Sunday, November 30, 2008

That's Ecotainment

Oh no! It sounds like Klaatu's Christ-like message in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still is going to be an environmental one.

How is that going to play? "Stop ruining the planet or Gort will blow it up!"


"Scott Brown on the Looming Deluge of Eco-Disaster Flicks" in Wired:

The dopiness of so-called ecotainment—environmentally virtuous entertainment—rises in direct proportion to its message-mongering. In this way, it's no different from the Christian inspirational flick. To be sure, many classics prey upon our ecological anxieties—The Birds, Jaws, and Jurassic Park come to mind. But these highlight the indomitable and inscrutable brutality of nature, not the need for better stewardship of a beleaguered planet. They're the children of Moby-Dick, not Silent Spring. Even in these jittery, post-Inconvenient Truth days of rising seas, killer storms, and T. Boone Pickens TV spots, blockbuster-scale ecotainment is still the poseur spawn of Towering Inferno-style disaster matinee and Silkwood-esque docudrama. The subject matter simply resists Hollywood idiocy: Environmental problems are complex and holistic, whereas mainstream movies thrive on conspicuous good/evil dichotomies that flatter our binary human minds. To oversimplify: Nature is Gore-ville; blockbusters are Bush country.

...Before this beefed-up, camp-free ecotrend can continue, however, it must pass its ultimate legitimacy test: Keanu Reeves. He's starring in a Category 5 environmentally minded remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still—an antiwar-message movie from 1951—invading theaters in December. Fox has been "trying to remake this since the original," says screenwriter David Scarpa. "Ray Bradbury did a draft in 1980." Now that humankind has finally generated a worthy successor to nuclear Armageddon, the studio has pulled the trigger. Keanu plays Klaatu, the wise alien who, in the original, landed in DC with his chaperone, the chrome killbot Gort, and began counseling against atomic brinkmanship with the USSR. This time, he's an unearthly Earth-firster who chides our planet-raping ways—and backs up his critique with lethal action (Gort again—but updated).

Read more!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

God Bless Us, Everyone (For Less)

It's nice to see that the financial crisis hasn't dampened people's holiday spirit.


Throng Of 2,000 Shoppers Bum-Rush L.I. Wal-Mart

...But on Friday – better known as "Black Friday" to millions upon millions of holiday shoppers across the country, a scene like this turned deadly as a mob stampeded over a security guard at a Long Island Wal-Mart.

The heavy glass and steel sliding doors were literally knocked off their hinges in the shopper-stampede-to-be-first. Then the wave of humanity caved in on defenseless Wal-Mart workers as they opened early -- 5 a.m. -- for the annual bargain hunting ritual that kicks off the morning after Thanksgiving.

"The crowd pushed so forcefully that they crashed the doors down and one of the workers from Wal-Mart was pushed to the floor as the crowd entered the store, many of them running," said Det. Lt. Michael Fleming of the Nassau CountyPolice Department.

Read more!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Perfect Season?

From the Freep:
It's not 'just a chance': Lions are likely to go 0-16

There are only four games left. Plus, let's face it, we're witnessing history here. They don't just have a chance to go 0-16 -- they have gotten to the point where it is actually likely. Isn't that more fun than 3-13?

Read more!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Still Prefer NetFlix

Here was an unusual piece of spam I received yesterday from GapFlix. I only opened it because I thought it was a DVD rental service that specialized in hard to find movie titles.

Nope. As near as I can tell, GapFlix (Goals Acquisition Program), promises that, through the power of "creative thoughts and aspirations" (and $48.95), they will help you attain your dreams by giving you a place to store your own Internet movies. Isn't that what YouTube does for free?

Here are some "satisfied" customers:

A high school drop-out who served time in federal prison

A college drop-out working in a restaurant

A man wearing a green bow-tie
Read more!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Impeach Riley

Richelle Riley's Free Press column s has to be the stupidest thing I've read in weeks. Even if I were to grant everything she accuses Bush of (which I don't), how in the hell does she seriously expect it to be accomplished in six weeks? It can't. Then, she ties the importance of the issue to the economy. Does Riley have any idea of how the spectacle of an impeachment proceeding cobbled together in haste would do to consumer confidence? Oh, why do I even bother asking myself the question? The column is pure bullshit.

For economy's sake, Pelosi needs to push for impeachment now

Rep. Nancy Pelosi's ineffectiveness became clear the day she became Speaker of the House and immediately announced that there would be no impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.

