Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm Setting The Alarm

I'm setting the alarm for 11:59 and 50 seconds, and when it goes off, I'll be like "9! 8! 7! 6!"

And so forth. You know.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Getting Out Of Trouble By Pretending There Is No Trouble

This is sure to be a gripping and compelling post at some point, but I haven't done the research yet on all the best techniques. Still, it's a gripping and compelling post title.

I guess I should go get in some trouble or something. Do the legwork. But is it really worth the trouble to go get into trouble just to get out of said trouble by pretending there is no trouble, in an attempt to live up to a gripping post title?

In an unrelated note, I have a ton of self-help books I could write. I've got all the titles ready to go.

Friday, December 28, 2007

This Post Is Porn.

This post is porn. It is utterly lacking in any redeeming social or artistic value. Therefore...porn.

Feel free to masturbate.*

The Riddle of Ye Magickal Faerie Porne

I was walking downtown in Solvang and there was a shop (or probably, shoppe) that, among its assortment of wifty gifty wares, had displayed RIGHT IN THE WINDOW a number of...I don't know what to call these..."erotic faeries" does not quite cover it.

And I was like, if that isn't the apotheosis of some particular spur of geekery, I don't want to see what is.

I was like. "Whoa." "Right in the window." "REALLY?"

And then, right around round the corner there was a CAMERA shop (that also had two long racks of camouflage fatigues and the like), but they had in their showcase window some pretty large statues, lovingly recreating scenes from fantasy paperback novel covers. You know the ones. Ripplingly-thewed barbarians frozen in mid-shout, hoisting swords high whilst half-prone nude wenches clasp themselves tightly around the warrior's right thigh. I was kind of thunderstruck to see it. I'm no prude, mind you! And there is nothing in the human form...not even the highly-idealized human form...that should ashame. But COME ON! What kind of camera shop is this? There's a bakery next door, and a florist on the other side. I think the proprietor was trying to prove some point, maybe.

But that doesn't explain those faeries, either.

Anyway. Solvang, CA. On the surface, a glittering slice of faux-Danish to delight the kids with and appeal to the droll side of the adults. But there's also some kind of unseemly, worked in between the seams of this picturesque gingerbread tourist town.

And as I said, I'm not a prude or an anti-porn crusader. But you just don't put something like that out there in your shop, do you? Is there not some bead-curtained back room you could usher people into, with a wink and a leer? I mean, you just don't see other reputable shops and businesses, with people of the general public walking through looking to buy something, and right in the middle of the rest of your merchandise you have a nice table all decked out with a selection of epic and majestic pornuary. Is it just the Ye Olde Magickal angle that renders all this OK? Or are Gift Shoppes automatic "anything goes" zones?

Look, I'm not knocking anything that anyone does with oneself, as long as it's consensual. But I have to level with you: if you're goofing on a statue of rainbow-scaled hornèd dragon that has a nekkid lady with bug wings riding it like a horse, the fact that I'm not knocking you for that is pretty much irrelevant to your main problem.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa, This Year Sucked

Oh, Santa, I know you're not in charge of New Years
but all I really want this year / is for this year to end
if you could put a call in to the office next door over
I surely would appreciate it, friend

I'm feeling pretty hopeful
about the coming year
it might not be the best, but can't be worse
So maybe in my stocking
could you slip me something strong
to knock me out 'til January 1st

bridge:
Yes, if you could cut it short, I'd sure be grateful
I've had it up to here this year's been hateful
Now I know you can't fit New Years
in your sleigh up on the roof
but Santa, this year sucked and that's the truth

Dear Santa Claus, I'm not a praying man
so I'm taking this to you instead of God
but what I understand is, you two are pretty close
so could you ask him, next year spare the rod?

I'm feeling pretty hopeful
about the coming year
it might not be the best, but can't be worse
So maybe in my stocking
could you slip me something strong
to knock me out 'til January 1st

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Leftover Food Review Part Deux

For dinner tonight, I had...leftovers. I had reheated World-Famous BBQ Beans from Cole's BBQ, which I think bills itself as "World-Famous." If not, I don't know why not.

I also had a thin slice of hearty lasagna. I don't think there was meat in it, but it was sure hearty.

The star of the plate was a fat wedge of quiche. This quiche had paprika on it (or rather, baked right into the top), it had mushrooms, it had sun-dried tomato, and the crust of this quiche was just so flaky and perfect it was almost poignant. There was a little spinach in there, adding just an accent of spinachness - not like, tons of it! Such as is to be had in your Quiche Lorraine, for instance. Or is that Quiche Lorraine...? Maybe not, maybe that's some other quiche. One with more spinach in it.

Some of you may have heard of the so-called saying that "real men don't eat quiche." Well, that saying needs to shut the fuck up. Need I point out the simple fact that quiche was invented in France? That's right. And anybody who wants to claim that the French don't eat quiche is quite free to make an ass out of themselves in the process! Because je am very sorry, but ils ne sont pas play that. They eat quiche WHENEVER and HOWEVER they want to over there. Check out Amelie if you're doubting the veracity of that claim. There's a kind of diner/coffee shop/bar in there, and at one point...I'm pretty sure somebody orders the quiche.

So anyway, that was my dinner, it was great, and I had some beers with it that just put the top on the whole caper.

Nice.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Out-Of-Context Comments On Other People's Blogs #2

Do the Germans have a The Marines?

I like a flock of birds. A flock of birds in flight has one mind. The configuration of individual birds acting in concert forms a collective intelligence. The pulsing and surging of feathered forms, contracting and expanding and changing direction - they think as one, they fly as one, the constant spaces between them act as firing neurons, the birds on the perimeter of the flock form a skin that feeds sensory input back in towards the center where it is processed and decisions are made.

This has been proved a number of times, to my complete satisfaction, while gazing out the passenger window at passing, pitching, surging, pulsing, convulsing flocks of birds.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Further Notes On Repeating Myself

I've just introduced a new regular feature, "Out-Of-Context Comments On Other People's Blogs" (heretoforeinafter to be referred to as "OOCCOOPB"). Sometimes I may leave a comment on someone else's blog, and sometimes, it might strike me as something I should really be putting on my own blog instead.

So instead of that, now I do both.

This feature serves two purposes. First, it gives me a chance to be very up-front about it when I re-use a bit from elsewhere (which was a bit of an ethical squirm for certain readers who thought my primary obligation was to generate endless reams of all-new material for THEM, even thought they rarely ever even STOP BY anymore!!!!). Secondly, by explicitly labelling such posts as out-of-context, taken from elsewhere, I am liberated myself from any need to even slightly edit or shape the material into a self-contained, standalone post.

In fact, one might argue that from an ethical standpoint, based on the way I am presenting it, I have a certain responsibility to post it in exactly the same form as it was originally posted (elsewhere). Which is pretty sweet. The ethical obligations just dovetail so nicely into the laziness of the whole concept.

Observant readers (Hi there!) will note that the previous post does repeat an even more-previous post's sentiments to a virtual "t". However, it does so so much more succinctly that I said "fuck it."

And so, so should you:

"Fuck it."

Never be ashamed of saying something shorter and better than you said it before. Or longer and worse, for that matter. Some things bear being expounded upon, and how can you really tell whether they do or they don't until you try?

EDIT (3/30/08): I've decided to expand the OOCCOOPB aegis to include Out Of Context Replies On Some Random Message Board as well. Because to run a separate series called OOCROSRMB serves no real extra purpose.

EDIT (6/29/09): I think Out-Of-Context-Comments-On-Other-People's-Sites or OOCCOOPS is a good catch-all carry-all.

Out-Of-Context Comments On Other People's Blogs #1

Out of context comment on someone's blog:
---
I believe that the best way to honor a joke is by responding as if it were serious, and by so doing, continue the joke.

As a bonus, if the person was being serious, you're covered.

Tina Fey Is Hot

She is hot. There are no two ways about it. There's only one way about it, and that way is that she is hot. She's hot because she's smart, she's hot because she's funny, she's hot because she's Tina Fey, she's hot because she's pretty damn cute besides, and she's hot because she is in fact hot. Hot on merit.

Anyone who says otherwise disagrees with me. That's all there is to it. There's no two ways about it. It's just a natural fact.

But can I say this?: "What a woman!" Yes, I can. I admire Tina Fey tremendously.

I mean, I'm not in love with her or anything, but the only way I could be any more in love with that woman would be if I was in love with her.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet: Superstition? or Science-Fiction?

The other thing is: who built that damn jet? Clearly it's beyond the reach of the U.S. Military. Yet the tech level on Paradise Island is approximately that of Ancient Greece! Oh, sure, they have magic, to magic up belts and bracelets and lassos and tiaras and probably spears and bows and swords and such. But a complex feat of engineering such as a jet airplane? How could they do it? The turbines alone...!

Perhaps this is the converse of old Arthur C. Clarke's 3rd law of prediction: Any sufficiently advanced magic will appear to be technology.

I'm An Idealist, That's My Problem.

This is not an ideal world.

Open Dream Journal #8: Will Our Lives Never Measure Up to Our Dream Accomplishments?

I had a dream that I had created an extremely detailed, scholarly, and erudite website detailing the entire course of the Kool Moe Dee vs. L.L. Cool Jay "beef" of the 1980s and 90s. Complete with backstory, excerpts from interviews, and a fully cross-referenced and annotated song lyrics section.

Man. This site had it all.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Today's Thought of the Day Has Been Canceled

I have no thought of the day today. Therefore today's post serves no purpose.

No different from the other posts.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Blade Runner: Prelude to Blade Runner Pt. 2

The previous post is not what it should have been. I admit it. It's unfocused, reeling discursively from point to point and occasionally doubling back over covered ground. I am now at work on a revised, final cut of that post that will clear up some of the narrative inconsistencies as well as shed some light on the ultimate, controversial question of whether I myself am in fact a replicant.

Stay tuned for that.

Blade Runner, Once Again Available

First of all. Ridley Scott: you are a pussy and an ignoramus. Also a fine director. These aren't mutually exclusive categories.

