Category: pop culture

‘Elon Musk Killed My Cats,’ Britney Spears’ Sister Claims

Coronavirus. Unprecedented income inequality. Instability. Millions of religious minorities wasting away in Chinese government concentration camps.

The world is a mess right now and sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start, but thankfully Jamie Lynn Spears — unintelligible mumbler, erstwhile country music singer and younger sister of Britney — is here to set our priorities straight.

“The Tesla is a secret cat killer, and it’s a problem that we really gotta fix,” a purple-haired Spears told her followers in a video she uploaded to Instagram a few days ago.

“We have now lost — I don’t want to tell you how many cats — because they don’t hear the Tesla crank and unfortunate things happen and it’s really devastating and tragic for everyone involved,” Spears said.

Perfectly understandable. I mean, who doesn’t run over a cat or six while backing out of the driveway? And who wants to be bothered with actually caring for cats and keeping them indoors when you can tell your 2.1 million Instagram followers that a corporation is at fault?

“Like, one of those noises”

Thankfully, Jamie Lynn has a solution, which she also shared with her followers.

“So since the Tesla is so quiet, maybe you could, like, make one of those noises that, like, bother cat or animal ears when it cranks up, so that, like, they know something’s happening and they aren’t caught off guard, and things don’t end in a very tragic way,” Spears continued, indicating she’s spent a lot of time ruminating on this issue. “So, Elon Musk, let’s figure this out, B, because you owe me a couple of cats.”

Like other celebrities, Spears was apparently expecting to air her thoughts and have the entire internet break into a slow clap and say “You’re so right! Hooray for you!” And like other celebrities, Spears deleted the video and furiously backpedaled when people started questioning her claims.

Jamie Lynn Spears at Walmart
Jamie Lynn Spears, net worth $6 million, sister of Britney Spears (net worth $59 million), shopping at Walmart.

The first thing people wanted to know was: Just how many cats did Jamie Lynn lose to Evil Elon Musk and the Teslarizer?

Was it 1) “I don’t want to tell you how many cats” as Spears first indicated, 2) “A couple of cats” as Spears claimed in a follow-up video, or 3) Zero cats, as Spears claimed in a follow-up post to her follow-up video?

After looking into the camera and flatly declaring that Elon Musk owes her “a couple cats,” as if they’re replaceable products, Spears wrote that she “did not run over any cats” and Tesla is “not to be blamed.”

Let’s collab, yo. I got mad ideas!

“I was only making a suggestion about something I think would be extremely helpful, and the geniuses at @Teslamotors are the best to go to for said issue,” she concluded, suggesting Tesla should contact her to “collaborate” on a solution.

We’re sure the industry-disrupting engineers and other geniuses working for Tesla would have been thrilled to collaborate with a mind of Spears’ caliber, but alas they won’t get the opportunity.

That’s because Teslas and other electric cars are already required by law to make a persistent sound when traveling at low speeds, a tweak made at the behest of the American Council of the Blind.

Although Spears got a bit shy after she didn’t receive the ovation she was expecting and refused to clarify how many cats she’s killed with her Teslas, we know the number is at least one. In another recent video, Spears’ similarly purple-haired toddler is seen saying her cat, Turkey (*sniff*), was “in heaven.”

We are sorry Turkey had the misfortune of being adopted by a living indictment of the American education system, and we hope rescue and shelter organizations within 50 miles of Spears’ trailer decline to adopt cats out to her in the future, lest they end up on Musk’s tab.

And if you think we’re being too harsh on Spears, we’d ask you: What kind of world do we live in when someone is allowed to casually kill animals through her own negligence with complete impunity? We’re talking about life here, not broken toys or kitchen appliances.

Cats In Games: Cyberpunk 2077

I’ve been playing Cyberpunk 2077 lately, as readers of this blog may have guessed by some of the references, and it is everything the hype said it would be: A dystopian story set in a grim, hyper-corporatized, ultra-capitalist future in which the masses worship the gods of consumption, virtually everything that humans come in contact with is synthetic, and nature is a forgotten dream that may or may not exist beyond the seemingly-infinite concrete and chrome of human sprawl.

