International Object Podcast 80: Burning Hammer
We’re splitting our Wrestlemania review into two parts.
First up, Rich Thomas describes his experiences ordering the show online, the
stream delay, refunds, and whether to watch the show live or start from the
beginning. Then, Rich gives his thoughts on the crowd and the show overall.
Finally, Rich and Kyle debate whether wrestlers should have “super” finishing
moves like the Bullhammer.
International Object Podcast 79: WresFest
This week, Richard H Thomas and K Sawyer Paul talk about
Wrestlemania as an emergent arts festival, with third-party hangers-on like
Wrestlecon and ROH performing shows the same weekend in the same vicinity. They
compare Wrestlemania to other arts and film festivals and detail the similarities
and differences. Finally, they discuss the Wrestlemania 29 set, just who might
climb the fake Empire State Building, and whether or not WWE can continue their
stadium tour around the US indefinitely.
Violence limits BioShock Infinite’s audience
I’d assumed complex controllers kept newcomers from first-person shooters, requiring the use of two thumbsticks and a half-dozen buttons, but for the first time — and I can only imagine I’m late to this party — I see how repellent the violence in shooters has become, specifically to the uninitiated, who haven’t spent the last decade roaming shady corridors and unloading rocket launchers. I can stomach a thousand headshots in exchange for an engrossing story, but that says more about me than them.
The only thing I disagree with in this article from Chris Plante is that the violence is limiting the audience. I play games, but my opinion on Bioshock is exactly the same as Plante’s wife: I am awe-struck by the beauty, depth, and intelligence of Bioshock’s design, but the overwhelming (and unjustifiable) violence wrecks it.
In terms of video games, I feel like I’m very much in the minority by suggesting I’d rather play Bioshock without any of the combat. Essentially, I’d prefer Bioshock more if it the game played like Myst (with full-body controls, of course). No violence, no shooting, no dismembering. Just a vast mystery and a girl.
Toronto Blue Jays drop the ball in home opener
Such are the consequences of deflated expectations.
Good sports writing is usually about losers.
Mayor Rob Ford and a fake Bluejays hat
Text not in bold is from the “article.”
TORONTO - Mayor Rob Ford is ready for some Toronto Blue Jays baseball (so much that he couldn’t be bothered to actually wear a real baseball hat).
Ford was optimistic Tuesday about the Jays’ season and said he plans to be at Tuesday night’s sold out home opener against the Cleveland Indians. (Did he show up? Was he wearing a hat? Couldn’t they have photographed that instead of photoshopping a hat on an old photo?)
"I think we’re going to do very well if we stay healthy - that’s the most important aspect," Ford said during a press conference at City Hall. (Did he even say this? If you’re going to photoshop a hat, who knows if these quotes are even real).
"I encourage people to follow the Jays. I think we have a great starting five (pitchers)." (I bet he can’t even name one of them, let alone wear a hat. Does he know what a hat is? I’ve never seen him wear one).
Ford thinks the Jays will be in “good shape” this year with “a lot of power in our bats.” (Is there photoshop in the bats too?)
"I think (the Jays) are going to be just fine," he said. (They lost. Maybe they should have photoshopped the score?)
Rob Ford responds to transit-funding plan by pretending to vomit in front of reporters
“We can’t tax people, implement these new taxes to pay for transit. You want to pay for transit? I’ve got a good idea: it’s called a casino,” Ford said,
Because vomiting is always the diplomatic thing to do.
Rob Ford’s got a great idea here, but he hasn’t gone far enough. Why not pay for everything with the casino? Medical bills, city workers, highways; the works! To hell with this idea of people paying taxes for things that make their life better. Let’s just plunk a giant neon sad sack hotel every six blocks and tax people that way.
Pakistani women ‘break political barriers’
Two Pakistani women have made history by becoming the first women to run for parliament from the country’s tribal regions, highly conservative areas which are safe havens for militants.
"I made this decision to serve and help our sisters and mothers in the area. Our area of Bajur (tribal region) is poor and backward, we have problems in the health and education sectors - this is the reason I decided to take part in the election," she said.
That’s some fucking courage, right there.
WWE poll predicts Wrestlemania winners
Not a lot of pushes when you look at these poll results.
