March 20, 2014

Star Wars Product Asks You To Search Your Feelings

I spotted this Star Wars product in Target the other day. I'm not totally sure what it is, but it was in the Bath section near shower caddies, so I'm guessing it's used to tote around the cleaning products that wash off your rebel scum.

I was drawn to it not just because of its enigmatic function, but because of the unusual choices for the artwork panels. All four sides feature familiar Star Wars' moments, but they're seen through the rare perspective of the villain. Han appears at both ends of his character spectrum--vulnerable and frozen in carbonite, and cocky in the Cantina. But is Boba Fett simply admiring his handiwork, or is the bounty hunter entranced by Han's inescapable sadness? Are Greedo's wide eyes a hint that he's about to act out of rage, or is he just reacting to a unexpected attack from the scheming scoundrel?

The Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker is pretty much the centerpiece of the entire series, so there's nothing new to explore there, but the Stormtrooper likely about to be gunned down by a pile of blaster-toting members of the rebel alliance? I feel for him. Just look at his frown!

This is truly the saddest basket or tote or whatever it is I've ever seen. I wonder how many tears it can carry.

March 12, 2014

Snow is Cumming...

Do u have the right tool for the blow job?

(Ribbed for Mother Nature's pleasure.)

March 11, 2014

Daniel Bryan Serpico T-Shirts

Daniel Bryan's anti-authority angle has made him vaguely resemble Frank Serpico more and more over the past 9 months in both look and attitude, but his new t-shirt is more on the nose than ever. The typography of the "YES Movement" certainly borrows from Shepard Fairey's Andre the Giant "OBEY" design (which is sort of meta in and of itself), and Bryan's off-camera gaze is reminiscent of both Fairey's Obama "HOPE" poster and the iconic image Che Guevara, but my brain always goes directly to how much it looks like Al Pacino from the Serpico movie poster. In reality, Bryan has dirty blonde hair, but the image on the shirt has super dark hair. It makes me wonder how many of the visual references are intentional choices by the WWE designers and how much are just coincidences. 

I suppose we'll find out at Wrestlemania XXX when Triple H is scheduled to shoot Bryan in the face and ruin his chance for a Main Event title shot. 

March 10, 2014

Totino's Pizza Fella

I'm sure most professional wrestlers these days stay away from carbs, but I still love that they chose Sheamus to promote this--he's the same color scheme as a pizza.

February 27, 2014

EXTREME MOTT'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


January 31, 2014

The $cales of Justice

In an effort to reuse the ten thousand paper and plastic bags we have sitting around, I recently filled one up from a place called White House Black Market. I grabbed the rope handle to pick up the bag and discovered that the full length of the handle combined with the full length of my arm was a wash--the bag sat motionless on the floor.

Now I've never been accused of being a tall guy, but I'm at least the height of the average woman, which I would presume is the target demographic of that store. Maybe they expect you to carry the bag on your arm/shoulder, but I would guess that most people buying something from that store already have a bag slung over their shoulder. I had a backpack on that day, so putting this bag over my shoulder wasn't a comfortable option.

I ended up looping the rope around my hand a few times just to keep the bag from dragging on the ground. Look at the ridiculous size of that rope! If it were a little shorter, I think all problems would be solved.


January 21, 2014

8 in One, 2/3 of a Dozen in the Other...

...and both at different prices!

At Home Depot, you can buy 8 furniture skates for $8.27.

Or, you can buy 4 and get 4 bonus skates for even more money!

The choice is yours.

January 3, 2014

If You Suspect It, Report It...

Less poetic, but still more efficient than "If You See Something, Say Something."

(Also, if you suspect this photo is sideways, report it to The Blogger mobile app team. I have rotated it in every direction, and that's the only way this thing will publish it.)

December 1, 2013

The RoBeast Wrestling Book Reviews: Vince Russo - Forgiven / Linda Hogan - Wrestling the Hulk

This past summer, I decided it was finally time to get a NYC library card. I don't think there was a specific book I wanted to read, but I knew that I wanted to consume more about the wrestling industry than television and video were able to feed me. Over the last year I'd gotten deep into wrestling again (I guess this afflicts me every twenty years) and, like every other wrestling mark, thought about what it would be like to work for a wrestling company in some capacity.

"Make sure you get the cross in the shot."
Depending on whose book you pick up, it can either inspire or discourage that path. Vince Russo's Forgiven was a good introduction into the world of both. I didn't watch much wrestling during Russo's tenures at the top of WWF and WCW (the mid-90s to the early 00s), but those days and his polarizing impact have become infamous in wrestling history. Forgiven covers Russo's life from birth through the WWF Attitude Era and his departure from the company as the Monday Night Wars are heating up.
I was most interested Russo's route from superfan to WWF employee, and he was very clear about how he managed to make that happen--he simply wrote a letter to Linda McMahon. It's mind-boggling that in 1992, writing a letter to the CEO of a company was a legitimate way to get a foot in their door, but Vince Russo's gamble paid off. I only wish a copy of it was published in the book.

