First, let me just say…RIP Bill Paxton. That guy was great.
He had a great career, and a life too short. But with roles in Weird Science, Terminator, Aliens, Navy Seals, True Lies and Apollo 13, Titanic, The Hatfields and McCoys, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, he left his mark on the nerd genre.
And then there was the little 1996 picture known as Twister. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the topic of today’s post.
Not the movie, but tornadoes.
You see, I live in a part of the world known as “Tornado Alley.” Tornadoes are unpredictable as hell. When they hit, they are devastating. They can even stop a Superman in his tracks, which was unfortunate since I was so hopeful that Kevin Costner would be a solid Pa Kent. But that wasn’t the case, or at least not in the way we thought.
A couple years ago, a couple tornadoes ripped through Illinois, both north and south of my location at the time. This is a picture of Washington, IL after the storm.
On February 29, 2012, an EF4 tornado woke up the small town of Harrisburg, IL. I’ve been to Harrisburg, years ago, back when I was in college. Southeastern Illinois College had a good basketball team. They were in our conference. So I had been there. This was the Catholic Church after the tornado.
Now, I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never been through one. But it got close in my radio days. So when that happened, I went into shelter mode and would broadcast from under the desk.
I remember having a backpack of tornado preparedness when I was in my teens. I had a walkman with headphones, a flashlight, and a granola bar I swapped out every couple months or so. It also had a novelty baseball helmet, you know…just in case.
Here’s what I’ve learned. Every region of the country has its unavoidable geographic anomalies. The Midwest has tornadoes. California has earthquakes. Florida has Hurricanes. The northeast has Patriots fans. It’s really summed up in this clip from Sports Illustrated’s Greatest Sports Follies (1989):
So that’s my post about tornado season. Thanks to Jay for the topic. I think I’ve proven in the last 3+ weeks that I’ll write about damn near anything. Have a topic idea? Leave it in the comments.
Hanna-Barbera was living right, dominating the world of animated entertainment for decades. Many of the cartoons I watched as a child were Hanna-Barbera creations. Think back. I bet you can say the same. It’s okay, I’ll wait.
See? I was right!
These two families were two of HB’s more popular characters.
The Flintstones consisted of your every-man Fred, his wife Wilma, little girl Pebbles, and pets Dino and Baby Puss. I include Baby Puss because one of my favorite parts of the cartoon was always the ending credits when the sabretooth cat hops back in the house and puts Fred out for the night.
The Jetsons featured George as the patriarch, Jane as the mother, Judy, the firstborn, and Elroy, the inquisitive and somewhat brainy younger son. (The other way to introduce them is “Meet George Jetson. His Boy Elroy. Daughter Judy. Jane, his wife.”) The Jetsons also had a pet, a dog named Astro. And they had an in-home robot maid, Rosie.
Fred Flintstone was a quarryman, working construction. His time-rock got punched twice a day, and then he would head home to his family. Fred’s best pal, Barney Rubble, also worked at the quarry. The two were bowling buddies and members of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes. Barney had a wife, Betty, and an adopted son, Bamm-Bamm.
George Jetson worked at Spacely (Space) Sprockets, where he got blamed for a lot! His at-work companion was R.U.D.I., is a computer with a human personality. And while I recall an episode where some bad programming meant some unfortunate things for George, R.U.D.I. was primarily a human-friendly computer, unlike this program…
Outside of work, George didn’t have much of a life, except for the time he spent zooming around trying to keep his family safe. It just seemed that Fred had a bit more downtime to enjoy some of the finer things in life.
In all actuality, maybe these two shows were inadvertent metaphors for life with and without technology. The Flintstones seemed to have more fun, and even though they faced their share of challenges, they each had time for hobbies. The Jetsons were seemingly always getting into trouble, and George was fired from his job in an unfair amount of episodes.
In a way, I empathize with George a bit more than Fred. George seems like a tough-luck loner. Fred at least had Barney. George didn’t really have anywhere to turn when he needed to vent his frustrations.
And let’s not forget the very real fact that these two families met once.
Before I render a verdict, I do want to include quite possibly the best result of either of these two storied franchises.
You’re damn right I’m talking about sugary cereals. And ever since I was a kid, that particular commercial has stuck with me. I can practically recite it word for word, playing all three roles.
This week’s decision really comes down to a topic I mentioned above – technology and the speed of the world with it and without it.
I have essentially been raised with technology. I had a Nintendo Entertainment System and an MS-DOS computer (only one of those I’d take back). I have had many types of cell phones over the years. That’s not to brag. In fact, I have had the same phone for several years (thank you Otter Box). But for the last fifteen years, I’ve had cell phones and other mobile devices, desktop computers, laptops, etc.
I’m connected. Often, I think I’m too connected.
That’s why I’m calling this week’s #ToughCallTuesday for the Flintstones, and it’s a direct result of my own personal longing to be just a little less plugged in. It’s a difficult task, certainly, because my job requires me to maintain the business Facebook page, I have my own business page as a sales consultant, plus there’s the Jittery Monkey Podcasts and Nerds UnitedFacebook pages and Twitter accounts.
And I’ll always have that, especially if I’m ever a business owner myself (Nerds United – The Store…it’s happening…someday).
Here’s my only question though…
We’ve seen two live action Flintstone movies. Where’s our Jetsons movie? Sci-fi is at an all-time high. And these are some iconic characters due for a big screen moment. I mean, everything else from our childhood has its own movie now, so what’s the worst that could happen?
Agree? Disagree? You know what to do. Sound off in the comments. What’s your preference? Flintstones or Jetsons? And do we deserve a Jetsons movie?
Also – your topics for #ToughCallTuesday…I WANT ‘EM!