Monthly Archives: October, 2009

Flash Forward: Halloween, Blue Hand, Quantum Superpositions, Kangaroos and David Bowie

First off, Happy Halloween. I posted some humorous Halloween pictures on another blog on our site earlier today, so check it out after you finish the Flash Forward review.

So Halloween came early this year (Thursday night to be exact). With episode 6 of Flash Forward aptly titled “Scary Monsters and Super Creeps”, we start seeing the future unfold for the Benfords.

But before we discuss the Benfords, let’s discuss David Bowie. Why?

Scary MonstersScary Monsters was one David Bowie’s greatest albums. Scary Monsters was a highly self-reflective album showing how haunted Bowie was by the destructive trappings of fame and superstardom. On the title track, ‘scary monsters and super freaks’ are metaphors for the drugged denizens of a phantasmagoric rock world. ‘When I looked in her eyes they were blue but there’s nobody home.’  I don’t know about eyes being blue but I do know about blue hands.

Episode 6 begins with Simon (Dominic Monaghan) seducing a pretty woman by telling her about “quantum superpositions” and “Schrödinger’s cat” while at the same time, Janis is being operated on to save her life. Like Schrödinger’s cat, she is somewhere between being both alive or dead. Nice metaphor.

Back in LA, Demetri and Agent Al Gough (Lee Thompson Young) head over to coroner’s office to see the bodies of the guys Janis took out in her ambush. Demetri notices a small blue hand on one of the bodies, which was one of the items on Mark’s case wall in his flashforward. Mark also mentioned “Baltimore” relating to the blue hand, so Demetri and Gough head over to Baltimore Street in Silver Lake, which is a few blocks away.

KangarooMeanwhile, while trick or treating, Mark, Aaron, and Charlie see a kangaroo hopping down the street (I loved the Sally outfit from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas that Nicole was wearing).

Dylan leaves the hospital and takes a bus to the Benford’s house. The writers were in full humor of having him wear a pimp costume. His exchange between mihothe bus driver and the guy on the bus defending his “miho” was funny and poignant at the same time.

Dylan walks past Nicole into the Benford’s house and gets himself a cookie from the rooster cookie jar explaining “It’s my house too.” We learn a bit later that Charlie told this to him when taking a cookie in their flashforward life.

Mark sees three guys wearing masks similar to the ones he sees in his flashforward. He chases after the guys (to the sounds of Bowie’s tune) and catches one in the cemetery. Turns out they were just kids afraid of getting caught toilet papering houses.

Demetri and Gough are on Baltimore Street following hand symbols where each hand has only a certain amount of fingers shown to indicate how far to go down the street. They end up at what appears to be an abandoned drug house with blood splattered on the walls and three dead bodies covered in sheets. On the body most visible, the left hand has been dipped in or painted blue.

Mark, Lloyd, and Olivia have a very awkward moment when Lloyd comes to pick up Dylan from their house. As Lloyd looks around, he recognizes the house from his flashforward and comes to realize that Oliva is his love interest in his future flashforward. Mark does not take this well at all, but it seemed to me that Lloyd seemed pretty smug about it. Lloyd states “You’re her” which Mark retorts “Not yet.”

 Olivia and Mark have words after Lloyd and Dylan leave. Mark accuses Olivia from hiding the truth and she confronts him about hiding the fact that he is drinking in his flashforward. Olivia isn’t sure she can stay with Mark since they cannot trust each other anymore.

At the end of the episode, Simon is waiting in Lloyd’s car. Lloyd is not glad to see him saying “our experiment killed 20 million people.”

New things we learned this week:

Simon’s flashforward was interesting. “He had a neck like an ox and smelled like a meat locker.” He explains that he choked the man to death and didn’t know who he was. Sounds like subway noise in the background, doesn’t it?

Lloyd is from Palo Alto, California.

Seems the show’s writers want us to keep thinking about China somehow being involved in the blackout. First we hear it at the hearings last week and it was mentioned by Gough again tonight. However, Demetri is pretty adamant that “China is a dead end” as he states this to Agent Gough.

