Tag Archives: lame

Pogo sticks are lame

When I was a little kid, I wanted a pogo stick so bad, bad enough that one year I got one for Christmas. I can’t describe to you my disappointment when I finally stepped on to jump up and down. In my little kid head, I imagined it to be like this magic bouncing stick, that all I would have to do was hold on as this tool took me on a wild up and down bouncy bounce ride.

pogo stick

But pogo sticks aren’t really bouncy. They’re springy. It takes a lot of muscle and weight to slam that thing down hard enough on the ground so that it’ll launch you even an inch or two upward. I think if I had to blame someone for my misconception, yes, I’ll take part of the blame, but there was also this popular toy when I was in first or second grade, the Pogo Ball, that I feel deserves most of the credit for leading me to put any hope of fun into a boring pogo stick.

The Pogo Ball was essentially a volleyball sized thick rubber ball with a little circular platform wrapped around the middle. Imagine what the planet Saturn looks like, and that’s basically the shape of the Pogo Ball. I had one of those as a little kid, and while I didn’t really have the motor skills necessary to actually bounce around, that was the idea behind this toy. All of the commercials showcased kids my age flying around town, dramatic leap after ridiculous bounce.

I couldn’t get it right, and so I assumed that it was because the Pogo Ball was a poor man’s pogo stick. All I needed were handles, and I’d be able pogo with the best of them. But that Christmas morning, one look at the pogo stick had me realizing that I’d been fooling myself all along. The dead giveaway was the solid bottom, the fist shaped piece of hard black rubber on which ground would meet stick.

How was this thing supposed to bounce? I’d been picturing some sort of an ultra bouncy inflatable ball, or maybe something like flubber. And again, those springs, it’s so hard to get that thing to want to go.

A couple of years ago I was at my parents’ house and, for some reason or another, I wound up snooping around the garage. Hanging on the wall was the old pogo stick. I figured, I’ve got the weight now that my ten-year-old self lacked, let’s see if I can’t get this going. And while I did manage to successfully pogo, it wasn’t all that fun. I mean, maybe it would have been fun if I could have made this thing work twenty years ago, but now, I don’t know.

I guess bouncing up and down isn’t as fun as it used to be. I always used to love jumping on trampolines. One of my friends had one when I was high school, and we’d spend hours catapulting ourselves as high as we could, catching each other’s bounces, trying not to break our arms on the sides. But ten years later I remember being at someone’s house, also with a trampoline, and the up and down motion made me instantly uncomfortable. It wasn’t nausea, and it wasn’t a headache, not really. I don’t know how to describe it other than I felt like I was losing control of my eyes, like they were slowly drifting out of orbit, that if I didn’t stop bouncing, they’d roll up to the inside of my head or cross permanently. It was just really disorienting I guess.

And it was the same with my adult pogo stick experience. Sure, I was going up and down, but I couldn’t really stay focused, I kept pogoing in a circle that I couldn’t control. The springs were really, really loud, and the nails-on-a-chalkboard screech only added to that vertigo effect.

I’m still blaming the Pogo Ball. If it wasn’t for that cheap piece of crap, I would have never got it in my head that pogo sticking was something worth wanting to do. Man, I think about a lot of the popular toys from my childhood, all of them stupid pieces of plastic that never really delivered on the advertised experience. Skip-it was basically a wheel attached to your leg by a piece of nylon string. What a piece of junk. It never even stayed on the ground, so the counter never counted anything. Skip-it. They should have called it Don’t-buy-it.

Movie Review: The Internship

What happens when you make a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy? You get something that resembles the original, kind of, but there’s a definite degradation of quality. You look at your end result, say to yourself, well, everything is where it should be, but it just doesn’t look right. That about sums up The Internship, the wacky summer comedy movie starring two of America’s favorite funny actors, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.

The Internship

We’ve all seen the trailers, there’s nothing that I could possibly spoil for you, even if I wrote out the entire plot of the movie. It’s derivative comedy at its most basic. It’s two guys that don’t know anything about computers that wind up at Google as interns, competing for a handful of full-time jobs.

Get it? Because they’re old. Right? They’re so old. That’s the joke. They keep telling us over and over. “But you guys are so old!” And so Vince Vaughn has a flip phone. And they don’t know how to use computers. It’s like, come on, even my grandfather knows how to use a computer. This trope might have been slightly more believable maybe ten years ago, but by now it’s growing ever more unlikely that there exist a couple of forty year olds living in California that are really this inept in modern technology.

The movie actually starts out funny enough. There are a couple of ridiculous back-and-forths that evoke those old feelings of seeing these two guys in a movie and not automatically assuming that it’s going to suck. But they play their trump card way too early, a signature over-the-top cameo by Will Ferrell, and after that’s come and gone, the movie limps toward the finish line, realizes that it’s way too far away, and decides, whatever, they’ve already paid for the tickets, let’s just call it a day.

These sort-of comedy movies always follow such a formulaic approach to story telling. Characters find themselves in unlikely scenarios, they decide to give it their all, after one or two comical false starts, they rally together, work really hard, and start turning some heads. Of course there’s a bad guy, and of course he winds up getting under the good guys’ skin. There’s self-doubt. Vince Vaughn winds up quitting. But of course he comes back. And of course they rally again just in time.

It was the same in Dodge Ball. It was the same in Old School. It was the same in Wedding Crashers. It’s just over and over and over and over again. Throw in some really cheesy romance. Sprinkle in a scene where everybody goes out to a strip club. I’m sitting there in the theater, not really laughing at all, and I’m just thinking, this is so boring. I can’t believe I’m sitting in this seat being spoon fed the same completely unimaginative garbage summer after summer. Who’s making the money at the end of this gravy train?

To make things even lamer, it’s all a big Google commercial. They talk about Gmail and there’s the Android logo everywhere. Nobody has an iPhone. There’s an almost imperceptible walk-on role by one of the two Google cofounders. When they’re not making funny faces or acting out premature ejaculation jokes, they’re having serious conversations about Google connecting people to people, people to information, making the world a better place.

What else? I’m seriously out of stuff to say about this movie. It was so boring. I can’t believe I actually spent money to go see it. This is something that normally I’d only ever watch if I were on a really long vacation with my entire extended family, and during one of those weird in-between points, when everybody’s asleep or waiting for dinner, and we’re all just kind of hanging around the one TV wherever we’re at, and TBS is playing a “very funny!” movie, and we’re all like, The Internship, huh, we all forgot that this movie ever even came out. And we watch it, it’s terrible, but nobody makes a move to turn it off, and everybody’s a little bit more tired having had to sit through such unfunny two hours of their life.

Man, I’m so tired. I hate having to so thoroughly bash something. But what a joke. An unfunny joke. There’s nothing else to say. I’m really sad and tired now.