Category Archives: Opinion

Procrastination Nation


-Marissa Tomko

I bet you’re doing it right now. Yeah, you. I bet you’ve been up all night with an assignment you’ve been dangerously close to finishing for hours. You could have gone to bed at midnight, but instead you watched a bunch of YouTube videos and Snapchatted your friends pictures of your coffee at 3 a.m. with the caption “I HATE MY LIFE!!!!” Now, the sun is starting to peek over the horizon, and you’ve found yourself here. You have two pages left on that research paper, and yet you’re catching up on your email, current affairs, and of course, The Pulse.

Ah, procrastination. A delay by any other name would leave an assignment just as incomplete! Okay, enough with the jokes. Procrastination is real life. I’ve been doing it since I can remember; I can never bring myself to do something until I absolutely have to get it done. As far as the end results go, I’ve never had a serious problem—I get good grades, my expired driver’s license was never an issue, and I am perfectly content eating Saltine PB&J’s when I should have gone grocery shopping two weeks before.

Psychology Today distinguishes three types of procrastinators: the arousal types who procrastinate for the exhilaration, the avoiders who fear failure (or even success) because they care about other people’s opinions of their work, and decisional procrastinators who can’t make decisions and consequently attempt to acquit themselves of responsibility by simply not deciding. All procrastinators make excuses, with the most noted being “I work better under pressure.” In an article for the BBC, Rowan Pelling discredits this excuse, citing research that suggests procrastinators both complicate and shorten their lives.

“Procrastinators are less wealthy, less healthy and less happy than those who don’t delay,” she writes.

I have never considered my procrastination as being anything more than an annoying quirk. It was not until recently that I realized my habit has lessened the quality of my life and the opinions that people have of me. Last week, I was called out by one of my best friends for using the excuse of “I’m just spacey and put off studying” one too many times. I had to back out of plans to study for a test that I had been avoiding the reality of up until the penultimate day. My friend’s outburst at me got me thinking: I can never hang out with friends during the week because I am too busy scrambling to get things done for the next day. I don’t remember the last time I was able to make a big spontaneous commitment, like hiking Spencer’s Butte or taking a last minute coast trip. Procrastination makes me feel especially crazed—my relationships have suffered, and I feel a constant guilt because of it.

My friend made me realize that I have two choices: I can join Procrastinators Anonymous, or I can remember what it’s like to feel carefree and have the respect of my friends. Because of his wake-up call, I can already feel a brighter school term ahead!

Image by Rennett Stowe.

Raising the Perfected Pup: Establishing the Holiest of Bonds Between the Monks of New Skete and the Dogs They Train

-Emily Fraysse

Within the first fifteen minutes after my 8-week-old tri-colored collie arrived at my house for the first time, I had to jump into my 40-degree pool at nine o’clock in the morning completely clothed to rescue the poor fella due to his disobedient behavior. Before my collie, I had a rottweiler/border collie mutt that decided it would be fun for my family to wake up to a half-eaten couch, or to swallow a rubber fish and squeak every time he barked. The truth is, I should have sent both of my dogs through the dog training program at the New Skete Monastery.

After the countless hours of expensive puppy training (which both of my dogs failed miserably), the occasional “accidents,” and finding my brand new pair of slippers chewed up, I wondered to myself: is there a perfect way of raising a puppy? Is there some sort of hidden secret that Cesar Millan is not telling us?

Apparently, the monks in New Skete have perfected this difficult, yet rewarding task.

In upper-state New York, the monks of New Skete understand the unique and spiritual bond between man and dog, allowing them to master the art of raising a puppy. The brothers have over 40 years of experience under their robe belts as well as five books published on the subject.

Their first dog, Kir, inspired the Monastery to set up a German Shepherd breeding program, as well as a two-and-a-half week training program for other puppies who have not been raised through the Monastery. The training program teaches the dog basic commands like sit, stand, and lie down, and how to overcome any behavioral difficulties. It includes boarding, exercise, daily training, and a final interview between the owner and the brother that trains the pup.

The key to raising a pup is simple: with love, dedication, and respect, any dog can be transformed into an obedient and loving friend.