Demetri and Janis were at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virgina together. Seems Janis drank Demetri under the table.

Olivia does a B-Lynch suture procedure on Janis which apparently will make her less likely to be able to get pregnant in the future.

Nuts to you, squirrelly-o! Toot-toot!

On one of the bodies is some evidence from the Rutherford case which has not began yet. Demetri states “It begins tonight.”

Who is Gough researching and why is it troubling him so much?

Finally, here is my Halloween treat to you; a sequential photo gallery of the blue hands seen in tonight’s episode.

Blue hand image on body

Blue hand on Stop sign on Baltimore Street

Blue hand with missing fingers

Abandoned house blue hand

Blue hand of dead body

Blue hand photograph

Happy Halloween from Toy Anxiety!

Here is a little Halloween humor in pictures for all of you. Have a safe and fun Halloween.

Too much candy!

Trick or treaters

What lovely costumes!

Fun with pumpkins

More lovely costumes

Cats and Dogs and Pumpkins

More fun with Pumpkins

Weiner Dogs

Product Update for 10/30/2009

*Update for 10/30/09*

New Breakdowns!

SideShow Star Wars Lando Calrissian

SideShow Indiana Jones in German Soldier Disguise

Dragon WWII German Johann Meiler

Flash Forward: Schrödinger’s Cat

Schrödinger’s cat

Again, I will need some time to digest this episode six titled “Scary Monsters and Super Creeps.” Simon is no Charlie from LOST. Simon openly addresses the cause of the flashforward with a pretty lady he is seducing on a bullet train. He explains himself as a famous quantum physicist and that he knows what caused the flashforward. Simon puts it in terms of quantum physics and a kitten citing “quantum superpositions” and “Schrödinger’s cat.”

Until I can post my review over the next few days, I thought I would leave you with the thought experiment called Schrödinger’s cat.

Schrödinger’s cat

Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment, often described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The thought experiment presents a cat that might be alive or dead, depending on an earlier random event. In the course of developing this experiment, he coined the term Verschränkung — literally, entanglement.

Origin and motivation

Schrödinger’s thought experiment was intended as a discussion of the EPR article, named after its authors — Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen — in 1935. The EPR article had highlighted the strange nature of quantum superpositions. Broadly stated, a quantum superposition is the combination of all the possible states of a system (for example, the possible positions of a subatomic particle). The Copenhagen interpretation implies that the superposition undergoes collapse into a definite state only at the exact moment of quantum measurement.

Schrödinger and Einstein had exchanged letters about Einstein’s EPR article, in the course of which Einstein had pointed out that the quantum superposition of an unstable keg of gunpowder will, after a while, contain both exploded and unexploded components.

To further illustrate the putative incompleteness of quantum mechanics, Schrödinger applied quantum mechanics to a living entity that may or may not be conscious. In Schrödinger’s original thought experiment, he describes how one could, in principle, transform a superposition inside an atom to a large-scale superposition of a live and dead cat by coupling cat and atom with the help of a “diabolical mechanism”. He proposed a scenario with a cat in a sealed box, wherein the cat’s life or death was dependent on the state of a subatomic particle. According to Schrödinger, the Copenhagen interpretation implies that the cat remains both alive and dead (to the universe outside the box) until the box is opened.

Schrödinger did not wish to promote the idea of dead-and-alive cats as a serious possibility; quite the reverse. The thought experiment serves to illustrate the bizarreness of quantum mechanics and the mathematics necessary to describe quantum states. Intended as a critique of just the Copenhagen interpretation (the prevailing orthodoxy in 1935), the Schrödinger cat thought experiment remains a topical touchstone for all interpretations of quantum mechanics. How each interpretation deals with Schrödinger’s cat is often used as a way of illustrating and comparing each interpretation’s particular features, strengths, and weaknesses.

The thought experiment

Schrödinger wrote:

One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter, there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small that perhaps in the course of the hour, one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges, and through a relay releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.

It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a “blurred model” for representing reality. In itself, it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.

The above text is a translation of two paragraphs from a much larger original article that appeared in the German magazine Naturwissenschaften (“Natural Sciences”) in 1935.

Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment poses the question, when does a quantum system stop existing as a mixture of states and become one or the other? (More technically, when does the actual quantum state stop being a linear combination of states, each of which resembles different classical states, and instead begins to have a unique classical description?) If the cat survives, it remembers only being alive. But explanations of the EPR experiments that are consistent with standard microscopic quantum mechanics require that macroscopic objects, such as cats and notebooks, do not always have unique classical descriptions. The purpose of the thought experiment is to illustrate this apparent paradox. Our intuition says that no observer can be in a mixture of states; yet the cat, it seems from the thought experiment, can be such a mixture. Is the cat required to be an observer, or does its existence in a single well-defined classical state require another external observer? Each alternative seemed absurd to Albert Einstein, who was impressed by the ability of the thought experiment to highlight these issues. In a letter to Schrödinger dated 1950, he wrote:

You are the only contemporary physicist, besides Laue, who sees that one cannot get around the assumption of reality, if only one is honest. Most of them simply do not see what sort of risky game they are playing with reality—reality as something independent of what is experimentally established. Their interpretation is, however, refuted most elegantly by your system of radioactive atom + amplifier + charge of gunpowder + cat in a box, in which the psi-function of the system contains both the cat alive and blown to bits. Nobody really doubts that the presence or absence of the cat is something independent of the act of observation.

Note that no charge of gunpowder is mentioned in Schrödinger’s setup, which uses a Geiger counter as an amplifier and hydrocyanic poison instead of gunpowder. The gunpowder had been mentioned in Einstein’s original suggestion to Schrödinger 15 years before, and apparently Einstein had carried it forward to the present discussion.

Copenhagen interpretation

In the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, a system stops being a superposition of states and becomes either one or the other when an observation takes place. This experiment makes apparent the fact that the nature of measurement, or observation, is not well-defined in this interpretation. Some interpret the experiment to mean that while the box is closed, the system simultaneously exists in a superposition of the states “decayed nucleus/dead cat” and “undecayed nucleus/living cat”, and that only when the box is opened and an observation performed does the wave function collapse into one of the two states. More intuitively, some feel that the “observation” is taken when a particle from the nucleus hits the detector. This line of thinking can be developed into objective collapse theories. In contrast, the many worlds approach denies that collapse ever occurs.

Steven Weinberg said:

All this familiar story is true, but it leaves out an irony. Bohr’s version of quantum mechanics was deeply flawed, but not for the reason Einstein thought. The Copenhagen interpretation describes what happens when an observer makes a measurement, but the observer and the act of measurement are themselves treated classically. This is surely wrong; physicists and their apparatus must be governed by the same quantum mechanical rules that govern everything else in the universe. But these rules are expressed in terms of a wave function (or, more precisely, a state vector) that evolves in a perfectly deterministic way. So where do the probabilistic rules of the Copenhagen interpretation come from?

Considerable progress has been made in recent years toward the resolution of the problem, which I cannot go into here. It is enough to say that neither Bohr nor Einstein had focused on the real problem with quantum mechanics. The Copenhagen rules clearly work, so they have to be accepted. But this leaves the task of explaining them by applying the deterministic equation for the evolution of the wave function, the Schrödinger equation, to observers and their apparatus.

Everett’s many-worlds interpretation & consistent histories

In 1957, Hugh Everett formulated the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which does not single out observation as a special process. In the many-worlds interpretation, both alive and dead states of the cat persist, but are decoherent from each other. In other words, when the box is opened, that part of the universe containing the observer and cat is split into two separate universes: one containing an observer looking at a box with a dead cat, and one containing an observer looking at a box with a live cat.

Since the dead and alive states are decoherent, there is no effective communication or interaction between them. When an observer opens the box, he becomes entangled with the cat, so “observer states” corresponding to the cat’s being alive and dead are formed, and each can have no interaction with the other. The same mechanism of quantum decoherence is also important for the interpretation in terms of consistent histories. Only the “dead cat” or “alive cat” can be a part of a consistent history in this interpretation.

