Issue #476 May 2014
E.T. phone landfill
For years, I’ve been awed by the story of the E.T. video game.
If you’re an old fossil like me, you may remember E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Steven Spielberg’s 19!
blo"kbuster film that inspired a #eil $iamond song and showed it was possible to build a radio out of a Speak %
Spell. &o "ash in on the heartwarming movie’s unpre"edented su""ess, 'tari "ommissioned a video game for the
'tari !()) based on it. *ut the game was su"h an artisti" and "ommer"ial flop that unsold "opies of it were buried
in a #ew +e,i"o landfill.
-r were they. +any folks insisted that the burial of the game "artridges was /ust an urban legend.
I’d planned to write about this topi" here0but lo and behold, it’s in the news again as the landfill has
been e,"avated after more than 1) years.
'tari wrote the video game in only 2 weeks. 'bout 1.2 million "opies were sold. *ut people were
disappointed in the game. &he
gameplay was downright
idioti"0for it "onsisted of
nothing but the title "hara"ter
"olle"ting 1 parts for his Speak
% Spell phone. *la"k dots that
were supposed to be 3eese’s
4ie"es were s"attered
throughout, and 5lliot would
o""asionally bip along to
somehow revive him. I never
had this miserable game. I had
an 'tari ))0not a !())0and
my big "on"ern at the time was
my unfulfilled hope that they’d
"ome out with an 'tari ))
version of 4arse".
Indeedity6doodledy, the
E.T. game was so disappointing
that most "ustomers returned it
to the store. 7opies be"ame so
hard to sell that 8.7. 4enney’s
began trying to sell them for
less than 91. 's late as !)):,
they still "ouldn’t get rid of
them; &hat’s the e<uivalent of
the 3epubli"an 4arty today
trying to sell voters on tort
It gets worse. &he
game was su"h a dud that it
was blamed for singlehandedly
ruining the video game
industry. 8ust as Starcade was
taking off too; ?&he industry’s
revenues de"lined by 9@A in only ! years.B &he game has also been a""used of being the "ause of the downfall of
'tari itself. Cears later0in !))(0PC World, Electronic Gaming Monthly, and FHM all ranked E.T. as still the
worst video game ever. GamePro listed E.T. as one of the 2! most influential video games0but it was the only
one listed for its negative influen"e.
?&hen again, the E.T. era was also when the gaming biD was being flooded with flash6in6the6pan titles like
7hase &he 7hu"k Eagon0whi"h was finan"ed by the 4urina pet food "ompany and was based on the dog food
"ommer"ials where a dog "hased a miniature wagon. &his game has be"ome so rare that some "olle"tors now
"onsider it their Foly Grail.B
's a result of the E.T. game’s unsu""ess, 'tari was so humiliated that they had hundreds of thousands of
unsold "opies of the game buried in a landfill in 'lamogordo, #ew +e,i"o, in 191. &he games re<uired 1:
tra"tor6trailers, a""ording to "ity offi"ials. It was only then that the game suddenly be"ame popular. 'fter the
"artridges were buried, lo"al residents began s"avenging the landfill and finding "opies of the game for free. &his
prompted 'tari to pave it over with "on"rete in embarrassment.
#ot long ago, plans were announ"ed to e,"avate the fill0/ust to determine if "opies of the game were
indeed buried there. 7ool people rubbed their hands together in e,"itement; Hast month, the fill was dug up, and
all those E.T. "artridges were finally unearthed; It wasn’t /ust E.T. -ther unsold games were found too. Fowever,
they do not appear to be in operable "ondition. Ehat a shame.
In the meantime, some people still insist on issuing fi,es for the de"ades6old E.T. video game. 8ust last
year, a website announ"ed instru"tions for fi,ing apparent errors in the game.