It’s Bladerunner writ large and interactive, a retrofuturistic nightmare in which people voluntarily have their own eyes plucked out to replace them with brain-interfaced digital lenses and biomechanical grotesqueness is the societal norm. A future in which a person’s life amounts to the price their internal organs can fetch on the black market and the only civil liberties that exist do so by the forbearance of megacorporations.

Even if you’re not a gamer, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard of the game. It is, after all, one of the most highly-anticipated pieces of consumable media in modern history, and familiar actors have lent their voices and likenesses to the production.

One of the most depressing aspects of 2017’s Bladerunner 2049, the long-awaited sequel to the 1982 Ridley Scott classic, is the utter disconnect from anything natural.

Future Los Angeles is so choked with smog that the city exists in a perpetual twilight gloom. Animals have been purged from the Earth, and humanity has turned to farming insect larvae for protein in processed foods. Vegetation is so rare that the sight of a single sprout near the dusty carcass of an old oak tree fascinates Ryan Gosling’s antagonist character, K.

Drawing heavily on Bladerunner — as well as the seminal 1988 Japanese film Akira, William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer, Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (1997), and even the 1979 action thriller Warriors (which is itself based on Xenophon’s Anabasis from 370 BC) — Cyberpunk 2077 is about violence, hedonism and human greed.

There is no room for the beauty of animals or nature in a future like this.

That’s why it’s surprising to find cats stalking the dim alleys of Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City.

Keanu and the cat.
Keanu Reeves’ character, Johnny Silverhand, is quite enamored with Nibbles the Cat.

Nibbles the Cat.
A Sphinx cat in Cyberpunk 2077.

The player’s character, V, can stop and pet stray cats he encounters throughout the game.

There’s even a hidden opportunity to adopt your own stray and take it back to your apartment in the game. Johnny Silverhand, the wise-ass character played by Keanu Reeves, is particularly fond of Nibbles the stray, who can be found amid piles of trash in the hallway outside V’s apartment.

Nibbles “doesn’t really do much besides lay around and take up space,” Screenrant notes. “Basically exactly what a cat does in real life. What an immersive experience.”

In another scene, V is conducting recon on a corporate target with Takemura, a Japanese ally, when a cat slinks by and lays down about 20 feet away.

Takemura says the cat is the first animal he’s seen in Night City, “except for the cockroaches, of course.” Then he wonders if the cat is a bakeneko, a Japanese spirit.

Night City is a technological achievement so impressive that it takes many hours just to get your head wrapped around how big and detailed it is. It’s easily the largest virtual city ever created, but it’s not just about sprawl — the city is truly vertical, from hidden subterranean depths and accessible street-level locales to highways, apartments and offices that claw at the sky, their peaks towering over ubiquitous flying car traffic.

The game is a form of entertainment, but it’s also a warning: This could be our future. Some would say it’s even likely to be our future.

Most of us are disconnected from nature. We’ve forgotten the stars and the night sky, which have been blotted out by smog and light pollution. We have wiped out more than two thirds of all the wildlife on the Earth and innumerable species teeter on the edge of extinction, including almost every example of iconic megafauna, from tigers and jaguars to orangutans, chimpanzees and elephants.

The interregnum caused by the global pandemic has reminded us that we share this planet with billions of other minds, with animals cautiously poking their heads out at the edges of civilization, wondering where all the humans have gone.

It’s fun to play in a dystopian future, but I don’t want to live in it.

cyberbud2077_webfinal

CyberBud 2077!

Just a bit of absurd Bud-themed art I cooked up while messing around with Pixlr, some typesetting and filters.

In this technoir crime thriller, Detective Buddy must chase feline replicants across decadent Claw City before they upload a sinister virus that grants self-awareness to vacuum cleaners, transforming them from mere terrifying machines to terrifying machines that can kill a cat!