Roger Penrose criticises this:

“I wish to make it clear that, as it stands, this is far from a resolution of the cat paradox. For there is nothing in the formalism of quantum mechanics that demands that a state of consciousness cannot involve the simultaneous perception of a live and a dead cat”,

although the mainstream view (without necessarily endorsing many-worlds) is that decoherence is the mechanism that forbids such simultaneous perception.

A variant of the Schrödinger’s Cat experiment, known as the quantum suicide machine, has been proposed by cosmologist Max Tegmark. It examines the Schrödinger’s Cat experiment from the point of view of the cat, and argues that by using this approach, one may be able to distinguish between the Copenhagen interpretation and many-worlds.

Ensemble interpretation

The ensemble interpretation states that superpositions are nothing but subensembles of a larger statistical ensemble. That being the case, the state vector would not apply to individual cat experiments, but only to the statistics of many similarly prepared cat experiments. Proponents of this interpretation state that this makes the Schrödinger’s Cat paradox a trivial nonissue.

This interpretation serves to discard the idea that a single physical system in quantum mechanics has a mathematical description that corresponds to it in any way; the problem should be renamed Schrödinger’s cats.

Objective collapse theories

According to objective collapse theories, superpositions are destroyed spontaneously (irrespective of external observation) when some objective physical threshold (of time, mass, temperature, irreversibility, etc.) is reached. Thus, the cat would be expected to have settled into a definite state long before the box is opened. This could loosely be phrased as “the cat observes itself”, or “the environment observes the cat”.

Objective collapse theories require a modification of standard quantum mechanics to allow superpositions to be destroyed by the process of time evolution.

Practical applications

The experiment is a purely theoretical one, and the machine proposed is not known to have been constructed. Analogous effects, however, have some practical use in quantum computing and quantum cryptography. It is possible to send light that is in a superposition of states down a fiber optic cable. Placing a wiretap in the middle of the cable that intercepts and retransmits the transmission will collapse the wave function (in the Copenhagen interpretation, “perform an observation”) and cause the light to fall into one state or another. By performing statistical tests on the light received at the other end of the cable, one can tell whether it remains in the superposition of states or has already been observed and retransmitted. In principle, this allows the development of communication systems that cannot be tapped without the tap being noticed at the other end. This experiment can be argued to illustrate that “observation” in the Copenhagen interpretation has nothing to do with consciousness (unless some version of panpsychism is true), in that a perfectly unconscious wiretap will cause the statistics at the end of the wire to be different. Such a test would only work if the collapse occurs after (as opposed to before) observation; otherwise, it would appear collapsed whether it had been wiretapped or not.

In quantum computing, the phrase “cat state” often refers to the special entanglement of qubits wherein the qubits are in an equal superposition of all being 0 and all being 1;

i.e., |00...0\rangle + |11...1\rangle.

Extensions

Although discussion of this thought experiment talks about two possible states (cat alive and cat dead), in reality, there would be a huge number of possible states, since the temperature and degree and state of decomposition of the cat would depend on exactly when and how (as well as if) the mechanism was triggered, as well as the state of the cat prior to death.

In another extension, prominent physicists have gone so far as to suggest that astronomers observing dark matter in the universe in 1998 may have “reduced its life expectancy” through a pseudo-Schrödinger’s Cat scenario, although this is a controversial viewpoint.

Another variant on the experiment is Wigner’s friend, in which there are two external observers, the first of whom opens and inspects the box and then communicates his observations to a second observer. The issue here is, does the wave function collapse when the first observer opens the box, or only when the second observer is informed of the first observer’s observations? Another extension is a scenario wherein the inside of the box is videotaped and played to an audience at a later time, or played back to the cat while in the box. If dead, there would be no observer to cause disentanglement; if alive, disentanglement would occur.

Source: Wikipedia

Product Update for 10/29/2009

*Update for 10/29/09*

New Breakdown!

Hot Toys Terminator Salvation Marcus Wright

Pee-wee Herman Rides Again

Pee-wee

Source: Details Magazine, November 2009,

By Amy Wallace, Photographs by Chris McPherson

Paul Reubens is doing one of the things he does best: obsessing. “I am constantly hoping that, like, I’m still relevant at all,” he says in a voice—higher than most men’s, slightly nasal—that’s still familiar, even after all these years.

