Stay Tooned—Comics legend Scott McCloud will make a rare appearance at the Art Center Design College (5000 Marble NE) this Wednesday, July 18, in an event sponsored by the North Fourth Art Center and 7000 BC, a collective of New Mexico comics creators. Locus Magazine once called McCloud “arguably the most important cartoonist alive.” He's been on a marathon tour of all 50 states promoting his new book Making Comics, and the final leg is bringing him to New Mexico. Tickets are $10 and McCloud's presentation begins at 7 p.m. For details, call 254-7575 (College) or 344-4542 (North Fourth).
Curtis Bennett was too analytical for fine art school. At least, that's what they told him. They said he needed to think less to be a graphic artist. He needed to let the art flow. So he did ... right out of fine arts and straight into computer science.
Turning virtual trade of massive online games into money in your pocket
By Marisa Demarco
It's a colorful world of valor and honor and monster killing. The in-game conversation sucks, usually. But the conversation sucks in real life, too, and everyone is less likely to have perfect breasts.
It is hard to get my boyfriend to do anything fun with me because he is always playing his massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), World of Warcraft. I offer to buy him lunch or take him to a movie, but he insists on running instances in molten core or slaying trolls and crocolisks in Stranglethorn Vale. I'm fed up. I feel like WoW is more important than me, but every time I tell him this he just calls me a n00b. Brenda, what do I do?
Dateline: Nepal—A Far Eastern goddess has been stripped of her divinity for visiting the United States. Ten-year-old Sajani Shakya was installed at the age of 2 as Kumari of the ancient town of Bhaktapur, near Katmandu. The position made her one of Nepal’s top three goddesses, revered by both Hindus and Buddhists, reports London’s Daily Mirror.But a recent trip to promote a U.K.-made documentary on Nepal’s traditions and political turmoil has upset local religious leaders, who believe the Western visit tainted the Kumari’s purity. “It is wrong and against tradition for her to go on a foreign tour without permission,” Bhaktapur temple official Jai Prasad Regmi said. “We will search for new Kumari and install her as the living goddess.” The Kumari are virgin goddesses believed to inhabit human form until menstruation.
Submit—Listen up, New Mexico filmmakers: You’ve got some deadlines fast approaching. First up is the Friday, July 13, deadline to submit works to the 5th Annual Southwest Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. All previews for features or short films must be submitted on 1/2” VHS tape or DVD. Title, name, address and phone number should be affixed to the label, of course. There is a $10 entry fee per title; make checks out to “Closet Cinema.” If your work is accepted, you will be notified by Aug. 10. The film festival itself will take place Sept. 28-Oct. 4. This year’s festival, taking place in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe, is expected to draw nearly 5,000 visitors, making it one of the largest film festivals in the state. To download an application, or to dig up further submission guidelines, log on to closetcinema.org/filmfestival.htm.
Videogame movies do not have a very distinguished reputation. From 1994’s Street Fighter with Jean-Claude Van Damme to 2005’s Doom with The Rock, videogames-turned-movies have been derided by movie lovers and gaming fanatics alike. This hasn’t stopped movie studios from cranking out multiple digitally inspired action films in a (thus far) vain attempt to link the multibillion-dollar entertainment empires of motion pictures and videogames.
I can’t say, honestly, there’s anything original about USA’s new action series “Burn Notice.” The plot about of a pink-slipped spy who finds himself out of work and stumbles into a life of helping random needy strangers with his special detective/spy/crimefighting skills isn’t markedly different than “The A-Team,”“MacGyver,”“Airwolf,”“The Equalizer” or pretty much any action series that aired on network television during the ’80s. But oddly enough, it’s this sense of nostalgic familiarity that makes “Burn Notice” such an enjoyable TV treat.
1990's Moonwalker is the paragon of what pop star licensing should be. Michael Jackson appears in his iconic "Smooth Criminal" panama hat, white suit and lean-heel shoes. He uses sparkly magic dance attacks against the ultimate bad guy and his henchmen--a child-napping drug overlord with a doomsday moon-mounted laser canon. Even Bubbles the chimpanzee gets in on the action (he turns Michael into a dancing robot).