Those interested in adopting one of the German Shepherds that have been raised and trained through the Monastery may add their name to an extensive waiting list, and those wanting to take advantage of their training program for their own pet can apply at their website.

Image by tlindenbaum.

Best Places to Search for Creative Sparks


-Emily Fraysse

I needed to find a clever Father’s day card. Stat.

Searching Google, I had a hard time finding something that I liked and that was creative. These days, I find that when I need some inspiration, I tend to stray away from using generic sites like Google and Bing. Finding that little spark of creativity or imagination can be difficult when you have an innovation block. Luckily, there are a variety of places you can visit to get that extra push.  As Pablo Picasso once said, “good artists copy; great artists steal.”

#1 Pinterest

Growing in popularity over the past two years, Pinterest (shown above) has become the new filing cabinet for online photographs. By easily organizing the photographs into different “boards,” you can easily access your favorite photos of people, places, and things.

#2 Instructables

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Tic-Tac USBtinyISP Programmer, Speaker Monsters, Laser Cut Record on wood, and a steam punk storm glass are only a few items that you can make step-by-step on this website.This site is chock-full of inspiration and information on how to make crazy things, and it allows the users to post what they make.

#3 The Matboard

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Similar to Pinterest, it allows you to categorize your photographs into different categories and moodboards while promoting inspiration. What’s different is it allows for the user to search for a specific talent or occupation to view portfolios and works from people in your area. You can also promote your personal portfolio board by connecting your page with other social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

#4 Gentlemint

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Finally, there is a Pinterest for men! Instead of a website with makeup tutorials, clothing ads, and other girly things, Gentlemint is full of topics like cars, alcohol, fitness, and, of course, Ron Swanson’s Man Rules.

#5 Do It Yourself

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Know what you want to do but don’t know how? DIY will help you get there. Appealing to both men and women, the site can teach you how to build a fancy fence, seal an asphalt driveway, or balance the pH in your soil.


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Made purely for weddings, the users can search by color or keyword in order to plan their dream wedding. Their mission is simple: “to make wedding planning simple and more fun. Discover ideas, things to buy, and people to hire for your wedding.”

#7 I Wanna Nom


They nail their purpose, saying “if the internet is now the world’s largest cookbook, I Wanna Nom is the index where you can circle the tastiest looking recipes and dishes that you want to try later.”

And there you have it: seven whole websites to let your mind wander pages and pages of millions and trillions of photographs to get those creative juices flowing. Now to find that Father’s Day card…

It’s a righty’s world: the rest of us just live in it

-Marissa Tomko

Bill Gates. Neil Armstrong. Demi Moore. Barack Obama. Leonardo da Vinci. Marilyn Monroe. My Uncle Eddie.

What do these people all have in common? They all have a reason to celebrate with me on August 13th.

National Left-Handers’ Day is an actual thing, and I’m really happy about it. Us lefties are always getting left in the dust, fed to the wolves, laughed at ruthlessly—but we are strong! We adapt! I mean, when is the last time you saw a right-hander living with left-handed standards? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

You might recognize the 10 percent by the way our hands shimmer with the ink we just smeared across our notebooks. Or maybe you notice how we casually bump elbows with our siblings at the dinner table because we sat on the wrong side. Or, perhaps, you have seen us crumpled over in class looking like a cinnamon twist because our tiny little desk in that huge lecture hall was built for a righty, and we were too late to get an aisle seat.

If you ask me though, these are small prices to pay for the privilege of being a lefty, or southpawed, if you will.

This awesome life trait appears to be genetic. According to a study cited by ABC News, children with one left-handed parent are twice as likely to follow suit. If both parents have been blessed with a dominant left-hand, their children are four times as likely to inherit the trait. Any lefties out there looking to put a ring on it? Settle down? Start a family of left-handed babies? I’m available.

If you recently lost a basketball game or are down on your luck in the boxing arena, you might be able to blame a lefty for that. Southpawed citizens are more able to surprise their opponents, as competitors are used to playing against right-handers. In baseball, lefties up at bat can see first base, so they can easily cover all their—er—bases.

