GEEK MADNESS: Bombadil Region, Round 2

The first four members of the Geek 16 have been selected from the Do’Urden Region, and voting for Round 2 of the Bombadil Region is now open, and will close on Sunday, January 25th at 7 pm, at which point the next round (Jor-El Region, Round 2) will begin. This round’s winner will advance to the vaunted Geek 16. All results so far are on the main Geek Madness page.

Review all the matchups and go vote, after the break.

Bombadil Region Round 2
click for larger image


John Hodgman John Hodgman vs. Spock Spock

John Hodgman: Author (The Areas of My Expertise; More Information Than You Require); actor/TV personality (“PC” in long-running Apple Computer Mac ads; “The Daily Show“).
Bookish, likable manner and quirky, tweedy humor have made him a major breakout minor celebrity, crossing over beyond geek circles; near-ubiquity in 2007 and 2008 could lead to “Dude, you’re getting a Dell”-style backlash. Defeated Ben Stein in Round 1.

Spock: Half-human, half-Vulcan character from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe.
First introduced as Science Officer/First Officer under Capt. James T. Kirk on the USS Enterprise.
Logical outlook meshes well with Obama’s “no drama” style; vetting will determine if tenure will overlap with his Pon farr. Defeated Vint Cerf in Round 1.

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They Might Be GiantsThey Might Be Giants vs. Tom Lehrer Tom Lehrer

They Might Be Giants: Grammy Award-winning alt-pop duo John Flansburgh and John Linnell.
Notes: Extremely popular in geek circles for their catchy, melodic, humorous and intelligent music; frequent collaborators on TV, movie, literature and other projects (geek and non-geek); probably most widely known for “The Boss of Me”, theme song to Fox Television’s “Malcolm in the Middle“. Recent Dunkin’ Donuts commercial work may provoke cries from hardcore fans of “selling out.” Defeated Ponder Stibbons in Round 1.

Tom Lehrer: Songwriter/satirist, best known for humorous songs written for TV’s “That Was the Week That Was” and “The Electric Company“; taught political science and mathematics at MIT and UC Santa Cruz.
Notes: Pronounced influence on many other subsequent parodists/satirists, including “Weird Al” Yankovic; unafraid of tackling controversial topics; had the conviction to stop writing and performing once he felt like he had nothing new left to say; can turn a tub into a tube. Defeated Ze Frank in Round 1.

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Alton Brown Alton Brown vs. Gabe & Tycho (Penny Arcade) Gabe & Tycho (Penny Arcade)

Alton Brown: Food Network celebrity chef (“Good Eats“; “Feasting On Asphalt“; “Iron Chef America“).
Notes: Workaholic, detail-oriented personality; noted for his creative and entertaining science-oriented approach to food and cooking; also a cinematographer and pilot; abhors single-use kitchen gadgets. Defeated Encyclopedia Brown in Round 1.

Gabe & Tycho: Webcomic alter egos of Penny Arcade writers/creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik
Notes: Multiple weekly strips are a touchstone of gaming and gamer culture. Characters also help promote the PAX gaming festival and Child’s Play charitable effort. Defeated Sarah Vowell in Round 1.

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"Weird Al" Yankovic “Weird Al” Yankovic vs. Douglas Adams Douglas Adams

“Weird Al” Yankovic: Musician, parodist; released 17 albums (7 platinum and 4 gold) since 1983; writer/director/star, UHF.
Notes: Rose to fame in the early 80’s as a favorite of The Dr. Demento Show; has exhibited greater longevity than most artists he’s parodied; has directed many of his own music videos, as well as for Ben Folds and The Presidents of the United States of America (among others); “White & Nerdy” YouTube music video has accumulated over 41 million hits; once had a bitchin’ mustache. Defeated Weezer in Round 1.

Douglas Adams: Author best known for his The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.
Notes: Tremendous champion of technology; wrote several “Doctor Who” episodes; appeared briefly in two episodes of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus“; 42. Defeated Bill Gates in Round 1.

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  1. Kevin
    Posted January 19, 2009 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    Mr. Hodgman, I’m a huge fan, but I’m sorry– you’re up against MISTER FREAKIN’ SPOCK. I’m so sorry. I *am* going to give the nod to TMBG, though; to the ghost of Mr. Lehrer, I can only say “you’re funnier, but they rock harder.”

    Alton Brown, while not infallible, is pretty much the closest thing the culinary world has to a God of Wisdom. Gabe and Tycho are funny, but Alton’s Alton.