Faving never owned this game, I was thinking maybe it wasn’t as bad as everyone said. +aybe it would
turn out to be one of these things that was a"tually pretty good in hindsight. Iind of like when you in"essantly
ridi"ule a singing group from years ago and then dig up their old re"ords again and de"ide they weren’t so bad
after all, "ompared to today’s offerings. *ut I’ve found several playings of the E.T. game on Cou&ube0and it’s
truly wret"hed. *oring as fu"k too.
5.&. really will want to phone home /ust to get away from this game.
Pac-Man phone landfill
-ld "opies of the E.T. video game weren’t the only artifa"ts un"overed at that #ew +e,i"o landfill. #o
'lso found were "opies of the 'tari !()) version of 4a"6+an.
'lthough 4a"6+an had an 'tari )) version too, I was always irritated by 'tari’s de"ision to produ"e so
many games for the already anti<uated !()) but not the )). *ut I had the last laugh when I dis"overed how
singularly poopy the !()) version of 4a"6+an was. Next Generation "alled 4a"6+an for the !()) the worst home
version of an ar"ade game ever.
&he !()) edition was su"h a letdown that it0like the E.T. game0was often returned to the store by
"onsumers. It was heavily altered from the popular ar"ade version. &he gremlins that "hased ol’ 4a"ky around the
s"reen fli"kered so badly that you "ould barely even play the game. &he game also in"luded only one gremlin at a
time. It was so bad that folks who owned it de"ided they’d rather keep spending their money playing the ar"ade
edition at the mall ?and waste gas driving 12 miles out of town ea"h timeB. I found a playing of it on Cou&ube, and
yes, it is that bad.
4eople had already been landing on the moon
for years, and this was the best 'tari "ould do.
*ut +r. Fooper liked it. ' &J "ommersh for
the 'tari !()) version of 4a"6+an featured Eill Hee,
best known as the a"tor who played +r. Fooper on
Sesame Street...
'pparently, someone wrote a new version of
4a"6+an for the !()) /ust a few years ago that plays
/ust fine. It’s on Cou&ube too, and it looks like the real
Fey, ne,t thing you know, they’ll "ome out
with some new stuff for your 6tra"k player;
'lso, the !()) version of $onkey Iong was
so "alamitous that the game’s legendary ape looked like a gingerbread man.
&hen there’s the '"tion 2! deba"le. '"tion 2! was the name of ! "artridges released by '"tive 5nterprises
for ! different home video game "onsoles in the early K9)s. 5a"h "artridge had 2! separate games0but Eikipedia
says every single game was =plagued by glit"hes.> Some of them even "rashed upon startup. $espite this, the
produ"t sold for a staggering 9199.
'"tive 5nterprises had a "ontest that offered a huge "ash priDe and s"holarship to peeps who "ould rea"h a
"ertain level on one of the games in"luded in '"tion 2!. *ut the game always "rashed before it even got to that
level. &here were also a""usations that some of the musi" in '"tion 2! was plagiariDed.
I’m gonna miss you, +r. Hooper.
Sunshine Superan
4art of humor is surprising yourself. I get some of my best laughs for myself by "oming up with funny
ideas on the spur of the moment.
&here is some spe"ulation as to why I have su"h an unusual and unpredi"table sense of humor. Some say
it’s "aused by an assortment of autoimmune disorders firing all at on"e. &hat is why I don’t seek treatment. I’d
rather be hilarious and feel like shit than be serious and not feel like shit. I’d be terrified of having it any other
way. 'lso, I’d rather be among those who think $ennis +iller sed to !e funny than among those who think he
still is. In other words, I’m psy"hologi"ally healthy despite my poor physi"al health.
' few months ago, I was pondering the above theory, when my thoughts wandered to my /ustifi"ation for
letting my medi"al issues go. +y mind turned to bathroom humor. I thought about the "omedy of dis"ussing
before a room full of people about how sometimes you sit on the toilet sideways when taking a dump0and how
when the turd lands, it looks like it’s suspended in midair, be"ause it’s long enough to link the sides of the bowl,
forming a bridge over the water.
Ehen I thought about that, I burst out laughing!