"I don't like bein' retro for retro's sake," says Reuben Glaser from the loft space/recording studio where he's resting between two legs of his tour. He speaks with an almost Southern lilt that has nothing to do with his Cincinnati habitat. "We been playin' the South, so maybe it stuck," he laughs. "New Mexico is probably the one place in the country that has less of an accent than we do."
Felix Peralta is old school; and not in a clichéd, doing-it-because-it’s-cool way. It just is who he is and how he plays. Charlie Parker once said, “Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” That's the best way to describe Peralta and how he plays his guitar. Every song is a story, every chord an emotion.
Dana Goldberg follows her stand-up dream across controversial territories
By Marisa Demarco
Bubbly and frank, Dana Goldberg makes the counter guy laugh as she orders her coffee. She's got so much energy this weekday morning, it's hard to believe she needs any wake-up juice. I stir my own cup and hope I'll be able to keep up with her speedy, nimble conversation style and worry that she's going to be shooting for flashy and funny the whole time.
Sometimes it's hard to tell where the line between videogames and art is drawn (just check out this week’s feature, “Applied Ludology”). It may be easy to argue that blood and guts and gore in gaming isn't art but gratuitous violence, but what do you suppose early critics of Hamlet or Macbeth said about the bodies lying on the floor? Many videogames are visually appealing and jam-packed with detailed storylines and character development. While videogames may not traditionally be art, they surely have crossed into the artistic domain, and with the rise of free, casual gaming on the Web, it's never been easier to indulge in some modern art.
Endurance gaming requires, well, endurance. Unfortunately, your natural supply of stamina tends to wane after 36 hours of intense, nonstop battles with crocolisks and murlocs. Before you start to confuse orcs with trolls, you need to feed your body and mind.
One of two prominent blues from Ireland, Crozier is the only sheep's milk blue made in Ireland, or the surrounding U.K. for that matter. It is surprisingly sweet and mild. If you’re a beginner with blue cheese this will be totally doable, and if you’re a lover of brutal blue bite, this one might leave you alone in a cranberry bog. However, there are very nice notes of fresh cream, nuts and hay in the finish, which emphasizes that this cheese is made by a very small herd of sheep on a very small farm.
Dateline: England—A pub owner in Southampton has found a sneaky political way around England’s new antismoking law. Landlord Bob Beech is hoping to get around the cigarette ban, which went into effect last Sunday, by turning his bar into a foreign embassy. Beech says the Wellington Arms tavern will now be the U.K. base for the tiny, uninhabited island of Redonda—located some 35 miles off the Caribbean nation of Antigua. Earlier last month, Redonda’s official cardinal Edward Elder—a regular at the pub—granted the business consulate status. Redonda’s current ruler is King Robert the Bald, 60, who lives on Antigua. King Robert recently bestowed a knighthood on Beech. As a Redonda embassy, Beech’s pub would be classified as “foreign soil” and would not be subject to British laws. “I have a legal team looking into the legalities at the moment,” Beech told The Sun. “But I am confident.”
With Canada Day on July 1 come and gone with little fanfare, we thought it appropriate to get the good word out: Canada is a great nation, full of wonder to be found in its majestic national parks, its superior national policy, its magnificent natural resources and its myriad funny accents. So let us take a little trip north, eh?
On a recent trip to Edmonton, I pounced on the chance to ask real, live Canadians about their homeland. What's more, these aren't any regular old Canadians, they're improvisers; comedians contributing to one of the finest traditions and exports of the nation. All four Canucks were asked, "What does Canada mean to you?" Find out what they say below, eh?
We are all frightened of lumberjacks. This is a fact that is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. It is important, however, to recognize that as humans, it is common to fear what we do not understand. Let us closely examine the lumberjack to try to better understand these brawny woodsmen of the northern forests.
Are you cold and forbidding? Vast and French-speaking? Pastoral and surrounded by ocean? Or maybe you're just Manitoba. We can all find a bit of ourselves in a Canadian province or territory. Learn more about you and your neighbor to the north with this easy test (no conversion to metric required). Read on to determine where in Canada your personality resides.