Second of all: thank you for whatever part you played in allowing Blade Runner (the version that needs no additional title) to be finally made available once more. Albeit as part of a 5-disc set. Thank you anyway. It's a great film. The film that you were able to achieve, the cut for which you let your name be slapped across posters for the original wide release, is a masterpiece. Your part in that achievement is larger than that of all the other people involved. But if what you've said in interviews since then is true*, then those responsible for putting the final stamp on the theatrical version deserve great credit as well. They saved you from yourself.

Which brings us to the nitty gritty. You've gone on record as saying that "Deckard is a replicant," "he just is," and "anyone who doesn't 'get it' is a moron." You protest too much, Mr. Scott. All of us get it. Your many explanations for why you think he's a replicant are kindergarten-simple, backed up with plentiful visual aids that you've painted into versions of the film itself, over the years. The funniest thing is that I've read dozens of your explanations "why" Deckard "just is" a replicant, and they all have to do with the proper interpretions of these supposed clues. You never seem to think it germane to include a reason why you think the "Deckard = replicant" approach can possibly help the story.

I'm sorry. Weren't you making a film? Was this not a consideration?

But yes, please rest easy, I assure you it is quite perfectly butt-obvious in your various "MY cut!" versions that you think Deckard is a replicant. You might just as well have CGI'd a big square panel in his back with clockwork behind it. If you did, would that make it so? No, of course not. None of your strident revisionism makes Deckard a replicant - any more than spray-painting graffiti on a gravestone constitutes a sort of "special edition" epitaph.**

Do you ever look at what George Lucas has become and blame yourself? You could. The endless tinkering and justifications, the slow degradation of the very concept of a film, of an opus, of a finished work - you were the high-profile pioneer in that game. And now you have given us back the real deal, just as Lucas finally gave us back Star Wars and its two sequels again - ostensibly as the 'bonus discs' of yet another whacked-out goofy edition, but he knows the real reason why people shelled out for the umpteenth time, and it wasn't to see more digital tongue from the Sarlacc pit. You and Lucas are fooling only yourselves with these endless editions and versions. If you are capable of more great art, then please, go make more great art. Don't keep meddling and tinkering with what is classic. At least M. Night Shyamalan gets his twist endings into the film in time for the general release. If he starts taking cues from you, he'll leave out the twist entirely, and then call a press conference years later to try to pin one on retroactively.

Everyone talks about Citizen Kane, authorial control and the magic of final cut. If Mr. Welles had put out a "New Final Cut" of Kane in the seventies, with Paul Masson product placement matted in, would anyone have cared to endorse the venture? This final cut business, I call it crying over spilled milk. You get the cut you are able to get. As a director, that's your job - to force your vision through. A weak director doesn't deserve final cut, any more than he deserves second crack.

That's how the system works. It's beneficial. Sometimes the producers have to rein the director in, just a little bit. You fight for the vision you want to put on-screen, and they fight for the result they feel they're paying for, and when everything's said and done you can either stand by the resulting film or you can disown it. That collaborative process is part of what makes a finished film a finished film, rather than a sprawling and inconsequential ongoing vanity project.

Despite the never-ending one-film franchise you've turned it into, there is only one Blade Runner. I don't fault you for the other versions, or dispute your right to make them. It's cool that you've had the opportunity to crank out a bunch of (essentially) straight-to-video revisionist remixes, and the clout to get a succession of them booked into art-house theaters for a vanity release. I suppose you're free to say that any or all of those is "your" film. But none of them was ours. None of them is Blade Runner. And it's cool that you've finally let Blade Runner see the light of day again.

So, thank you again for that. But hear me, Mr. Scott: it isn't we who aren't deep enough to get it, it is you who aren't deep enough to see the implications for the story. Your neato, gee-whiz, mind-bending twist would take a soaringly dystopian parable on the fragile, elusive nature of humanity and sink it to the level of a hackneyed "hey, we're all robots!" sci-fi flick with retarded film-school pretentions grafted on. And a hollywood budget, leave us not forget! And a top-notch cast. But thank you very much, Mr. Scott. You can take all of that, and make as many of your own cuts as you like. Make Gaff a replicant, if you like. Perhaps you will find that adds new levels to the story.

You can keep them. I will take Blade Runner. It's a great film. A masterpiece. Your masterpiece, whether you own or disown it.

Now for the last time: thank you.

Open Dream Journal #9: Way to Go, Bob Dylan. Real Mature.

I went to a concert, a live recording session with an audience that was also being broadcast live on national TV. A pretty big deal. It was Bob Dylan conducting "The Band" - only the musicians were way more than just "The Band," there were a bunch of other musicians there with all sorts of instruments, plus some people just singing. Bob Dylan was up there in front of them, at a conductor's podium with a baton, but he also had a microphone attached to the podium so he could sing into it.

The weird thing was, Bob seemed to be looking at the whole thing as a big test, to see how well The Band could perform under adversity. They kicked off with a couple of Bob's songs just to get things really going, but then once they started doing The Band's songs, Bob didn't really maintain a respectful tone at all. It was like he didn't know what to do with that microphone if he wasn't singing into it. He kept saying things very loudly into the mic. At first it was directions or encourangement to various musicians ("pick it up a little, pick it up boys!", "good job, Bobby!" - right during the SONG!). Then he started saying - and again, this is right in the middle of one of the Band guys singing a verse - things like: "hey remember guys! This is being recorded so, no matter what I do you gotta keep right on going!" And then he did this gross kind of coughing and laughing at the same time thing.

It just kept degenerating from there. Pretty soon in the middle of a big chorus awash with warm harmonies he goes, "shut up! SHUT UP! I only wanna hear Sam Posun singing this part right here! Sam Posun nobody else!" And you could see poor Sam Posun (whoever he was, he was this guy in a cowboy hat, t-shirt and woven/braided leather vest with an embarrassed look on his face)...I give Sam a lot of credit, he kept right on singing and tried his best to carry the chorus by himself. But he just couldn't pull it off. His part was this kind of weird diminished sevenths harmony that sounded really awkward without the other sung parts.

The whole thing was just incredibly unfortunate to watch. Bob Dylan - I tell you, I've lost all respect for that guy. What a dick!

PLEASE DONT READ THIS

PLEASE DONT READ THIS. YOU WILL GET KISSED ON THE NEAREST POSSIBLE FRIDAY BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. TOMORROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. HOWEVER IF YOU DONT POST THIS COMMENT TO AT LEAST 3 VIDEOS YOU WILL DIE WITHIN 2 DAYS. NOW UV STARTED READIN DIS DUNT STOP THIS IS SO SCARY. SEND THIS OVER TO 5 VIDEOS IN 143 MINUTES WHEN UR DONE PRESS F6 AND UR CRUSHES NAME WILL APPEAR ON THE SCREEN IN BIG LETTERS. THIS IS SO SCARY CAUSE IT ACTUALLY WORKS THIS ACTUALLY WORKs

Okay, I don't know what happened here and I can't explain it. I captured this off a You-Tube comment queue so as to take immediate action - since I had already read it - and then I pasted it in my 'drafts' for safe-keeping, because I couldn't get to it just then, but I must have forgotten it within 143 minutes. That was November 8th. A Thursday. I don't recall who kissed me that Friday, but if that was the best day of my life, it sure slid through my senses without much disturbance. I can't recall a single thing about it.

In retrospect, the fact that I'm still drawing breath might put the accuracy of the whole thing in a bad light, prediction-wise. But you know what? It's still pretty damn scary.

But the real question in my mind is: which species of moron needs to hit F6 to know the name of their own crush? Wouldn't you know already?

When I hit F6, it just kind of toggles from the window to the URL bar and back.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Alienated Pt.2

Turns out it might have been just a bit of a cold.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I'm Alienated.

I lack the words to describe it just now. I'm not sure how to describe it.

The Female Form Pt.2

I admit it. I enjoy seeing hot babes lasciviously arrayed for my viewing pleasure, posed indecorously in their exiguous costumes. But as a feminist, I have to say: "Whoa there!" to those nethersome urges, wheneversoever they arise. "Whoa there!" say I, "These excitingly feminine forms you see about you, swaying and traipsing, prancing and turning so as best to display their eye-catching wares barely concealed by whatever short tight-fit outfits pass for a nod towards modesty in this modern age - these are not mere sexual objects, to be objectified sexually! No! Each of these nubile ladies has a unique MIND!! And a beating HEART!! And a pretty sweet you-know-what to go with it. But therein lies the problem."

And after I finish saying all of that to my nethersome urges, they generally get real bored and wander off thinking about something else. That's my trick, and I've got it down to a science. When you're out in the world, and as you know, there's a lot out there to look at! So you've gotta find a way to keep your thoughts on the up-and-up, keep them somewhat pure. Because a woman is not a plaything for your roving eye, you pig! You can't just go around undressing women with your mind.

I mean, you know. Unless she does it first. Ladies first, that's my rule.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Godzilla Should Be Forced To Wear Pants

It's disgusting! Walking around like that, swinging that big thing around. King Kong would never be allowed to get away with that!

I mean, if he had anything to swing.

Friends Are Like

Friends understand and appreciate a comfortably lived-in pad. You don't have to get everything "spic and span" for a friend. A real friend is less "company" and more "family" - right?

But some don't see it that way. I have a friend who's like, her place has to be clean. She'll change the plan on you if she thinks her place is too messy: "Ah, let's meet at the Crow's Nest instead, I didn't get a chance to clean." Which is fine by me. The Crow's Nest has a better selection of beer!

And it's a LOT cleaner.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Open Dream Journal #5: Bunny High

I had a dream that I was a bunny in a high school for bunnies. I was kind of a mean bunny, though! In the hall between classes, as we bunnies thronged to and fro to the next class, one of the little white freshman bunnies bit me on the leg deliberately - so I picked him up and crushed him against the wall! But then I saw that I had hurt him. He was just lying there with his mouth open, breathing fast and shallow. So I picked him up again (upperclassmen were bipedal) and we escaped out a window.

I set him down in a ditch outside the school and we just laid low for a little while so he could recuperate. After a short time a young woman walked up, everyone's favorite teacher (the teachers were humans). She looked at us and at me and said some kind but condescending things. At the end she said, "I always knew it was no use trying to teach bunnies." I was like, "fuck you, you hypocritical bitch! You work in a high school for bunnies! Nice attitude!"

