asylum


ModiFace: Better Living Through Photoplasty

This was an article I did for Asylum back in 2010. I don’t think it ever ran. These folks had developed software that would paste your photo on celebrities’ skulls, without any regard for how giant your face was. And then they sent a stunning redhead to demonstrate it to me because someone told them what my kryptonite was. 

So if you ever wanted to know what 18 varieties of douchebag you would look like if they suffered from hypocephalus, there’s an app for that.  


ModiFace makes facial-recognition software that tinkers with a person’s appearance. Originally developed for plastic surgeons, and now in use throughout the fashion & magazine industries, they’ve made HisMakeover.com, a website where you can play with your own facial features. If a man does it, it’s not technically a makeover, though, so for the purposes of this article I’m going to call this process a “Face/Off,” after the ludicrous 1997 Nic Cage/John Travolta film that put two celebrities’ faces on one other.

Click that pretty “Keep Reading” button before we modify its cheekbones beyond all recognition.

Often, as I work at my computer, my gaze will rise to the 11′ x 8′ mirror bracketed to the wall so that wherever I am, I can admire my own majestically sculpted features.

“Self,” I ask myself, “Could myself be any more self-beautiful?”

“No,” I whisper back adoringly, lovingly, perhaps even erotically. But probably just lovingly.

Then…I hesitantly admit, “But you could use an entirely new face.”

Perfidy! I’ve worked years to perfect my “cockeyed deer in headlights” image. I make looking bad look good. And now, to throw it all away? Thankfully, we live in the future, which means if I want to know what I’d look like with my face Photoshopped onto Tom Cruise’s skull, the internet will do that for me, free and instantaneously. And if I like what I see and want to actually steal his face, well, that’s why there are websites where I can hire Balkan mercenaries. But one step at a time.



I send a straight-on headshot to ModiFace, then await the havoc struck upon my delicate Blue Steel. The next day I meet with Jen and Parham, two fresh-faced employees in no need of a makeover or Face/Off. Dammit, they sent beautiful people to show me how horrible I look. This is exactly like the time Willy Wonka took that kid around his chocolate factory to show off how much better he lived than anyone else. The only difference is I can’t hope for the happy ending of turning into a giant blueberry. Unless…is there a ModiFace feature for that?

Sadly, no. But I can turn into several celebrities almost as smart and charming as produce, since Parham and Jen stuck my visage onto some famous gentlemen to model possible haircuts. If I’ve learned anything, it’s how to give myself a haircut over a toilet. But if I’ve learned two things, it’s that I should never style that haircut after Tom Cruise. Like so:



The software also skews, pinches, and blurs my face into presentable appearance, so I can find out whether I should get a nose job to look my best, or something less dramatic, like bathing my skin in the blood of virgins. If that sounds more dramatic, remember that in the case of the nose job, you’re paying someone thousands of dollars to break your face with a hammer and chisel. At least the virgins get a fresh orange and a doughnut after their donation.

Going back to celebrities, I do slightly better as Brad Pitt. At least there I look like the kind of slightly sketchy guy women only hook up with on tropical vacations so they can leave their guilt on foreign sands.



Of course, this isn’t supposed to be a perfect photo touch-up. Rather, it’s a way to see how new features look in the context of your face. Nowhere is this more evident than the hairstyles, where the angles or size of your face might not fully line up to the one in the photo. For example, Pierce Brosnan’s hair and chin redeem any man’s pug-ugly mug…



…whereas this Matthew McConaughey picture answers all your questions about how a muppet would look if made flesh by vengeful gods.



Plainly, that would work better in real life, but it gives you a decent idea as well as a laugh.

I go home and log into HisMakeover.com (sadly, no one has registered HisFace.com/Off yet) to try this out for myself. Doing the only scientifically acceptable thing, I push nearly every element to its extreme. I pout my lips, tan my skin, raise my eyebrows…





…and I’m all set for The Jersey Shore. Now that’s fame.


What’s in that tub of Cool Whip?

Cool Whip: The very name conjures up images of tasty summer treats that even those lame lactose-intolerant (or as we like to call them, lactose bigoted) kids can eat. But really, do you know what you’re putting in your body? No? Well for crying out loud, man, that’s what Asylum’s here for. Read on to see our pretty chart of everything that goes into the Cool Whip.


7 Advertising Mascot Movies We’d Like To See

Nick Nadel and I co-plotted this off his idea for the article, then I did the Photoshop while he wrote the text below. We had a lot of fun, and I’ll tell you a secret: I fought so hard for the Burger King Fellini film I think I came down to “I’m doing it no matter what, so you might as well run it.”

We’ve finally calmed down after learning that the E-Trade babies — those sassy talking tots who understand the global stock market for no apparent reason — could be starring in their own movie. And no longer brimming with furious anger, we thought we’d help remake-happy Hollywood’s current creative bankruptcy. It’s only a matter of time before they give up and just start pumping out feature-length advertisements.

Here’s where they got it wrong: Instead of forcing a “Look Who’s Talking” rip-off down our collective throats, Tinseltown should have looked to other (i.e., better) advertising mascots for inspiration.

