Sunday, February 18, 2007

Nostalgia Wars!

If two beloved groups of characters fought, who would win? That question gets asked roughly billions of times a second on this very Internet. Well today, we at Life's Tough, But It's Fair present Nostalgia Wars! This is computer-simulated, hardcore, real-world combat between characters we love. Why? This is the Internet. I thought we went over this.

Now on to our inaugural edition of Nostalgia Wars! For our first battle royale, it's:
Star Wars vs. Peanuts

Luke Skywalker vs. Charlie Brown - Being from Wisconsin, I'm uniquely qualified to judge this first battle of the Nostalgia Wars. I'm the perfect arbitrator because I've got plenty of cheese for that whine! Good God, these two make Eeyore look like Katie Couric. Chuck's signature call is "Good Grief", while Luke cries big tears when you do something trivial like tell him his father is the devil and cut off his hand. Suck it up, weepy. Luke can use The Force, which is always a plus, but something tells me Charlie Brown has a shot in this one. I mean, he might really be able to win this thing! Charlie's running at Luke, running... running... he's gonna get him! He's- EEEAAARRRGHHH!!! And Lucy pulls the football away at the last minute. Come on, Luke may be an incestuous chump, but Charlie Brown is the ultimate loser. Winner: Luke

Han Solo vs. Linus - This is without question the closest battle in The Nostalgia Wars. Han is smooth, cool, fun, handsome and cocky. He's what every guy wants to be. Linus is sweet, wise, sensitive and even knows the true meaning of Christmas. Seriously, if you don't have love in your heart for Linus, please die soon by choking on your own vomit. The characters have plenty of differences, but there is at least one big similarity; take a closer look, namely at their gear. Han's blaster and Linus' blanket are really one and the same! Think about it, Han carries around the blaster essentially to make himself feel safe and is ridiculed for it by his friends (clumsy and random and all that). He kills Greedo, but that was at point blank range after Greedo shot first (ow). Sure, he wastes some Stormtroopers with it, but some two foot high teddy bears murdered Stormtroopers with a few thrown rocks in Return of the Jedi, so that hardly counts. The fact is, it's utterly useless against the important enemies they're up against (Darth and The Emperor). Yes, Han's blaster is actually his security blanket, and... and... dammit, I'm just stalling. I don't want to hurt poor Linus. I love the little guy so much. Please, Han... be gentle... Winner: Han Solo. And I die a little inside.

Obi Wan Kenobi vs. Spike - Both are unshaven, dusty, live in the desert and never get laid. Spike's defining move was getting Lucy (Lucy!) to find pity for him in her barren wasteland of a heart and nurse him back to health. That's ultimate power right there, broham. Obi Wan's defining move was getting cut in half with a light saber. Nice one. If you strike me down I'll become more ethereal, preachy and annoying than you can possibly imagine, and I can imagine quite a bit. Winner: Spike

Princess Leia vs. Sally - Both hanker after their brothers' best friends, but that's where the similarity ends. Leia is spunky, sassy and handy with a blaster, but let's cut to the chase and end this with three words: slave girl outfit. Game over. Winner: Leia

Chewbacca vs. Snoopy - The ultimate animal sidekicks go head to head! This is what it's all about right here. Let's break it down. Here's what they've got going for them:

-Flying doghouse with mounted machine guns. Now that's a dog's best friend
-Frequent naps
-Greatest dancer of all time
-Ambivalence to his master. He really only grudgingly tolerates Charlie Brown, and frankly I think if you took food out of the equation he'd just move his doghouse over to Linus' place and be done with it
-Joe Cool. Spectacular nickname bonus points right there

-Bowcaster: Crossbow that shoots lasers. Based on its name, it should really shoot bows, but that wouldn't be effective (except against Stormtroopers, who can be killed by anything up to and including a stiff breeze). It shoots blaster bolts just like everything else, so why does it have those bow things on the front? There's not a bow string between them... the weapon frankly makes zero sense. It shouldn't work, it's misnamed and it's ill-conceived... except for the fact that it's a freakin' crossbow that shoots lasers!! Wooo!!!
-Raps (as seen in earlier photo)
-Awesome bandolier thingie he never does anything with
-An unshakable bond with his bestest pal, Han
-Everything he says sounds just like Arnold Schwarzenegger gargling. Try it at home!

Pretty close, but bottom line, beagles don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that. I suggest a new strategy, Snoopy: let the Wookiee win. Winner: Chewbacca

Darth Vader vs. Lucy - One is the personification of absolute Evil. The other is Darth Vader. Winner: Lucy

R2D2 vs. Woodstock - R2D2 communicates via bleeps and bloops, while Woodstock's language is made up of hash marks. Not being able to understand what they're saying only makes it seem like they know more than they actually do, just like with whales, or women. Woodstock's got backup; there's a horde of those little yellow buggers out there waiting to swarm over you like adorable little locusts. But R2D2 is the James Bond of Robots. He can crack any lock, he's money with the ladies (plunging his little metal rod into every computer he can find, the suave devil. Afterwards the computers invariably flip sides and do whatever he wants), he's got electro-stunners, jet-boots... a long time ago in a galaxy far far away they spelled 007 R-2-D-2. Winner: R2D2

C3Po vs. Marcie - Awkward, irritating, bespectacled, and openly embracing alternative lifestyles. Yes, I'm describing both of them. If Marcie got her head cut off, at least she wouldn't make lame puns about it. Winner: Marcie