Wandering around the Hollywood Museum, just a few blocks from his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he has lingered over the red-and-white vintage bicycle that he rode in his 1985 movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. He has appraised the display containing the skinny gray suit (with red bow tie) that was his uniform on his Saturday-morning TV show, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which aired on CBS from 1986 to 1991. But it’s not the Pee-wee Herman memorabilia, which sits near W.C. Fields’ top hat and Brendan Fraser’s George of the Jungle loincloth, that sets off Reubens OCD. Instead, the trigger is Bob Hope’s honorary Oscar. “When I was a kid, I’d always watch Bob Hope and go, like, ‘I know he must’ve been funny, but is he past his prime?'” Reubens says. “What I’m trying to prove now is that I still have it, I’m still around—I still am Pee-wee Herman, and Pee-wee Herman is still funny. So I’m feeling very Bob Hope—hoping I don’t see a parallel.”

Yes, that’s right: The 57-year-old actor, best known for embodying the oddball man-child with the puppet friends (and also for two tawdry scrapes with the law), is about to don the skinny suit again to perform as Pee-wee for the first time in 19 years. Starting in early January in Los Angeles, Reubens will star in an elaborate live show in which Pee-wee yearns to fly, gets his wish, and then gives it away. For anyone who likes allegories, as Reubens does, this one is a doozy.

Consider: Since the age of 5, when he asked his father to build him a stage in their Peekskill, New York, basement, Reubens wanted to entertain. After completing high school in south Florida, he went to art school in Los Angeles, where he joined the improvisational comedy troupe the Groundlings and developed a skit about a man-child who wanted to be a famous comic. He took the first name from Pee-wee-brand harmonicas. In a fit of pique, after he lost out on a role on Saturday Night Live—to Gilbert Gottfried, of all people—Reubens borrowed $5,000 from his parents to turn that skit into a stage show. It spawned an HBO special (The Pee-wee Herman Show), two feature films (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Big Top Pee-wee), and ultimately the hit TV show. Then, while on a self-imposed hiatus from Pee-wee’s Playhouse, the once-high-flying Reubens fell to earth.

In July 1991 Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure in an adult theater in Sarasota, Florida. He pleaded no contest while maintaining his innocence, but the resulting media feeding frenzy derailed all things Pee-wee. With his alter ego sidelined, Reubens spent several years out of the public eye, writing and collecting—obsessively. He fervently hoards everything from sunglasses to foot-measuring devices, fake food to yearbooks (he has amassed 8,000 of them). He played the occasional bit part before finally landing a career-resurrecting role: as a hairdresser turned drug dealer in Ted Demme’s 2001 drama Blow. Then, just when things were looking up, police raided Reubens’ house and, in 2002, arrested him for having what authorities called a collection of child pornography. In fact, the offending “collection” comprised a VHS tape of Rob Lowe’s sex romp and turn-of-the-century erotica images featuring men and women—but no children. Friends vouched for Reubens, saying he was an insatiable collector who often bought in bulk, books and magazines in particular, and that there was no way he could know everything he’d amassed. It didn’t matter. Even though his child-porn charges were ultimately reduced, 16 months later, to a misdemeanor possession-of-obscenity rap, the damage was done. To most people, Pee-wee was a kiddie-porn-purveying perv.

“All this stuff that happened—the quote-unquote treatment I received—was not an inducement to come back to work,” Reubens says now. He looks good—clean-shaven and pale, with a closely shorn Pee-wee ‘do, trim blue jeans, a black-and-green retro short-sleeved button-down, and black Cole Haans. “To wait for somebody to give me permission to have a career wasn’t going to happen, you know?” Now Reubens is perched on a couch under a photo of Carole Lombard in the museum’s private ballroom. He’s friends with the institution’s owner (nutty collectors stick together), and when she enters the room, he jumps up and thanks her profusely for hosting us. When she asks him to attend a benefit, however, he balks. “I’d love to come,” he says, his eyebrows leaning together. “But I have no life outside of writing my show right now.” She asks if the museum can borrow one of his Emmys for the event. (He has two—one that he won, another that the Academy gave him when his first one was damaged.) “Are you kidding?” he asks, his voice squeaking higher. “I don’t know where they are. They’re in storage somewhere.”