Shootout Shooters—Organizers of the Duke City Shootout Digital Filmmaking Festival, have anounced their 2007 script winners. The winning scripts will be produced and premiered in Albuquerque from July 20-28. The selected filmmakers will be given a cast, high-definition digital camera and lighting equipment, a production crew, post-production facilities, transportation and even a professional mentor - everything they will need to bring their short script to life in just seven days. This year’s winners are: Lisa Marks from Marina del Rey, Calif., for the black comedy “Maconie’s List;” Scott and Paula Merrow from Albuquerque, N. M., for the family film “The Spider Experience;” Dina Chapman from West Hollywood, Calif., for the sci-fi comedy “So Five Minutes Ago;” Jason Kendall from Spring Hill, Fla., for the comedy “Young Gun;” Richard Dargan from Albuquerque, N.M., for the comedy “The Pitch;” and Joachim Jung from Los Angeles, Calif., for the comedy “The Dream Girl.” Best of luck to all this year’s Shootout participants and a special congratulations to our local fimmakers. A full schedule of events for the 2007 Shootout will be available soon. For more information and updates, visit www.dukecityshootout.org.
Shut off your brain’s switch and stomp on your adrenaline pedal, we got giant robots!
By Devin D. O’Leary
Most folks (mostly male, mostly in their 30s) will remember the Transformers as a massively popular toy line put out by Hasbro in the ’80s. A hit cartoon series followed, ushering in the Toyetic Era of popular culture, when TV shows and toys (“He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” “G.I. Joe,” “My Little Pony,” “Smurfs,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Transformers”) were synonymous with one another. Well, all those toy-collecting kids have grown up now and are demanding nostalgic entertainment in the form of big-budget, live-action movies based on their childhood obsessions. Paramount and DreamWorks Pictures have gratefully acquiesced, at least in the case of Transformers, delivering a $150 million summer tentpole release based on the franchise.
A lot of Americans (not all of them, but a lot of them) still have hang-ups about comic books and cartoons. “They’re for kids” is the prevailing argument, and no amount of evidence to the contrary seems to sway them. In other countries, however, graphic novels and animation run the gamut from all-ages to adults-only with little problem.
American television is a dominant force worldwide, sending reruns of “Dallas”, to the far-flung reaches of the globe. But the United States isn’t the only source of entertainment over the airwaves here in North America. We can’t simply forget the televised contributions of our neighbors to the north. Without the CBC, CTV and other Canadian-born corporations of which I have no actual knowledge, the world would never have had access to such classic TV shows as “SCTV” or “Degrassi Junior High” or ... um, “Degrassi: The Next Generation”.
A high-calorie dish is usually a delicious dish, and this common truth stands the test of taste when in comes to Canada's poutine (pronounced poo-teen). Originating in Quebec during the late ’50s, this combination of french fries, cheese curds (squeaky little nuggets of fresh cheddar cheese) and gravy teems in eating establishments across that great land to our north. The good news is anyone in the U.S. of A. can have poutine, and an instant mouth party, just by combining three ingredients.
It’s 8 a.m. You’re tired and probably hungover. In front of you is the Mount Everest of pancake stacks. Beyond that is an assortment of maple syrups with labels that say things like "Canada No. 1 Extra Light" or "No. 3 Dark." You nonchalantly butter your flapjacks while eyeing the amber options. What's your next move?
Tofu Pups suck. Smart Dogs are stupid. With the grill season upon us, those of you suckers for smoke and char are probably wondering to yourself, “How do I make a sweet-ass vegan hot dog?” Glad you asked.
A good dish of barbecued eel can fix just about any ailment. But, failing relief, you can always pass the time trying to figure out what it is, exactly, that eel tastes like. I’ve heard people say it tastes like chicken. I’ve even heard it compared to a honey-barbecued riblet.
Traces of radioactivity stemming from LANL have been found in the Rio Grande. Should Albuquerqueans worry?
By John W. Flores
Radioactive materials anywhere near a water source seems like a bad thing, especially when that source will be coming out of your tap next year. Take the case of the Rio Grande and radioactive materials bleeding into the river from near Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL). Don’t forget, Albuquerque will be switching from the aquifer to the Rio Grande as its primary source of water [Feature, “Parched?” May 31-June 6, 2007].
iHate Front-Page Advertising—No, I'm not talking about those nasty bars that have been creeping onto the bottom of A1s across the country for years. Someone should give an award to Apple's marketing team. They scored an above-the-fold white-text-on-black ad on the front page of our Albuquerque Journal under the clever headline "iCan't Wait."
