Monday, June 27, 2011

No Time! There's Never Any Time!

I'm a busy man. Between watching Netflix instant viewing, eating, watching the Netflix movies that come in the mail, sleeping, rating movies on Netflix and occasionally talking to my wife and kids, it's hard for me to find a spare moment.

Because of my busy schedule, I don't have all the time in the world to get dressed, make food or be organized, so imagine my utter joy when I saw this video sent in by, alert reader, Amber. Watch and learn how to do a few common household tasks faster! Don't worry, this video is only five minutes long, so it won't take up too much of your time.

Boom! You just got educated!

Out of the twelve segments in this video, I've only tried five (egg, soda, banana, shirt removal, ketchup), but they have been fairly effective. The egg one takes some effort and practice, and the soda one will make your pop cans taste like salt if you don't rinse them off, but I'm excited to try the other seven.

What about you, faithful readers? Have you tried any of these before? Will you try any of these now? If and when you do, I want to know about it. I challenge you to try these innovative methods and let me know how they work out for you.

I look forward to seeing your reports.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Have you ever been caught doing something embarrassing? You know, like cheating on your diet, picking your nose or watching Twilight? And then you tried to cover it up or explain it away? If so, then you'll know exactly how this cat feels:

This video, sent in by, alert reader, Mitch, perfectly encapsulates a guilty conscience and an attempted cover up ("BARK! BARK! Bark. . .bark. . . . . .meow?").

I've always thought that cats were much smarter than they let on. This cat obviously learned Canineish just to mess with Fido next door, but only took the online course while his owner was away, so as not to raise suspicions. This way the human race would not learn of the extreme intelligence of their feline "friends" and therefore never expect the impending invasion/overthrow. But then he got cocky and careless and slipped up. . .big time!

We're on to you, cats. . .we're on to you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cat Death vs. Dog Death in Film

Death is an odd thing to portray in film. Depending on who is getting killed, the audience's reaction could vary drastically. For example, if you're killing off a middle-aged male in an action film, you're probably not going to evoke any tears from your viewers. If this middle-aged male is wearing a uniform, visor or mask, your audience might not even blink. However, there is one type of death in a film that will almost always create some sort of reaction - animal deaths.

If you injure, maim, harm or kill a pet-like animal in a film, you will definitely get an emotional response. But during my many years of movie watching, I've noticed an odd trend regarding animal fatalities in film. Generally speaking, if a dog is killed in a movie, it is done for dramatic effect and intended to make the audience sad. On the other hand, when a cat is killed in a movie, it is usually done for comedic effect and intended to make the crowd laugh. Why is this? I don't know. But let me show you a few examples to prove my point.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that no animals were harmed in the making of these films. . .or this post. The author of this blog loves both cats and dogs. The Former 786 also does not condone the injury or  senseless killing of pets or pet-like animals, but he may have laughed a couple times when Daffy Duck ran into a tree or Wile E. Coyote fell off of a cliff. He also may have wished for Wile E. Coyote to catch the Road Runner at times, or for Tweety Bird to actually get eaten by Sylvester the Cat, but I digress -- that's a different story for a different post.

Old Yeller
We'll start off with one of the most obvious examples of a dog's death bringing about tears. For those of you who don't know the story of Old Yeller, you probably already know what's going to happen based on the title of this post, but, just in case ***********SPOILER ALERT*********** Old Yeller gets a case of rabies and they have to put him down in the end. This is no laughing matter. ***********END OF SPOILER*********** Now, this example may be lost on you younger readers out there, but the mere mention of the name Old Yeller is still enough to make my father weep openly.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Now let's contrast that tear-jerking scene from a classic family film with a scene from this classic comedy. The Griswolds have everyone over for their family Christmas dinner and Aunt Bethany brings her cat to the party. . .wrapped up in a present. This would be distressing if it wasn't so hilarious. They let the cat out, and it proceeds to wander the house. It eventually decides to chew on some Christmas tree wires and, luckily, pulls them out of the wall socket in the process. Clark Griswold notices his Christmas tree isn't lit up anymore and so he decides to plug them back in. ZAP! As Cousin Eddie put it, "If that cat had nine lives it sure used 'em all." There are no tears shed for this cat, but there is some lamentation about the ruined armchair it was under when it got fried.