...Pelosi wouldn't have to start from scratch: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the bravest member of Congress, introduced legislation 11 months ago to impeach the president and vice president. Last January, the House gave a first reading of one of those articles of impeachment. Our own Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, joined 38 other representatives to sponsor HR 635, which would form a committee to look into whether there are grounds for impeachment. Revive that effort!

...The only question I have for Nancy Pelosi is this: What are we waiting for?

Read more!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

But It's Still Better Than Tang

A piece of equipment costing $154 million gets tripped up by rubber grommets and bolts worth a couple of dollars.

Astronauts tinker with urine-to-water machine

HOUSTON (AP) - Astronauts tinkered Sunday with a troublesome piece of equipment designed to help convert urine and sweat into drinkable water, which is vital to allowing the international space station crew to double to six.

Station commander Michael Fincke and space shuttle Endeavour astronaut Donald Pettit changed how a centrifuge is mounted in a urine processor, which is part of the newly delivered $154 million water recovery system. The centrifuge is a spinning device that helps separate the water from urine.

It was on rubber grommets to reduce vibrations, and Mission Control asked Fincke to remove them and just bolt the piece down.

"We're very hopeful for this, and if not, we have a few other tricks up our sleeves," Fincke said from the space station after the task was finished.

Read more!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fowl Play


After officially "pardoning" a turkey, something that just about every executive branch politician does at this time of the year, Palin gets interviewed at a turkey farm while a couple of less fortunate birds get "processed" in the background (video below).

I know Alaskans are probably more used to this sort of thing than us city folk, but didn't it occur to Palin, her handlers, or whoever is working the camera that maybe they should frame the f'n shot 10 feet over?

Even the guy using the turkey cone (yes, that's what it's called) seems taken aback.

BTW, here's a quick description of how to use the contraption from Blue Oak Ranch Pastured Poultry. Bon Appetite!:

The first turkey goes into the killing cone headfirst. Catch and handle your birds gently and calmly, and there will be less stress (for both you and the bird!). Restrain them by holding the shanks, and try to avoid rough handling.

The first cut to sever the jugular vein and carotid artery are made just behind the tendon attachment for the beak and tongue. You can feel the hard cartilaginous piece behind the jaw attachment and ear canal.

Make sure you have absolutely sharp knives for this process. The sharper the knife, the cleaner the cut and the bird will bleed out faster and more completely.

After the bird is in the cone, pull its head out by the lower beak and hold it firmly. Your thumb should be able to sit firmly in the "V" of the beak and your forefinger should hold the jaw firmly on the inside. Yes, the bird will try to close its beak; and no, it won't really hurt you...

...Be prepared to deal with the blood, which will flow over your hands and even squirt out the side of the neck, if you only nick the carotid artery instead of severing it.

...Cut deeply behind the jaw, pressing firmly with your knife while using a slicing motion. Cut down and toward the front of the neck, traveling under the jaw. Still holding the lower beak firmly with your thumb, cut the other side of the neck in the same location behind the jaw to sever the opposite blood vessel.

Read more!

If the Avatar Don't Fit, You Must Acquit!

FIVE YEARS? Some real killers don't go to prison for that long.
Online divorcee jailed after killing virtual hubby

A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband's digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.

The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game "Maple Story" to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

"I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry," the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.

The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

Read more!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Plymouth Rock the Vote

Here's a ballot disputed by the Al Franken campaign as a recount for the Minnesota Senate race proceeds in Plymouth. I guess they think that this person accidentally voted for Norm Coleman and then tried to "x" it out.

Coleman's people should challenge ALL of the ballots on the basis that Franken isn't a farmer.

From the
One challenge headed to the state so far in Plymouth

The bubble beside Norm Coleman’s name appeared to have both an X and a squiggle in it, but the Al Franken campaign wants the state Canvassing Board to rule on whether it should count. That’s the only challenge in the special envelope in Plymouth so far, according to Sandy Engdahl, the city clerk and the official running the city recount...

...Eight of the 24 precincts had been counted by 1:45 p.m., and the only challenged ballot, in Engdahl’s view, was clearly a vote for Coleman. Nevertheless, the Franken campaign was allowed to seek a second opinion.

Read more!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chicks In Space

Why do I find this story about a woman astronaut, a lubricant spurting grease gun, and a floating tool kit simultaneously hilarious and alluring?

Oops! Tools Lost in Space

A shuttle astronaut performing repairs during a spacewalk outside the International Space Station yesterday faced a slippery dilemma when a grease gun spurte lubricant inside her tool bag. As Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper cleaned the lubricant from he gloves, her bag full of tools floated away, boldly going where no tools have gone before reports the Houston Chronicle.