+ore re"ently, I thought of the hilarity of a person in a Superman mask and "ape blowing a bubble with
bubble gum and uploading it to
Cou&ube0and the ensuing
negative response by the viewing
#ow, if a person merely
bubbled0without wearing a mask
0it wouldn’t be nearly as funny.
4eople bubble all the time. 'nd
people wear Superman masks all
the time. *ut who has ever done
both simultaneously. I thought
about how when I was growing up,
we had a plasti" *atman mask that
was part of a Falloween "ostume. I
thought of how roll6on6the6floor
uproarious it would be if someone
had a Superman mask like this0
hopefully with a hole for the mouth
0and filmed themselves bubbling.
#ot bubbling repeatedly.
8ust on"e. ?Faving those
Ces 92 flashba"ks again;B &he
video would be only long enough
to show the person blowing a
bubble once.
It’s funny /ust by being so
&he bubbling itself isn’t
the funniest part though. &he real
hilarity arrives when a person
replies on Cou&ube. I envision a
person responding, =Fey idiot, you
wasted an anti<ue Superman mask.> &his observation is funny on several fronts. Lsually it’s funnier to say
something is =ruined> rather than =wasted>, but in this "ase, =ruined> is more suitable, so =wasted> is funnier.
=Easted> usually applies to something that "an be "ounted or <uantified, while =ruined> typi"ally applies to a
single ob/e"t. So saying it’s =wasted> is more of a surprise0enhan"ing the element of humor.
It’s also funny to des"ribe an item produ"ed in my lifetime as an =anti<ue.> It gives me a feeling of
maturity and wisdom.
*est all0now that I’ve des"ribed the s"enario well enough that it might as well have a"tually o""urred0
you don’t have to go through the trouble of putting on a Superman mask, blowing a bubble, and waiting around
for someone to post an angry response on Cou&ube. Saved you a lot of work;
Ehen I thought about the idea of the bubbling Superman and resulting Cou&ube posts, I laughed so hard
that it was a"tually painful.
*a"k to toilet humor; ' few days ago, I was in a "hat room when I suddenly de"lared, =It smells like
someone has soil in their pants.> &his too led to a helpless fit of guffawing.
I’m a funny guy.
I fou!h" an a#ulance #ill$ and "he a#ulance #ill los"
&hey threw in the towel;
Fast ba"kward 1 years ba"k to !)11. -n the very first night of -""upy 7in"innati, I "ame down with what
was thought at the time to be a gallstone atta"k. 'n ambulan"e "arted me up to 7hrist Fospital, where enough bile
to fill an o"ean liner was up"hu"ked.
I was later diagnosed with a ma/or gallbladder infe"tion. Sometime later, as I was re"overing, I re"eived a
hopelessly waterlogged ambulan"e
bill from the "ity of 7in"innati for
an astonishing 91,2!.). ?It
wasn’t waterlogged be"ause I put
it in the toilet. I think it was
raining that day.B
$o they think I’m made of
money. I sure as shit wasn’t going
to pay 91,2!.). I never
"onsented to pay that mu"h, and
the medi"s never told me it would
"ost that mu"h. I wrote an arti"le
in The Last Wo! detailing this
So I didn’t pay the bill0
and the matter was forgotten.
Lntil /ust a few months
ago. &hen0out of the blue0I re"eived a letter from some law firm in 3eynoldsburg, -hio, trying to "olle"t this
=debt.> I looked up the law firm on the Internet, and0to the surprise of nobody but nobody0the firm is well6
"onne"ted with -hio’s 3epubli"an ma"hine. &he lawyer who runs it has served on state boards and all. &hey’re
big G-4 donors. It figures that a muni"ipal government would hire a 3epubli"an law firm to try to "olle"t
=debts>, be"ause it’s all part of the slimy 3epubli"an web of power and greed.
It’s interesting that I started to be targeted after the matter had fallen off the radar for so long. Eas I
targeted be"ause of my -""upy involvement and my "riti"ism of the fas"ist -hio Hiberty 7oalition. Ces. -f
"ourse I was. #o <uestion about it. &he 3epubli"ans use debt "olle"tors to harass people for their politi"al views.
