Friday, May 30, 2008

Sharon Stone apparently believes in the Hillary Clinton style of non-apology. I especially like that she made the offensive comment at an AIDS benefit; what better way to memorialize those lost to the disease by appropriating the "AIDS is God's punishment" argument for one's own means.
Grease theft a rising problem. Yet again, The Simpsons was years ahead of the times. I even recall Homer being intimidated by the grease establishment; the grease bandit in the article was himself undone by a legitimate grease purveyor.
Earle Hagen, Andy Griffith Show theme song composer, dead at 88. Also dead at 88, Alexander Courage, composer of the Star Trek theme.

The two composers are also joined together by this fun fact: Both are most famous for instrumental theme songs that actually do have lyrics (though the lyrics to "The Fishin' Hole" were apparently written after the fact by a separate artist, and Star Trek's lyrics were written after the fact because Gene Roddenberry was an asshole).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Syndey Pollack, dead at 73. I recently saw They Shoot Horses, Don't They? for the first time; if you're looking for a good movie, and don't mind soul-crushingly depressing fare, there you go.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Helix High's response to the teacher-student sex problem? More training. I'm sure, had anyone told him that having sex with a 16-year-old was wrong, Mr. Wilcox would have refrained.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Clinton's current plan for winning the nomination: Obama getting assassinated. Clinton's spokesperson found it "outrageous" that anyone would be upset that Clinton invoked assassination in a purely political discussion, but later Clinton issued a non-apology apology, regretful "if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive." She also explained that the assassination reference came up because, with Ted's illness, the Kennedys were in her mind. Which means she was apparently thinking about Ted Kennedy's brain tumor in March, when she first referenced the assassination.

I should be happy, as Clinton's national political ambitions are completely dead, but I'm just disgusted. Keith Olbermann laid it all out on his program tonight; when I find a video of it, I'll add it here.

UPDATE: Here's the Olbermann video:

R. Kelly's defense hinges upon the absolute believability of the Wayans brothers' movie Little Man.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ars Technica aquired by Conde Nast. The New York Times looks at the fashion publisher's moves to adquire a tech empire.

Not sure how I feel about this, but for now I'll keep an open mind.

The New York Times looks at gender issues and Hillary Clinton. The first thing that jumped out at me was the photo of a "young Clinton supporter" of about the age of five, holding a sign that read, "I plan to be the 2nd woman president." Not to pick on a little girl, but assuming a parent or guardian largely responsible for the text, I'll go ahead and say, what the hell? She's a toddler, which of course means she won't be eligigble for the presidency for fourty years or so. There is a pretty good chance I'll be dead before she is eligible for the presidency. So is this what the Clinton campaign stands for? One woman president, then we let the men get back to work for a few decades? For Clinton herself, yes, probably. She's shown no interest in the long-term best interests of her party or her country, why should she have any nobler asperations for her gender? But I would hope the country as a whole could aim higher. A Clinton supporter in the article describes Obama as patronizing, but what's more patronizing than suggesting that, once Clinton's elected, we can go back to the status quo for a few decades?

That said, I will concede the first paragraph of the Times artile is patronizing: "With each passing day, it seems a little less likely that the next president of the United States will wear a skirt — or a cheerful, no-nonsense pantsuit." You know, with the possible exception of "cheerful," I think it's an absolute certainty that's how the next President will dress, even if McCain wins. Unless McCain decides to start wearing bermuda shorts around the Oval Office, he'll probably elect to don a pantsuit, as he and virtually every male politican always had and always will. The fixation on Clinton's wardrobe is unfortunate. But I also doubt it had a bearing on her defeat.

Hateful bigot Geraldine Ferarro shot off her nasty, racist mouth, describing Obama as "terribly sexist," without explaining why. I guess because Obama supporters took umbrage to her speaking the bold truth about the advantages the black man has in our society, living the "fairy tale" life, as Bill Clinton put it. And a group called "Clinton Supporters Count, Too," is forming to campaign against Obama in November. Of course Clinton supporters count, too. They each count for one vote. And unless Obama's supporters don't count, that means Clinton's campaign is doomed. Edwards supporters count, too; does that mean we should just let Edwards be the president, as to not hurt their feelings? Let everyone be president, don't want to not count someone.