For Reubens, all this hoarding is both a blessing and a curse. “I go into a junk store and see some antique thing, and my mind goes: Someone’s going to break that in 10 more minutes.” Instead, he “rescues” it, promising to love it always. There’s just one problem: “You can’t love the amount of stuff I have. I filled up my house three times. I have, like, multiple storage units.”

That undying affection for evocative objects was part of Pee-wee’s unique appeal. His beloved bike wasn’t just vintage cool, it had those multicolored plastic streamers on the handlebars that just scream, with childlike immodesty, “I know this is cool!” Some of the best-loved characters on his TV show were animated inanimate things: Chairry the overstuffed chair, Globey the globe. Pee-wee made animals by sticking pencils into potatoes; he had “Fun With Tape,” making scary faces by wrapping sticky cellophane around his head. Though it had admirers of all ages, Pee-wee’s Playhouse was written “for 5-year-olds,” Reubens says; the show’s best moments were those he could imagine making “a 5-year-old fall off the couch.” That made it all the more awful when police, acting on a tip, pawed through Reubens’ mountain of stuff and declared he had a thing for minors.

“I don’t want anyone for one second to think that I am titillated by images of children,” Reubens said on Dateline NBC. “The public may think I’m weird. They may think I’m crazy. . . . That’s all fine. As long as one of the things you’re not thinking about me is that I’m a pedophile. Because that’s not true.”

But Reubens’ fondness for Pee-wee never went away. “I always loved being that character,” he tells me, his eyes tearing up as he recounts his previous evening’s activity: introducing the annual outdoor screening of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. ‘There were 3,000 people there,’ he says. “I could feel the love.” Pee-wee never seems to have been far from his mind. In the wake of Scandal No. 2, he devoted himself to finishing two Pee-wee movie scripts. The “dark” one he describes as a “sort of Valley of the Dolls Pee-wee story” about what happens when Pee-wee gets famous (hint: He becomes a monster). Reubens has tried to interest studios in that screenplay but had no luck. The second script, based closely on the TV show, is more obviously family-friendly: Pee-wee’s Playhouse, The Movie. That script is “perfect,” he says, admitting he’s been working on it, off and on, since before his 30th birthday—before he first brought Pee-wee to the theater.

That screenplay, in fact, is the main reason Reubens is taking Pee-wee back onstage: He wants—needs—to prove to the Hollywood machers that he can still pack a house. He doesn’t want to do it forever. Just long enough to convince “five people at five studios” that he’s bankable. “I can’t walk into somebody’s office with my background and expect they’re going to see it, you know?” So he’s going to prove it to them. He hopes. “It’s a drag to have tabloid baggage. It’s weird to have your career be a footnote to that, especially when you love what you do.” But he’s over it, he says. “I’m not giving people that power anymore.”

The Casio watch on Reubens’ wrist beeps, alerting him that our time is almost up. “Speaking of obsessive-compulsive,” he says self-deprecatingly, noting that he lives his life by the alarm chimes. Reubens is not humble about Pee-wee’s cultural impact, and he has no reason to be. It’s been said more than once that without him, there would be no SpongeBob Squarepants on TV, no Mini Me in the Austin Powers movies, no Thom Browne pencil suits. Rock bands—Au Revoir Simone and Mr. Bungle—are named after bits in his TV show. Pee-wee made childlike allusion part of the fabric—not the fringe—of America. When I mention that Pirates of the Caribbean (particularly Johnny Depp’s role) owes a debt to Pee-wee, his eyes twinkle. “So does Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” he says.

