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Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Genius Brigade Strikes Again

Site has a problem. Company sends site new equipment to fix problem. Site replaces new equipment. Then someone else takes new equipment out and installs broken equipment again. So we get new equipment back in place and working.

But again, site takes new working equipment out and puts non-working broken equipment back in place. (Why? I don't know, and worse, they don't either!)

So now we get non-working equipment removed and working equipment in place...only now it doesn't work!

Seriously. This is a true story.

Andrew Sullivan Loves the iPad

But notes one important caveat:
I know it's not so great in sunshine...
Huh, never had that problem with a book made out of paper....

Kings of the Sun

I don't expect a Hollywood movie about the Mayans made in 1963 to be all that accurate, but I certainly didn't expect Kings of the Sun (starring Yul Brynner and a dude from West Side Story) to be that preposterous.

Is it a bad movie? For a B movie from the sixties? Not really. But they didn't even attempt to get the Mayans "right."
In the opening scene, I knew I was in trouble as soon as I saw the priests walking up the pyramid at Chichen Itza upright. The funny thing, the actors start walking up like it's just a normal set of stairs but after about 20 steps, you can see their legs going rubbery from the effort. What they should have done: Leaned forward and climbed it hand-over-foot, more like a ladder than a staircase.

That's how the Mayans would have done it.

Also, the plot of the film concerns Chichen Itza being attacked by rival Mayans who were armed with "steel swords." Interesting idea, but no one in the Americas had any steel until the Europeans showed up.

But wait...there's more!

After being driven from Chichen Itza, the Mayans hop on ships and cross the Gulf of Mexico to the Mississippi delta to start afresh as precursors to the Mississippian culture. Cute idea for the movie, but completely ahistorical.

The Mayans didn't have ships. They had canoes. And they didn't travel very far up the Gulf of Mexico (not even out of Mexico!) much less across it.

The Mississippians? Not Mayans.

Of course, since when did a movie have to accurately portray historical realities? (Never.) I mean, Yul Brynner looked good, so who cares?

The Warrior's Way

The martial arts western has officially gone from a high concept to a full blown genre, and The Warrior's Way seems to be the latest entry. This could go one of two ways: It's going to be a cheesy but fun action romp, or it's going to just be cheesy.

I'll admit, the CGI backgrounds in the trailer are hard to look at even for two minutes, but we've got ninjas and cowboys and Geoffrey Rush. Can Geoffrey Rush do any wrong? Why, I don't think he can.

He probably read that "Ninjas...damn" line in the script and said, "I'm in."

Friday, October 01, 2010

Genius of the Day

From tax-fighter, Gregory Golyansky:
"Do we really need to fill our prisons with nonviolent offenders, drug offenders, prostitutes and what not? We will have about two-thirds less people in our prisons. Government doesn't need to be involved in building golf courses or exercise facilities or ice rinks. Libraries are going away. Paper books are the yesterday technology, being replaced by online information. Government should stop subsidizing things like light rail. It's essentially a 19th century technology," Golyansky said.
Now I know a lot of right-wing orthodoxy requires you to shut off your brain and just accept a whole host of platitudes, things like "Government can't do anything right," and "If it ain't making money, it ain't worth doing."

I'm with you on nonviolent offenders in prisons and the government-run golf courses*, but I get off the bus with this "books are yesterday technology" and "light rail is obsolete."

How can I say this with enough emphasis? No, they are not!

It's not that I'm against eBooks. I'm against the idea that they will replace regular books. They won't. I've never felt the desire to read myself to sleep sitting at my computer. And e-readers? Great idea. But instead of spending a hundred bucks on a device that reads books, why not spend a hundred bucks on some actual books?

I've got books that were published 70 years ago. You think your e-reader is going to be around that long? Your e-book reader is going to be just another pile of plastic and rare earth metals sitting in a landfill someday. Meanwhile, those books will still be sitting on my shelves.

Gimme a break, man. Libraries are not just "going away." They are being slowly strangled to death by utopian visionaries who are as cheap as they are dumb. Spare me the short-sighted "not with my tax dollars!" bullshit.


* It still chuffs me that the city of Aurora closed four libraries, but not a single golf course.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lemmy: The Movie

There's a documentary about Lemmy Kilmeister of Motorhead coming out.

I love the poster.
49% motherfucker, 51% son of a bitch.

That would make a great headstone.

I saw Motorhead in concert once. They were playing at the Ogden and, honestly, I was more excited about seeing Corrosion of Conformity open for them. COC rocked, and Motorhead...

They were so loud it hurt my guts.

A View From My Window

With a peak at the indoor succulent garden I acquired this summer.