Which goes back to the charge of being patronizing. Clinton's supporters are begging to be patronized, demanding it. Suggest Clinton should drop out, considering she lost the election? How dare you! She can run for as long as she want. But if you say that she can still run, you're being patronizing. Yes, Clinton has the right to run for as long as she wants. Ron Paul is still running, and people aren't calling for him to drop out. And that's because he doesn't demand constant validation. Anyone can run for president, and no one can force you to drop out. That doesn't mean you should, or that people have to pretend that you can win. Clinton supporters seem to be buying into a Special Olympics version of politics, where we have to be nice and supportive and everyone's a winner. Which is fine, and in fact a wonderful and beautiful thing, for the Special Olympics. But it's just not how politics work.

So here's my main suggestion for those Clinton supporters who feel patronized: Stop demaning validation. Yes, she can run. Anyone can run, it goes without saying. When people call for her to drop out, there saying what they think she should do. They have every right to speak their mind, too, and that, too should go without speaking. So Clinton, run if you want, but stop fanning your supporter's outrage whenever anyone suggests you can't win or shouldn't be running. And be more sparing when you cry sexism in how the Clinton campaign was treated. Yes, there were elements of sexist to be found, and she wasn't always treated fairly, I'll concede that. But when one of sixteen female Senators is running against the only African-American Senator (only the third black senator since Reconstruction), blaming every setback to sexism while belittling Obama's achievements is both counter-productive and shameful (that's why your reputation is now in the toilet, Geraldine Ferarro).

Friday, May 16, 2008

A few weeks ago, my external hard drive became corrupted. The data itself was still there, I think, but the registry was corrupted and the data was inaccessible. I attempted several efforts at restoration, but ultimately concluded that it would be easier to reformat the drive and recover what data I could elsewhere. All I kept on the drive was music and video, and the music was easy enough to recover from my iPod. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of my video library is on my iPhone at any given moment, and while I'd considered various means of backing up that large amount of data, I never got around to it. So most was lost; since this is mostly video I ripped from my own DVDs, it's not a catastrophic lost, I simply have to rerip the video.

So that sucked. I had access to my music on my iPod, but still the loss of the hard drive really threw me off my rhythm. As I attempted to recover my data, I stared at my computer monitor numbly, my expression I believe reminiscent of the way Tanner looked at me after I picked him up from the vet, without his testicles. Once I accepted that I had recovered what I could and what I hadn't was lost, I was able to move on, and have regained something close to normalcy. And I purchased Jungle Disk and started backing up online to Amazon's S3 service. For the time being, I was relatively whole again.

And then today, my computer wouldn't turn on. I believe it's given up the ghost. Which, I suppose, was to be expected. But again I find myself unmoored, my digital dock obliterated by the hurricane of, um, static electricity or something. I dunno. All I know is it's time to buy a new computer. This is the one I picked. A bit more than I wanted to spend, but I feel the extra money was well-spent. I'll pick it up from Best Buy this evening; unfortunately, only the Chula Vista store had it in stock, but if I wait for traffic to die down, it shouldn't be too bad a drive down to pick it up. I was hoping to delay the transition to Windows Vista as long as I could, but I'll survive. And it will be nice to have a machine that can handle multimedia better than my old system. In the long run, a new computer will be a good thing. But I'll be feeling lost for a few weeks, methinks.

Simpsons Ride opens Monday.
Oscar Pistorius eligible to compete in Olympics. Or at least not ineligible, as he still needs to qualify.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tip to all you Clinton supporters out there: If you're going to make an argument about what someone's dead father must be thinking, up in heaven, about her campaign, make sure the guy's father is dead:

UPDATE: Colbert has some comments on this; he points out it wasn't a slip of the tongue:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bob Barr running for president.
Tanner got sprayed by a skunk this weekend. I've known that skunks have been in the neighborhood for some time. Just a few days before this encounter, I stumbled upon a skunk in the garage, eating food meant for the local stray cats. And a mere hour or so before the incident this Friday night, I was going to the gym, and saw the skunk skulking around in front of the garage door. Adorable looking guy, very sweet, if I didn't have to worry about Tanner getting a snoutful of nastiness, I'd gladly let him stay in our yard. When I got home, Tanner was agitated, like there was something in the backyard. So I looked outside, to see if I could see a skunk lurking around the periphery, but didn't see anything, and let Tanner out. He, of course, makes a bee-line to the skunk, brazenly sitting smack tab in the middle of the yard. I see Tanner snip at him, and I see Tanner quickly turn tail and saunter into the house, head held low. It takes a few seconds for the odor to hit me, but he was definitely skunked. I don't think it was a direct hit, because the smell was not as overpowering as I expected. But it was unpleasant. And Tanner immediately spread it throughout the house.