Author and nutritional biochemist Stephen Cherniske talks about your health
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Like most people, Stephen Cherniske is passionate about aging--or, rather, not aging. He thinks about living a long life, feeling and looking healthy, and doing what it takes to preserve himself for as long as possible. Unlike the rest of us, though, he is neither depressed nor terrified by the pesky hands of time. For 30 years Cherniske has devoted his life to studying the relationship between food, health and aging. What he's found has resulted in a profitable line of supplements and three best-selling books: The Metabolic Plan, Caffeine Blues and The DHEA Breakthrough. The latter is about a hormone made in the adrenal glands--a key component in Cherniske's studies. While not embraced by all in the scientific community (there are no studies on DHEA's long-term effects), Cherniske, who has been supplementing DHEA for 20 years, insists it promotes bodily regeneration and anti-aging. Last week the Alibi spoke over the phone with Cherniske, who will be at UNM's Continuing Education Auditorium this Friday night.
Alberta's pockmarked landscape is the next big thing for oil companies worldwide
By Marisa Demarco
Canada, ho! Where the health care flows like water and there's oil in the very sand. In honor of the Alibi's Canada issue, we're going to discuss what may be the most important source of fossil fuel for the United States in coming years: Tar sand in Alberta, Canada.
First we lose cockfighting. Now this. Our culture and customs are under attack. Somebody needs to talk with Attorney General Gary King, somebody he might listen to. And they need to sit him down pronto.
Music on the Strip—Further cementing the sacred bond between musicians and strip clubs (as the memoirs of any aging buttrocker with teased hair will attest), you can get live music at the Spearmint Rhino Gentleman's Club (1645 University NE) every week now. The California-based strip club started booking Albuquerque bands back in April of this year, and the music has held up every Monday night since. British punkers The Geezers even popped in for a May 7 show. What the hell?
Half jazz enthusiast, half political activist, all rock 'n' roll
By Marisa Demarco
Guitarist Shane Perlowin didn't know when he answered a classified ad in the paper looking for people to make "'out-of-this-world music' ... whatever that meant" that it was the beginnings of a project that would achieve national recognition. "I don't think we really expected it to be as well-received as it was from the start," he says.
I'm going to Canada. When? I don't know, but some day I'll see my favorite band, Our Lady Peace, perform in their hometown of Toronto. In fact, I want to see as many Canadian artists as possible. They just seem so good up there. And they are. A lot of cheesy big-name artists (Céline Dion, Nickelback, Barenaked Ladies) and influential indie acts (Arcade Fire, The New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene) have come from the land of the maple leaf, and there's still more talent to be discovered by us non-Canadian music fans—the problem is finding it.
Freedom Rock—My eternal gratitude to everyone who came out for the Alibi's Festival of Opinions last Saturday on the Fourth Street mall. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, it was hotter than a crotch out there, so the folks that participated truly showed their dedication to free speech and the First Amendment. I lost four pounds in sweat, one pound for each hour in the heat, but the music was especially fantastic. Thanks to Selsun Blue, Fast Heart Mart and Daddy Long Loin for the tunes. And a big burlap sack stuffed with gratitude for the drummer from Selsun Blue who climbed up the light pole to plug in the extension cord. That was impressive. As you all know, freedom without electricity really isn't worth celebrating.
My personal vision of hell pretty much matches that network sitcom about a bunch of white-bread “friends” living in grotesque intimacy with each other in a nightmarishly sanitized New York. Kobo Abe's vision of eternal damnation shares the title of that horrible show but is starkly different in almost every other respect.
Stuff Me Full of Art—La Quiche Parisienne Bistro opened about half a year ago at 401 Copper NW, a mere block from Alibi Headquarters. The bakery/restaurant is a huge blessing for Downtown. Great sandwiches, great soups, great pastries. Unfortunately, this means a mere 200 yards separates my desk from a chocolate croissant at any given moment. It's dangerous.
Got something to say? This Saturday, at our first annual Festival of Opinions, the Alibi fights for your right to say your piece. Don't be shy. But do be brief. (Go over the time limit of two minutes per speaker and our Gong Girl, Laura, is gonna kick your ass.) Brassy neo-folksters Selsun Blue will warm things up at noon. One-man loony tunes Daddy Long Loin will cool things down at around 3 p.m. Dynamic crime-fighting duo Fast Heart Mart will show up sometime in the middle to crank out some savvy street tunes. In between musical acts, random speakers along with some specially invited guests will celebrate their right to express themselves as they see fit. Bring props. Bring costumes. Bring puppets. Most of all, bring a smokin'-hot opinion that you're burning to share with the world. It all goes down this Saturday, June 30, from noon to 4 p.m. on the Fourth Street Mall (between Central and Copper). All participants will be entered into a raffle with fabulous prizes. See ya there!