If you just got in a fight with a lefty, please step back for a hot minute. Left-handers are more likely to have a hard time sorting through feelings, which might be because there is an imbalance between the two brain hemispheres when bad moods occur. Studies also show that a lefty is more likely to have a drink in his or her hand, but not because being left-handed is stressful. We just like to kick back with a nightcap more often.

Look, I’m not saying that I feel superior because of the way I hold my pen. But allow me to leave you with one final thought. I saw it on a refrigerator magnet once, and it spoke to me.

“Everyone is born right-handed. Only the greatest over come it.” —Refrigerator Magnet

Image by Vassilis Online.

How was the first year of STFU for you?


-Casey Klekas

Every time I am on campus I notice a new warning sign for those who are tobaccoally-inclined. Recently, I’ve noticed the threat of $30 fines for those caught smoking on our Smoke and Tobacco Free University.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about how the non-smoking campaign has successfully diminished the number of times I reach for my smokes. I am strongly opposed to the smoking ban, but the fact that it has been effective for me is particularly upsetting.

Maybe other people haven’t noticed the change as much, because they aren’t negatively affected by our new policy. Non-smokers are generally relieved to have cigarette smoke moved off campus. Yet they don’t seem to be satisfied with merely pushing smokers off campus. It’s not that they don’t want them here or there. They don’t want them anywhere.

I’ve smoked a few times on campus since the new ban (fine me!), but mostly at night when there aren’t any people around to take offense.

Resting on the benches on the perimeter of campus was Michael Mazza. Michael is a student at UO and Michael is a smoker. I asked Michael for his thoughts on the STFU campaign.

Would you consider yourself a smoker?

“On and off.”

How do you feel about the smoking ban?

“It’s ridiculous… unnecessary.” He added, “a little more punitive than helpful.”

Has it affected your smoking habit?

“No.” Although Michael did admit that in between classes, he is often forced to decide between walking to the edge of campus to smoke, or else be useless for the first ten minutes of class.

Michael mentioned the smoking policy at Lane Community College, which had accommodated for its students several smoking sections. LCC has now made smoking only allowed in the parking lots.

Michael did not feel like an outcast, a pariah, but could understand how some might feel that way.

He also mentioned that smokers put up with a lot of behavior that they don’t necessarily agree with, yet we don’t ask for a school-sanctioned ban for validation.

For instance, the school sells plenty of junk food in its vending machines and cafeterias. But, students can make up their own choice about what kind of food they eat. I agree. I think the whole smoking on campus situation could have been handled with an open mind (say, designating a few, isolated smoking areas on campus) rather than with the toxic air of intolerance that is our STFU.

Image by Fried Dough.

1.21 Gigawatts: “Mermaids, New Evidence” – When Faux-cumentaries Attack…Again.

-Sarah Keartes

Described as the “rotting carcass of science TV,” Mermaids: the Body Found was the most appalling piece of docu-fiction I had ever seen—until last week.

Up from the depths of the Animal Planet sludgy abyss swam a new “documentary:” a follow up to The Body Found which originally aired as part of “Monster Week” (telling).

Mermaids: The New Evidence, which set an all-time ratings record for the network (3.6 million viewers), has the internet abuzz once again as scientists around the world desperately try to expose the film for what it is—not real.

The sister films combine documentary filmmaking techniques such as narrated reenactments, interviews, and vlogs, with debunked “evidence” and “theories” to drive home the main point: mermaids are real, and they are being concealed by marine biologists and the government.

“After watching this I said to myself ‘if the videos are real then it’s not a matter of it being a theory, it’s actual fact – ‘mermaids’ DO EXIST’. But that was the big ‘if,’” one viewer said.

“Ninety percent of the ocean is unexplored and you’re telling me #mermaids don’t exist,” said another, a statement which has been retweeted more than 800 times.

Firstly, there is no debate to whether or not either faux-cumentary is fake; the disclaimer at the beginning of both films clearly states:

“None of the individuals or entities depicted in the film are affiliated or associated with it in any way, nor have approved its contents. Any similarities to actual persons living or dead are entirely coincidental.”

Most (if not all) of the scientists, government officials, and professors in both films are in fact, actors, including the returning “Dr. Paul Robertson” (played by Andre Weideman) flaunted as “a former researcher for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration” (NOAA).