Corrections about a Wrestlemania argument
On today’s Wrestlespective podcast, Jason Mann and I talked about The Rock vs John Cena from Wrestlemania XXVIII. Sometime during the show, I said something that felt real in the moment but was both factually and emotionally untrue. In talking about how this year’s Rock vs Cena rematch being for higher stakes, I mentioned that WWE had never put on a rematch for higher stakes at Wrestlemania before.
If it was an off-hand comment, I’d brush it off. But I used this argument to further suggest that it would be against 28 years of history to put Rock vs Cena in the main event a second time in a row. I’m not usually wrong about these things, so I wanted to correct it.
The first time WWE did this was with Hogan and Andre. I brought them up in the podcast because I felt it helped my point: yes, they fought again one year later, but the second time was for much lower stakes, and was far more disappointing (nobody talks about their dueling-chairs finish. It’s all about the bodyslam at the Silverdome). But I completely forgot about Bret vs Yokozuna, which headlined both Wrestlemania IX and X, both for WWE Championship, with the second encounter delivering a far more emotionally satisfying conclusion.
I mentioned Rock vs Austin during the podcast, and I’ll still hold up that the 1999 versions of both characters were very different than their 2001 iterations (and even moreso in 2003). But facts are facts, and Wrestlemania XVII was certainly for higher (or at least, the same) stakes than at XV. And, if you watch XIX back knowing that it’s Austin’s last match, that one perhaps has the highest stakes of all three.
The “career” as a stake continues, as the Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels is another example of raised stakes one year to the next. Michaels put his career on the line in order to get the match in 2010, which made the second match far more important in the narrative (though I still favour the 2009 match). So, yeah, I was wrong all over the place.
The point I was trying to make was geared towards the idea of novelty having more currency in wrestling than status. “Once in a lifetime,” I suggested, means more than “for the WWE Championship.” This is essentially the raised stake of this narrative. And even if I’m wrong about the history aspect of my argument, I still think the overall argument holds up. I do think that the novelty of Cena vs Rock from 2012 was more special than the idea of them fighting over a championship (in a rematch). If they go with Rock vs Cena in the main event of Wrestlemania for a second year in a row, then they are in fact suggesting the opposite.
The Undertaker has only headlined three Wrestlemanias. The first was for the WWE Championship, the second for the World Championship, and the third for the career of Shawn Michaels. My argument against Rock vs Cena going on last has everything to do with witnessing the end of the streak. The next time Undertaker headlines Wrestlemania will be the last time we’ll ever see him.
"You can call me every rotten, stinking name under the sun, but I ain’t going to blink."
The Globe and Mail give us a nice rundown of gumption by Ralph Klein.
Intercontinental Title Tournament Finally Uncovered
WrestleMania 28: Rocky sucks wind
The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 28 is discussed by Jason Mann and K Sawyer Paul of International Object. They discuss looking at the saga and match with a fresh set of eyes one year later, Rock’s lack of character evolution, whether Cena could ever truly be a villain, making old moves new again, and much more.
I’ve been privileged to be Jason’s Wrestlemania main-event co-host for many great ones. We’ve paired up for the main events in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 2000, and 2006, and 2011. Having listened to this episode only a few times, I can safely say it’s our best outing yet.
Ralph Klein’s remarkable political life
Ralph Klein was a blunt but popular man who fiercely defended the interests of his home province of Alberta. His tenure as premier in four consecutive majority governments helped to reshape the province. Simply put, his impact on Alberta was huge and lasting.
I’m not here to praise or condemn Klein’s career. Even growing up an Alberta conservative, Klein came off as oafish, and his career largely created the mould from which our current Prime Minister was built. You can argue to death whether this has been good or bad for Canada.
Partially through his charisma, he was the first politician I’d ever heard of. For most people, it’s probably a US President or a Queen. For me, it was Ralph. Simply saying his first name in Canada means people know who you’re talking about, and that’s something. For better or worse, when I think of a politician, he’s who I think of.
Threats of annihilation normal for South Koreans
Just as sure as spring is coming, most seem to find it entirely normal that warnings of thermonuclear war, annihilation and utter devastation punctuate this, the season of joint U.S., South Korean military maneuvers.
Cry wolf enough times and people act accordingly.
Here’s how to take an entire continent offline
At its peak, CyberBunker clogged up a mind-boggling 300 gigabits per second of the Internet in what’s being called the biggest cyber-attack in history. But what if you could switch off 1.28 terabits—four times as much bandwidth—with nothing more high-tech than an axe?