With time running out and an army of Los Gatos in his way, Bud must deploy every trick he’s learned to save the world from the Dysons, Bissells, Eurekas and Hoovers that would enslave feline kind under the Dust Buster Hegemony…and he must look dapper while doing it.

cyberbud2077_webfinal

So we’ve got Bud as a hard-boiled detective in a dystopian science fiction future. What about Bud as the lead singer (meower?) of his very own metal band? The Buddening is at hand, my friends: Feel the power of turkey!

buddy_noir
Buddy Noir: The Buddening. Featuring the smash hits “The Darkness Inside the Litter Box” and “The Red Dot of Death.” ON SALE NOW!

Happy Festivus! For The Rest Of Us!

Happy Festivus, everyone!

Festivus is a holiday celebrated “as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season.”

The holiday’s traditions include a Festivus pole, which must not be decorated (“I find tinsel distracting,” Festivus creator Frank Costanza explains), a Festivus dinner which typically includes family and friends, an Airing of Grievances and the Feats of Strength. The Airing of Grievances (Buddy’s favorite part) is an after-dinner tradition in which participants go around the table and tell everyone else how disappointing they’ve been all year, while the Feats of Strength signals the end of the holiday if younger members of the family are able to pin the family patriarch.

Jerry Stiller
Jerry Stiller in 1979

Because 2020 has been such a lousy year, many people likely forgot we lost Jerry Stiller this year. Stiller famously played Frank Costanza on Seinfeld, arguably the most well-known of the many roles the 93-year-old actor took on during his long career.

It may be a small mercy, in a way, since Stiller didn’t have to witness the first socially-distanced Festivus and holiday season as the Coronavirus rages across the US this winter. (Contrary to some clown’s vandalism on Wikipedia, Stiller died of natural causes, not COVID-19.)

In the real world, Festivus was created in 1966 by the writer Daniel O’Keefe. The holiday wasn’t popularly celebrated until 1997 when O’Keefe’s son, then a writer for Seinfeld, included the now-beloved holiday in an episode of the show.

Over the next two-plus decades, Festivus has become a “real” holiday, with many people marking the occasion by getting together with friends.

festivusbud

A Cat Hails A Starship

Grudge the Cat is having a season of firsts on Star Trek: Discovery.

The floofy Maine Coon is the beloved companion of Cleveland Booker (David Ajala), a mercenary and cargo-runner who turns out to be a galactic do-gooder, stealing animals from the illegal interstellar wildlife trade and bringing them to the safety of sanctuary.

Considering the illegal wildlife trade is thriving and directly contributing to the extinction of many species here on Earth, it’s not a stretch at all to imagine people in the future would pay a hefty premium on ultra-exotic pets from alien worlds. The Booker/Grudge storylines may even prompt more people to pay attention to what’s happening here on our own world.

In Thursdays episode (mild spoilers ahead), the crew of the Discovery receive a hail from outside the cloaked and secret Federation headquarters of the 32nd century. Anyone with the top-secret location of the base — and the ability to hail ships within it — must be VIP or have urgent business, so the acting captain orders the hail on screen, and the entire bridge crew braces as the image resolves into…

…floofy Grudge sticking her face into the camera.

The cast does an excellent job of looking befuddled and amused at a cat contacting the Discovery on a priority channel when they were likely expecting Orions or Andorians or any number of antagonists.

Screenshot_2020-11-20 st_d9_ep306_1233_rt jpg (WEBP Image, 1200 × 628 pixels)
Grudge looking regal on the bridge of Booker’s ship.

And so, for the first time in Star Trek history, a cat has hailed another starship.

It turns out Booker, anticipating trouble on a dangerous mission, set his ship to auto-return to Discovery’s Commander Michael Burnham if he didn’t make it back in time. That sets up the episode’s main plot in which Burnham goes to rescue Book.

The best line of the night goes to Michelle Yeoh’s Commander Phillipa Georgiou: “That cat can’t get lost. It has its own gravity field!”

That’s floof, not fat, Georgiou!

Grudge is referred to as a female cat in the show, but she’s played by Leeu, a two-year-old, 18-pound male Maine Coon.

grudge_and_book_rect1-777x437
Ayala as Booker with his beloved Grudge.