From there he finds himself getting promotion after promotion, amassing huge paychecks and interesting anecdotes about various wrestlers, while becoming completely overwhelmed by his workload. If Russo's story is to be believed (and for the most part, I see no reason not to believe it), he was basically writing Raw and Smackdown by himself every week. This was an era where scripted promos were becoming the norm, so that was certainly a lot of content to produce for television. Combined with the travel, he was guaranteed to see his family as much as the talent--almost never. Vince McMahon seems to have no interest in work-life balance (a theme that reoccurs in many of these wrestling books) which is a wake-up call to Russo. The book ends as Russo quits the company in '99 and jumps ship to WCW, which is addressed in a second book.
The biggest problem I had with the book was Russo's "commentary track." The manuscript was written in 2000, but between then and its publishing in 2005, Russo had a spiritual reawakening. This resulted in a dramatic revision of the book, and the content that did remain is subject to renewed moral insight every few pages. It's a unique device, but unlike on a DVD, you can't turn it off. I eventually found myself skipping any italicized paragraphed he added because they came off like broken records. Most amounted to either "I was a real idiot when I wrote that" or "I shouldn't have taken credit for that because it was actually God's handiwork." I'm personally not religious and don't believe in a God being behind everything that happens, so it felt like a distraction. Even for a reader that is religious, wouldn't they have recognized "God's work" without being prompted? I respect what Russo wanted to do with this writing technique, but it would have been more effective as a disclaimer in the prologue or as a final chapter with an interesting twist that makes you want to reread the book a second time.

The other section I found annoying was his odd tirade against affirmative action. Russo has effectively established his voice by this point in the narrative, but this waste of space seems like an attempt at emulating Howard Stern. (And I have no problem with Howard Stern, but let his shtick stay in his books.) It also seemed particularly hypocritical for Russo to act like he can't understand the impact of racial discrimination/favoritism in the workplace when in several other places throughout the book, he points out examples of Italian employees sticking together.
Despite these problems, I did enjoy the book because it gave great insight on the inner workings of a process that a biography from a wrestler may not have uncovered. It definitely made me interested in reading his second book, Rope Opera (2010), where the industry lines between backstage and on-screen become completely blurred. Still, I can't help but think of what this book may have looked like in its original form. My guess is a train wreck with even more Stern worship, so Russo likely made the right decision in overhauling it. He also wisely decided to change the original title Welcome to Bizarroland, though isn't it a bit arrogant to assume that he's already been Forgiven?

Against the boxing ring ropes, I guess.
The next book I read was Linda Hogan's autobiography Wrestling the Hulk. Actually, it's hard to even call this a Linda Hogan autobiography because 95% of it is about Hulk Hogan. I mean, the book opens with "Terry Gene Bollea, AKA Wrestler Hulk Hogan--born in Tampa, Florida...". You can't really turn back once you're on that path, can you?

Wrestling the Hulk is basically a description of Linda and Hulk's marital problems bookended by Linda's early life and her post-divorce relationship. The writing is very simple and has lots of exclamation points! There are even some recipes thrown in as filler. My guess is that writing this was a rushed experiment in personal therapy for Linda that someone convinced her could make a few bucks if it was published. And that's good for her, but I just don't think any wrestling fans were dying for this book.
I'll admit that I'm curious to hear about what it's like to be a wrestler's wife--having to deal with the physical separation, the financial ups and down, competing with fans and groupies--but I'm not positive that this alone is enough to fill an entire book. There are plenty of women married to wrestlers that have been in the business themselves who would make interesting biographical subjects, and I'm sure there are many women married to wrestlers that have compelling lives independent of their husbands, but Linda does not seem to fit into either of those categories. She started a family with Hulk Hogan, and then had a reality show about being in a family with Hulk Hogan. It sounds harsh, but there doesn't seem to be much more to it.
Honestly I was never much of a fan of Hulk's, so I have no problem with seeing him skewered in the ring or in print, but nobody can deny that he was the first superstar to be the face of mainstream wrestling in the 80s. He had a unique and controversial career, yet the majority of Linda's insights revolve around cheating and lawyers. Maybe that was a huge part of their lives, but it's just not colorful enough to sustain a compelling story. Yes, The Real American comes across as a shady jerk, but that should come as a surprise to no one who occasionally reads gossip headlines or wrestling insider papers.
That said, I'm not positive who the audience is here. Hulk Hogan fans probably won't believe Linda's claims. Hulk Hogan haters will be disappointed by the lack of major revelations (if there were any, I didn't really notice). Linda Hogan probably has friends that will pick it up, but I can't imagine she has many fans of her own. So who is left? Celebrity divorcees looking for someone to relate to and wrestling completists with a library card, I guess. I'll likely read a book by the Hulkster at some point too and I'm sayin' my prayers that it focuses on his wrestling career and not the breakup of his marriage. 

