Friday, October 31, 2008

Studs Terkel, dead at 96. On Oral History: "When the Chinese Wall was built, where did the masons go for lunch? When Caesar conquered Gall, was there not even a cook in the army? And here's the big one, when the Armada sank, you read that King Philip wept. Were there no other tears? And that's what I believe oral history is about. It's about those who shed those other tears, who on rare occasions of triumph laugh that other laugh."

I remember the epigraph that opened Coming of Age, taken from A. A. Milne, which stuck to me at the time and seems well-suited to Terkel (I'm going from memory, so don't quote me here):

Sometimes when the fight begins,
I think I'll let the dragons win.
But then again, perhaps I won't,
Because they're dragons, so I don't.
The latest Japanese technology for escaped rhino attacks: Rope netting and wooden sticks.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

With Intelligent Design's reputation in tatters, creationists seem to have a new strategy: revive Cartesian dualism.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Opie endorses Barack Obama:

Monday, October 06, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

I'm speechless.

UPDATE: The imbedded video was working, but doesn't seem to be working on my computer right now. In case it's still not working, here's a direct link. And if things are working, enjoy the Russian sequel to the video:

Is the Prosperity Gospel to blame for our economic woes?
Nick Reynolds, dead at 75.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

An addendum to yesterday's post about Netflix adding the Starz catalog: The picture quality sucks. A lot of the films are pan-and-scan, which is bad enough, but the poor picture quality is far more serious of an issue. I'm hoping it's a bandwidth issue, that lots of users are trying out the new movies, putting a strain on the server and forcing it to stream lower-quality videos. So we'll see if picutre quality still sucks in a week. I will say that I've looked at a few sample movies, and there is some variation in quality, and newer releases seem to look slightly better than back-catalog films, from my very limited tests. But right now I'm watching The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and not only is it pan-and-scan, but the picture quality reminds me of watching streaming video through RealVideo about five years ago.

I'll give it a week or two and see if it improves, but if not, at least Netflix labels all the Starz movies, so I can avoid them in the future.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Netflix partners with Starz to expand its "Watch Instantly" line-up. Going through the list, I found quite a few movies worth watching (that's right, Netflix finally has films from the Ernest series available--though I must ask, would it have been to much to ask that Ernest Scared Stupid be included, with Halloween right around the corner?). I think the ultimate proof that this addition is a very good thing, for me at least, is that two of the three movies I currently have on DVD from Netflix (Duck, You Sucker and Tremors) were amongst the additions. See the whole list here.