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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-22-16: Men In Black Invade Iowa

People in one Iowa town keep reporting sightings of men in black walking beside the road. They haven’t done anything illegal at this point, but they are really freaking people out. They seem to show up only at night, and they aren’t exactly dressed like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. They are wearing black trench coats and capes. More or less creepy than the clowns that will occasionally show up in a neighborhood?

Based on the success of the Saved By The Bell restaurant here in Chicago, you had to know more would be coming. A Golden Girls pop-up restaurant will be opening in New York. I anxiously await the opening of the Knight Rider-themed drive in. Here’s my problem with this: Saved By The Bell took place in California (Aside from the first season in Indiana, after which all of the main characters decided to move to California together… really) why is the restaurant in Chicago? Golden Girls is even worse, since they were in Miami. Shouldn’t the pop-up be in a location that is remotely tied to what happened in the show?

The whole religion thing worked out so great for Donald Trump in the primaries that he’s going to that well again. Now he’s questioning whether or not Hillary Clinton is actually religious. Because Donald Trump is the picture of religious piety.

Rory McIlroy has decided not to compete at this summer’s Olympics in Rio due to fears over the Zika virus. It’s the latest problem for the Rio Olympics. Do you think the IOC is regretting picking them? Tokyo and Chicago are probably looking pretty good now.

A 15 year old girl in Alabama decided it was a good idea to put on a Barney the Dinosaur head to prank her friends. The costume got stuck on her head and she had to call the police to get it taken off.

Geek/CounterGeek – #59: Can Star Trek Be “Cerebral” In 2016?

The Star Trek family was rocked by the sudden death of actor Anton Yelchin over the weekend in a freak car accident.

Meanwhile, the rest of the cast is getting ready for the promotional push ahead of the release of Star Trek Beyond. Chris Pine said that, while the JJ films have tried to touch on “demanding questions and themes”, it’s just not possible to make a movie without “wham-bam explosions and planets blowing up”.

Chris Pine spoke about how Star Trek can compete in the modern cinema marketplace.

“You can’t make a cerebral Star Trek in 2016. It just wouldn’t work in today’s marketplace. You can hide things in there – Star Trek Into Darkness has crazy, really demanding questions and themes, but you have to hide it under the guise of wham-bam explosions and planets blowing up. It’s very, very tricky. The question that our movie poses is “Does the Federation mean anything?” And in a world where everybody’s trying to kill one another all of the time, that’s an important thing. Is working together important? Should we all go our separate ways? Does being united against something mean anything?”

Elliott and Keith discuss whether or not movie audiences can wrap their heads around big ideas in 2016, while Keith wonders if Star Trek was ever really all that cerebral to begin with.

Each week Keith Conrad and Chicago’s Top Geek Elliott Serrano debate a controversial topic in contemporary geekery: Kirk vs. Picard? Was Douglas Quaid dreaming in Total Recall? No topic is off limits.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-21-16: Go Directly To Jail; Collect $30 Million

A Colorado man is suing the City and County of Denver and the Denver Police Department for $30 million. He was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 14 for a murder he did not commit. You have to feel bad for the guy, since you know he was saying he was innocent all along and there were people who just refused to believe him. However, that having been said I can’t not make some sarcastic comment about it, so here’s my question to you, oh reasonable Internet reader: If someone comes up to you and offers you $30 million in exchange for spending 13 years in jail, do you take that deal? You could pump some iron, get in shape, maybe do a lot of reading or even finish that novel you’ve been working on. (I swear people, it’s going to get done one day…)

The latest sensation sweeping the Internets? Dads are seeing how many Cheerios they can stack on their sleeping newborns nose. Some have managed to get as many as 20.  Unfortunately, since it’s an Internet competition, you don’t win anything, like money to pay for future therapy when your child learns what you used to do to them for your own amusement while they were too young to know what was going on. Original Cheerios seem to work better than Honey Nut Cheerios. Just FYI.

Donald Trump fired his controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski Monday, unleashing a major shake-up as he comes under pressure from his closest advisers — particularly his family members — to urgently reset his struggling presidential campaign. Oh yeah, he also has virtually no money to run in the general election, because instead of fundraising like a normal candidate, he just said crazy stuff on TV.