Perhaps the most groundbreaking part of Pee-wee’s Playhouse was its diverse cast, which included Laurence Fishburne and S. Epatha Merkerson, and a bevvy of other actors of color. But Pee-wee’s wacky world wasn’t just colorblind—social outcasts were welcome, and the show proved effeminate gay camp had mainstream appeal. It was a quirky, polyglot utopian oasis in Reagan-era America.

The new stage show—which will have about a dozen cast members, including puppeteers (and will feature familiar memes like “today’s secret word”)—will be true to that spirit. Out of respect for his slain friend Phil Hartman, who played Captain Carl, that character has been retired; Cowboy Curtis, the part Fishburne played, will get a larger role in his place. Reubens has also struck a first-of-its-kind pact with Ticketmaster to reach out to diverse audiences. When e-mail alerts appeared to be sent to mostly white consumers, one of the show’s producers complained to the booking company; the employee he reached revealed she was African-American and that she had grown up watching Pee-wee.

“She said, ‘It was not lost on me that the King of Cartoons was a black man, and that had a big meaning for me.’ It doesn’t cost anything to be nice to somebody versus being ugly,” Reubens says, turning introspective. “This is where Pee-wee and me may not be relevant anymore, seriously.” I posit that kindness, pluralism, and fun with tape might be just the balm for what ails us today. Pee-wee won’t be our savior, Reubens says. “I can’t be that, because that doesn’t work for comedy.” But isn’t the resuscitation of this eighties-era Peter Pan itself a quixotic rescue mission? The question prompts a duh-Dottie-don’t-you-know rejoinder that sounds more like Pee-wee than Paul Reubens: “You can’t save the world.”

Product Update for 10/28/2009

*Update for 10/28/09*

Restock!

Andromeda Tyr

ITPT WWII German DAK Panzer Private
ITPT WWII German DAK Panzer Oberleutnant

New Products in our Phoenix Store as of 10/28/09

Dan just sent me a list of new products in our Phoenix store. If you are interested in any of these products, please e-mail Dan at customerservice@toyanxiety.com.

Diamond Select

Back to the Future Part 1 Electronic 1:15 Scale Delorean

Ghostbusters Slimer Bank

Star Trek The Wrath of Khan Electronic Phaser

DC Direct

Blackest Night Series 1 Figures

JLA IC Classics Series 1 Figures

 NECA

El Superbeasto Action Figures

Hasbro

Star Wars 3 3/4 Legacy Figures Wave 10 and 11

Titanium Vehicles Wave 11

Mattel

Ghostbusters Ray 6″ and 12″ Figures

He Man Classics Teela and Zodak

Misc:

Futurama Series 7 Figures Hermes and Professor

HALO Wars Mega Blocks Building Sets

Terminator 2 Endoskeleton Type 1 and Type 2 Metal Figures

World of Warcraft Deluxe Illidan (Demon Form) Figure

Collections

Lots of Loose Star Wars Figures and Vehicles

Loose Lord of the Rings Figures

 

Check out the entries in our Halloween 1:6 scale zombie contest!

All of the entries are in for our 1st Annual Halloween 1:6 Scale Zombie Contest.

Below are three links to the Toy Anxiety Photobucket albums, one for each category from the contest – Original, Celebrity and Nazi Zombie.  We will be announcing the winners sometime on Friday.

Here are the links:
 
Original
http://s33.photobucket.com/albums/d87/toyanxiety/Custom%20Zombie%20Contest%20-%20Original/
Celebrityhttp://s33.photobucket.com/albums/d87/toyanxiety/Custom%20Zombie%20Contest%20-%20Celebrity/
Nazihttp://s33.photobucket.com/albums/d87/toyanxiety/Custom%20Zombie%20Contest%20Nazi/

 

Product Update for 10/26/2009

*Update for 10/26/09*

Restock!


SideShow
Star Wars Princess Leia
Star Wars Luke Bespin
Star Wars Han Bespin
Star Wars Admiral Piett
Star Wars Utapau Clone
GI Joe Cobra Trooper (Yay, we got some more!)
GI Joe Cobra Commander
GI Joe Storm Shadow
Lord of the Rings Samwise Gamgee


Hot Toys
The Godfather Don Vito Corleone
Terminator Salvation John Connor