The Emperor vs. The Adults - At the end of Empire Strikes Back, I thought the Emperor was spectacularly impressive. In that film, he's a shadowy figure you can never quite get a clear gander at who pops in for a couple of minutes just to boss Darth Vader around. When my friends and I talked about the Emperor after that, it was always in hushed, reverential tones. Then Return of the Jedi came, and Lucas fully presented the Emperor as a sneering, two-dimensional caricature that only lacked a long, ridiculous mustache to twirl. I hear in an early draft of the screenplay there was a scene where he tied Princess Leia to some railroad tracks. Lesson: What you don't see can be made far more emotionally powerful by your imagination. Should have taken some notes during "Jaws", George. Meanwhile, Schultz gets it oh so right by never allowing the paying customers to see or even hear The Adults. Use your hate, Emperor! Fight back! Use your- on second thought, don't bother. Winner: The Adults

Lando Calrissian vs. Franklin- Perhaps the most uneven battle on the board. Lando hustles, bustles, blasts, shucks, jives and connives his way into our hearts, while Franklin does... something, I guess. Whatever he does, he does very quietly. Silently, even. Token Franklin taught the culturally unenlightened that even black people can be boring. Lando taught us that Colt .45 works every time. That's right, Franklin, this deal gets worse all the time. Winner: It's a Lando Landslide

Yoda vs. Peppermint Patty - Grizzled veterans, perhaps a little jaded and more than a little gender challenged. Patty is Marcie's mentor and Yoda obviously enjoys playing the Mr. Miyagi to Luke's Karate Kid, but who has more impact on the lives of their proteges? Luke learns The Force and all, but Yoda never taught him the hidden passion of sweet, forbidden lust like Patty did with Marcie. Or... did he? Oh, the image, get it out of my head! Yoda, get off of Luke! Get off!! Ugh. What happens in the swamp stays in the swamp, my young Padawan. Easy being green, it isn't. Lose, you will. : Winner: Peppermint Patty

Sandperson vs. Pigpen - Trick Question! Pigpen is a Sandperson.

Max Rebo (Jabba the Hutt's piano player) vs. Schroeder - Have you seen Max's hands up close? It's like he's trying to tickle the ivories with a plate of sausages. Meanwhile, Schroeder has been deftly coaxing masterpieces from his tiny, tinny piano since before he could walk. No comparison, the winner here is... no, wait a minute, we're talking about music, which means the least important thing in this battle is the actual music. Here in the Video Age (where the video is the most important thing about a band, yet no one ever actually sees the video) it all comes down to one thing: The Groupies. Max has scantily clad Twilek dancers shaking their money-makers (meaning, of course, those floppy, revolting grandma-boobs sprouting out of the sides of their heads) and occasionally getting gnawed on by rancor monsters. Talk about a crowd pleaser! On the other side, Schroeder has... Lucy. Ouch. It's the ultimate victory of style over substance. Roll over, Beethoven! Winner: Max Rebo

Young Anakin Skywalker vs. Rerun Van Pelt - Baby Rerun is the only Peanuts character who can actually get one over on Lucy on a semi-regular basis, which is beyond impressive. Anakin becomes Darth Vader, which is balls-awesome, but in the prequels we find out that people actually call him Annie. Annie? They call him Annie. Darth Vader. Annie. Dear God. I guess I would have turned to the dark side, too. Tough break, Annie, but you lose, sir. Good day, sir. Winner: Rerun

The Little Red Haired Girl vs. The Force - Both Luke and Charlie Brown desire to be one with these things, yet you never see them. The Force is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together. And if you study it for a lifetime, never love, do handstands in swamps and master it at its highest and most esoteric levels, you can use it to repetetively knock down goofy-looking robots in the Prequels. Uh, yeah, that was worth it. Wait, I can shoot lightning at people by using the Dark Side instead? Sold. Oh, and by the way, even though they've never shown her, I know who The Little Red Haired Girl actually is. It's close, but I'm going with the Force on this one. One of my guidelines is to never choose a woman over a Zen-like mystical doo-dad that keeps the universe from falling apart. Unless that woman is Angelina Jolie. Winner: The Force

That's it! It's over! The First cataclysmic battle in the Nostalgia Wars is finally complete.* I wish we could go on forever, believe me.** Time to total up the individual match-ups and see who won. Before we do, I assure you I took each one of these contests on their own merit and had no idea which side won until my wife and I tallied them up at the end (yes, I needed my wife's help to do simple math. Go to hell). I had no rooting interest as I love both of them equally***. And the winner, by an eight to six margin is...

And there we have it! I guess we've learned some pretty valuable lessons today, like franchises with "War" in the title are pretty good at war. Plus, never bet against a rapping Wookie.

Coming soon to Nostagia Wars... Scooby Doo vs. The Iliad!!!


*I was dying to simulate a battle involving Boba Fett. Didn't happen. There's just no equivalent in the Peanuts universe for a badass bounty hunter who rocks your world until he's killed off in the first ten minutes of the next film for the sake of a impossibly lame burp joke.

I would have also enjoyed a match-up between anyone and Salacious Crumb, the hideous muppet that shacks up with Jabba the Hutt and laughs mockingly at the failings of others. Personally, I think he should immediately be given a shot as guest-judge on American Idol.

**Bonus battles!!!

X-Wing vs. Snoopy's Doghouse - Snow cones ftw! Winner: Snoopy's Doghouse

Jar Jar Binks vs. Anything, And I Mean Anything At All - Winner: Hint: It's not Jar Jar

George Lucas' Massively Overinflated Ego Systematically making Star Wars Less Cool With Every Move He Makes vs. Charles Shultz's Astonishingly Unfunny Late-Career Comic Strips - Winner: No one. Everyone should die young.

***Actually, I was rooting a little harder for Peanuts.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Nostradamus Is My Bitch

Predicting (in fantasy #5) that Anna Nicole Smith would die soon of an overdose wasn't exactly betting the longest shot on the board in Vegas, but goddamn.