Saturday, May 26, 2007

Life Imitates Art

Our story begins in 1903 with founding of the Pacific Coast League, a minor league baseball league that was once considered for "promotion" to the majors after WWII. One of the original members of the PCL was the Oakland Oaks who would remain in the Bay Area until 1956 when the New York Giants moved to San Francisco. The Oaks relocated to Vancouver and called themselves the Mounties. In 1970 the team moved to Salt Lake City becoming the Bees and then the Angels and then the Gulls. In 1985 they moved back to Canada becoming the Calgary Cannons.

This is where things get interesting. In 2003 the team moved to its current location: Albuquerque, NM and held a fan-voting contest to choose a new name. It had been only two years since the Dukes had left town, but fans still wanted a new name. They chose Isotopes. The few naive people in New Mexico will say this is because the state deals with nuclear chemicals, but everyone else knows the name comes from a Season 12 episode of The Simpsons entitled "Hungry Hungry Homer." This is the episode that features Blocko Land, the amusement park made entirely of Blocko brand assembly fun blocks. The trip to Blocko Land marks the beginning of Homer's quest to help "schmoes with their problems." He talks a girl into asking Bart on date and helps the hair dressers at Hairy Shearers increase their razor-thin profit margins by switching from loafer lightener to mincing gel. He then moves on to his most daunting task of all, a hunger strike to bring to light the Duff Corporation's plans to move the Springfield Isotopes to Albuquerque. The highlights include Homer getting visited by the spirit of Cesar Chaves ("Why do you look like Cesar Romero?" "Because you don't know what Cesar Chavez looks like."), getting replaced by Paint-Drinking Pete and the brand new Isotope Dog Supreme with Mesquite-grilled onions, jalapeƱo relish and mango lime salsa, the kind of bold flavor they enjoy in Albuquerque.

My reasons for telling this story are to spotlight the power pop culture has over the masses, and to remind people that The Simpsons was actually funny not that long ago.


Eric said...

I stepped into a debate the other day where people were arguing about the state where the Simpsons lived. I really wanted to banish everyone involved from ever speaking again, but I mostly just stood there smiling politely. Someone said that they have to be from New Mexico since the baseball team is named the Isotopes, just like Albuquerque. Another one said that it had to be in California since Springfield has everything. I told them both that it is a moot point since the creators chose 'Springfield' as the name because it was such a common name for towns across the country, and they didn't necessarily select a corresponding state. I'm still ashamed to have listened to such uninformed debate. I almost felt like I was watching the banter on FOX 13 News at Nine.

morty said...

I've always been of the opinion that people, when you get down to it, are generally good. However, they're also stupid. The other day I read some message board where someone was decrying the famous line at the end of King Kong ("It was beauty killed the beast") because "no, I'm pretty sure it was the airplanes."

morty said...

Other great quotes from the "Hungry Hungry Homer" episode:

Lisa: "We have our choice of Rectangle Land, Cube Country or Squaresville"
Marge: "Squaresville sounds pretty cool."

Bart: "Why did I get this Lego shirt?"
Marge: "Don't you mean Blocko shirt?"
Bart: "Right, right, Blocko shirt."

Homer: "C'mon. Why won't you go out with Bart?"
Girl: "He's a smelly, ugly, dork."
Homer: "Please, ugly is such a smelly word."

Homer: "Either you honor my wife's coupon or a lot more lids will be unscrewed."

Homer: "...and I gave that man directions, even though I didn't know the way, 'cause that's the kind of guy I am this week."

Lenny: "The team's been terrible since they got bought by the cheap, heartless Duff Corperation. Moe, gimme a Duff. (drinks) Oh yeah. Sweet Duff"
Carl: "Wait a minute. Duff owns the Springfield Isotopes? Since When?"
Moe: "They bought 'em a year ago from the Mafia. It was the last of the family-owned teams."

Homer: "I'm trying to get a refund for this ticket. Is this the executive office of the ball club?"
Equipment Manager: "Nope. This is the equipment shed."
Homer: "Oh. Is that it?"
Equipment Manager: "That's where we keep the water heater."
Homer: "Is..."
Equipment Manager: "That's a tractor."
Homer: "I see."

Lisa: "Dad, I'm so proud of you. If you need some inspiration, here's a book of Mike Farrell's core beliefs."
Homer: "Man, he really hates Wayne Rogers."

Marge: "Why are you letting my husband die?" What does that have to do with baseball?"
Duff Exec 1: "Death is a part of baseball."
Duff Exec 2: "Yeah, the main part."