    And Douglas Adams is the man, no slight on Weird Al.

  2. Posted January 19, 2009 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    1) I voted against both participants last round, so I really don’t care for either. I ended up picking Hodgman (despite my hatred for Mac and most things Apple) because of the 700 hobo names. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before (and it’s 2 AM, so I am not about to think too deeply) he will probably clash with Obama, who thinks there are 57 states. In his first book of complete world knowledge Hodgman claims 51 states.

    2) Oh no question about it, it’s got to be the potential/theoretical giants – they bring people together. The other week I was talking with someone and I asked them if they liked certain bands/artists that I also liked (The Clash, Oasis, Metallica, Bob Marley, etc), and they said no on all of them, which made me really sad. Then I brought up They Might be Giants and they were like “Yeah, I LOVE They Might Be Giants.” I still want to know if they are in fact of above-average height and/or weight, though.

    3) I’m going to go with Gabe and Tycho not just out of spite (I voted Encyclopedia in the last round… I think… again, 2 AM) but because I really do like Penny Arcade and their expo. Plus, I hear president-elect Obama is a big comics fan, so they will work well together, and “click.” Synergy = stuff getting done (we hope). And if not, well don’t blame me, I voted for the old dude.

    4) Douglas Adams, first for defeating Bill Gates last round (finally!) and second because I see him as a futurist, more so than Weird Al. Sure, Weird Al has a song about being nerdy, but that’s about it, really. We need someone with some nerdsperience (nerd + experience portmanteau) and so Adams definitely seems like the person who gets my vote between those two.

  3. Posted January 19, 2009 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    The ghost of Tom Lehrer? As far as I know, right now he’s still alive and teaching math at Yale… oh, wait, that was Mandelbrot. Well, he taught his last maths class in 2001, but he’s [doing science and] he’s still alive. And his lyrics and tunes and voice are much better than TMBG’s.

  4. Posted January 19, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    1. I still maintain that Spock is far more of a “walking computer” and that raw knowledge and calculation does not a geek make. The imagination is also needed, in my opinion. Hodgman for the win.

    2. As much as Leher is a legend and I was only a small sliver away from voting for him in round 1, and as much as he is both knowledgeable and creative, both vital traits for the job, I say TMBG just edges him out. They know of matters geek and non-geek and are willing to shift between the two at will. They could not only host a cabinet position, but full-time ambassadors, too. Or was that part of the job?

    3. In many other cases, I would go with the Arcade. However, what we need in this position is determination and a consistent message, something the nearly bipolar whole of the two simply cannot maintain. Alton, however, can stay on message and on task, and the results are tasty to boot.

    4. *sigh* Al, Al, Al. Sorry to say, but up against Adams, I have to vote against Al on this one. Adams just has more geek-fu than Al, what with creating an entire universe of craziness and fun still referenced commonly today. I wave my towel in support.

  5. Posted January 19, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    1) Hodgman all the way. Why? Because while Mr. Spock is brilliant, he ignores emotion. As well all know, geeks are emotional creatures. We can’t have a representative who will not allow himself to feel. It’s simply not . . . logical.

    2) I love They Might Be Giants, and they’ve created some geeky music. But some of their geekiest music, such as “Why Does the Sun Shine?”, are actually covers of older songs. Tom Lehrer produced original, geeky and delightfully wicked songs that are still incredibly entertaining. The vote goes to Mr. New Math.

    3) I voted for Alton on this one. He’s a fellow Atlantan, he knows the value of good food, and he knows the scientific principles behind turning individual ingredients into amazing meals. Plus I’m not a Penny Arcade fan. But I do love their charitable work. . .

    4) This was a tough one. On the one hand, Douglas Adams was a brilliantly funny and insightful man. On the other hand, he’s dead. I’m a fan of Weird Al, but I don’t really think of him as a representative for geeks everywhere. My vote goes to the late Mr. Adams, dear Mr. Adams, who always knew where his towel was.

  6. Posted January 19, 2009 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Again with the tough choices!

    I must have missed Round 1, but I would pay good money to see John Hodgman beating Ben Stein to a dishonest, anti-science, flat-earth pulp.

  7. Posted January 19, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    @Glenn But wait, didn’t you hear? the world is fact “flat”.

  8. mtgordon
    Posted January 19, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Ooh, some tough ones.