Here are seven movies based on famous commercials that we’d actually like to see.

(All posters below designed by Brendan McGinley)

“The Noid”
The beloved Domino’s Pizza mascot comes to the big screen at last!

When the nation’s pizzas are threatened by nefarious super-prankster The Noid (played by Tracy Morgan), it’s up to one diligent Domino’s employee (Jesse Eisenberg) and his impossibly hot girlfriend (Olivia Wilde) to stop the costumed imp before it’s too late.

It’s the movie that guarantees at least 30 minutes of laughs … or your ticket is free!


“National Treasure: Where’s the Beef?
It’s a race around the world as Nicolas Cage helps former Wendy’s spokeswoman Clara Peller (deliciously brought back to life by the special effects wizards behind “Avatar”) finally uncover the location of the beef.

Will they find a patty large enough to satisfy Peller’s ravenous hunger before it’s too late? And what secrets lie in Ronald Reagan’s tomb?

Co-starring Rich Little as the voice of robot Reagan!


“Exorbitant Charges”
Two cops, one city terrorized by overages and dead spots.

From the guy who brought you “Date Night” and “Night at the Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian” comes the one action-comedy you won’t need to silence your cell phone for.

“Exorbitant Charges” stars both Luke Wilson (as AT&T spokesman Luke Wilson) and the Verizon “Can You Hear Me Now?” guy.


“Six Flags Over da Streets
From the studio that brought you “Dangerous Minds” and “Freedom Writers” comes a tale of believing in yourself when the chips are down.

They were a street-wise group of inner-city teens. He was a mysterious, creepy old guy who taught them the power of dance. Together, their love for roller coasters, overpriced funnel cakes, and cheesy ’90s dance music would change the world. This winter, more flags means more hugs.

The soundtrack is entirely made up of the Vengaboys’ song “We Like to Party” (aka “The Six Flags Theme”) as remixed by the Black Eyed Peas, Ke$ha, 3Oh!3, All-American Rejects and other terrible bands.


“Burger Satyricon”
Sex, violence and an ungodly amount of Whopper Jrs. all factor into this bizarre, Fellini-esque tale of the rise and fall of the Burger King “King.”

How did he get to be the King? Why is he so irresistible to women? How can he appear in random places offering strangers a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit like it’s no big thing?

This summer, audiences will find out why it’s good to be the King — if they can even figure out what’s going on.


“Paranoia”
It’s old-school thrills when the Geico money stack stars in the Hitchcockian thriller “Paranoia.”

Who’s watching you? A pile of cash with googly eyes. Bet you didn’t see that coming!

Directed by whoever made “Saw VI.”


“The Outlast”
The director of “The Road” returns to post-apocalyptic horror with this tale of a toy bunny that keeps “going and going and going” — even after a nuclear holocaust turns the population into roving, cannibalistic gangs.

It’s nearly three hours of the Energizer Bunny banging his drum through beautifully shot barren wastelands. Just give this one the Best Picture Oscar now, folks.

This Christmas, Energizer outlasts the competition … until the end of time.


The 12 Most Amazing (and Useless) Wikipedia Entries

Someone in England wrote this article, and then I Americanized it, turning every wry witticism into toilet humor.

I also swapped out odd-toed ungulates for Alpha Flight, because they’re terrible, whereas ungulates are an all right order of mammals in my book.



Wikipedia page: Donaudampf schiffahrtselektrizitatenhaupt betriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft (all one word)

Which is what?
An incredibly long German word.

Huh?
 The German language loves itself some compound words (in German: kompositwortswiemädupp), and this one of its longest. It means ‘Association for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services’ which is becoming more and more common in today’s steamboat-based economy.

How to use it in a sentence:
Assume you started losing your audience halfway through the word and bring them back with the good stuff. "Athought a fine example of sesquipedalianism, Donaudampf schiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft will never recover from last month’s spicy sex scandal." 


Wikipedia page: The Alpha Flight family of entries

Which is what?
 Canada’s answer to The Avengers

Huh?
 It’s one thing when the entry for Superman is 50 times longer than the one for Man & Superman. It’s quite another to make an individual page for the headquarters of a team other comic book characters make fun of. Standalone entries also waste electricity for Alpha Flight’s back-up teams, and characters who died in their first appearance

How to use it in a sentence:
 "Alpha Flight hasn’t really been able to carry a book since Wolverine quit." 



Wikipedia page: The Katzenklavier

Which is what?
It’s a cat piano.

Huh?
Yep, a piano made of cats. You press keys like you would on a normal keyboard, except the hammers hit specially tonally selected cats’ outstretched tails, making them meow out in pain. Weird, right? But sensible, when you think about it. Those "Meow Mix" commercials aren’t going to torture themselves. Sadly, no instructions for how to modify one to accommodate the cast of The Jersey Shore.

How to use it in a sentence:
 "My wife Yoko Ono and I are recording an album of blues classics stripped of every third beat and instead of guitar, a Katzenklavier."



Wikipedia page: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

Which is what?
A very bizarre sentence.

