Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Charlie Brown Specials made in the 90s Which Were Never Aired

Every year, the end of October marks the beginning of Charlie Brown special season. Starting with1966's 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown', the networks trot out both the well-known specials like the award-winning 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' and lesser-known specials like 'Lucy must be traded, Charlie Brown' and 'He's A Bully, Charlie Brown', which are used to pad out the one-hour time slots. Specials like the too tied to the 80's 'It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown' are no longer shown, for obvious reasons.

There were actually several specials created during the 90s which were never aired, for reasons we'll discuss here. An incomplete list follows.

He's A Troll, Charlie Brown (1994) - When Charlie Brown discovers the newsgroup alt.support.childhood-hairloss, he at first is encouraged to find a community of people who can relate to his problems without being judgemental. Things quickly turn sour with the appearance of a troll on the newsgroup who mocks the 'bald blockheads'.

Why it was shelved: not enough people in focus groups were aware of Usenet at the time. Further, it was feared that the special might encourage people to behave irresponsibly on the new medium of the Internet.

It's A Black Thing, Charlie Brown, You Wouldn't Understand It (1991) - There's a new kid in school, the afrocentric 'Joe Militant' (voice: Professor Griff of Public Enemy). Franklin moves out of his peripheral token role and is the focus of this episode, as his self-esteem is boosted greatly by the study of the history and culture of his people.

Why it was shelved: Although it was considered well-done, apparently nobody involved in the production was aware of Professor Griff's infamous comment that 'Jews are responsible for the majority of the wickedness in the world' until shortly before it was to be aired.

I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Woman, Charlie Brown (1998) - Peppermint Patty, who had resigned herself to being a D- student for the rest of her life, suddenly finds both her grades and outlook on life improved when a new teacher takes a special interest in her. But is the teacher interested in more than just her mind?

Why it was shelved: This special was not shelved so much for the subject matter, as several child psychologists who got a chance to see it agreed it dealt with a delicate subject in a careful and appropriate manner, but rather was a victim of bad timing as Bill Clinton uttered the now-famous phrase at the beginning of the Lewinsky scandal.

No Blood For Oil, Charlie Brown (1991) - The Persian Gulf War has everybody in the Peanuts gang taking sides, with Linus and Sally in favor of peace, and Lucy and Violet rallying to 'Support the Troops', but wishy-washy Charlie Brown can't make up his mind as to where he stands.

Why it was shelved: In stark contrast to Gulf War II, Gulf War I was over quickly, and by the time production was completed, America was back to 'Homey Don't Play That' and other frivolous concerns.

It Just Isn't Music, Charlie Brown (1993) - Inspired by Riot Grrrl bands like Bratmobile and Bikini Kill, Lucy, Violet, and the Little Red-Haired Girl (who is never shown, but is the drummer in the group) form their own band, Dog Germs. This sends Schroeder spiraling into depression and bitterness, as Dog Germs becomes very popular, but his hard work and dedication to Beethoven are ignored.

Why it was shelved: It was generally felt that this episode was too dark, even in the angst-and-depression soaked world of Charlie Brown.

You're Worth a Million on Paper, Charlie Brown (1999) - The whole gang gets rich beyond their wildest dreams when they join Lucy's Internet Start-up, coldHardCash.com, a 'cash portal' which nobody really understands or can explain. The fact that nobody knows any programming languages is not a problem, as Linus is very good at getting venture capitalists to put money behind the idea. Meanwhile, Snoopy day-trades his way to such wealth that he is able to afford a doghouse that actually does fly.

Why it was shelved: Nobody really asked Charles Schulz what he thought of this idea until very late in production. It is said that the usually peaceful and patient Schulz broke a hockey stick over Bill Melendez's head on hearing about a special that reduced his creations to 'soul-less, greedy, materialistic twits'.

There were many other specials like this, reminding us that for every fully-realized creative effort, there are thousands of scrapped or failed efforts. So the moral is of this posting is: stay in school.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

2007: Favorite Shit and Least Favorite Shit

This is highly unorganized, as fits my current brain state. Has this ever happened to you? 'Brain Age' only for Nintendo DS. Train your brain in minutes a day!

Note, the shit mentioned within may not have been released or created in 2007, but rather was enjoyed or reviled in 2007.

Favorite Shit:

CD: Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass: I slept on Aes for far too long. I admit, I've listened to this a million times and still don't understand some of what he's saying, but he's got a gift for rhyme construction and a delivery that does the rhymes justice. El-P shows up a couple of times, and much as El-P has rhyming skills I'd rather hear him over one of Blockhead's beats (as on this album) than one of his solo gloom and doom beats.

CD: Oh No - Dr. No's Oxperiments: Madlib's little brother puts together instrumental hip-hop using psychadelic music from Turkey, India, and various other non US and UK locales.

CD: Os Mutantes Live at Barbicon 2006: Sergio and Arnaldo and a great band w/ Zelia Duncan filling in for Rita Lee, who apparently now is some sort of Oprah like figure in Brazil. It's nothing like the times I saw the Beach Boys with my parents in the 80s and just felt sad for everyone involved. This album is suffused with joy (except the Lucifer song).