Looking online, it seemed that baking soda and hydrogen peroxide was the preferred treatment, so we tried that, and it helped a little. The next day, I went to the pet stores and eventually found some deskunking agent, which helped a bit more. But Tanner still stinks. In fact, on Saturday, the entire house stunk like hell. Fortunately, we seem to have almost gotten the smell out of the house, and now it's only really noticable when you get some face time with Tanner. I'll give him another treatment or two with the anti-skunk spray, and another bath or two, and hopefully the smell will dissipate more. But I imagine he'll have a hint of skunk for some time.

As for the skunk, when I went outside later to clear the yard so Tanner could go potty, I saw the skunk scurry through a hole in the fence. The next day, I blocked off that hole, and stacked some bricks where it looks like he was coming around from behind the shed. I hope that, along with the fear Tanner put into him, will keep the skunk away. And needless to say, no more food out for the cats at night. They'll have to eat while I'm out there to supervise. Which is probably a good thing; Sable hasn't been around like she used to be, so I think the skunk might have been chasing her out.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend stubble discusses the peculiar feeling of seeing your book translated into a foreign language. The occasion is an author discussing his book being translated into Chinese, and the author discovering a new introduction with an epigram by Tomb Raider's Lara Croft. But it was the mention of Jimmy James' retranslated masterpiece Jimmy James: Macho Donkey Business Wrestler that sent me straight to YouTube (actually, straight to Hulu, but their edited clip of the episode is inexplicably missing the line about the Super Karate Monkey Death Car, which captures the inescapable truth of the human condition as well as any Lara Croft quote could):
Michel Gondry entertained for days by new cardboard box.

Friday, May 09, 2008

I haven't talked a whole lot about Wii Fit, which is odd, considering how excited I am about it. I suppose that's because the last game I wrote a lot about was Jenga, and I ended up not even purchasing that one. But no fear with Wii Fit, I've already pre-ordered it from Amazon (and in an unprecedented, for me, move, I paid extra for two-day shipping). Which is a good thing, because it looks like if you didn't pre-order, you ain't getting it. I checked my local Target, and they weren't taking pre-orders. The guy behind the counter said it would be one of those "under-the-radar" games, to which I could only shake my head and have pity for him. Hope he remembers that conversation when he sees the mob at the door on May 19. I don't like dealing with Gamestop if I can help it (though to their credit, they do carry some relatively obscure stuff), and ditto for Circuit City and Best Buy, so I decided to go the Amazon route instead of picking it up on release day.

Anyway, I suppose the takeaway is that Wii Fit is going to be huge. It really taps into the needs of Nintendo's target audience of non-gamers, and fills a real need of the typical gamer (a point well-illustrated in the hilarious video found here), and looks to be a lot of fun. I'm not convinced just how intense of a workout it will deliver; I suspect it will be underwhelming on the cardio front, while I fully expect the yoga component to kick my ass (EA has already announced a more Western-fitness-based game for the balance board). But in any case, at least there's the crazy-Japanese-wackiness factor to consider:

I'll be sure to share my opinions when I actually have the game.

I don't always watch The Colbert Report all the way to the end credits, seeing as my DVR often cuts off the final seconds, so sometimes if the guest bores me, I just delete it and move on with my life. Guess that's how I missed the Colbert/Rain dance-off:

Knowing Colbert's tendency to call out people he knows he can get on the show, it makes me wonder if J.D. Salinger might be making an appearance (though that joke seems to have been a one-off, or at most a two-off)

Eddy Arnold, dead at 89.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The New York Times on Dolly Parton's subversive message. She's performing at Humphrey's this year; at $125, I will not be attending. The cheap seats at her Los Angeles concert, by comparison, are $42.50.

Looking at the Humphrey's lineup, there's not much worth seeing, and what is is overpriced. Lyle Lovett at $85 is tempting, but I think I'll pass.