Full-body scanner / pat-down controversy gets the cartoon treatment

Taiwan’s Next Media Animation has turned the spreading controversy over airport full-body scanners and pat-downs into a cartoon.

The animation house releases news videos each day on YouTube and provides English translations for some of the videos.

The animation summarizes – and mocks – the recent incidents in the United States when air passengers have refused full-body scans and pat-downs – the Travel Security Administration’s recently released enhanced security measures.

Among the scenes in the video:

  • A cross-dressing male passenger fights off a TSA agent’s advances and reveals undergarments with explosives and a tag reading “Osama’s Secret”
  • Protestors wave signs that read “Don’t Touch My Junk”
  • The name of the full-body scanner manufacturer is “RapeScan Systems.”
  • Naked passengers take over a plane on Nov. 24, which protestors have deemed National Opt-Out Day.
  • A female passenger requests that her pat-down be done in private, and is taken to a room with a king-size bed and a seductively dancing TSA agent.

Anthony Bourdain creates animated web series

I’m a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain and I love No Reservations. A show that combines travel to places both exotic and familiar, pure rockstar gluttony and classic Bourdain snark – how could it go wrong? So when I heard that Bourdain was creating an animated web series for the Travel Channel (relax, it will NOT be taking the place of No Reservations) I figured it couldn’t be anything less than awesome.

Based on the sneak peak, the show looks like its going to have plenty of Bourdain’s signature sense of humor. In the first episode, “Robo Chef,” Bourdain laments how much effort it takes to create the perfect celebrity chef – all that work and then they go off and get their own talk show! – so he decides to make one himself. But when he accidentally puts in Rachel Ray’s brain instead of Alton Brown’s, things go awry.

According to Bourdain himself, future episodes won’t be all about his issues with Food Network chefs. They’re designed to be alternative versions of No Reservations – “representing things we never could have done on the actual show – or representing the way things should have gone on the show – or animated acknowledgments of what already went terribly wrong on the show.”

One of the six webisodes will be posted on the Travel Channel website each month. The first will debut November 2nd.

Dine for charity at The Palm

If you’re looking for a reason to splurge on a restaurant meal, here’s one. The Palm Restaurant group, as part of its aim to raise money for the non-profit organization Dress for Success, has a special menu for lunch and dinner through October 31.

If you order from the Fall for Success lunch or dinner menus, part of the proceeds will go to this charity that provides “economic independence of disadvantaged women.”

Menu items are creative and yummy. Ordering a meal isn’t required. There are appetizers, side dishes, salad and a desert if you’re on a tighter budget.

I’d go for the Parmesan Truffle fries for $8, or for a splurge the Nova Scotia Lobster Nachos for $18. Molten Chocolate cake is the desert offering. (Click here for the rest of the menu.)

The history of the restaurant is another reason to head here regardless of giving money to a worthy cause.

Although there are 25 Palm restaurant locations from Boston to L.A., and in Mexico City and San Juan, the Palm Group is still owned by the family who founded it. The original Palm Restaurant on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan, now a historic landmark opened its doors in 1926 as an Italian eatery featuring dishes from Parma Italy.

This restaurant is one of those famous places worth heading to for its history alone. Back when it first opened, the family couldn’t afford artwork so whenever local newspaper men came to eat, they were given a free plate of spaghetti in exchange for a drawing on the wall. The walls still boast the caricatures and cartoons of their efforts.

Here’s a detail that anyone who has traveled to another country and has struggled to say the name of a place correctly can relate to. The family really wanted the name of the restaurant to be Parma, but when applying for a business license the person who applied had an accent that made Parma sounded like Palm. Considering the restaurant’s expansion to California, perhaps this was unwittingly visionary.

Friday Funny: Fifty Best Cartoons

Sometimes I feel sorry for today’s children. They have a gazillion times more television programming available to them, but so much of it is crap, it’s often impossible to find anything worth watching ,let alone something that might be considered educational or enriching. I’m talking mostly about cartoons, and thinking that, with the exception of the Simpsons, Pixar and a few scattered standouts, most cartoons today pretty much suck.

Hey, I apologize if you’re a big fan of shows like Sponge Bob Square Pants or whatever, but I’ve watched these shows, and as far as I’m concerned they pale in comparison to the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. These lovingly hand-drawn cartoons remain great works of art and the people behind them, like Chuck Jones, are heroes in my book. I doubt anyone will be able to match them for true artistry and creative narrative.

Sure, I might be a bit of a romantic. I’ll accept that to an extent. But for today’s Friday Funny, I offer you a list of the Top 50 Cartoons of All Time, most of which can be viewed online. At the top of the list (no surprise) are several Bugs cartoons…in fact, the list features a bunch of them…and sprinkled throughout are some other wonderful indies like The Big Snit. There’s nary a Sponge Pants to be found. If you’re like me, you’ll spend the next hour or so watching some of these gems, and I can think of no more perfect way to kick off the holiday season than a healthy dose of Bugs.