "St. Paul Pioneer Press," which I'm pretty sure was the fictitious newspaper in Lake Wobegon Days, which is fitting as all Peeps are above average.

Last year's entries over at the St. Paul Pioneer Press were said to feature an overwhelming number of Justin-Bieber based entries, which brings us to:

When did THIS THING officially pass into pop culture?

 I'm going to say it was when the Chilean miners made it into Peepville.  But before I get to that, let's take a look at a Peep Prison Wedding:

That's called "Denny Hecker and Christi Rowan Get Married," and it won second place in the 2011 St. Paul Pioneer Press competition.  You may have missed the story of Denny Hecker and Christi Rowan, so to sum it up for you: I have no idea what is going on.

According to this story, the two got spite-married -- they'd been trying to secretly marry for some time, and then got married by phone so that (according to Denny Hecker, the inmate [Peepmate] above) people would stop saying Christi was his girlfriend.

The marriage violated a pre-sentencing agreement, prosecutors said, and meant that Christi faced up to 10 years in prison; it was also illegal under Minnesota law, which doesn't recognize "proxy" marriages, which was also the first time I realized that the two people who get married might have to be in the same place at the same time to get married, a rule that makes no sense.

(Presumably, opponents of gay marriage are okay with inmates marrying their girlfriends by phone, as that in no way offends or compromises the "dignity" of marriage.)

As for what Denny Hecker did to get into prison, "Search me!" As the United States Supreme Court might say.  (If you do not get that joke, you have probably been watching too many news stories about Small Time Charlie, "Senator" from New York, helping people get a rescue dog while soldiers die, and not enough stories about the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the rights of jails to strip search any person being booked into the jail, even without reasonable suspicion, a decision that was promptly misunderstood as the Court approving of such searches, which are banned by statute in many cases.  All the Court really said is that the 4th Amendment does not provide a Constitutional right to avoid strip-searching when being booked into the jail, about which I think yeah, that's probably right.

As for Denny Hecker, he was indicted for swindling lenders, and filed for bankruptcy protection owing $767,000,000 in personal debt alone.  His scheme involved getting auto lenders to give him millions while he lied about the level of risk involved and used some of the business-related loans for his personal funds.  In particular, Hecker was alleged to have gotten $80,000,000 from Chrysler to buy more than 5,000 used cars to use as rentals.  The seller was agreeing to repurchase 605 of the cars, but

According to the indictment, Leach had an employee cover the original text with "a taped-on insert" that said Hyundai was agreeing to sell Hecker 4,855 repurchase vehicles, not 605. On Nov. 15, 2007, Leach faxed the altered letter from Hecker's headquarters in St. Louis Park to Hecker, who was at the Detroit airport, the indictment said. Hecker then presented the letter to Chrysler Financial, "knowing it was fraudulent," the complaint said.

So Chrysler, loaning $80,000,000, was fooled by a taped-over note.  And nobody at Chrysler thought to call Hyundai to verify.  Or even to ask for a receipt.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  Corporate America! Nobody pay attention to that story about how we definitely don't need more regulation of business!  Back to focusing on Peeps!  And those Chilean Miners!

The Chilean Miners are what I picked out as the moment that Peeps dioramas entered Pop Culture because the Chilean Miners to me represent Pop Culture at its finest... "finest." (?)... in that we briefly paid attention to them, then went on to other things, while the Chilean Miners did their best to hold our attention by announcing they would write a book with all sorts of previously-undisclosed information in it.

Keeping people's attention is hard, in Pop Culture.  Just look at how Lady GaGa has to work.  Why, just the other day, she had to wear regular clothes to get noticed

Is THIS THING still going on?

Peeps Dioramas appear to be at their height; I don't recall seeing them on HEADLINE! news before.  But that's where I saw them this morning.  When Peeps Dioramas are headline! news, you can safely say they are still going on.

Going stronger than ever, in fact: the economy still isn't what you'd call good, but that won't stop Americans from spending 11% more on Easter this year than they did last year, an average of just over $145 per person (or $43,500,000,000 on Easter alone.)

Will it die? Is it dying? The rules for when THINGS die, remember, are that THIS THING dies when someone older than you tells you about it, or when Republicans do it, as Republicans and people who are older than you are NOT COOL.  I was not able to find any evidence that Republicans were doing Peeps dioramas, probably because they're too busy making plans to actually start burning women at the stake for witchcraft ("witchcraft" in that sentence meaning "wanting equal pay for equal work/having jobs).  I did find that The Voice has a Peeps diorama:

Which means we're about done with them, as also The Voice is NOT COOL.

(I honestly, when I found that article, confused The Voice with The View. But either way: NOT COOL.)

Can you sum up Peeps Dioramas for people who skimmed this post and just want a quick takeaway?


You peeple need help.

(See what I did there?)

I'll get to that dolphins thing tomorrow, by the way.



Andrew Leon said...

And not a single mention of peeps and liquid nitrogen.
Or peeps and flame throwers.
Or peeps in a vacuum.

Lara Schiffbauer said...

First of all, where on the earth did you find the Maple Egg! I looked all over and only found Raspberry and coconut cream. Eew!

I tweeted a peeps scifi diorama earlier this week. It came from either SciFi or Blastr. I don't know when they started making them, but they were sure cute.

Did you get any of the Chocolate Mousse peeps dipped in dark chocolate? Peeps is going fancy.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

Mmmm, maple eggs.

But if you were the only lawyer then you'd never have time to write blog entries about Peeps.

Rusty Webb said...

I've never really liked Peeps. I think they are quite icky, like the gelatinous stuff that was around the egg sacks in the Alien movies... I think making dioramas out of them is similar to making dioramas out of sharks. It might make them appear cute, but they're still death machines.

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