That's It

I declare jihad on all Macon Street squirrels. That's right. I'm going to buy a non-lethal trap. And one by one I will be relocating these little vermin to sunnier climes.

I've been growing this pumpkin in my front yard all summer. The plant has not had a good go of it, producing many flowers but only this one pumpkin. It now has some kind of disease (despite only being root-watered!) and I've been putting off trashing it because this pumpkin is just now going orange. (You can still see some of the green veins.)
But as you can see, the fucking squirrels have been at it. They ate my sunflowers, have dug up some of my bulbs, and are scratching at my sole living pumpkin.

This means war.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deadliest Catch: R.I.P.

Well, this sucks. Not only has Phil Harris passed away, but the Hillstrand brothers, in reaction to lawsuits, have quit the show, and in a show of solidarity, Sig Hanson does too.

Working the nightshift, I became a devotee of the Deadliest Catch, and to be honest, it ain't the fishing. It was Sig and Phil and Jonathan and Andy. It was those guys specifically.

As far as I'm concerned, without those guys...the Deadliest Catch becomes just another show.

Here's Your Chance, Small Government Republicans

Fight big government. Say no to "marijuana tracking."

Yeah...didn't think so.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beauty and the Beast

Two things on Huffpost caught my eye.

Dania Ramirez hosted a pool party and showed off her new tattoo. Now if you ask me, Dania Ramirez should be leading lady material, but for some reason she always gets the short end of the stick. On the Sopranos, she was A.J.'s girlfriend. On Entourage, they hook her up with Turtle.

To tell the truth, she didn't excel at either...but I'm watching this and thinking she shouldn't be the "girlfriend to the schlubs" character. She should be a star.

On the other hand, Kelly Ripa says she looks like Peter Pan when she's working out. No, sorry, Kelly, you look like Peter Pan sitting still.

I'm sure she'll live to be a hundred, but she's all muscle and bone. If there's a line between "in shape" and "so in shape you don't even look human," Kelly Ripa crossed it some time ago.

A Religion of Heretics

Big surprise as a poll is released that shows atheists and agnostics know more about religion than actual religious people.

The only bigger surprise is that Mormons know more than other Evangelicals, although I think this can be explained by a Mormon desire to "come correct" in the debate, considering the enmity traditional Christendom has for them. "See," they say, as they recite scripture, "I really am a Christian."

Of course, my theory as to why religious people are so ignorant of their own religion is that "their own religion" is largely influenced by what church they go to, and while many of these churches share some of the same basic ideas, the teachings of Jesus are open to interpretation.

Historically, Christians have never been able to agree on anything. For two thousand years, they've been arguing over who was more important, the Father or the Son, who gets to be Pope, whether or not we need a Pope, whether or not this scripture demands aid to the poor or whether that scripture demands we ban gay marriage.

Christianity is, from a certain point of view, a religion of heretics who individually think they alone practice the True Faith and everyone else...well, they're just wrong. It doesn't surprise me that a consequence of this is a kind of insular ignorance.

After all, religion serves no purpose if it doesn't answer some of life's vexing questions. Who are we? How did we get here? What's the point of life? Religion essentially answers these questions, and what's the most obvious consequence of having questions answered?

You stop asking them. How easy is it to misinform someone who has stopped asking questions? As this poll shows, very easy.

There's Booing in the Ballroom and We Don't Know Why

And then they cut to Sarah Palin and the answer becomes, well, obvious.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

George Catlin and His Less Accomplished Forger

I was thumbing through a book on the Old West and came across this famous George Catlin painting of "the Indian ball game," (later known as lacrosse) which in this case, was being played by Sioux women.
Searching for a large version of this painting to note something that caught my eye, I found another version of the same scene, also attributed to George Catlin but probably painted by someone else.

Even to the untrained eye, this is not the same painting. It's a George Catlin scene, but the hand that painted this one wasn't as accomplished or as interested in some of the details.

What caught my eye in Catlin's painting, as depicted in the book, was this crotch shot:
The women are going crazy, clumped together trying to get the ball, and this unfortunate lady slips, and gets a foot right on her crotch. She goes "D'oh!" and probably limps off the field to tend her bruises.

In the false-Catlin above, this scene is preserved, but it's not as vivid and the "D'oh!" face looks like, well, dough.
Another detail lacking in the knock-off Catlin are the puking Indians. The women, playing the game, are intently running around, knocking each other over, stepping on each other's crotches.

The men are on the sidelines, drinking, laughing, puking.
In the Catlin-knock-off, the men are just laughing. They're not puking or passed out because they're not even drinking.
Conclusion: George Catlin did not paint the second one.