November 29, 2013

November 13, 2013

The Hart Foundation - Homemade Halloween Costume

It's time for that What-I-Think-Might-Be-An-Official-Annual-Tradition here on BatR, the Halloween Costume Wrap-Up. This year, my wife and I dressed up as what was probably my favorite tag team from early-90s WWF, The Hart Foundation.

The Anvil & The Hitman - 1990

The RoBeast & The RoBeastress - 2013

Up until a month before Halloween, we had been on a completely different costume course. I won't share what it is (because we may actually put it into action someday), but it had an element to it that I didn't feel we were ready to construct. Fortunately, while watching a WWE DVD about Bret Hart called The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be, the brilliant idea struck. I realized that my wife had the perfect hair to be Bret "The Hitman" Hart and I had already started growing a beard and could probably pull off a Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart goatee in time.

After dressing as man for the past two Halloweens, the RoBeastress swore she would not make it a threepeat, but I assured her that she would not need to change her hair, wear any facial hair, or suppress any of her female parts. A few days went by of her not coming up with any better alternatives, so my plan leaped off of the drawing board--we would attempt to dress up as The Hart Foundation during their second WWF World Tag Team Championship reign (circa 1990/1991).

Dreaming of gold and a longer beard. 
eBay quickly provided me with vintage 90s Bret Hart wraparound sunglasses that were in great shape. Technically, the pink sunglasses were part of Bret's solo getup (silver would have been the tag team years), but I reasoned that just having the old WWF logo alone would be close enough. I went the other way with the Tag Team Championship Belts, opting for the more accurate color and faceplate at the expense of the wrong logo--the WWF "Scratch" design, which wasn't introduced until around the time Bret left the company. It was a minor detail, but it didn't bother me.

Our floor, the site my annual painting projects. 

The Hart Foundation had several variations in their color combination those days, but we agreed on the black top/pink bottom look. The RoBeastress procured the tights and tanktops and I set about adding the stripes, hearts, and nicknames. I had never worked with that type of paint before so I did my best with the Jacquard Textile Color Fabric paints that cosplay messageboards seemed to recommend. This is where I ran into some snags. First, every art supply store seemed to be out of black and had no idea when the next delivery would be. I eventually managed to track some down though. Next, the white paint I picked up was "Super Opaque" which is probably awesome for your average fabric, but spandex was a challenge. After already painting the stripes, I realized that the white cracked fairly easily once it went on, so I vowed to paint everything on thick and then not be tempted to try anything on until the minute it needed to be worn.

Bret's better boots.
As we got closer to Halloween, it also hit us that we were going to an outside party and we were probably going to freeze our asses off. We got some extra layers for under the pink spandex, but what would we do about the tops? Here, we had to go off script a bit and scraped up some black leather jackets to cover ourselves. Now, Bret did wear a black leather jacket for a while, and The Hitman and The Anvil occasionally rocked some pink jackets, so it wasn't too much of a stretch. I also put on a winter cap with a WWE logo on it (that was free with the aforementioned DVD). Our comfort level trumped accuracy that 45 degree night.

We finished the costume off with white socks over sneakers that I painted to look like boots. Painting your own feet is tough and hurts after a while, so I'd say the Bret Hart boots came out better. Oh, there were also knee and elbow pads which were just cut up socks.

Recreating a WWF Trading Card
My badass wife. 
My beard ended up shorter than I was hoping, so I had to go with an appliance. I wasn't satisfied with the color, but we had time and money restrictions, and made due. Although the fake beard kept trying to divide itself three ways, I was happier with the look than I thought I would be. The RoBeastress put enough baby oil in her hair that it smelled for days. Personally, I think her naturally wet hair was a closer representation of Bret's hairdo, but we couldn't keep wetting her head down every hour in the cold and risk pneumonia.

The parties we attended were the Saturday before actual Halloween (I had to work the night of the 31st) but we received a fair amount of hi-fives and recognition which made me happy. My wife as Bret definitely got more attention since he had the more successful solo career of the two wrestlers in the long run. Also, she looked better in tights than I did.

Now we have a quick little rundown of our costumes for future generations to enjoy:

Finally, I should also mention that I submitted our photo for the costume contest on Collegehumor. Despite entering in the first few hours of the contest being live and soon confirming my submission via email, our photo was never put up on the site for voting. Not that we would've won, but this seemed to happen to a lot of people, so it was very lame of them. /sourgrapes

October 31, 2013


KIX values your opinion, and Banksy wants General Mills to know that it KIX ASS!

I am positive that whoever designed this "KIX Assurance" knew exactly what they were doing. It could have easily been "The KIX Pledge" or "KIX Guarantee" but this prankster/subliminal marketing master went with something a bit more obscure that would make you spit out your cereal once you discovered it. If I were the boss at GA, I'd give that person a corner office and thank them for the KIX-Rated Adult Entertainment.

October 29, 2013




I'm not sure why they added that extra flap to the pamphlet, but it's going to confuse a lot of people looking for condiments. Particularly, Al.

September 5, 2013