Filthy Rich & Fictional

September 30, 2008

I received a superannuation statement the other day – on current projections my retirement fund will be able to buy a caffe latte and a piece of cake! Well, maybe not the cake. So I’ve reconsidered my financial situation, and now have an excellent retirement plan – I’m hoping that the Large Hadron Collider will eventually create a black hole, destroying the Earth in a fraction of a second. Everyone wins!

So there’s no chance I’ll be appearing on the Forbes 400 anytime soon.

For those who don’t follow the exploits of the obscenely rich, Forbes magazine has been around since 1917 and is available “bi-weekly” in the US, and fortnightly everywhere else. It’s most famous for its Forbes 400 list, which has been published annually since 1982. This is a list of the USA’s 400 richest people – Forbes is effectively Smash Hits for business nerds.

I’ve never understood the appeal of this list – does anyone care whether a “Real Estate Mogul” you’ve never heard of is worth more than a “Technology Titan” you’ve never heard of? Are there people who rush out on the morning of publication to find out if they’ve finally made it to number 271 this year? Does the person who was 401st on the list get a “highly commended” certificate and a McDonalds voucher?

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Disappearing Pets: 11 Pop-Culture Animals You Just Don’t See Anymore

August 19, 2008

Some dogs are for life, and some are just for Christmas Specials. The Outland Institute looks at eleven fictional “animal companions” that found themselves flushed down the toilet of life…

Kitty Fanastico (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, 2000)

If you’re a lesbian couple who live in a university and you have magic powers, you’ll be wanting a cat. And so it was that in Buffy’s fourth season Willow and Tara found themselves the proud owner of Miss Kitty Fantastico. She appears in three episodes, and even gets some fantastic slow-motion work dedicated to her, but by season five she’s vanished. No explanation is given until the penultimate episode of season seven, when Buffy‘s sister Dawn gets the slightly clumsy line, “I don’t leave crossbows around all willy-nilly. Not since that time with Miss Kitty Fantastico.” Kitty still lives on though – in collectable action figure form (see above).

Queequeg (The X Files, 1995)

What do you do with a Pomeranian who’s eaten her owner? If you’re Special Agent Dana Scully you take her home with you – she may be a man-eater but she’s still cute, and if anyone needs some cheering up it’s Dana. Her dad’s died, her sister’s died, she lives in Vancouver but thinks it’s Washington… Arriving in the fourth episode of season 3, Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose, Queequeg promptly vanishes for most of the season, making one brief appearance before episode 22, when Scully inexplicably decides to bring her along on their latest case – chasing a giant alligator. Queequeg is never seen again.

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