&hey are vindi"tive.
I "ould have followed the advi"e of the =/ust ignore them> "rowd by paying off the entire =debt> as
<ui"kly and as "heerfully as possible. *ut the =ignore> folks don’t have a great tra"k re"ord at bringing about
desirable results0as I’ve known for 1) years0so that was not an option. Instead I fought ba"k;
I disputed the =debt> in letters to the "ity and the law firm.
Eelp, it didn’t take mu"h for &eam &yranny to ba"k down. ' few days ago0I delayed this ish /ust in "ase
there were any new developments in this saga0I re"eived a letter from the "ity. It said that the bill would be
1))A dis"ounted. 7ompletely. Further details that /ustify this are between me and my physi"ian. +y do"tor has a
medi"al li"ense. &o the best of my knowledge, the lawyers on this "ase do not.
&he "ity of 7in"innati and a right6wing law firm s<uandered a lot of effort, a lot of paper, and a lot of
postage stamps trying to "olle"t an ambulan"e bill0and failing miserably on"e I fought ba"k and they finally
realiDed they had no "ase. If I had been billed only a very small amount, I probably would have paid it long ago.
*ut nope, they got greedy0and they got Dero in return. &his e,ample of right6wing fis"al irresponsibility by
7in"innati "ity government ranks up there with its pursuit of the bogus sidewalk "halk "ase a "ouple years ago
that netted only a 9!9 fine ?as opposed to the 16figure sum they longed forB. *ut this time they got nothing. &hey
played hardball and unambiguously lost.
7ase "losed.
%opu"er con"inues "o #rea&
Cou know what makes me sneeDe. &he Eindows @ ba"kup and restore feature. +y "omputer is plumb
busted, and it’s not getting any better thanks to this unseemly e,er"ise.
Firstly, this feature is very slow to open. +aybe it’s /ust be"ause the "omputer is more than a week old.
'nd it’s ineffi"ient. "ncredi!ly ineffi"ient; I "an understand why it might take a long time if you’re /ust
ba"king up your "omputer for the first time. *ut0on a random day every ! months or so0the Eindows ba"kup
feature will a"t like it’s never been ba"ked up before and will ba"k up everything all over again. 5ven though it
doesn’t need to. &here are no settings to "hange this.
&his takes a good ( hours. 'nd it wears out both your hard drive and your flash drive that "ontains the
ba"kup. Sometimes it "an’t even be finished, be"ause the old ba"kups aren’t deleted, and the flash drive be"omes
full in the attempt to have everything ba"ked up again. Fowever, mu"h of this spa"e is used by files being ba"ked
up that don’t need it0like "ertain temporary files that your Internet browser a""esses.
If a virus is dete"ted0i.e., often0the ba"kup pro"ess stops. &his always happens right at a point that’s
hours into the pro"ess0but right before anything is a"tually ba"ked up. Sin"e the Eindows virus dete"tion
software is so ineffe"tive, it doesn’t delete the virus, and you have to manually delete it. 'nd sometimes you don’t
even dis"over it until at least a few days later. In the meantime, no ba"kups are made0even for files that really
need it0be"ause the pro"ess stops when the virus is found.
'nd if the power goes out while ba"kups are being made, not only does it risk shorting out your "omputer
or "orrupting the flash drive, but the hours6long pro"ess has to start all over again. 'nd lo; &he power went out
here during the most re"ent full ba"kup. &he power goes out here a lot. It’s "alled an unregulated monopoly.
Hong story shortM Ehen the full ba"kup is being made, you have to sit there and babysit your "omputer for
hours on end. Hike it’s a big baby. *e"ause +i"rosoft won’t "lean out its undershorts. 4lus, it slows down all your
other programs0be"ause the "omputer is more than a few hours old.