After The Body Found aired in 2011, NOAA released an official statement to clear up their implied contribution to the film.

“The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species…But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That’s a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists,” they said.

NOAA was not notified that the second documentary would be aired.

“They [NOAA] handled it beautifully—with aplomb,” Animal Planet GM Marjorie Kaplan said of NOAA’s response to the first mermaid special.

She added she was “pleased to note [that] you can’t be sued by the government” even for implying that they are spending billions concealing the entire cast of The Little Mermaid.

With so much previous evidence, why then are people still being dooped?

“The fact that the mermaid shows are fiction was easy enough to miss. Animal Planet certainly played up how authentic the illusory evidence was, including faked vlogs that didn’t bother to say that they were scripted,” science writer Brian Switek said in his National Geographic blog post.

“The channel’s page about Monster Week—of which the mermaids sludge was a part—likewise touts ‘physical evidence linked to the existence of mermaids’ without saying the show is a fantasy,” he said.

Like many people who have “Mocked the Doc,” I have taken some flak for my involvement in the “#mermaids” twitter conversation.

“Just because you have no imagination, doesn’t mean you have to bring us down with you, scientists and science people have no appreciation of fantasy—it’s sad really,” one person, let’s call her “Ursula” said in an email.

Anyone who knows me well  knows that I am more into fantasy than the average Joe—hell I’m still waiting for Robb Stark to come back from the dead and swoop me up riding Falkor so that we may run off into the double Tatooine sunset together.

I do not take issue with mermaids. I do not take issue with mermaids on television. But masquerading fiction as fact using debunked information—and on a network with a reputation (or at least a former one)—is fundamentally wrong.

“It’s not satire. It’s not parody. It’s a giant middle finger to the public,” Marine biologist Andrew David Thaler said.

Follow Sarah on Twitter!

Image by Pets Advisor.

Popcorned: Coming this summer, it’s the End of the World!


-Casey Klekas

Why is “the end of the world” the lowest common denominator of Hollywood’s latest blockbusters? Probably because we have a healthy obsession with art’s apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, and dystopian genre. This is not because we live in a so-called “culture of fear,” but because this genre allows us to view our society through retrospective lenses and, in so doing, we gain a unique understanding of the problems at present, illuminated by existential threats to humanity, or the eventual consequences of current practices. They offer a glimpse down the road which might prompt us to ask Siri to plot us a new destination.

After Earth is a film about a father and son (Will and Jaden Smith, no kidding) who crash land on a future, inhospitable mother Earth. For a while, I got this confused with Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, which is also about the return to a has-been home for humans. Not to be mistaken for Elysium, where a super wealthy minority prospers in a remote community (a wheel-like space habitat known as a Stanford Torus, also known to many from the video game HALO) while the earth is overpopulated with poverty and crime.

Apocalypse movies, such as 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Terminator 3, and War of the Worlds all show the recognizable world coming to an end, either through natural (possibly human-induced) disaster, nuclear holocaust, the take over of machines, and/or alien invasion. This group actually shows the end of the world, even if humans eventually adapt and prevail. Two upcoming films that focus on Judgment Day are This is the End, starring comedy’s front men Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, and Michael Cera; the other is Pacific Rim about an alien invasion via a wormhole beneath the Pacific Ocean.

Post-apocalypse movies, on the other hand, may show some of the initial disaster, but are mostly focused on what comes after, how societies rebuild, adapt, or struggle to survive. Some are focused on the handful of isolated survivors, like I am Legend, The Postman, and The Road.  Others might show a revived humanity that has endured disasters and taken to rebuilding civilization or else has fled from the surface of the Earth completely (some go below, like the Eloi in The Time Machine, others take to the sky, like in WALL-E, After Earth, Oblivion, and Elysium).

A further category is the dystopian, where society undergoes a profound and often final transformation that we as viewers find morally repugnant. These “end of history” scenarios may come about by natural human progression, or are brought on by devastating wars or as the result of a novel political movement. Normally, some kind of resistance movement develops which we see quashed or succeed. I’d mention the Hunger Games, but I’ve neither seen the movie nor read the books. I should, I know.