But I didn't actually say that. Perhaps because I was a bunny.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hazy Shade of Winter

Listen. Everybody says "Hazy Shade of Winter" is the best Bangles song, and everybody knows it's a damn sight better than the original, but why does nobody make the leap to the next logical link in the chain?

The Bangles should re-do the entire catalog of Simon and Garfunkel hits. I mean, what kind of name is Garfunkel, anyway? Hold it, that's got nothing to do with what I'm saying. Here's what I'm saying: Simon and Garfunkel, their stuff is due for a reevaluation. And it's not going to get the hearing it deserves if we have to listen to their versions. If you listen to their versions, you're not going to remember what you were listening to by the time you wake up again, well-rested.

Let's face it, those old Simon/Garfunkel tracks have a deserved reputation of being shall we say BO-RINNNNNG!!! We never would have thought otherwise, if the Bangles hadn't come along. So why not roll the dice, why not see if they can work that same spangley Bangles magic on the rest of the S&G 500? Or however many songs those dudes wrote. Lord knows, it was tons. Just two dudes and a couple guitars, cranking it out 'til you can't stand it in the nineteen-seventies.

The Bangles are due for a reevaluation, too. They proved what they were capable of, on "Hazy Shade." But they're not going to get their next chance based on whatever crap they & Elvis Costello can come up with - as their last comeback amply showed. They need to dip back into that deep well over troubled waters. The Bangles need Simon & Garfunkel. And Simon & Garfunkel need the Bangles - because while their prolific gifts are indisputable as songwriters, it took the Bangles to make us see that, to open our eyes. Look around.

Look around.

There's a patch of snow on the ground.

Tan Lines

I kind of like tan lines. I'm kind of into tan lines. I don't think they're anything to be avoided, or to be ashamed of.

I'm not like - I don't even know if there is such a thing! - but I don't raise it to the level of FETISH, or anything. I'm just saying. The last post made me think on it, and while I wouldn't go so far as to want my CAR having tan lines...apart from the automotive realm, ain't no shame there atall! It's a nice visual contrast, and plus, when you think about it a bit, about what tan lines represent...I guess it's kind of a statement. It's kind of a statement of demure exhibitionism.

Which, that's an intriguing combination.

The Car Bra.

Ok, I think I'm not being facetious there. I believe that's what they actually call those things. A bra. That's that...thing, that you put on the front of your car. To protect it from dings from flying rocks, or flying whatever other debris.

So. Here's a tip for you, jackass: if you want one of those car bras, go ahead, get one. But don't put it on. There's no reason to disfigure your fucking Camaro prematurely, by stretching a gigantic trash bag across the front of it. Right? Here's what you do instead: wait for one of those hypothetical pebbles to actually fly up, ricochet off your paint job and make an undetectable scratch.

THEN you put it on. You could go for YEARS, maybe the ENTIRE LIFE OF THE CAR, without having to resort to that ugly-ass thing. And as soon as you put it on, BOO YAH! You're no worse off than you would have been, if you'd been driving around like an idiot that whole time! People will be just as impressed: "Wow, look at that guy. He's protecting his car by making the front of it look like a fake leather sofa."

I mean, am I missing something on this one? Maybe these are just for if you're really into tan lines, so much so that you want your car to have one.

Repeating Myself At Increasingly Needless Length

EDIT: OK, so I was pleased with my rambling musings on the below topic from a message board post I made someplace else, and I thought I would post it here - why not? And then so I did, but then something made me check the archives and sure enough! I said the same thing in about 5 sentences, far more effectively, months ago. In a far more snide manner at that.

So I'm repeating myself. TOO BAD. Read it and sleep!

3. "Why does God let bad things happen." Ah, yes. The old saw. People who find this an objection to belief in God have never honestly tried on the other side's argument. I'll stick with the stereotypical Christian God, who seems to be the main one being addressed in these plaints. If someone really believes in God, then what follows? Heaven. An eternity of perfect bliss and contentment, better than anything you could ever imagine, and it goes on forever. Well OK. If anyone really believed that they were getting THAT next, how could the pitiful sufferings of this world possibly matter?

Alright. Gotta get back to the jihad.

No, but seriously - of COURSE I realize that the idea of taking heaven seriously is not going to sway a good Atheist. Nor should it. And of course I recognize the point of those who say that Christianity's traditional deferral of perfect bliss until the afterlife has been used right down the ages to reconcile people to their benighted lot here on earth. To say nothing of the lure of paradise to would-be modern martyrs. But none of that even touches the main objection, that God would have to be mean to allow pain or death!

To someone who DOES believe, it's not difficult to see what our hypothetical God's perspective on all this might be. To someone who really believes that there is an infinite and perfect happiness after this brief blip of mortality, to someone who believes that free will implies a certain hands-off attitude on God's part where people are allowed to choose and things are allowed to happen, to someone who accepts that pain on earth is a necessary damage-avoidance mechanism that in general prolongs life, to someone who believes that death is ultimately inevitable because this world is not our final home...

The point is, anybody whose mind is large enough to really wrap around the concept - even if only for the sake of argument - should be willing to admit that the objection doesn't make a lot of sense once you really accept the premise. It's a lot of boo-hoo'ing from people whose hearts are too much in this world.*

From the standpoint of the Christian mystic, at least! I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here. I personally see no reason why the world couldn't have popped into place by itself.

(tee hee!)

*My heart is too much in this world. I admit it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Now That's Some Good Advice

"If feelings of stress or depression persist past the holiday season, contact a mental health professional."

- from the informational holiday wall poster in Human Resources

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Four Best Ideas I Ever Had

Okay, this post will put down indelibly and indubitably, as well as inimitably and indisputably, the four best ideas I ever had (so far). I'm not talking about, you know, screenplay ideas or song ideas or any similar such dreck as I'm perfectly well capable of executing myself! No, I mean things like inventions, or video games, or products, goods and services, such as I may well be capable of having an outstanding idea about, but such that I'd require some help or investor or executioner to come on board and sort of help fulfill the concept.

So anyway. I'm putting them down here, to serve notice that these sweet, four ideas are hereby copyright in whatever form I so designate, LEGALLY!! - and that heretoforeafter, everyone is directly unauthorized to make use of my sweet ideas or otherwise rip me off. Your even reading this far into the blog post constitutes a BINDING CONTRACT on your part, agreeing explicitly thereto, vis-a-vis the aforementioned foregoing provisos.

Ah, never mind. I can't fucking trust you people.

Hey, Viruses! Pt. 2

Got a couple more to add to the original post:

* a virus that converts all your outgoing e-mails to "Hulk grammar."

* a virus that opens your spell-check software and adds the 500 most common misspellings into your custom dictionary.

Brand Loyalty Betrayed #2: Doctor Marten's Boots

My pair of Doctor Marten's Boots has worn out. Now, get it straight - I'm not some kind of trendy neo-arriviste! Someone who jumps on the boots-wagon just because other people are, or more accurately, do. Or even more accurately, used to. That's not me. That's not why I wear 'em. I wear these boots because I was - or rather, they were - given to me, by my dear sister, for Christmas, more than ten years ago.

Not this same exact pair of boots, of course! Their honorable predecessors. They just wore so well and felt so comfy that I kept on replacing them with new Docs. Every 12 to 18 months. That's pretty durable, considering I wear the same pair of shoes just about every single day. I only have two other pair - my colorful chucks and my snazzy dressers.

Anyway, this pair has worn out VERY EARLY. I could see when I bought the boots, the tread was totally different - instead of the bold chunky diamonds/squares tread pattern, it was a more intricate, narrow-parallel-lines design. I had my reservations right then, but I said: "It's Doctor Marten's!"

Well, sorry. Apparently it's not. I guess they sold the company. Really I have no idea, and I don't care. My old Docs NEVER wore holes in the sole! I turned 'em in for new ones when they looked totally crappy and the tread was worn smooth. But THESE so-called Docs wore through the tread - there are holes, breaks in the rubber sole! I can't wear them in the rain, my sock gets soaked! And this sole deterioration kicked in way early - before the leather really even needed a good polish (by my admittedly lax standards). I mean, I'm sure they lasted at least 8 months, day in day out. But that's a huge fall off in quality - and it sucks!

Now I don't know what my next pair of shoes is going to be.

I sure hope it doesn't rain.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Christmas Letdown

When the mountain town opened for business
its annual walk-through Christmas display
for the holiday bustlers to come bustling through -
you and I,
resplendent in sweaters
nog in hand
- were first in line.

At the start of the long, long park,
we stood; behind the green garland rope.
Ready to ooh and ahh,
not in the slightest bit ironically.
When they took the rope away,
we rushed forward in an ecstatic scramble:
oohing and aahing.

Well, the needles and leaves of the evergreen trees
were bedecked in arrays of electric eyes
and we ran hand-in-hand, gaily
so far ahead, so far, away far
ahead of the crowd.
Away out of sight, we ran ahead -
looking all around ourselves, like
children explorers, with mouths open.
We were the first to reach the Giant Tree.

Among its boughs, certainly dead, hung motionless
a worker
in a puffy quilted navy-blue coat,
and
a white-and-green snowman scarf.
He was smiling.
Tangled, suspended in the cords of
electric lights, among the decorations, his job
well done, now
forever.

You looked at me,
sad.
And I stooped down,
to lift a shiny red christmas ball
from where it had fallen in the snow.
You hooked it
onto the exposed elastic edge
of his white athletic sock
and we giggled, but
the mood had already been ruined
sad

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bionic Woman Pt.3

Now, I don't want it to seem like I've given this a lot of thought, but when you think about it...when you're running at top speed, so much of the forward thrust of what propels you comes not just from the quadriceps, and the calves, and the hamstrings - a whole lot of it comes from the ol' gluteus maximus and the related glutei. If you catch my drift. This isn't a prurient concern, here! It's purely practical. Because really, to be able to run at super-speed, she would need more than just two bionic legs. She would in fact have to have a whole bionic ass.

I don't know if that has been touched on, in the show. I still haven't actually seen any episodes yet.

I hear it's not bad.

Monday, November 26, 2007

How Many Worlds?

Is there one world, or are there many worlds? Some say many. I counter by saying there is only one: one world, and it includes the universe. Not the other way around! The universe is merely a part of the one world that all of us inhabit.