' few days ago, the ba"kup utility announ"ed that it failed to make a shadow "opy for its regular, shorter
ba"kup session that day0so files that needed to be ba"ked up weren’t ba"ked up. #o reason was given. It gave
me the option of attempting the ba"kup again0but when I tried it, it started doing a full ba"kup, even though it
had only been a few days sin"e the previous one. I didn’t even dis"over the initial failure until the evening after it
happened, sin"e it doesn’t tell you right away. I was /ust lu"ky that I "li"ked on an i"on I almost never "li"k on
and found out about it then.
If you don’t understand why I "onsider the Eindows @ ba"kup feature to be ineffi"ient and "umbersome,
ask an adult.
Idio" ruins fence
3emember those heady, efferves"ent days of the late K9)s when the "ity of *ellevue, Ientu"ky0where
this fanDine of freedom had /ust relo"ated0was being overrun by "riminal imps.
&he K9)s were a de"ade of moral "risis in 'meri"a. $i"tator George F.E. *ush was one of the leading
thugtagonists0based on his 199! pardons of traitors involved in the Iran67ontra s"andal. &hese pardons taught an
atro"ious lesson to 'meri"a’s "hildren. It taught that they "ould break so"iety’s basi" standards of ethi"al "ondu"t
and get away with it. *ush’s pardons were signifi"antly more damaging to 'meri"a’s fiber than even *ill
7linton’s many disappointments ?whi"h are still being rehashed in the press, even though *ush’s s"andals have
been forgottenB. ?It’s also ironi" that *ush was =ele"ted> after a""using +i"hael $ukakis of being soft on "rime0
then *ush pardons some of the biggest "riminals in the nation.B
#o <uestion that the nation’s moral nausea of the era fueled the "riminal behavior we en"ountered.
&here’s no eviden"e that this pattern of thuggery affli"ted *ellevue before then0and the "rime wave petered out
/ust as <ui"kly as it "ame. +aybe it /ust "ouldn’t naturally be sustained, or maybe authorities did what I would
have done0thrown the perps in /ail. *ut I’d lost faith in the system a long time before, so I’m not very "onfident
in the latter.
#ow a lo"al resident has reported on *ellevue’s latest "rime "raDe0"hildish vandalism; She has posted
on the Internet detailed photos of the graffiti that has utterly ruinated her brand new wooden fen"e and stone wall.
'nd the vandalism looks ridiclos. Fere’s an artist’s appro,imation of what it looks like...
'wfully mature;
It reminds me of the Goo# Tales story about +ark +udfort drawing pi"tures on the pages of a book and
on the walls ?whi"h had to be painted over by an envelopeheadB.
&he vandalism that plagued the fen"e is very real. Imagine installing a new fen"e and then noti"ing
shortly thereafter that someone had drawn something so idioti" on it. 3eality "an sometimes be stranger than
Eill this "riminal damaging "ontinue. Ee "an be "onsoled by the fa"t that it’s nowhere near as bad as
*ellevue’s brief "rime wave of over 12 years ago. 5ven that wasn’t approa"hing the same league as the
=7arwat"h;> era. ?I "an always bring ba"k that feature if you like.B
'en"uc&y Missed (ppor"uni"y %oali"ion
$%ll " see is missed o##ortnity...& 'Hall ( )ates
I get mail.
'lmost every day, I re"eive "ampaign mail from some far6right outfit "alled the Ientu"ky -pportunity
7oalition praising +it"h +"7onnell and 3and 4aul. &he sli"k, oversiDed mailings usually feature a full6"olor
photo of the pair of &ea 4arty senators’ stupid fa"es.
I got tired of re"eiving this free firewood in the mail ea"h day. So I went on the Ientu"ky -pportunity
7oalition’s Fa"ebook page and publi"ly posted the following...
)*ou should renae yoursel+es "o "he 'en"uc&y ,un& Mail %oali"ion. I really -ould
apprecia"e i" if you.d s"op ailin! e your lyin! propa!anda./
#ow the world knows of their wastage.
7opyright N !)1:. 'll rights reserved.