Freedom is just another word for not getting killed, tortured or imprisoned for speaking the truth
This year we decided to celebrate Independence Day by taking a look at some of the past year's biggest threats to the free access of information. Many of these stories are about press freedoms, both here in the United States and around the world. Several are about online freedoms that have recently come under fire. A handful are about the straight-up dictatorial shutting down of access to facts.
Romeo Has a Name—At long last, the alibi.com contest to rename three-car garage rockers Romeo Goes to Hell is over. Many, many people chimed in with their two cents (and sometimes drink tickets and bus tokens), but only a handful made it to the final death round. Although no one person technically won, Levi Eleven (you know, frontman of the-band-formerly-known-as-Romeo-Goes-to-Hell and baron von merch of I Heart Machine band merchandise) will generously assemble prize packages for the best suggesters.
In honor of Independence Day, we proudly reflect on the Frontline Five: the top musical acts that have fought for our freedom of speech and expression through music. We also give you their freest of free songs, which we call upon you to download. Wave your rights high!
It's not a fairy tale of success, but it's a success just the same
By Marisa Demarco
Four years ago, local hip-hop was hard to find. Clubs wouldn't book it. The few crews that existed hadn't yet coalesced into a sturdy scene. "There was no sign of hip-hop anywhere," says Phillip Torres. He wanted to perform, to see his friends on stage and to get paid.
It started, auspiciously enough, with pink feathers floating down Fremont Street. The Exotic World Weekend in Las Vegas kicked off (literally) with over 200 exotic dancers performing the world's biggest bump and grind while wearing the world's longest feather boa, a mile-long, shocking pink monstrosity constructed by Ostriches On Line. While the speakers over Fremont blared a selection of classic boom-tsiss-boom-tsiss music, the gals (and a couple of guys) gave convention attendees and curious onlookers a taste of what was to come—three days worth of classic, retro-style Burlesque action.
I've developed a whole new appreciation for our state's superior, scrumptious food after taking some New Mexico newbies into Los Cuates. Seeing our chile-laden regional cuisine through the eyes out-of-towners not only brought back memories of my first honey-drenched sopapilla, but also made me feel like a great sage, dispensing knowledge and wisdom to those not fortunate enough to live here.
Damn. Just as you start to relax after making it through Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, yet another less-than-meaningful holiday is upon us. The Fourth of July and all its quasi-patriotic entailments are giving you the stink eye. It’s time to scrape last year’s gunk off the grill, knock the dust off the mismatched patio furniture and fill your Frigidaire with cheap beer.
Will Albuquerque’s homeless population still have access to necessary resources?
By Sonja Dewing
The city's homeless might soon have to thumb a ride to get the help they need. Mayor Martin Chavez and the Albuquerque Planning Department are pushing to relocate many Downtown services to disperse the concentration of homeless out of the Barelas area. In a recent phone interview, the mayor offered the reason why: Putting many homeless services in the same area is “incredibly destructive to neighborhoods," he said. "You can’t get your neighborhood up if someone is urinating or taking drugs in your yard. This gives us an opportunity to rebuild Barelas.”
A new report shows that the status of women falls short
By Christie Chisholm
Modern-day America seems to be under the impression that equality, in terms of equal pay and treatment for women and minorities, is a reality. Indeed, our country has had 43 years to get it right, after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Yet if you’re a woman working in Los Alamos County, you’re likely to be paid 57 cents on the dollar of what the man with a comparable job gets paid in the office next to you. For the whole state, the gap is raised, although far from erased: Women in New Mexico are paid 75 cents on the dollar of what men are paid for comparable jobs—$25,700 a year to $34,200, pegging our state at 24th in the nation for the wage gap. This is all according to a new report by the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women that looks at women’s equality on a county-by-county basis.
Peter Simonson, executive director of the state's American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) chapter, sits down with the Alibi for our yearly check-up on the three biggest intrusions on New Mexicans' freedoms
By Marisa Demarco
Do you see the church-state divide closing in this region?