Some say this very view smacks of solipsism. But when faced with someone who says that, I point out to them that in fact, this view is the cornerstone of the entire foundation of much of the philosophy of my personal worldview. Then I smack them.

It has long been demonstrated that the mind contains infinitely more grains of sand than a beach, or that it makes more connections than atoms throughout the universe can, through the intermediation of their electrons. Well that's all well and good, but can't the same point be made in more concrete terms?

Yes. And once again science is there to provide us the key how.

But let's leave that aside for the moment and return to more essential matters: how is it even possible for anyone to prove anything, in a world where one world versus many worlds can even be a question? Can it be a question? I suspect that it can't be a question, that those who strive to make it a question are just stirring up dust to obscure their own intellectual limitations. They'd like us to believe that there are many worlds. But really they just wish they could get the rest of us to buy their phantasmal house of mirrors, so they could go hide in it!

Ultimately, each of us - those who feel strongly about a rational, epistemological basis for heuristics - is going to have to take it upon himself or herself to run into that house of mirrors after them, so that we can catch them and expose their shitty little semiotic tricks and gimmicks.

And then smack them.

Is It Just Me, Or Is J.K. Rowling Kinda Hot?

She didn't used to be hot. I'd swear to it. But she's looking kind of cute lately. She didn't used to be cute, either - I mean, sure. Maybe she was years ago. At school. But not in her previous "public eye" period! Prior to lately, at least.

I don't want to suggest that she's had "work done" but...I don't know. Can the right haircut make that much difference?

Seems a little implausible.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Allure and Mystique of Figure Skating

As I sat watching figure-skating with my GIRLFRIEND, I was distracted opening a beer with my teeth when suddenly my ear was caught by her sudden outburst:
"Why are the figure skating outfits so GAY? How can they still be so gay? It's such a stereotype! Look at this guy! He looks like Fag Dracula!"

In my capacity as the voice of tolerant reason, I had to point out that only a percentage of male figure skaters are gay. At the age when these kids have to start training, they're all far too young to have any real understanding of sexuality or orientation. So by the time they reach competition age, how many gay ones you end up with is purely pot-luck. The only way it could be otherwise would be if the gay gene conferred some athletic benefit, such that the young gay up-and-comers would have a performance advantage over the non-gay skaters. That would lead to a disproportionate number of straights "washing out" of the sport, not being able to "hack it" head-to-head against the genetically superior gays. But if this were the case, one would have to ask why this hypothetical gay-gene athletic boost only manifests itself in the fey end of the spectrum of competitive sport? It doesn't add up - the science just isn't there to support such claims.

Yet I had to admit that she had a point. These outfits were gay beyond reason. I did my best to explain it away: the outfits have to be gay. They can't be somber! The glittering spangles, the bold swoopy lines, the brightly colored diaphanous shreds that trail in the air - these all add visual pop to the spinning jumps and maneuvers of the program. A skater who went out there in a drab monochrome unitard would suffer for it. He'd be at a competitive disadvantage. He could put in just as much hard work and practice, but his routine would yield a less fabulous effect - just because his plain outfit lacked the snap and contrast to add visual interest to his twirls and pivots.

She admitted that made some sense. But neither one of us is convinced that that's the real whole story here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I Don't Normally Do This

I'm not generally one to post old comic book bits so I can make fun of them, but just what the sweet what-the is going on in THIS little scene?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

OK, I'm right on board with the program up until that last sentence by our Nazified friend on the giant's head. It's clear these two have beef. It's clear that these two are archest-enemies, endlessly entwined at each other's throats, with some sort of a history of mutually deep-seated hatred. Check the sheer vitriol: "CURSE you, BOY KING! I'll KILL you!!! Do you HEAR ME?! And I'll DESTROY your GIANT!!" At least, it sure seems clear and evident what the nature of their relationship is - right up until the point where he introduces himself.

COME ON! These two only just met? What can he possibly have against that guy's giant?!

Are you people a MORONS??!

Sorry, I've got no post really to go with that title, I just thought it was a catchy title for a post. But I've got no post, no material that matches up to it really. Because, I have the utmost respect for your intelligences. And really, why wouldn't I?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stephen Colbert

You know, with the right wig and makeup, Stephen Colbert could make the awesomest Ronald McDonald ever.

Isn't That A Double-Standard? #1

Isn't it a double-standard that women without clothes are considered nude? Whereas men without clothes are considered gay porn?

I mean, by me at least. But I think that could be a double-standard, and possibly a sexist one. Still though! It's good that I've brought it up as an issue. Because now that I'm aware of it, I can at least be up front with myself, and guard against it. Guard very strongly.

Still though, am I right about that or what? It seems like a broader societal-type deal. Am I right about that?

I think I am. It's more than just me though. It's prevalent.

Pervasive.

World Recipe Debut #1: My Double-Mustard Dog

For my World Recipe Debut #1, I was going to go with my Sucka-Free Succotash, but there are some issues with letting the secret "trick" to that one out of the bag prematurely (don't want to bollix the book deal). So instead, prepare to feast (your eyes!) on the World Recipe Debut for My patented Double-Mustard Dog!!

(patent pending)

No not really, there's no patent involved! Just good old fashioned hot dog know-how and expertise. The ingredients for the recipe couldn't be simpler:
• a cooked hot dog (for more than one Double Mustard Dog, scale up the hot dog itself plus all the other ingredients by a factor of N, where N = the number of total Double Mustard Dogs you wish to arrive at)

• French's Mustard* by French's

• Our Mustard w/Seeds* by the Mendocino Jam Company (I think that's what they're called - you'll be able to tell once you taste that mustard! OH BABY!)

• a hot dog bun

Ok, here's where it gets a little tricky. For the foundational "cooking it" aspect of a lot of my recipes, I lean on Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. Over the years I've found it to be really an excellent and reliable guide in matters culinary, but I'm so, so disillusioned now with it because - get this - I went in there looking for the details on cooking a hot dog, and came up bupkes! NOTHING! No instruction whatsoever, on one of the most basic staples of the American diet, in a book called "How to Cook EVERYTHING," no less! Can you BELIEVE IT? What does the core temperature of a done dog need to be? How hot should the pan be, to avoid that unfortunate outside sear with inner coolness? What about trickomnemnosis? Shoot, at least you'd think you'd want to have that covered at least.

For shame on you, Mr. Bittman. You let me the fuck down. I guess maybe you're saving the GOOD stuff for the sequel: How to Cook One With Everything.

Anyhow. How you get the dog to a state of cookededness is therefore a topic of some controversy. I can't advise you in these matters. But once you have completed the cooking of N hot dogs, you assemble the Famed Double Mustard Dog(s) in the following manner:

Bun. Start with bun. Gently force the bun open on the top seam (NOT the bottom seam! That will WRECK YOUR DOG irreparably, presentation-wise!).

One side of the bun, spread an even coating of French's. OPTIONAL STEP: some sweet pickle relish doesn't go amiss in this recipe. If you want some of that, put a stripe of it down the bottom of the bun. Sweet pickle relish.

Then insert the cooked dog. Next, put an even stripe of the Our Mustard w/Seeds straight down the middle of that dog - NOT TOO THICK! That's good, strong stuff already.

Then all you have to do is ENJOY! As follows:

Step 1: Eat the Double Mustard Dog.

Step 2: Burp!

*NOTE ON THE AMOUNT OF MUSTARD REQUIRED for this recipe: for most cases, one jar of each mustard will more than suffice. However, as N reaches a non-arbitrarily large number, it may be necessary to have additional jars on hand, or to purchase larger jars so that there will be mustard enough to go around. Use your head on this one.

Try New Ahhh!Swipes

Sometimes, T.P. alone just doesn't do the job. Sometimes you need something more cleansing, more refreshing. Something like Ahhhh!Swipes. Quilted, kissed with aloe, and sumptuously flushable, Ahhhh!Swipes brand toilet napkins soothe and revitalize the tender skin of your you-know-where area, after a particularly grueling you-know-what.

So the next time you're shopping in your local reputable supermarket, pick up a package of Ahhhh!Swipes. You'll be glad you did.

Ahhhh!Swipes. Classy. For your assy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bionic Woman Pt.2

But having said all that, I think it would be cute if - on one of the episodes where she has to take some guy into her confidence about the bionic situation, because they both have to work together to avert that week's emergency, and they develop a wary, respectful, chemistry-laden semi-flirtatious rapport with each other - at some point they should work it into their repartee so that she gets to deliver the line:

"Oh, no...these are real."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You've Got a Bionic WHAT?

Okay, the premise for this Bionic Woman tv show makes absolutely no damn sense. They set it up so that she wakes up after a terrible accident, whatever, and she's been bionically improved because - they would have you believe - she was so badly injured that it was necessary.

WHAT! Come again? She was so badly injured that, in order to save her life, it was necessary to replace her limbs with robotic prostheses. Three of her limbs (plus one eye).

I may be a FOOL. But assuming that they were able to keep her heart and her lungs running, i.e. thereby keeping her alive at all - beyond that, is there ANY sort of life-saving procedure that is going to be "helped along" by replacing the patient's major extremities (plus invasive head surgery for the eye)? How does that work?

I think she got suckered on that one. And now she's going to have to deal with this largely unproven technology implanted into her, complete with glitchy bionic complications and health interactions for the rest of her life.

She should have gone to House.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Perfect Words

I used to be bursting with perfect words. The perfect word would leap, as if unbidden, to my tongue - just in the nick of when I was getting to that part of the sentence where I needed it. Maybe I'm getting old, or maybe it's too many years since I studied the "SAT Vocabulary Primer," or maybe it's the cumulative strain of too many 11 hour days packed into too few weeks, but whatever the cause, perfect words are hard to find these days. Whatever it is, I really miss that easy, unbidden leap.

Maybe I just need to swipe myself another one of those SAT Primers. Go to town on it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

11/11 11:11!!

Happy ELEVEN/ELEVEN, all. As you know, the party commences at 11:11AM this morning, and continues gathering pitch and yaw until the stroke of 11:11PM tonight!! That's a baker's 11 hours of fun and festivity!!

Also as you know, all exclamation points today are doubled!!

Have a Safe and Sane Eleven Eleven.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What if you had a REAL SPACESHIP??

