Short Attention Span Theater

E-e-e-e-e-eighties!

For those of you who read this site on a regular basis (and have still managed to maintain basic brain functionality), you may recognize the star of the following video clip. It’s Akbar Khan! He is the ace, and everyone else is just an ugly joker. (See that link that reads, “Read More”? Click it to see Akbar kick some motherfucking ass).

Sorry about having to explain clicking on the “Read More” link. Every time I refer to something from the first paragraph of a post, I feel the need to do this because of my mom. Some years back, I used to run a web site about the United States intelligence community. Yeah, no shit. A real, serious-like web site with facts, nouns, verbs, the whole magilla. I wanted my mom to read an article I’d written, so I sent her a link to the home page. We then had this exchange:

Me: Did you get that link?

Mom: I did!

Me: What did you think?

Mom: I didn’t get it.

Me: I thought you did!

Mom: No, I got the link. I didn’t understand the article.

Me: Well, what didn’t you understand?

Mom: Well, I wanted to read about the town in France. (The article was about allegations that the CIA mass dosed a French town with LSD in 1951).

Me: Ok…

Mom: Let me know when you write it.

Me: What are you talking about? I did write it.

Mom: Oh. I thought it was a real article.

Me: Mom, I culled information from 18 different sources, including recently declassified documents obtained from the federal government via the Freedom of Information Act. That was a real article. A 4,000 word article.

Mom: Well, I wanted to read more.

Me: You wanted to…? Wait a minute. Can you pull up that site again?

Mom: Just a minute…

(47 years later)

Mom: Ok

Me: Ok, see how there’s a link under the first paragraph of the article that reads, “Read More”?

Mom: Yes.

Me: So if you want to read more about Pont-Saint-Esprit, what do you think you should do?

Mom: Oh! I click to read more of the article?

Me: YES!

Mom: I don’t get it.

Me: (kills self)

So if I insulted you by explaining a link that is self-explanatory, sorry about that. Take it up with my mom. Ok, where was I? Oh, yes! Akbar Khan! Here’s Akbar in action again, defying the laws of physics and making people rue the day they decided to stock up on hand grenades:

You know what I love about the internet? Bolivian fisting porn. No, wait, that’s not right. Pay no attention to that. What I love about the internet is that it allows you to capture weird shit like that and share it with others. When I was a kid (oh boy, here we go…) we only had six channels on TV, no DVR, no way to record shows at all. If you saw something weird on TV, you’d bolt upright in your chair, shouting “Holy shit! Did you see that?!?” And then you’d get slapped upside the back of your head for swearing in front of your father.

The next day, you’d try to recreate what you’d seen for your friends, who would nod and smile politely before suggesting that you stop eating mushrooms for breakfast, because nine times out of ten what you were trying to retell made no sense whatsoever. This is a conversation I had with some friends of mine back in 1987:

Me: I was watching PBS last night, when I saw the weirdest fucking thing.

Friends: (roll eyes, nod politely)

Me: All of a sudden, the broadcast was interrupted by Max Headroom in front of a rotating panel of sheet metal.

Friends: (nod politely)

Me: He said a bunch of weird shit about Chuck Swirsky and Pepsi, he hummed the theme to Clutch Cargo, and then a nurse spanked his bare ass with a flyswatter!

Friends: Uh-huh. Hey, do you have any mushrooms left over?

Nothing I could say could convince my friends that I’d seen it. TV was an ethereal medium back then and if you saw something cool once, there was no guarantee that you’d ever see it again and no way to capture it as it played out in front of your eyeballs. Incidentally (and incredibly) the scene I described to my friends really did happen, and not just because I liked eating mushrooms. Here, check it out:

Ah, the magic of the internet.

I remember slamming beers with an old roommate, and semi-regular commenter Squatch, when this masterpiece came on TV:

It used to be that you had to get very lucky, or watch insane amounts of TV to be able to see funny or strange things like this. Now, you just head over to Youtube.

That’s cool in a way, but I worry that being able to quickly access short blasts of entertainment like that threatens to destroy my short term… Oh, look! It’s a disturbing look at an old dude playing a trombone!

17 Responses to “Short Attention Span Theater”

  1. Nico says:

    Either I’VE eaten mushrooms for breakfast, or the clip didn’t take.

    Also, we were much easier to amuse back when Max Headroom was around.

    • Greg says:

      Yeah, not sure what happened. WordPress ate my videos, which showed up just fine in the preview. I had to go back a couple of revision to rescue them.

      Plus, you had mushrooms for breakfast.

  2. Heather says:

    You have more bizarre personal info nuggets than anyone else I don’t know. I find them on your blog and in comments in various places. It’s very entertaining, actually.

    • Greg says:

      You mean the intelligence community thing?

      • Heather says:

        Yes! And the lucid dreaming thing. What IS that???

        • Greg says:

          I read in Omni magazine that you could teach yourself to control your dreams while they were in progress (lucid dreaming). You start doing this by asking yourself out loud, “Am I dreaming?” whenever you see something odd. I guess the idea is that you learn to become conscious of when you’re dreaming.

          Anyway, I did that (and some other exercises), and lo and behold I could have dreams where I could… Well, I couldn’t control them. But I could keep them from veering off in another direction. So if I was dreaming about playing soccer and the dream started being about something else, I could put the dream back on track.

          Other times, I could wake up, go back to sleep and pick up the dream where I left off.

          Kind of cool, but I never became able to sweep women off their feet, jump over buildings, or play the guitar like Jimmy Page.

          (I’ll email you the oddball thing that happened to me with my last nightmare.)

  3. Groovekitten says:

    Bless you for having the wherewithall to find these gems. Otherwise I’d have gone my entire life without seeing Kermit the Frog cover Talking Heads. I only thought I was living.

  4. LA Juice says:

    I’ve been reading this awesomely BIZARRE article in Wired Mag. about John McAfee (whose really fucked up)- and we watched Inglorious Basterds last night ([sic]- mis-spelled on purpoise). and this post oddly fits right in with all of that. It’s kind of messing with my head.

  5. Cannot get enough of Akbar Khan.

    But Max Headroom cutting into a classic Dr. Who to do … whatever that was? Well I would not have believed it either. And yet there it is.

    That is not Kermit.

    A trombone has never made me seasick before, but I have to hand it to that guy–he can play.

    I learn so much here.

  6. Vesta Vayne says:

    At least your mom has an excuse, she really didn’t know to click ‘read more’. My sister called me the other day and asked me to explain something I posted because she was too lazy to click the links.

  7. Reanna says:

    Youtube is the greatest thing to exist ever, except for beer.

    I just happened to be walking past the TV when this first aired (late ’80s), and it still makes me laugh. Kids in the Hall, “Running Faggot.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-TtfMLGnok

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