"Oh great," muttered the astronaut as the bag floated just out of reach. The lost bag included grease guns, scrapers, and wire ties-none of which is expected to pose  space hazard. The tasks were completed by sharing tools with a fellow astronaut. Th Shuttle Endeavour docked with the space station Sunday on a 16-day mission to expand the station and install additional equipment.

Read more!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Confession About Nothing

I loved the penultimate episode of the The Shield, where Vic Mackey, as part of a plea deal, confesses to every sin he's committed during the show's seven year run.

On the one hand, it was powerful stuff. I loved it when the female ICE officier tells him that he has ruined her career, to which Vic quietly replies, "I've done worse."

Mackey's confession was staged as a series of dissolves and cuts where, at any given moment, you only get to hear part of the specific incident he's fessing up to and, if you know the show, can connect it to the episode it came from.

However, I must say that about half-way through, it reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where Costanza, who is competing for a vacant apartment with an Andrea Doria survivor, gives his sad life history to the tenant association.

If you don't believe me, check out the 17 minute mark of this video to see what I mean.

Seinfeld: The Andrea Doria
Read more!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fudge Factor


From By Christopher Booker, at
The world has never seen such freezing heat

A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

Read more!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fire the Cartoonist

The New Yorker "Cartoon Caption Contest 168" left a sour taste in my mouth.

My entry was in the ballpark with a "Fantastic Four" reference:
If you think that's "fantastic," you should try one of Johnny Storm's crepe flambes.
Here are the winners:
  • Apparently, even the Fantastic Four can feel the pinch of the recession. - I can't believe that this was the best of the lot that made the F4 connection. Mine was more subtle.

  • Please try not to stare at his disproportionately short right arm. - I actually like this one.

  • The first course has been described as a taste explosion. - comci, comca

Read more!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What Would Barry Do?

To be perfectly honest, I had turned off last week’s election broadcasts by 9:30pm. My prediction that it would be decided by nine o'clock was only premature by half an hour. Instead of watching John McCain, my choice for president, get defeated by Barack Obama, I decided that the movie 300 would be a more entertaining lost cause to see played out. Based on what little of the coverage I did catch, including that high-tech news anchor hologram on CNN and those inane electronic touch screens that are more suited for weather reports, I think I made the right decision.

Full post at The House Next Door.

Read more!

Friday, November 14, 2008

She Could Call It The Dud Bowl

5-foot 6-inch, 110 lb. (I'm not being catty, she lists that at the top of her site) brunette and self proclaimed author/comedian, Amy Borkowsky, is trying to raise 3 million dollars on the Internet so that she can afford to a run her own personal ad on the Super Bowl in the hopes of finding a husband.

As of today, she's only $2,996,165 short.

If you donate $10,000, she'll even invite you to the wedding. Oh, joy!
Read more!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

Some things speak for themselves.

This line of undergarments come with a built-in GPS device. And they're 100% cotton too!!
Forgetmenot Panties:
Ever worry about your wife cheating? Want to know where your daughter is late at night? Need to know when your girlfriend's temperature is rising?

This amazing device will answer all of your questions! These panties can give you her location, and even her temperature and heart rate, and she will never even know it's there! Unlike the cumbersome and uncomfortable chastity belts of the past, these panties are 100% cotton, and use cutting-edge technology to help you protect what matters most.

Read more!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What So Proudly We Google

Since I constantly complain about the days they fail to celebrate, I must be fair and commend Google for actually recognizing Veteran's Day this year:

Read more!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Missles of November

Joe Biden's prediction about an early test for President-elect Obama has come a little early.

From The

President Medvedev ordered missiles to be stationed up against Nato’s borders yesterday to counter American plans to build a missile defence shield.

Speaking within hours of Barack Obama’s election, Mr Medvedev announced that Russia would base Iskander missiles in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad – the former German city – next to the border with Poland.

He did not say whether the short-range missiles would carry nuclear warheads.

Taking advantage of the world’s attention on the US elections, Mr Medvedev also cancelled plans to withdraw three intercontinental ballistic missile regiments from western Russia by 2010.

Read more!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Help Me Obi Wan

Not since Fox Sports added a dot and comet tail to the puck for NHL broadcasts has there been a more uselessly Rube Goldberg-like implementation of "new" broadcast technology than last night's debut of the CNN hologram.

Read more!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nano Wri Mo

I'm not sure why, but I'll be participating in my 2nd National Novel Writing Month exercise over at  50,000 words in 30 days.  I'm already behind!

Read more!