Would you SELL it? Would you keep it?

I'd sell it.

But first, I'd have to steal it from you.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Lost Socratic Dialogues: Excerpt A:42/bG1.7(Tunisia)

In 1998, a team of archivists working in Tunisia, cataloguing recently-unearthed archaeological treasures, were astounded by a remarkable find: a trove of ancient manuscripts of Socratic Dialogues, including fragments of more than six previously unknown to scholarship.

As the details of the discovery have slowly come to light, debate over the authorship of these works has raged to a standstill. Some claim Plato as author. Others point to stylistic quirks and themes not present in Plato's bona fide canon, that would tend to cast doubt on his authorship. Plato partisans respond with a theory that it was the frank, explicit themes of these Dialogues that led to their suppression by later, more circumspect, more censorious ages. Another vocal faction postulates an unnamed student of Plato, emulating his master's style. But whatever the provenance of these works, no one disputes that they date from Antiquity. The window they provide into certain frank facets of Greek life is inarguably fascinating.

Not all of these works have as yet been translated and released to the English-reading public, but tantalizing excerpts have been made available through certain channels. I am very pleased to be able to share one such excerpt with you today.


(EXCERPT)

Phaeto.
And how stands it with you then, Socrates, when the tale I have heard of you is that you use not the urinal at any time, but frequent only the stall in your relievings? Is it right that a man pass water as a woman does, sitting; as a child or a Theban does, and not standing proudly while his stream passes out from him? Or do you fear exposure in some way, that you must wall yourself in privacy while you do your ordinary business? Is there then, finally, any shame in doing only what must be done? How speak you? I pray you do not adjudge my words a challenge, or rebuke me with a charge of insolence, but accept the question as your famed wisdom has always accepted all questions. I ask only that same question which has always occupied us: in life, what is right for a man to do?

Socrates. Well, anytime I'm making for the restroom, I always go for the stall. Always. There's nothing to hide there; no shame in it. Only simple practicality. At any time I may go in with the intention to piss only; only to find out once I'm in there that I also have to shit, puke, or do drugs. With the stall, you're covered every which way. The urinal just isn't always adequate to the purpose.

Theophates. Teacher Socrates, you in your wisdom always speak plain, not deigning to crown your speech with flowered wreaths and gaudy laurels. Yet in this case I cannot believe you have considered your words in the fullness of their meaning and import! I beg you do not think me rash in so saying; yet hear my objections first. Is it right to hog the stall, if the restroom has only one stall and a whole row of urinals? If one feels going in that the issue will be yellow only, and not brown? Surely when one has to go yellow, even if one then subsequently feels the opportunity to go brown - a man can master his own body if he be not in his extremity! Socrates, you see that I will state my meaning even as plain as my master's example. But Socrates, is it not righteousness to reserve the stall only unto its need, so that those who may have the greater need will not be shut out needlessly? And what then, if while at the urinal one feels a deeper urge? One can always repair to the stall thereafter. It will not be a great inconvenience if one has to wait. In a healthy man, the urgent, painful need does not come upon one unawares, suddenly, of an instant, but builds only gradually to an urgency. Surely it can not be right for a man who is in no distress to bar the way of the man who is?

Hebocrakes. And what is this you speak of drugs?

Phaeto. Speak not out of turn, Hebocrakes.

Hebocrakes. Brother Phaeto, worthy Socrates, friends and elders I beg pardon. What was it but that my mind was thrown all in disorder by this sudden talk of drugs? But step over my too-forward question. I will hold my tongue, and study upon the wisdom of those who speak, as is seemly and befitting my youth.

Socrates. Youth, Hebocrakes, has more to teach us on these matters perhaps than old age does. Yet we will return to those wide, easy plains later in our journey. First, I must attempt the craggy heights staked out by you, good Theophates. As you said, you have stated your case in plain words, and I will answer in like manner. Have you not, in your own days of youth, heard the tale of the Titan, Myrios? Who, finding himself awarded no portion of great Saturn's bequest, was forced to wander bootless in the wilds, down through the ages, with neither charge nor destiny to guide him? In those days when Athens was a mere village of rude huts, this disguised and humble wanderer found it hospitable enough. Who among us does not know the tale by heart? And again, Demalis was fair indeed - to those who approached her from the front! But if you or I met her now, we would be at mortal pains to avoid seeing her from her back side, lest the fate of Bophus overtake us too in our turn. When the thousand Helgonauts came down to parley at Thrace, it was only Phemeter whose voice could appease them, speaking thus and thus-*

~ The rest of the Dialogue of Shitias has been lost. ~

Monday, November 05, 2007

Afterthought of November 5th, 2007

There's nothing shameful about the human body. But you probably shouldn't leave a bunch of them lying around.

Thought of November 5th, 2007

The opposite of "shameful" is not "shameless."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thought.

The purpose of death is to lend life an urgency it would otherwise lack.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Zombie, Slow Down!

Fast zombies are not scary. Strong zombies are not scary. Smart zombies are not scary.

Give me the classic zombie. Vacant stare. Groaning. Above all - slow. What is it that people think we're supposed to be scared of, within the zombie concept? It isn't the fearsome individual physical capabilities of the zombie horde! Otherwise, we'd have horror movies about people being overrun by Olympic athletes.

Jeez.

The horror of a zombie outbreak is what you could become. You could become one of them. The more deteriorated, the more unhuman, the further from you yourself that they are...the more alien they are. The more horrific the idea of joining them becomes. That horror consists in the thought of becoming something so completely, revoltingly other, something as far from the self you know - the reasoning, caring, thinking human being that you are - as far from that as it is possible to picture yourself becoming. To know that your own body would continue on, that your own eyes would continue staring out - but in the service of an inhuman, insatiable, mindless hunger for murder and flesh!

The gap is what's important.

As you close the gap between what a zombie is cabable of and what a human can do...the quicker, the more capable, the more comparable to a human level of function the zombie becomes, the less scary becoming one seems.

And the horror of the concept is what's eviscerated.

Because what you could potentially become...well, it doesn't seem all that bad now! Hell, there are even movies where the zombies are able to learn, coordinate, develop and cultivate intellect! What is there to be afraid of anymore? It's just another alternative lifestyle (apart from the "life-" part). Plenty of Goth kids might volunteer to get bitten, at that point. Witness what has become of vampires.

These modern horror directors, with their "super-zombies" - vaulting and racing after the humans with pro-athlete zeal - shit, what's wrong with becoming one of THOSE? That corpse goes faster than I do! That's a damn upgrade!

I mean, sure, the cannibalism part might seem a bit off-putting. But a little dietary peccadillo like that hardly rises to the level of real, soul-jarring horror. Nothing compared to the horror of being taken over, being made over into something totally alien, something totally inhuman, something utterly abhorrent. Something clumsy and slow. Something that doesn't even know how to use a doorknob, for sake's sake.

Now that's scary.

GAY???

I don't understand this whole thing with being gay. This whole obsession with who is and who isn't gay. A lot of people seem to have this weird stake invested in whether public figures or other celebrities are gay. It's like, they have an idea that one of them is, and then they become impatient with that person: "He or She should just Come Out and Admit It!"

Why the heck are they so invested in this? Who cares? Who cares if anyone is gay? Am I gay?? WHO CARES!! Why should I or anyone else care whether I am gay? What possible difference could it make to me? Or them?

I've known I was gay from a very young age. 7, I think. Only I thought it meant something else. Part of the confusion was that I looked it up in the dictionary. You see, dictionaries back then didn't tell the whole tale. They kind of glossed it over, a little bit. So I was gay some days, and some days, I wasn't feeling so gay. And I was comfortable with that. I was perfectly secure in that, and with myself, and as a person.

I still feel that way today. And when anyone asks me whether I am gay, I say proudly: "not that it's any of your business, but yes. Today I am very gay. Yesterday I was worn down and oppressed by cares and stress. But today I am gay."

But even having to answer the question itself tends to take the edge off my gaiety. Because, why do they even have to ask? When I'm gay, they should be able to tell that I am gay - just by the way I cavort and traipse!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Return of the Conquering Chrono-Hero Part 1: The Inevitability of Consequences

So my time machine worked! I just got back. Thanks to my timely intervention, the Union has now won the Civil War!

Did anything else change?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thoughts on Race and other -Isms

However, having said that, I do think people have come a long way in a short time in terms of intolerance and prejudice. Or rather, I should say, in terms of intolerance towards prejudice, intolerance towards bigotry. A lot of people claim that bigotry is just as bad as it ever was - only it's been driven underground.

Ridiculous. The fact that it cannot survive above-ground represents an almost complete victory.

I'll lay it out for you.

Today, fervent racism is largely limited to fringe groups, hobbyists. People with a weird nostalgic interest in benighted bullshit attitudes. And every one of them knows (possibly, cherishes) the fact that they are essentially a pariah, when it comes to those views. They know what happens to people who express views like that publicly. They know that fight is already lost. They know they're on the side of the losers. And they've already knuckled under. They won't even dispute it anymore! They just...keep it to themselves.

Rightly so. That's where that shit belongs, if it can be said to belong anywhere.

So the racists are losers, and they know they are losers. They even admit as much, by the degree to which they've shut up in public! Everyone knows they're still out there, shooting the shit with their trusted cohorts, in secrecy and cowardice. But no amount of that will keep hope alive for their cause. The pervasive sense of loserism attached to being a racist makes it almost impossible for true believers to gain converts - or even pass their beliefs on to their own kids! No matter how low-key they try to slide it, the kid will sniff it out. Or if they try to push it hard, the kid will go along to get along - but the kid will secretly be embarrassed, even ashamed by the clanging wrongness of their parents' bigoted views. Because AS LONG AS THESE VIEWS CANNOT BE EXPRESSED IN PUBLIC, any child will automatically know that #1 the views in question are indefensible, and #2, those who espouse them in secret are a bunch of cowards.

Man, you'd be ashamed, wouldn't you? If your parents were cowards? Years later, the kid will play it up for sympathy: "yeah, my dad was a racist. It was pretty awful growing up in that house." Yup. It was, kid. There, there.