So, why do we like this genre so much? Because it tells us about our own time much better than we often can see. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, don’t they say? Most dystopian/apocalypse/post-apocalypse movies, books, and TV shows mythologize the past (our present). They either show a lost paradise, or a reckless people who brought about the world’s end, or something of a combination.

At a very base level, this genre challenges our infinitude. Many suggest that humans cannot be stamped out, that we will evolve whatever the circumstances, such as Kevin “Gills” Costner in Waterworld. Others show simply that the future is up for grabs. You might be more persuaded by Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future, a world full of self-gratification and devoid of meaning. Or you could stick with Orwell and worry that humanity might end up enslaving itself, that “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on the human face—forever.”

Here’s a list of major films that have, are, or will soon hit the theaters: Oblivion, released April 19; The Colony, April 26; M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth, on May 31; Some levity on June 12 with This is the End; On June 21, Brad Pitt fights zombies in World War Z; Find out what lies beneath the pacific on July 12 with Pacific Rim; Watch the undead be bloody bludgeoned by the incomprehensible west Londoners in Cockney’s vs. Zombies; on August 9 see Matt Damon take on the world’s super rich (including Jodie Foster) in their secluded, serene spacewheel in Elysium, directed by District 9’s Neill Blomkamp; and, on August 23, finish this summer with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as they push through zombies on the way to the pub in The World’s End. (This is the same duo that gave us Shaun of the Dead, quite easily my favorite zombie film, and certainly the best comedy on the undead).

Image from

Don't Worry Be Healthy: Scaling the Workout Blues

Scale and feeties

-Marissa Tomko

“You are beautiful!”

When I hopped onto the scale at the gym the other day before my workout, those words were scrawled across it in orange marker. It made me smile. Shout out to UO for being the nicest!

As I began my scenic run on the treadmill, I realized that I was so busy appreciating the fact that someone defaced the scale with positivity that I had forgotten to even notice what my weight read, which didn’t bother me because, since I began my current workout routine, I have been feeling so great that my weight hasn’t been much of a factor. But this all led me to wonder how often I should be stepping on a scale when I’m trying to get in shape, or just in general.

First, let me just say that in my research and self-reflection, I came up with one overarching trend that now seems obvious: everyone is different. Everyone is looking to attain different goals, everyone looks to health and fitness for different reasons, and it all means something different to everyone.

According to The Huffington Post, one reason that the scale might not be the best idea is that it does not tell you your body composition. For instance, you might have lost a pound of fat and replaced it with a pound of muscle, but the scale won’t know the difference, leading you to be all frustrated-like and throw your sweatband at someone. If you’re a person who’s in it for the body image, focus on how you feel and notice how your body is changing positively as your workout plan continues. Don’t just rely on the scale to tell you what’s up with your body.

Another reason that the scale life isn’t for everyone is that the results might stir up some angry or defeated feelings. I don’t know about you, but one of my coping mechanisms for that kind of feeling is to eat bad things until I go to sleep. If you’re trying to live a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, this might just set you back. If you want to see guaranteed-positive results every time you step on the weighing machine, do it less. If you’re working hard and being honest with yourself, you will never be anything but happy with the results.

If you are looking to lose weight, the scale can serve as a motivator. It’s only bad if you make it bad. But don’t work out just to see those numbers drop, work out to feel better and live better. Yeah, losing weight is part of that sometimes, but don’t obsess over it.

“COEXIST", “PACE”, “PROUD PARENT OF AN HONOR STUDENT”: Bumper Stickers Voice Opinion & Pride


-Emily Fraysse

Driving down I-5, I see a variety of cars, from the beat-up pick-ups to the giant trucks to the mom-mobiles.

Every once in a while a car will slow down enough to where I could easily see the interior and the driver. With just a few clues, I try to figure out what that person does for a living and what they’re like just by catching that small glimpse. The best hints about the lives of these strangers comes from the bumper stickers smothering the back of some cars.

Bumper stickers are a fairly underrated form of advertising. People place logos, brands, and sayings on their car for the outside world to see. It is the cheapest and easiest way to get the word out to the public. Simple, clean, and effective? Or does it show that the owner of the car merely has a strong stance on an issue that he/she needs to show to the world? Do more bumper stickers on a car mean an angrier person?