Parts of the Orlando shooter’s 911 calls that were originally redacted by the Justice Department are now available, including the moment when the shooter pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Speaking of Orlando, a Florida assistant state attorney has been suspended after allegedly writing controversial Facebook posts slamming the type of people in downtown Orlando and those who go to nightclubs. He posted that downtown Orlando is “a melting pot of 3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs.” Things went (even further) downhill from there.

Sick of hearing about “Brexit”? You’re not alone, but at least it looks like our long, international nightmare will soon be over. Voters head to the polls in a couple of days and it looks like the UK will stay in the EU. It looks like there wouldn’t be a whole lot of an advantage for Britain to leave the EU, aside from the fact that a lot of Brits like the idea of giving the rest of Europe a giant middle finger.

Interesting Stat of the Day: A new study shows that astronauts who fly to and from the ISS aboard a Soyuz spacecraft and spend six months there have a threat of mortality comparable to those of U.S. infantry combatants on D-Day and New York City firefighters on 9/11.

Geek/CounterGeek – #58: Are We Actually Living In The Matrix?

Elliott Serrano and Keith Conrad talk about the reshoots of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

More importantly though, they tackle an important existential question: Are we living in the Matrix? The questions comes courtesy of Elon Musk, who was asked whether or not he believed that we were all actually living in a simulation. Musk said odds would actually suggest we are living in a simulation and not base reality. His argument goes that the incredibly fast advancement of video game technology indicates we’ll be capable of creating a fully lifelike simulation of existence in a short span of time. In 40 years, Musk explained, we’ve gone from Pong to massively multiplayer online games with millions of simultaneous players, games with photorealistic graphics, and stand now on the cusp of a new wave of virtual and augmented reality experiences.

Naturally, the conversation about life, the universe, everything led to Elliott and Keith troubleshooting the Matrix movies. Well, really just the sequels.

Each week Keith Conrad and Chicago’s Top Geek Elliott Serrano debate a controversial topic in contemporary geekery: Kirk vs. Picard? Was Douglas Quaid dreaming in Total Recall? No topic is off limits.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-6-16: Great Parenting Through Craigslist

Father of the Year? A father was upset because his son skipped work, so he immediately put his car up for sale on Craigslist. His son’s discipline had been an issue for a year. It’s not just the job thing, but also marijuana use. He’s worried it could lead to harder drugs, to prison, to death. He had tried taking away his son’s cellphone, taking away social media, talking to him. Now he’s decided to go the shame route. Effective parenting or alienating the person who will eventually pick his nursing home?

A Wendella boat rescued a man who fell into the Chicago River off of the DuSable Bridge. The passengers didn’t even have to pay extra for the show. The owner of Wendella says it’s becoming more and more common these days, because the river is so much more busy than in years past.

The Chicago Police Department is ending the Violence Reduction Initiative on July 1st. So this is what it looks like when violence has been reduced in Chicago. This just happens to coincide with the IPRA releasing their videos of police incidents.

Also, as the Chicago Police follies continue: The person running the CPD Twitter decided to Tweet a “Throwback Thursday” picture of a helmet and baton from the 1968 Democratic Convention riots.

It turns out Edward Snowden actually did attempt to raise concerns about surveillance and privacy prior to leaking internal documents. The NSA had always claimed otherwise. Does that you a little more sympathetic to him?

A third grader in California has been banned from wearing his “Make America Great Again” hat. He got the hat last week when he skipped school to attend a Donald Trump rally. He even got it signed by The Donald. He wore it to school for three straight days, and the other kids started confronting him about it. He says it’s not the hat that’s the problem, the other children just don’t like him.

A lawmaker in Louisiana wants kids in school to recite part of the Declaration of Independence every day.

Someone hacked a digital sign in Dallas, they changed an otherwise innocent sign to read “Gorilla deserved it.”

An anonymous kid sent the National Park Service a pine cone with a note taped to it. Apparently he stole the pinecone from Sequoia National Park, but he later felt bad about it.

Richard Simmons has been hospitalized for “bizarre behavior.” Bizarre? Did the authorities just now see the things Richard Simmons has been doing for pretty much his entire life?

Donald Trump singled out an African-American supporter at an event on Friday. He was referencing an incident where a Trump supporter confronted a man in a KKK outfit, but all anyone took away from the comment was Trump calling him “my African-American.” People were either bemused in a “look at grampa saying something racist again” sort of way, or they were filled with outrage. For his part,the man spoke to his local paper and said that he wasn’t outraged. He basically said Trump was just referencing the previous incident in a less than artful way.