Huh?
 You’re going to wish you didn’t know this, but buffalo has just enough versatility and inertia of plurality to build a grammatically coherent thought that won’t be useful till the next Ice Age. Using homonyms and homophones, the arrangement of nouns, verbs, adjectives and place names makes perfect grammatical sense, and makes you sound like a genius and a tool at the same time. It describes a herd of buffalo in the city of Buffalo who intimidate ("buffalo") other buffalo beneath them. See? It wasn’t worth learning, was it?  

How to use it in a sentence:
 Using it in a sentence is all you can do, and, in fact, the only reason this entry exists. Nevertheless, our advice is don’t. 



Wikipedia page: Foreign Accent Syndrome

Which is what?
A strange mental condition.

Huh?
A very, very rare side effect of certain brain injuries where patients wake up speaking their native tongue – but in a totally different accent, with Englishmen speaking like New Yorkers and vice versa, and Americans sounding like Keanu Reeves in Dracula. It’s nigh-on unbelievable, but it’s actually happened. Wikipedia says so. Can you imagine how maddening it must be? Cursed never to use your own voice, with your loved ones unsympathetically insisting you’re taking this joke too far. 

How to use it in a sentence:
"Oi, you lot! Don’t be havin’ a larff at me Foreign Accent Syndrome, now, or I’ll box your ears, so I will!"



Wikipedia page: Uncombable Hair Syndrome

Which is what?
A strange hair-based condition.

Huh?
No, it isn’t just an official term for "curly hair", but a genuine condition, whereby an unusual structural anomaly of the hair means the mess on your scalp (typically straw-colored or whitish-blond) cannot be combed flat…yet. Get on it, science. 

How to use it in a sentence:
 "No, it’s not uncombable hair syndrome; they’re pretty normal pubes."



Wikipedia page: The Original Whizzinator

Which is what?
A piece of avoiding getting busted for taking drugs.

Huh?
This was a kit for cheating urine-sample tests. It even heated up the liquid to room temperature, and included fake penises (individual skin tones available on request) to fool any inspector. The manufacturer has been convicted of ‘selling drug paraphernalia’ and has been sentenced for 6 months in jail, where he’ll no doubt undergo… drug tests. Sometimes, life is poetry. 

How to use it in a sentence:
 "My girlfriend’s into some bedroom games I’m not entirely comfortable with. I need to get a Whizzinator." 



Wikipedia page: Wolfe+585, Senior

Which is what?
It’s a name. Yes, a name.

Huh?
It’s the shortened form of the longest name, ever. It starts with "Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus" and goes on for ages. Its bearer once complained that newspaper misspelled it, and had a correction printed. No, really.

How to use it in a sentence:
Frankly, who has the breath? 



Wikipedia page: Leck mich im Arsch

Which is what?
It’s a canon written by none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Huh?
This canon’s title transliterates to mean "Lick me in the ass" – though the more idiomatic translation is "Get stuffed." Titled Let Us Be Glad by publishers, its original lyrics, "Lick me in the ass, quickly," were replaced with "Let us be glad, grumbling is in vain," which is pretty empty comfort if you’re already engaged in the first version. 

How to use it in a sentence:
 "Since I am the lead character in a typical German porno, kindly Leck mich im Arsch. Ah…thank you." 



Wikipedia page: Hitler bacon or ‘Hitlerszalonna’

Which is what?
Bacon for people who don’t have bacon.

Huh?
 We don’t mean to rail on Germany, but Hitler and bacon together comprise 8% of the internet, so we couldn’t leave this one off the list. During WW2, bacon was in short supply. As a bizarre substitute, Hungarian soldiers fighting for Germany were given very dense jam made from plums and the like, hardened into the shape of a brick, to be sliced up and cooked. They called it… Hitler Bacon. That’s sort of like building a pinewood derby car and naming it Killbot 3000. 

How to use it in a sentence:
 "Despite having entirely parve ingredients, Hitler bacon will never pass kosher inspection."



Wikipedia page: Fox tossing

Which is what?
Exactly what it sounds like. 

Huh?
 Cruelty and point systems go together like human and nature. In the 17th and 18th centuries, people bundled animals into leather slings and fired the poor beasts into the air for sport. Maybe those foxes were shredding local chicken populations, but it’s not like positive reinforcement is going to stop them. Not content with bite and claw wounds from foxes, slingers expanded their predator-tossing game to wildcats. 

How to use it in a sentence:
This phrase is ripe to return as some sort of political expression, in which a nearly harmless annoyance is riled into a hot mess. "What if all this uninformed Tea Party nonsense fox-tosses Christine O’Donnell into the Senate?"



Wikipedia page: The small penis rule

Which is what?
A trick used by lawyers to get their writer clients out of libel trouble.

Huh?
Essentially, it fixes situations where Mr Famous Person A complains that Writer B has written a character that’s essentially them in a bad light, but with a different name. The lawyer now uses the rule. "But for this character to be like you, you’d also have to have a small penis to prove the similarity, as the character definitely has a small penis. Do you have a small penis, Mr Famous Person A?" Didn’t think so…

How to use it in a sentence:
 Probably best you don’t court slander or libel charges, unless you want to face down fictional rocker Rick Dagger


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