In my opinion, yes to all the above.

In order to have an effective sticker, it needs to be clean, readable from far away, and simple. Too many words can get lost in the jumble and promote other drivers attempting to read it to get into an accident.

It has been six years after he ended his second term and “George W. Bush for President” is still sitting on the back bumpers of cars. By placing the delicate piece of tape carefully onto your car, you are solidifying your stance. When it comes to political campaigns, an NPR host reasoned that, “the glue on the back of the bumper sticker is sort of a metaphor for the glue that then is going to stick you to that candidate.” Although not all stickers may make a huge impact on the public, I think the people who place it there believe that it will. I have yet to change the way I live because of a bumper sticker I read. But, they can be good reminders.

Some parents love placing not one, but ten “Proud Parent” stickers over their back windshield, which, ironically, may interfere with their ability to reverse safely. They want to prove to other parents out there how superior their child is comparatively. Sometimes you see the very religious Christian bumper stickers that reflect how good they are and how God is always watching when they make that illegal U-turn. And then you get the soccer moms who place stick figures representing their family members in a row because I’m sure the person behind really wanted to know. In comes the giant SUV with “Sugarbowl Skiing” and “Keep Tahoe Blue” stickers smeared across the backside of the car to show the public how sporty and environmentally friendly they are by driving their gas-guzzler.

My theory is that the more bumper stickers you have placed on your car, the angrier of a person you are. It makes sense. The more you want your voice to be heard, the more agitated of a person you can be. I find that people (like the nut-so rat lady’s car in the photo above) want to be heard. Whether you are an avid environmentalist, a college student with school pride, or a scarily obsessed rat-lover, bumper stickers are an easy way for people to hear your voice, whether they want to or not.

Popcorned: Arrested Development Season 4 – Watch it again, and again…


-Casey Klekas

I’m in the awkward position of wanting to write about Arrested Development without spoiling it for everyone, including my editors who have yet to finish all fifteen episodes. I, on the other hand, watched six episodes starting at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, May 26. I fell asleep for a few hours then watched nine more. At times, I wished I hadn’t binged my way through the whole season, but at other times I was happy to power through. If I can make a recommendation, I would suggest not watching them straight through, which if you haven’t started already you probably won’t at all. You’re probably pacing yourself. Good thinking. I will use my best judgment to avoid spoiling anything for anyone. I’ll say as much as I can for those of you who are still in the process.

We should bear a few things in mind when enjoying the new Arrested Development episodes. First, they are longer than the old ones by upwards of ten minutes. More can be done in this time, but it also gives the characters a bit of breathing room rather than sketch on top of cousin on top of Ann. The extra time gives a new feeling to the show and more gags make it into the final cut as opposed to the ruthless editing we see in the old seasons.

The season evolves around a few central events, which, through each episode, we see through the eyes of a different family member. (Actually, Michael has two episodes, as does George Sr., Lindsay, Tobias, GOB, and George-Michael. Maeby, Lucille, and Buster only have one.) This makes some scenes in the initial episodes a bit hard to understand, but the jokes pay off in later episodes.

The season is indeed a puzzle with more pieces falling into place as every episode goes by. Some are not very uplifting, as the family has fallen on hard times (Oh, prison, shoddy land deals, and bankruptcy. So I guess kind of like the first three season). And yes, there are characters I wanted to see more of in the first few episodes, like Buster and GOB and George Michael. But as it turns out, they appear more in the second half of the season, so power through.

I was happy to see so many great themes come back. Ann as plant, Ann as egg, GOB’s panicked stuttering, Bees!, the comical miss-readings (mostly Tobias’), finishing each other’s sandwiches, sisters who “whore it up,” banners, getting blue/blown, hop-ons, and some pretty hot ham-water.

While they could have just run off the fumes of the old episodes–which maybe is what some of you had hoped for–I was actually happy to see the introduction of so many new running jokes like the “Showstealer Pro Trial Version” watermark over clips from old seasons. (I won’t spoil all of them.)

But seriously, whatever doubts you might have about the new season will be erased the more episodes you watch and the more times you watch them. Just like the old seasons, and Jessica Walter, the show gets better with age.

Image by Chris Favero.