Now contrast all of that with back in the day: you had a majority of the populace who were perfectly comfortable with racist views being expressed in public. This was a climate wherein most people might not have been bigots per se, but they didn't find it objectionable when others vented their bigotry. It was countenanced. That casual acceptance was a huge boost to the power, the spread, and the descent of prejudices! Without that fertile soil of tolerance in which to grow, bigotry is now withering on the vine.

True, we still have an awful lot of casual racists (and many more casual sexists). But the point is: they know they have to keep it to themselves, for their own good. And ultimately, that means that they have tacitly conceded that it's wrong (or at least, indefensible).

Now that is a good thing. That is a very good thing.

I'm not saying the fight's over. It's not. But the fight is won. There will be further acts of violence. Scumbags acting out of frustration, alone or in concert. But there can be now no reversal. The cause - for racists - is lost. And everyone in the country, including racists themselves, knows that they are the FUCKING LOSERS.

I say: tolerance is overrated as a virtue. Bully's on the ground - let's kick him when he's down!

I am too needy.

Maybe needy isn't the word. I don't know what it is. I'm always experiencing these powerful urges to reach out to people in a way that will probably only make them uncomfortable. The people who make my life bearable, you know? People who I do need in my life and who just...people who I love. I want to tell them how much they mean to me, and there's no really socially acceptable pretext for me to express that. To just come out and say it. But that's the urge I have. I fear that they have no idea how much they mean to me. And they probably do care for me too! I mean, that's stupid - I know they do. Or at least appreciate having me around, but to have me make a big point out of it would clearly...I mean, sure, I know that would not be viewed as a comfortable thing to do. The reaction, even if they on the surface say "Oh, yeah, sure...definitely, yeah - you too!" - inside they are going to feel "and you're telling me this now why?"

It's going to put them off.

Why do I even keep feeling the need to share this weird, needy, cripplingly...clingy feeling? I never do - I fight it down every time. Why does it keep welling back up? I know this person or that person neither needs nor wants to have me make some big point of what they mean to me.

But what if they have no idea? Shouldn't they know?

What if nobody knows.




I LOVE YOU ALL

Questions To Ask 'Em When You Buy A New Car

Questions to ask 'em when you buy a new car:

* "Do the valve-adjusted wheel struts auto-correct automatically on a forced stop?"

* "Does it have a 358 V-Tram platinum-crank ram shaft?"

* "What about twin-pipe double-cam dual exhaust...on both sides?"

It's not going to have any of those things, but after you have humiliated the salesperson with your superior acuity in matters of car-savvy know-how, he will knock $300 off the price of the Tru-Coat.

Heck of a sealant, that Tru-Coat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hey, Viruses: Is That The Best You Got?

Viruses SUCK. Viruses are PATHETIC. What does a virus do? It gets inside your computer and seizes control of the e-machinery, twisting the mechanism to suit its own twisted ends, and then it does...what? What does it do with that purloined might, how does it capitalize on that ill-gotten abuse of another person's computing power? It raids your contacts and sends everybody a spam about prescription drugs?

WHO THE FUCK CARES?! Who the hell is that going to fool, or even inconvenience? It'll just be, "yo, bud, I think you got a virus." "Oh, sorry! Thanks for the tipoff. I'll get it cleaned out."

How totally weak - you're going to tell me the best you can come up with is to spam people, or self-propagate, or wipe my hard drive? Big whup, it's not like any of that is going to actually get me in any hot water.

How about some REAL viruses, how about some viruses that could actually make life difficult for some people?

How about:
* a virus that blind cc's your boss on all your outgoing personal e-mails?

* a virus that scans through all your Word documents and deletes all instances of the space bar?

* a virus that, as your e-mail passes through your 'Outbox' in the moment after you hit 'Send', scans through your message text and randomly re-arranges the order of all prepositions contained therein? Yielding results such as: "a virus that, through your e-mail passes of your 'Outbox' therein the moment in you hit 'Send', scans your message and randomly re-arranges the order after all prepositions contained as?"

* a virus that scans the message text of outgoing messages and inserts one additional word ("fucking") before any mildly negative adjective such as "unexpected," "unfortunate," "disappointing," "troublesome," "problematic" or the ever-popular "regrettable"? Note: the virus would only drop one f-bomb per e-mail. Otherwise: tipoff city.

* a virus that goes through all the names in your contacts with a spell-checker and changes the "Display As" name to the best spell-check suggestion? I tried this with the names in mine and landed such winners as Ms. Moses Karate, Ms. Abounded Lover, Mr. Eros Ingrate, and Mr. Febrile Validations!

* a virus that uploads your amateur love poetry (credited to you, of course) and posts it prominently captioning various features on a hard-porn site?

* a virus that goes into your 'Drafts' folder and sends them all out? VOOP! Not necessarily to the intended recipient, either! Maybe use a "cc shuffle" function: each draft goes to the addressee, plus a random cc'ee from your Contacts. 50% random chance to bcc the boss as well.

I mean, as you can see, there are an awful lot of unexplored avenues here being neglected. It's pretty pathetic what passes for e-malevolence.

Part 1: The Installment

So the fine cold wind went higher than ever previously before thought, and dislodged a foreign object from heaven. It was a long, cold, oblong, metallic, hollow tube - possibly hollow. Now needless to say, such an item had no natural business being lodged in the firmament! But as it fell, first sliding then tumbling through the dry, frigid, empty air, the wind that had liberated it thought it caught a faint cry from within. First a sharp cry, as of dismay. Then, a mournful, lowing moan. And that was how the truth was discovered. For this was no mere tube.

That was the way that it began.

And then came the way that it ended, and for once, the ending mattered. And all who had until then held their breath, waiting for some resolution, sadly let go their hopes along with the stale air in their lungs. For it was not a happy ending, no. But an inevitable one.

And in its inevitability, it satisfied.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blogs of Worthiness, Pt.1: Seanibus

When I first started this blog, I didn't realize something. But since then, I've noticed it. And it's got me thinking. I've been looking at blogs of others, recently, and it seems like it's a pretty widespread, ingrained tradition for people to use their blogs to point to other peoples' blogs. I mean, I was aware of that as a possibility! The technology is straightforward enough. But something in me was semi-deeply uncomfortable with actually doing it. It smacked of toadying sycophancy, somehow.

Not for other people to do it! I'm not judging others, just, you know, for me personally. I hold myself to an abnormal standard. When it comes to a lot of things.

But anyway, now that I realize that pretty much "everybody does it," and "it's no big deal," I have no longer any objection to it at all, whatsoever! I'm completely comfortable doing it.

So! Let's kick it all off with a guy who I love to call "Seanibus." He's mostly a voice of calm cool reason, but he can also be a man of deep, inscrutable emotion whose advocacy of powerful stances thrills with a slightly dangerous edge that people find provocative yet hard to describe without resorting to embarrassing superlatives. Here's a post that demonstrates his keen insights, critical acumen, and outstanding good taste:

[a href="http://seanibus.blogspot.com/postID=211a11BaZ11a]"@#~#_FAILED HREF_*

Male Ballerinas?

"Ballerina" sounds like an Italian word to me, but what's the masculine? Ballerello? Ballerino?

Things ought to be that simple in life, but they rarely are.

Dumbledore Gay?

Apparently it was more of an off-the-cuff remark at a live Q & A session ("honestly, I always saw Dumbledore as gay") than an authorial pronouncement. Not that I expect to see her issue a retraction or anything! Why should she? She's entitled to her opinion same as anybody.

But people need to realize, the worth of an authorial pronouncement is relative. The author knows nothing more about a character than was established and can be supported from within the work itself. If we (or Rowling) wish to interpret Dumbledore as gay (or straight, or marxist-feminist) then we can derive our arguments from the text. Impartial observers will judge for themselves what is supported and what is not. No one need get all het up about "oh, she's changing everything up on us after the fact!" Because if Dumbledore is gay, then he was gay long before the press conference.

Not that creators don't try to change it up after the fact. Examples abound of creative types who wax revisionistic on their creations long after the wax has dried. Such musings are interesting, sure! It's always interesting to see how the creative mind works, considers, reconsiders, justifies. It's interesting, but not necessarily valid. At that point, random after-the-fact pronouncements and musings are about as valid as reconsidering who you should have asked to the prom. What's done is done.

I mean, some morons believe that Deckard's a replicant! Ridley Scott among them.

Anyhow. There's no shame in being a replicant. I don't mean to offend any replicants, but is Roy Batty not role model enough? CHRIST, PEOPLE!!

It doesn't matter what the artist thinks: it matters what interpretations the artwork can support.

Kickass TV Show Idea #1: "America Can't Sing For Shit!"

I want to start a reality show called "America Can't Sing For Shit!" It goes like this. Basically: each week, callers would call in voting for whichever contestant, but week after week nobody ever gets the axe. Nobody gets cut. No eliminations. Everybody stays in till the end. No elimination whatsoever. EVERYBODY STICKS AROUND!

I think the eliminations are where most of these contestant shows mess up. These are premature eliminations. It's anti- the drama possibilities. The way every single one of these (seems like!) is set up, it eliminates the chance of a comeback from a real slow-starter. Like the guy who's the absolute worst in the first two weeks, but then dramatically catches fire, just suddenly starts coming on like a madhouse and then...wait. Coming on like a...some kind of house. Freight-house? Firehouse? Coming on like a doghouse? Ahh. Heck with it. Any one of those works equally well! I'd like to see some guy who was totally written off in the early going suddenly start just coming on like a dollhouse and then...

You know. Winning the whole schmeer. I think that kind of format tweak would be a revitalizing shot in the arm to a cliched, overplayed, insipid and waning genre.

Or hey, here's another curve-ball! Week after week, nobody gets eliminated. But that's just the setup! Because at the end, the big season finale, the final shocker - EVERYBODY WINS!

Now you're talkin'.

Kickass Screenplay Idea #2: Super-Hitler

This would be pitched as basically a ripoff of Jet Li's The One. Only not played for laughs, because once Hitler gets involved - people quite rightly take it serious!

So the idea is, Hitler - on balance, the most evil dude in the multiverse. The multiverse is like, all the parallel universes put together. Like, there's a hundred thousand million billion of you, each in a pretty much identical dimension to the one we all know, except you had something different for breakfast this morning. That's the multiverse - a common trope in speculative fiction!