(Audio) Authorities think a parrot may have been a witness to the murder of its previous owner. Ever since the crime, the parrot keeps repeating back “Don’t f**king shoot.”

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-3-16: Teachers Behaving Badly

24 year old middle school teacher busted for having sex with her 8th grade student. Students described her as the “cool” teacher at the school. She says they were having sex “daily” for nine months. She also claims at one point in the relationship she got pregnant and the boys parents were thrilled. Obligatory question: Where were these teachers when I was in school?

A Navy Blue Angels jet and an Air Force Thunderbirds jet both crashed on Thursday halfway across the country. The Blue Angels pilot was killed, but the Air Force pilot who had just done the flyover for President Obama’s speech at the Air Force Academy graduation managed to eject and is expected to recover.

Your “I’m sorry… what?” moment of the week: Rick Perry was on Fox News talking about the Presidential race, said Donald Trump will “peel her skin off during a debate.” Referring to Hillary Clinton, of course. What is this, Steve Guttenberg’s boat?

It wasn’t exactly a shock, but Paul Ryan endorsed Donald Trump for President in a column in his hometown newspaper. Interestingly, Ryan doesn’t actually mention Trump until about 2/3 of the way through the article. He basically lays out what he wants to do in the House and then tacks on the end that it would be a little bit easier to do it with Donald Trump as opposed to Hillary Clinton.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says he is open to running for President one day. Why didn’t he do it this time? Would have been a much better option than any of the current mouth breathers on the ballot.

Prince died of an accidental opioid overdose. His entourage had pretty strenuously denied he had any drug issues. It just so happens to come at a time when Congress is going after opioids pretty hard, so I would expect them to take things up a notch after that news.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-2-16: Math Lessons From The School Of Hard Knocks

A middle school teacher decided it was a good idea to give 8th grade students a quiz asking math questions involving ‘Pimps,’ ‘Ho’s’ And Drug Deals. The 10 question quiz featured such thought-provoking questions as “Leroy has 2 ounces of cocaine. If he sells an 8 ball to Antonio for $320 and 2 grams to Juan for $85 per gram, what is the street value of the rest of his hold?” and “Tyrone knocked up 4 girls in his gang. There are 20 girls in the gang. What percentage of the girls in the gang has Tyrone knocked up?” Parents were outraged, officials were not amused either. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave.

Tom Ricketts latest Wrigley Field comparison: It’s like one of those old castles you see in Europe. He complained to the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce about the restrictions being placed on their new plaza by Tom Tunney. Apparently in his latest ordinance, access to the plaza would have to be restricted to ticket holders, who could then buy any alcohol they want, provided it’s under the same restrictions as inside the ballpark. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of what the Ricketts want, since they are building the plaza to be a part of the neighborhood, not a part of the ballpark.

Awkward Media Moment: MSNBC had to shut down an interview with Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld because their fire alarm went off. This is nothing but the lamestream media trying to silence a heroic, freedom-loving Libertarian.

According to a FOIA release, it costs $206,337 every hour to fly Air Force One. President Obama has traveled overseas more than any previous President. I’m not sure what kind of frequent flyer program the Air Force Special Air Mission has, but he must be cleaning up. (The article makes the claim that it’s “ridiculously expensive,” as a matter of fact it’s the headline, but I did some research. A typical 747 can carry a max of 660 passengers. $203,000/660=$307. A $307 ticket for a 1 hour flight is a little steep, but not completely unreasonable.)

Poll Position: Hillary Clinton holds an average of 45% support while 43% back Donald Trump according to the new CNN Poll of Polls. They take five polls and mash them together.

A North Carolina woman bought a freezer from her neighbor for $30. She opened it and found a human foot inside. It turns out the neighbor killed her mother, dumped her body in the freezer and then sold it for a robust $30.

Most awesome story of the day: Arnold Schwarzenegger was chased by an elephant during a safari in South Africa.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-1-16: Who Wears Short Shorts?

A woman is all upset at JetBlue after she was told her shorts were too short to fly. The pilot thought people with young children might be offended. The airline has come out and said they support their pilots decision. Would you even think twice about what someone else is wearing on an airplane?