"But, The Former 786," you say "Christmas Vacation is a comedy, so of course this feline's demise was done for laughs." Well, that's a good point, faithful readers, but let me show you that it doesn't matter what genre of film we use, the results seem to be the same.

Turner & Hooch
There are many mismatched buddy cop movies out there, but Turner & Hooch is one of the best. Before Tom Hanks made a living making people cry, he was a famous for making audiences laugh. In this film he is an anal-retentive by-the-book cop who is forced to partner with a slobbery canine who was a witness to his owner's murder - the 80s were awesome, weren't they? Anyway ***********SPOILER ALERT*********** Hooch is shot by the bad guy at the end of this light-hearted comedy and he, sadly, dies. They try and make up for it by showing us little Hooch puppy offspring, but it's too little too late. ***********END OF SPOILER*********** It's a very sad moment in an otherwide, hilarious movie.

The Boondock Saints
Boondock Saints is not a comedy. It's a cult-classic action film about two brothers who become vigilantes. During one part of the movie the brothers and their friend, Rocco, are sitting at a table full of liquor and weapons. Rocco's girlfriend's cat is also lying on the table. You can probably see where this is going. At one point Rocco is getting very worked up and he slams his fists on the table, triggering the shotgun and creating a very unpleasant, though accidental mess involving the feline. It's done for humorous shock value, and Rocco has a fairly cathartic moment with his girlfriend when he confesses what happened to her cat.

 Now, let's take a look at two movies in roughly the same genre: I Am Legend and Drag Me to Hell. These two thrillers both involve the death of an animal, but the dog death is, once again, done to tug on your heartstrings where the cat death is meant to tickle your funny bone.

I Am Legend
This movie stars ***********SPOILER ALERT*********** Will Smith ***********END OF SPOILER*********** as a lone man in a decimated city full of CGI creatures. His only companion is a dog named Sam. Sam and he have a very close relationship, and Sam even sacrifices his own well-being by defending Will Smith against the cartoon creatures. Since Sam has been bitten by the animated reanimated, Will Smith has to put him down. It's Old Yeller all over again. If you don't cry at this moment in the film, you have no heart.

Drag Me To Hell
What would you do to get a gypsy's curse off of you? In Christine Brown's case, practically anything. Poor Christine tries a number of different ways to prevent her soul from being dragged down to hell, but nothing seems to work. Someone mentions to her that sacrificing her cat might do the trick, and she resists at first, but eventually she gives in. When she pulls the knife out of the holder and says, "Here, kitty, kitty!" the audience I was watching it with erupted in nervous laughter.

So why is this? Why is it that cat deaths don't have the same emotional effect as dog deaths in movies? I don't know. Maybe it's because we were raised on cartoons where cats were normally the bad guys. Maybe it's because dogs have been reported to stand guard by their owners after they've died, whereas cats are rumored to eat the deceased. Regardless, there seems to be an odd pattern in movies where cat deaths are done primarily for laughs and dog deaths are done for tears.

However, I guess cats get to have the last laugh -- after all, cats rule the internet.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Just What I Didn't Need

I don't mean to get personal, but my bank PIN is 5653 and the last four digits of my Social Security number are 5437. Also, this past week was one of those times where I was feeling a little inferior. I thought a funny video might cheer me up, as it normally does, but then I made the mistake of watching the following video sent in by, alert reader, Brad.

Good heavens! When I go ice skating I have to use the wall to stop myself! And this chimp is doing backflips? Definitely not an ego boost.

What are they going to do next? Teach robots to juggle?

Oh come on!!!!