So, Hitler: on balance, the most evil dude in the universe. SO evil, in fact, that every single one of him in all of the infinitely parallel universes that there are, is evil. Every single one.

Except...for one.

There is one alternate Hitler who isn't evil. In fact, he's good. In fact, thanks to the cosmic balance, he is SO good that he is AS GOOD as all of the other parallel Hitlers combined are EVIL - PUT TOGETHER!!

Sorry about all the caps, but...how else to you get a mind-breaking idea like that across?

All of that goodness flowing into him from the cosmic balance, thanks to the extreme evil of all his counterparts, infuses him with a power and majesty unmatched by any other mortal man. And as the power and the goodness flow into him, his strength increases a hundred-thousand-million-billionfold, his senses expand and he finds that he is more than simply Adolf Hitler, mild-mannered and contended-if-mediocre painter of picturesque landscapes. He is become Super-Hitler.

As his Hitler-senses expand - cosmically - he becomes aware on a higher level of the havoc wrought across the multiverse by all of his contemptible alternate selves. He is disgusted. Overwrought. Overborne. Overcome by guilt over the almost inconceivable misdeeds perpetrated in his name, by his namesakes...in some horrible way, by himself. Who among us could come to terms with such an awful revelation, save by going gratefully insane? But our hero is made of sterner stuff. It dawns on him that with his great power, he may be capable of breaching the multiversal continuum itself - traversing time, space, and more realities that you can shake a stick at, to one-by-one, track down and destroy that being whose name is reviled above all others across who-knows-how-many realities!

The rest of the film unfolds with him zapping around and killing Adolf Hitlers all over the place. In creative ways, at various times and places and under various constraints and complications. For one thing, not all Hitlers are evil in the same way. Most orchestrate ethnically-themed atrocities on a grand scale, but some ineffectually publish pamphlets, for instance. How to deal properly with each case, yet leave nothing to chance that a given Hitler will turn out to be a "late-bloomer" in the garden of ultimate evil? For another thing, the multiverse is not perfectly synched up, so in some cases he is forced to confront the dilemma of killing himself as a seemingly-innocent (yet evil, EVIL!!) infant, or as an elderly man secretly living in Argentina, or even in the very grave itself (I don't want to spoil how that one works!).

Despite the various complications and differences, it's interesting to note that every damn one of them has that mustache. Okay, maybe not the infant...but his lip is fated to grow it, I can pretty much tell you that!

So he's a real first-class archetypal superhero, his outfit is basically an exaggerated version of what he always wears, except instead of the drabbed-out browns of his real-world uniform, Super-Hitler's super-suit is a burnished gold with bright, primary-colored accessories such as bright blue boots, a white cape with red trim, and an armband with a red, blue and gold swastika design. Pretty much what you'd picture. No mask. He's too noble a hero for that.

The film is heavy on grand set pieces, WWII-style hijinks and high-stakes action. Part of his struggle involves interacting with the ordinary people in these various dimensions, who are quick to judge and fear an immensely-powerful being who comes out of nowhere, upsets the established order and - quite frankly - is obviously Adolf Hitler to boot! Themes of tolerance, justice, and tough moral compromise on behalf of the greater good abound.

Best part is...the multiverse is infinite! So you can never really run out of sequels.

Cha-ching.

My Favorite Word to See Mispelled

...isn't "Misspelled."

It's "puerile."

I love the word already, but it's just such a snottily derogatory, condescending little shit of a word that when you see someone using it, and they spell it "peurile"...! It's like, self-inflicted poetic justice! "Slap me, I'm a jackass!"

Come on, you can't do that! You know you've got to be a little more conscious of your spelling if you're going to go all full contempt on somebody, you know? Peurile. Sheesh! I admit, as word spellings go, this one looks pretty good either way.

Peurile.

Puerile.

Peurile.

Puerile.

Well, when you start doing that, neither one looks right! But that's partly the fault of the capitalization. It doesn't seem natural, capitalized. Some words don't!

I mean, how are you ever going to begin a sentence with "Puerile"...?

My Loyal Readers Part 2

Dear Loyal Reader (or even first-time reader! AS LONG AS YOU'RE LOYAL. It doesn't have to be to me, but damn it, I don't want any disloyal types in here!

Wow. Consider that original parenthesis void. I can't really see any easy way to go back and close it at this point. Oh wait a second, of course:

)

Anyway, Dear Loyal Reader, This post is just a place for you to place a nice comment on "my blog in general" (instead of feeling pressured to remark upon any individual post or topic). I'm going to start the ball rolling with a quote from Loyal Reader Blue, who touched my heart in many ways with this quote from a comment on a previous post:

"I'm gleeful you've got such a rockin' blog."
- Blue (emphasis hers)

See, that sets the tone. Comments should be in that vein. Positive comments are appreciated. Substantially negative comments on this post will be considered "off-topic", and deleted accordingly! This is not the place.

If I get good feedback on this one, and if you're all very, very good, maybe later on down the line I'll post a "My Loyal Readers Part 3" with the express stated purpose of housing negative comments. I'm not insensitive to the prospect.

There Is No Time.

"Spacetime" is a misnomer. Time is not a property or a dimension of space. It is merely a concept, an organizing principle invented by humans to track sequentiality and assist in the prediction of certain regular movements and events. As a concept, of course, it is indispensible! As a supposed component of physical reality, it's a phantasm.

Relativistic effects such as time dilation (where time is said to "slow down" at extreme velocities) are nothing more than the observable, physical effects of velocity upon matter. Time does not slow down: matter does. As a mass is accelerated to relativistic (very high) speeds, the physical processes within that mass slow down. Right down to the subatomic level. Everything decelerates, from gross mechanical processes such as the ticking of a Swiss watch, to biological processes like neurons firing in someone's cerebral network, to invisibly minute processes such as the oscillation of electrons in their atomic orbits. Time is simply how we measure things like objects crossing distances, or the resonance frequencies used by an atomic clock. If something slows all of these processes down, we perceive and describe it as time dilation - "time slowing down."

It's a harmless enough way to put it, from a purely conceptual standpoint, but it is rather putting the cart before the horse! Because as convincing as the illusion is, it's nothing to do with forces "acting upon" time. The slowdown is a simple property of velocity acting upon matter - a fundamental, easily-observed and easily-understood interaction, and one that cries out for no mysterious, mystical entity such as "Time" to explain it.

Even experiments whereby physicists claim to have demonstrated "time reversal" - what bilge! Shall we be shocked and amazed that under exotic conditions, certain particle degradations can be made to run in reverse? Does this demonstrate the existence of a cosmic force or dimension? Such parlor tricks are not going to save anybody's Abraham Lincoln, or get anybody's infant Hitler killed.

It is inevitable that as generations pass, even the ordinary layperson will eventually come to regard our modern era's stubborn belief in the literal existence of time as something quaint, even superstitious. How serious physicists persist in such a silly delusion is beyond me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Do We Need a God-Specific Pronoun?

There seems to be insufficient regard for God in the hearts and minds of the general populace, and I for one feel that the solution to the problem is to find more things to get uptight about. The religious among us do a pretty fair job of this already, I feel, but more could be done on that front. Consider the following suggested core concepts, some simple restrictions to be added in to everyone's Christian upbringing and accepted etiquette:

• "Hail to the Chief" - no one should sing this. The word "hail" should be restricted to the Lord. The Lord is the only true Chief, and indeed, the heart that hails two chiefs is like the house divided that can't stand up for itself. Even the instrumental version should be avoided, since it will only tempt us within our hearts to sing silently along, within our minds ("Hail to the Chief, he's the Chief and so we Hail him..."). I suppose it would be technically okay to use "Hail to the Chief" specifically as a hymn - with "Chief" referring to the Lord - but this seems a faintly ludicrous stretch. And besides, the secular associations will be hard to shake. Like when a "Christian Rock" artist tells us that the "You" in their blatant love song is really Jesus. Whom shall we fool with such sophistries? Not the Lord!

• Capitalizing pronouns and nouns that refer to the Lord is well and good, but it is disrespectful to God to capitalize the proper names of other people, places, and institutions. Capitalization should be reserved unto the Lord only. Except for the beginning letter of a sentence! Which is only capitalized in due tribute to God, who was at the beginning of all things.

• Kissing one's spouse with your eyes open is an abomination.

• As an outward sign of our respect for God, we should refrain from giving each other sidelong looks and saying things like, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Only the Lord can read minds!

• Superhero comics and movies should be voluntarily revised so as to make it clear that all of the superheroes' amazing powers come from God. This has not been sufficiently stressed in many of our popular entertainments. As long as this oversight is redressed (within a reasonable period of time), no boycott should be necessary. NOTE: the fact that superheroes' amazing powers come from God does not absolve the heroes of their great responsibility for the decisions they make, nor does it implicate God for the uses to which they put their great power. Such a view would negate free will!

• It should not be considered permissible to joke or jape at things religious. Whether God has a sense of humor is beside the point. Of course God has a sense of humor! God is endowed with every sense that humanity enjoys, and many, many more besides. So of course God has a sense of humor! And it is infinite. But there are limits, and joking about religious matters would seem to be out-of-bounds any way you slice it. For any number of good reasons. So basically, don't.

• Use of the word "brethren" for sarcastic purposes is not an abomination, but it comes pretty perilously close.

• Eating for pleasure is a sin. The purpose of eating is nutrition only; any other use is a misuse and an abuse, like masturbating with your mouth.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: As of this writing, none of the above are (as yet) in any way improper or objectionable. These hangups are merely at the "proposal" stage. However, I feel that they are easily on par with many of the persnickety little details, taboos and legalisms that people bandy about to make each other feel bad, or damn each other to hell with. My proposed New Rules for Christian Etiquette could easily be adopted and stand proudly alongside many similar, well-established traditional restrictions with equal justification. Pretty much.

Also, at least a couple of those ideas up there have probably already been kicked around in other forms, by other thinkers in other times, maybe partially embraced in some quarters, but still haven't quite "caught on" in the mainstream yet. So I'm including them here to "give boost to it", as it were. To throw my support behind what should be an unjustly-overlooked signpost for the soul, a guideline to help our wayward feet find the narrow path that we can ease on down.