A company in Elgin is raking in giant piles of money building tiny houses. The only problem is most suburbs in the Chicago area don’t allow tiny houses. People are worried about tiny property values. Is the tiny house phenomenon better left in weird places like Portland or would you be fine with them in your neighborhood?

The highlight from Donald Trump’s press conference on Tuesday? He called a reporter from ABC News a “sleaze”.

Speaking of Trump, someone hacked four digital roadside signs in Texas. They re-programmed them to say things like “Go back home, work is canceled!” “Bernie for President” and my personal favorite “Donald Trump is a shape-shifting lizard”

History Channel has a remake of Roots that’s airing right now, and there’s one person who isn’t one bit happy about it. Snoop Dogg posted a profanity-laced video on Instagram calling on people to boycott it. He said that instead of constantly making things looking back at slavery, people should talk about what’s going on now.

Do you remember the Florida gun store owner who declared his business a “Muslim-free zone” last year? He hadn’t been in the news for a while, so now he’s selling targets with pictures of President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

This story has everything: Vegans, neo-Nazis and of course encased meats. The owners of a vegan cafe in the country of Georgia say group of neo-Nazis started throwing grilled meat at their protein averse patrons. When the owners tried to get the sausage-wielding neo-Nazi’s to disperse, the owner says that neighbors who aren’t fans of the cafe came to their defense, and the fight spilled over into the street.

A new growth industry? Single women are paying $80 an hour for some non-sexual cuddling. So far the company in question is on the east coast, but looking to expand. Their clients vary from men and women too busy to find a more traditional cuddle buddy to elderly couples.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 5-31-16: Public Service Pronouncement

Former Attorney General Eric Holder said on David Axelrod’s podcast Edward Snowden performed a “public service” by telling everyone about the government’s surveillance programs. He also added that he should be prosecuted and punished for releasing classified information.

The Cincinnati Zoo had to kill one of their gorillas after a 4 year old fell into their habitat. I realize you can’t let something happen to a child, but was it really necessary to killed the poor guy? They couldn’t tranquilize him or something? The worst part is the fact that the poor gorilla’s birthday was on Friday. The most disturbing part is the fact that the zoo says they have sperm samples, to hopefully help rebuild the population. Whose job is it to collect it?

The marquee on the Goodman Theatre burst into flames over the weekend. Sherman from 101 WKQX caught it on video, making some waves online. The fire didn’t spread into the building itself, so the show(s) went on as scheduled.

What could make the 2016 election more strange? A candidate for Libertarian Party chairman stripped on the stage at their convention in Florida. He said he did it on a dare.

David Letterman was on SportsCenter on ESPN over the weekend talking about his racing team at the Indy 500. He said if they didn’t win he’d fake his own death, and then casually said that he was totally wasted.

A strip club in Michigan is taking some heat for advertising their willingness to provide the youth of the community for with employment. They put up a sign reading “Now hiring Class of 2016”

A Texas man paid his $220 speeding ticket using nothing but pennies. It took five 1-gallon buckets full of pennies. He dumped all of them on the counter in front of some poor functionary. He was pulled over for going 39 mph in a 30 mph zone. He says he wasn’t endangering anyone, so the government is trampling on his rights by fining him for going above a completely arbitrary speed. So he paid in pennies to protest.

A UFO may have been capture on video flying over Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. A seemingly identical craft was seen by two different people. I for welcome our new alien overlords.

Geek/CounterGeek – #57: Geeky Identity Crisis

Just how outraged should people really be about the fact that it turns out Captain America is a Hydra Agent? Elliott and Keith agree on an emphatic “Not very.”

Speaking of geeky outrages, our friends across the pond might have a legitimate gripe with a campaign to make Gillian Anderson “Jane Bond,” considering the fact that she’s from Chicago. What’s next, a Brit playing Superman?

Plus, Elliott and Keith fearlessly troubleshoot “Man of Steel.”

Each week Keith Conrad and Chicago’s Top Geek Elliott Serrano debate a controversial topic in contemporary geekery: Kirk vs. Picard? Was Douglas Quaid dreaming in Total Recall? No topic is off limits.

Follow Elliott Serrano on Twitter
Follow Keith Conrad on Twitter
Subscribe to G/CG on iTunes
Subscribe to G/CG on TuneIn
Listen to G/CG on Stitcher
G/CG Podcast RSS Feed