CD: Madlib: Shades of Blue: re-mixes of jazz greats for people with short attention spans like myself. It actually did get me interested in the music of Andrew Hill and Horace Silver. Generally just extremely pleasant to listen too.

Film: No Country for Old Men: Depicts Texas as a bleak washed-out white trash hellhole, just like I always pictured it. The killer in the movie is an unforgettable character, extremely cold, yet someone Stephen Covey would probably
consider a Highly Effective Person

Food: Burritos at Laughing Planet: I hope this place stays around forever

Food: Esan Thai: Soon they'll have a liquor license, too

Food: Limestone Grill: Expensive, but that food is good. Chef Tad has mad skills in the kitchen.

Place: Limerick, Ireland: The IT industry is strong, Ireland is clearly doing well, the people there are great, and the natural beauty of the Cliffs of Moher is in easy driving distance.

Place: Reykjavik, Iceland: It's like no other place in the world. It's like the Moon. The Apollo guys even used it as a fill-in for the Moon. Also apparently the place rates highly for happy people.

Software: SQL Server 2005: The only Microsoft product I like anymore, except maybe Windows Server, which you obviously need to run this.

Software: ActiveState Python: Programming can be fun, without being reduced to some laughable VB-esque toy.

The Graphic Novels of Joe Sacco
The Graphic Novels of Chris Ware
The Graphic Novels of James Sturm
The Graphic Novel Section at the Monroe County Library

The Wonderlab - Aside from an occasional impedance mismatch in terms of what my daughter and I want to do there (for example, I maybe want to spend a lot longer at the table where you can create stop-motion animation than she does), this place is great fun for the youngsters.

Least Favorite Shit:

Dell Laptops - slow as fuck. clunky. stink of corporate genericity.

Dell Computers in General - I just see the logo and want to break something

Windows Technology Reality - a million possibilities for developers, but the admins will never let you roll it out b/c they don't have the staff to support it, or some bullshit like that. Choose LAMP, children! Choose the Amazon EC2 and S3 APIs!

Overhead paging systems - What the fuck is this, M*A*S*H? Only instead of just Radar O'Reilly, every asshole in the building with a voice, fingers, and a malignant sense of self-importance gets to get on the mic.

Arthritis - I really loved running, once.

Next time I remember which books I read this year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I especially like how he rhymed 'djlfjlkjdslkjirt' with 'Run-DMC shirt'

Still processing this one.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Your One-Stop Shop for Responses to "Atheism is a religion"

I have stolen these from a thread over at Doc Bushwell's:

Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

Atheism is a religion the way off is a television channel.

Claiming that atheism is a religion is like claiming that not smoking crack is a form of drug addiction.

Atheism is a religion the way good health is a disease.

Claiming that atheism is a religion is like claiming that an empty glass is a drink.

Atheism is a religion the way not breathing is an alternative lifestyle.

Claiming that atheism is a religion is like claiming that baldness is a hairstyle.

and the best one, of course, is:

Atheism is a religion the way not eating is a kind of sandwich.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I wish all Teddy Bears were named Muhammad

Back in 2006, the world didn't know how to act when a firestorm erupted over some cartoons in a right-wing Danish newspaper. Currently, people are freaking out in Sudan because a teacher allowed her students to name a Teddy Bear Muhammad.

In a show of solidarity w/ Ms. Gibbons (the teacher in question), and because I haven't posted a greasemonkey script for a while, below you will find a greasemonkey script that gives EVERY TEDDY BEAR ON THE WWW the name Muhammed. Above, a screenshot illustrates that there is a big community of TBNM collectors on eBay.

Christians are welcome to use this script to name all teddy bears on the World Wide Web Jesus, Rastafarians may use it to name all teddy bears Jah, and Satanists may use it to name all teddy bears Satan. Jews may use it to name teddy bears Moses or Sandy Koufax, jazz fans can use it to name all teddy bears 'Trane, the possibilities are endless, really.

The script:

// ==UserScript==
// @name TBNM
// @namespace none
// @description gives all teddy bears on the WWW the name 'Mohammed'
// @include *
// @version 1.0
// @homepage redacted
// ==/UserScript==
(function() {
var bad = [], good = [], modifiers = [];
// Terms are listed as comma separated couples of words, in the form
// "Censored Word": "replacement"
// [Place custom word list below]

"teddy bear(s?)(?! named M.hamm.d)":"Teddy Bear$1 Named Muhammad",

// [End of custom word list]
}, "gi");
// END CONFIGURATION (don't touch anything below, unless you know what you're doing...
function populate(replacements, flags) {
var word, modPos, mod;
for(var key in replacements) {
if((modPos = key.indexOf("/")) > -1) {
mod = key.substring(modPos + 1);
word = key.substring(0, modPos);
} else {
mod = "";
word = key;
bad.push(new RegExp(word, flags));

// this function does the replacements
function sanitize(s, noContext, notredirect) {

for (var j = 0; j < s =" s.replace(bad[j]," title =" sanitize(document.title," textnodes =" document.evaluate(" i =" 0;" node =" textnodes.snapshotItem(i);" data =" sanitize(node.data,">

More about Greasemonkey

You have to use Firefox for this to work. Sorry.