    Hodgman beats Spock because of my bias against fictional characters. TMBG beats Tom Lehrer chiefly because they’ve been much more active recently. I don’t have much exposure to Alton Brown, but I read PA, so I voted for Gabe and Tycho. Weird Al wins over Douglas Adams chiefly by virtue of being alive.

  9. Posted January 19, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    one – Continuing my round two practice of choosing real v. fictional, I went with Hodgman.

    two – As much as I like TMBG, they have a lot of quirky, off-the-wall songs that appeal to geeks but aren’t necessarily geeky in and of themselves. And I think that Lehrer’s overall resume, especially the non-musical portion, is vastly more impressive. Chalk on up for the pigeon poisoner.

    three – The bottom line is that I have been a big fan of Alton Brown for a while and haven’t ever really gotten into Penny Arcade. If I had I might vote differently, but for now I’m going with the known entity.

    four – Normally I would trend away from posthumous position-appointing, but if anyone can speak well for geekdom from the grave it would be Douglas Adams.

  10. Erin
    Posted January 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    As much as I enjoy Penny Arcade, I’m an ever bigger food geek (nerd?), so my vote is for Alton Brown. And I have to agree with Kevin: Douglas Adams is the man.

  11. Robin
    Posted January 20, 2009 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Other than Douglas Adams (which was a really hard choice, but come on) I seem to be voting for the underdogs on this one. Not sure if that has any significance or not.

    Probably not. 🙂

  12. Posted January 20, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    1. John Hodgman, and not just because he is tweedy and witty. He’s smart, insightful, thoughtful and a genuinely nice person. (My vote was not influenced at all by the fact that he recently featured my children’s chorus on his blog and said lovely things about them. Not at all. Nope.)

    2. Tom Lehrer, for the reasons stated above by the folks who voted for him. (And TMBG is doing kids’ songs now, which is cool, but not so geeky.)

    3. Gabe and Tycho. (Dude! One of them is named Tycho!) Though I’m not a loyal PA reader, PAX + Child’s Play = WIN.

    4. Weird Al is a clever and talented guy, but Douglas Adams is one hoopy frood.

  13. Monk
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    1 – Gotta go with Hodgman…. Not sure Spock would make a good geek overlord.

    2 – In this I’m ashamed to admit that I voted for Lehrer mostly out of spite that, while I love TMBG’s music, they beat out Ponder Stibbons.

    3 – I had to go with Alton on this one. Head Food Geek should be a legitimate title.

    4 – Adams. No question.

  14. Suriehl
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Voting between Weird Al and Adams was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do, ever. But Adams prevailed.

  15. Posted January 23, 2009 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    Gotta stand up for my pal, Al. Hopefully some facebook fans will find their way over here…

  16. Posted January 24, 2009 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    Hodge takes on the Woz for Penultimate Four

  17. Ed
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Never heard of anything by Penny Arcade, but they get my vote. As far as I am concerned, Alton is disqualified by the following quote from his book “I’m just here for the food.” In it he stated “Fire is a physical reaction where a fuel (oxygen) is burned in the presence of a catalyst (charcoal) to produce heat.”

  18. Will
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    This round represented some of the most agonizing choices I have ever had to make in my life. I chose Spock because, well, it’s Spock. No slight to Hodgman intended. While I love Tom Lehrer (Poisoning Pigeons in the Park is one of the all-time classics), I also love TMBG, and really, I had to flip a coin there. Gabe & Tycho was an easy one for me, as their path has crossed mine too many times for me not to have an allegiance to them. But really, the hardest for me was DnA vs. Weird Al. I honestly could not decide. Both are brilliant humorists full of wit and intelligence, but I was a Weird Al fan even before I first picked up The Guide, so in the end, I had to go with His Weirdness, though it broke my heart to do so. Paul and Storm, you inhuman monsters! Why must you put me through such pain?!?!?

  19. Posted January 24, 2009 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    I know that TMBG is going to win this one hands down.. But I have to be honest

    Lehrer not only set the elements to Gilbert and Sullivan… but when he performed it, he played the piano one handed while pointing to the elements on a chart with a pointer WITHOUT LOOKING AT IT.

    Geek trivia: Yakko’s world is an homage to the performance of the Elements Song.

    Lobachevsky, The Elements, The Vatican Rag, Be Prepared, Poisoning Pigeons, The Maso-freakin-chism Tango…

    I love TMBG, and they are geeky… But this is the guy that got Fired for writing an upper-class-snob fight song for Haaaaaavaaaad.

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