Brethren, never let us forget that more rules = more attention paid to God. You can't follow it if there's no rule, right?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My High-Handed Review of One of those Fantastic Four Films

I say "one of" because if you put 'em both together, it'd be one pretty good movie. I guess that would be "in retrospect, with the memory of the good parts lingering while the cringe moments fade."

Chris Evans's performance as Torcho is the the heart and soul of the film, its emotional center: shallow, preeningly self-satisfied, and vacuous. Evans does a great job in the role, and it's good to see the actor getting the exposure. He even manages to make his "Flame On!" motto convincing as a crutch, a necessary trigger-phrase for an outwardly-cocky, inwardly-insecure hero not completely in control of his powers. Rather than say, an inexplicable outburst of super gay bravado.

Note that when I say the film is at its heart shallow, preeningly self-satisfied and vacuous, I do not mean that the movie or its makers are unintelligent. They're not dumb, they just don't care. They skirt the hem of plausibility, but they don't really care whether they miss a few stitches here and there. When Reed Richards warns Johnny Flame that his supernova-mojo heat could "ignite the atmosphere," it's a credit to Ioan Gruffudd that we wonder whether maybe this is a real possibility in this movie's universe...as opposed to the quaint and discredited cusp-of-the-atomic-age bugaboo that it is in ours. But as events unfold and explanations for them are tendered, it becomes clear that what we have here isn't a gaggle of morons, so much as a gaggle of pretty smart folks with minds switched mostly off.

The performances and characterizations are on-target for the most part. Newcomer Norrin Radd as the Surfer has freaky lats, which I could maybe see if he were an actual surfer - all that paddling! But it seems like his board does all the work for him here, really. So maybe that's just a physical feature of his alien species. And his freaky big lats are in a constant state of being tensed! Like he was flexing in the mirror and they just stuck that way. It looks uncomfortable; I kept expecting Sue Storm to give him a neck-rub. Apart from the lats issues, he comes across as a little slow in the head. Perhaps aliens brood at different speeds than what we're used to. I'll give him the benefit of that.

Jessica Alba portrays emotion convincingly whenever she's invisible. Or off-screen. One's as good as the other really - where acting is concerned, she does her best work out of sight. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for her many, many nude scenes. These were pretty much all invisible, and I've heard several churls observe that this diminished the effectiveness of these scenes. Me, I'd say that it's all in keeping with the "Approved By the Comics Code Authority" tone. Only a real pig could complain on that score.

Michael Chiklis's performance as the Thing...what can I say? He's perfect. He's Ben Grimm, the gruff orange rockpile we all know and love. Only thing I wish is, he should be bigger. The Thing's nearly Hulk-sized, or oughta be! He should certainly not be the third-tallest member of any given foursome. Make no mistake, I'm not saying they should have cast a different, taller actor. Chiklis rocks. But they could have reverse-hobbitized him or something. We have the damn technology, alright?!

Ioan Gruffud's performance as Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic himself, is problematic. He's certainly game, I'll give him that. But I kind of wish he had "pushed back" a little on some of the cringe-inducing motions that they make his character go through. Gruffud seems like a capable actor. He brings a solid core of humanity to a role that could easily have seemed cold and inhuman, without stinting on the intelligence and leadership qualities that are an absolute must for the character. Yet apart from Alba's disgusting color contacts, almost all of the worst cringes come courtesy of Stretcho. I mean...that dance scene!

PUKE!!!

Now, it's possible that the F/X techs let him down on that one. Maybe that was partly their fault. I can't help but think that the scene could even have been a high point, had they backed him up with some real CGI dance wizardry - for instance, if they had him performing an amazing routine of impossibly rotating, gyrating dance moves while (mostly) retaining human shape and dimensions. Instead, he just writhes goonishly with his rubber arms stretching around. Like that should impress anybody! It's painful, and I have to admit that since Gruffud's head wobbles and facial expression would have killed just about any effect they slapped on him, he can't escape the blame entirely.

The dance scene is only the worst of a number of Stretcho moments that make you wonder who lost control of the storyboard. It's a tribute to Gruffud that Dr. Richards keeps any dignity whatsoever over the course of the storyline. Which brings up another thing, why is he "Dr." Richards but "Mr." Fantastic?

Even as I type the previous sentence, it occurs to me that that particular observation must surely already be a geek cliche. But it bears being brought up by me nonetheless.

You know what else? If the Surfer can just fly up into space and kick that cosmic cloud's ass that easy - why didn't he do it ten planets ago? Come on!

Galactus went out like an omnipotent bitch.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Once Again: The Underappreciated Innovator

I was the first person to come up with prototype soft-drink beverages in flavors such as Ketchup Pop and Mustard Pop.

Pickle Pop was a non-starter.

Tips on Wearing Stained Clothes

We've all had it happen to us. Oh, man! My FAVORITE t-shirt! And it's got a big ol' stain on it. What do I do now, throw it in the TRASH?

Well, hold on there, partner. Before you take any such drastic steps as that, try washing it first. There are many sites out there in the wide world's web providing helpful hints on how to get stains out using various pre-treatment products or lemon juice and/or what-not. I don't need to get into that here. Go, check out the methods available, make an informed decision, and see if you can't get that stain out. If you can, great! You need read no further.

All of that's assuming the shirt has not already been washed. Because the one thing that everybody says is in total agreement: once you wash it...that stain is "set." As in, you're stuck with it. So I never wash a shirt with a stain until I'm sure I can get that stain out. But yet, I'm hesitant to try these weird pink or blue pre-treatment liquids, since if I splortch that stuff all over the stain and rub it in all around, and the stain doesn't disappear like magic - then what have I got? An even bigger stain! With like, coffee in the middle, and surrounded by a colorful soapy patch that will dry looking even worse!

So what to do, then?

What I find is that in practice, you can always wear a shirt a couple few extra times while it's still basically "clean" (stains aside). Right? And after a stain dries, it looks the same whether it happened this morning or a year ago. Right? People can't really tell the difference. So, who's going to fault you for what could clearly be passed off as this morning's simple accident? We're all human, right? It happens to us all, right? So as you will see, in practice, all you need to do is have a little presence of mind and you can keep on wearing that favorite shirt!

The key is to maintain "plausible deniability." Where are you going in that shirt? If it's just out and about to a party or wherever, it's perfectly plausible to explain the stain away as if it had happened earlier that day: "oh, damn coffee at breakfast!" Who's going to blame anyone for that? - what with today's hectic breakfast lifestyles, hash being slung and coffee being drunk thick and fast? Accidents will happen, and you're not always able to nip back home for a clean shirt. Note that this statement: "oh, damn coffee at breakfast!" is not technically a lie. It might not even be technically a sentence. But taken by itself, you could easily be damning the poor quality of coffee at breakfast in general. Still. That's a side point, because the real point is that the spill may have happened at breakfast weeks ago, and it would be a true statement! But people are going to assume you meant today's breakfast. Ideal for our purposes!

A wide range of stains end up looking plausibly enough like coffee, so that's usually the line I use. But for the stains that can't pass, "oh, damn mustard at lunch!" or "oh*, damn spaghetti-o's!" will work almost as well in a pinch. "Damn spaghetti sauce" is pushing it, since that sounds more like last night's dinner than something that happened earlier that same day. You can only abuse people's credulity to a point.

So anyway: like I said, if you're just going out and about, you ought to be able to fake your way through plausibly. But if you're going in to work, where everybody has already seen that damn stain a number of times already, the subterfuge won't hold up.

You're just going to need to exercise some judiciousness.

Friday, October 19, 2007

How Come #1: How Come There's No Umlaut in Umlaut?

Sorry, yes, I know I already included that exact observation/question in the previous post, but it kind of deserves to be split out on it's own, don't you think? It's a puzzler!

How come there's no umlaut in umlaut? Isn't that hypocrisy, on some level? And if not hypocrisy, certainly it's a missed opportunity on the part of whoever markets typography to the masses! It ought to be on there. I don't care if it does change the pronunciation. People will adjust. Put it on there.

This post inaugurates my soon-to-be-burgeoning "How Come" series, wherein I wonder about things like...this, for instance. Things that people really ought to be more on top of. Or other things too, of course! I don't want to define my horizons too narrowly on my inaugural "How Come" post! Otherwise, people would be like, how come he did that? Hemmed himself in. Poor move.

I've Got A Pret-ty Cute Eye!

I do! Example: I picked up a copy of Q Magazine. My girlfriend likes that one. It's British. Which is not to say that she's pretentious!

Anyway, on the cover there was a banner proclaiming "The Song Writers," alongside a picture of Rufus Sewell, Michael Stipe and Björk. (The Song Writers.) But as I looked at it, I knew immediately: "something's not right!" I could tell that they weren't all there, physically in the same location. There was a definite sense of disclocation, manipulation of the truth.

I know they do that on these covers! You can't tell me otherwise! They take your picture "for the cover of the magazine" and then the issue comes out and you're standing in a crowd, they've glommed a whole bunch of other dudes in! Meanwhile you look like an idiot because you're all standing there all hard, like you think you've got the cover to yourself, and everybody else is lounging casual, in a semi-mocking way. Like they were informed in advance.

They totally do that, and I've been noticing. But this was the first time I really made a point of pointing it out - and I was vindicated! I pointed it out to my girlfriend, I was all "see! Look at the light falling on Björk, it's totally a different light source than the light falling on Stipe! You can see it!" And she was like - "Yeah...? Ya think?" She looked at it, kind of squinted.

I could definitely tell that she definitely felt that it was possible I was right.

And then when I turned to the article itself, I was super-vindicated, because - a ton of pictures of Stipe & Rufus, but none of Björk with them. And as if that weren't proof enough, later on I read the article. They alluded to the fact that Björk's pic was taken separately! Case closed!

But I'm telling you. I spotted that stuff RIGHT OFF. By dint of my keen, discerning glance. My keen eye catches all!

On an unrelated note, when I went to google Björk so as to grab the umlaut (how come there's no umlaut in umlaut?), THIS was the text from the second link:

In a white bodysuit and with bleached eyebrows, Björk conjurs red translucent threads to shoot from her bosom and enwrap her in a cocoon, while she sings...

Man, if that don't just about say it all! That's exactly how she comes across.