Word limits seldom allow mention of individuals honored at Council meetings, but let's leave for July's vacation thanking some outstanding Albuquerque residents cited on June 18. Councilor Michael Cadigan, a former Marine, arranged for Marine Sgt. Jeff Hunter to receive his Silver Star at the meeting. The citation mentioned several occasions when Hunter ran through heavy fire to retrieve wounded comrades. Proclamations honored seventh-grader Matthew Evans, who made it into the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition, and Goldie Ann Steadman, who recently died at the age of 96 after a life filled with community activism. Perennial Council junkies relished the final episode (maybe) of the city's very own "Survivor" drama, starring the Del Rey Mobile Home Park residents. The 50 families remaining of the park's original 270 have fought eviction for more than two years as the property's owner tried to sell it. Now, Stillbrooke Homes and Argus Development are negotiating an arrangement to create a first-class, mixed-use neighborhood on the land that will allow current residents to buy their own lots.
The rights of people in Third World El Salvador should be worth more than the rights of corporations
By Jerry Ortiz y Pino
Ignorance is no excuse. If we choose to remain blind to the injustices carried on by American corporations in the Third World, this does not make us innocent. Our hands are dirty and our failure to recognize that fact doesn’t make the damage we do less serious or our silence less complicit.
Dateline: England—British Formula One star Lewis Hamilton crashed his go-kart mere minutes after selling the vehicle on eBay for nearly $84,000. The World Championship leader was selling the miniature racer at auction to raise money for charity. England’s The Sun tabloid reports Hamilton decided to take the McLaren Mercedes kart out for one last spin after selling it for 42,000 pounds ($83,950). Lewis, 22, took a brief 40 mph drive around a custom-built track and ended up crashing. The vehicle’s rear axle was damaged in the wipeout. McLaren will now have to pay to repair the damage before the kart is sent on to its new owner.
Slammin’ Selections—Warehouse 21’s annual Slam ’n’ Jam is the latest in a long history of W21-sponsored youth video slams. On Friday, June 29, at 7:30 p.m., selected films will be “slammed” in front of a live audience and a panel of judges at The Moon (formerly Club Luna at 519 Cerrillos in Santa Fe). All these short (8 minutes or less) submissions came from local filmmakers between the ages of 12 and 21. The cost is free for teens and $5 for adults. For more details, log on to www.warehouse21.org.
Astronomically speaking, summer officially begins on June 21 here in North America. Economically speaking, it gets started long before that. Summer movie season, for example, has traditionally kicked off on Memorial Day weekend. The Memorial Day to Labor Day marathon now accounts for 40 percent or more of the movie industry’s annual box office. It’s no wonder movie studios, eager to milk as much cash out of summertime ticketbuyers as possible, have been inching the summer movie season further and further back. This year, the release of Spider-Man 3on May 4 (three full weekends before Memorial Day) signaled the start of a very long, hot summer.
It’s a vegetable stew made primarily with eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini--now go see the movie!
By Devin D. O’Leary
Odds are, if and when you go to the theater to see Ratatouille, the new film from Pixar Animation Studios, you’ll first be greeted by a brief sneak preview of the company’s next major feature Wall-E. That film isn’t scheduled to hit theaters until next June. But the roughly 10-second glance you’ll get of this animated fable about a lonely robot has got more charm and endearing appeal than the last six CGI films Hollywood has cranked out. Following that, you’ll get to see one of Pixar’s trademark short films—a hilarious little sci-fi romp titled “Lifted.” That film alone is worth the price you’ll pay for admission. And that’s all before the feature even starts.
With the advent of TiVo and other digital recorders, television networks and advertising agencies have been scrambling to find new ways of assuaging big-budget clients upset over the high-tech practice of “zapping.” Zapping is the process of using your remote control to fast-forward past TV commercials. Back in the day, viewers actually had to get up off the couch and go take a crap to avoid commercials. Now, technology allows us to shrug off Madison Avenue with the push of a button. What a bunch of ungrateful bastards we all are. We sit there, watch a free episode of “Three and a Half Men,” produced graciously for our entertainment by CBS, and don’t have the simple decency to return the favor by ordering a Pizza Hut P’Zone when the network tells us to.