Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Fun: Virals, Links and Bears, oh my!

Wow, it's been a busy week. Lots to process. But have no fear, I'm here to break it down old skool style for you, fair readers and I'm gonna slip in some awesomely important Interweb things you might have missed because you have to do something called "work" like 9 hours a day before leaving and then going to a place called "home" where, oddly enough, more "work" awaits. Don't mess with my American dream, buddy, 'cause I will cut you.

Yay, it's Friday!

Obama wins one of them Nobel Peace prizes for basically showing up for work.

Punctuality and accountability are super important at the office and can take you a long way towards promotions an stuff. Usually accolades are held off until you've been at your job for awhile, then you start getting shitty tokens from bossman, like a paperweight, a clock or a 2% raise. Or, you can be at your job for like 8 months and get one of the most respected awards around. I'm sure that nearly a year spent running this venerable nation in the middle of an orchestrated economic crisis and a few wars is just as deserving a feat as some of the past winners' achievements. I'm mean what does Nelson Mandela, Doctors Without Borders and psht...Al Gore have on the POTUS. Yeah, that's right, so...I'm not sure the wording on this but...haters better step off. Wait - does that sound right?

NASA Apparently Still Exists

Reading the plans of NASA and their newly restored love affair with The Moon was frankly like reading The Onion. A manned moon base? Um, yeah, sure that totally sounds realistic NASA, I'm all for it. Of course the obvious first step would be to shove a probe down the Moon's "throat" , right? And so they did this morning, and it was extremely unspectacular. Maybe it would have been more exciting if they hadn't billed it as a moon "bombing" and went with a spacier term like "probe launching". Sci-Fi is so hot right now.

Tracy Morgan Joins Twitter

The Twitter community twatted a collective sigh of relief when Tracy Jordan, I mean Morgan, finally, finally, joined Twitter. Here is a collection of his most recent posts so far (newest first, for those of you that don't Tweet).

Prepare to be inspired.


  • Just got in the house. Feeling tired from working 30 Rock. Getting ready to crash. Good night my loves.
  • Im a good parent so ill induce the labor
  • The wait is over! The black Svengali has arrived! I'm on the street turning good girls bad and getting them pregnant!!!
  • my dickhead is shaped liked a darth vadar helmet. my dick is so fat it looks like r2d2.
Let the magic begin.

The Interweb Thinks You're Awesome

Why not give it a high-five?

YES! A Response to LOLCats

Check out, they're not trying to be like those a-hole LolCats. They're just trying to make it in this mixed up crazy world and can't really be bothered worrying about whether you LOL or not, man. Lay off, them. Jeez.

Lastly, Community (NBC, 8pm EST, Thurs nights!)...which you should be watching 'cause it has great writing.

What else are you going to watch, Sherri on Lifetime? Bones? The Vampire Diaries. No, you're not, so watch Joel and Chevy. They're good people.

Halloween Season Starts Right....Now - Terror Behind the Walls

Photo by Andrew Garn courtesy of ESP.

Today's gray and stormy skies have certainly signaled that fall has arrived. While there might be a few warmish days ahead, there’s no denying that Halloween is creeping into the air. And if you're in the Philadelphia area, fair reader, what’s a better way to get into the spirit than with a trip to prison?

For 142 years, Eastern State Penitentiary at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia was as infamous as some of its better-known residents. The prison was originally designed as a place for solitary penitence and hard labor. Charles Dickens, who certainly had no trouble depicting suffering in his stories, called Eastern State “cruel and wrong.”

Built in a unique “hub and spoke” design which influenced over 300 prison designs after it, Eastern State Penitentiary is even frightening during daylight hours with its vaulted ceilings, peeling paint and original relics rotting in undisturbed cell blocks. But there’s also a sublime beauty that shines in the eerie sunlight that streams in through cracked walls.

One can almost hear the lonely murmurs of inmates from the first 85 years of the prison’s history when human contact was so severely restricted they were forced to wear masks whenever the fleeting opportunity to be in one another’s company arose. It is on this foundation of suffering and inhumanity that Eastern State Penitentiary’s Halloween event, Terror Behind the Walls, is built. Well, suffering, inhumanity and some scary fun without that icky carny seediness of other haunted attractions.

Terror Behind the Walls doesn’t actually bother with illustrating any of the prison’s history in this massive haunted house — it just dolls up the one-of-a-kind setting in an attempt to scare the bejesus out of visitors. Terror Behind the Walls balances cheesy funhouse tricks like sudden puffs of air and great sound effects with talented performers and five creatively-themed attractions to manifest some relatively bloodcurdling thrills.

Guests are first put through Inmate Intake as they make their way down a winding path under the close eye of some pretty gnarly looking guards. Next is Lock Down which creeps through a three-story wing and ends with a corridor of hooded inmates who are standing a little too close for comfort. This year’s newest section is the Infirmary, which features undead medical staff and gory operating conditions. Terror’s most funhouse-like attraction is the Experiment, a black light and 3-D fest providing cheap thrills and allowing for the actors to appear invisible until inches from their prey, which is us. The menacing tour ends with Night Watch, a truly enjoyable flashlight walk through the zombie-infested, pitch black hallways. The best part about this section is seeing how long you can go without using the meager flashlight provided.

Be sure to stop whenever you get a glimpse of parts of the prison not directly involved with the Terror Behind the Walls show. Often peering into a dilapidated hallway from behind barred windows is just as chilling as the Halloween spectacle. Eastern State Penitentiary is naturally creepy and it’s a nice touch to leave these eerie spaces viewable.

Terror Behind the Walls’ scares illicit a few screams, but screams quickly turn to giggles as it’s all in good fun. Sensitive guests and children might not enjoy the semi-claustrophobic conditions and the committed performers. From costumes and makeup to lighting and sound, Terror Behind the Walls is a dazzling production.

The five different attractions can go by fast, so it’s important to take things slow in order to get your money’s worth and fully appreciate the excellent set decoration and enthusiastic actors. One of the actors was a bit too enthusiastic and unintentionally smashed into me during Intake, but as a rule they can’t touch you and you can’t touch them — though they have a lot of fun coming very close. Zombie guards may hold you up at certain sections; this allows groups to be separated with some space. It’s no fun when a crazed inmate jumps out at you if you’ve already seen it happen to the folks in front of you.

Also, be prepared for very long lines… like Disney World long. Waits of up to an hour can happen — rain or shine. But videos, zombie guards and the sounds of barking dogs along with general prison chaos do a good job of keeping everyone interested. Keep a close eye on the bushes as the line weaves through the Intake area. But, sometimes you can’t even see some of the freakier performers until it’s too late.

Terror Behind the Walls continues through Nov. 7. You can witness the horror Friday, Saturday and Sunday 7 p.m. to midnight. Weeknight hours begin on Oct. 14. Tickets range from $20-$30, but half the ticket price is tax deductible. Park at the Philadelphia Zoo’s lot for $10 and hitch a ride with the the Ghost Bus, a free shuttle featuring storytellers to set the mood. You can also get there from Center City on the no. 48 bus on Market Street. Sunday night is family night (only kids over 7 permitted) and the young ones can relay the code, “Monster be good,” to the actors to make things a little less intense. Be sure to check out the museum after the tour.

Go to for more information about the history of ESP and Terror Behind the Walls ticketing.

(Another version of this post was originally published here.)