Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Today in UD Scandals...

Eugene Volokh is covering the uninvitation of Middle East expert and former IDF soldier Asaf Romirowsky from a joint College Republican/Democrat panel on anti-Americanism in the Middle East. UD PoliSci Professor Muqtedar Khan remarked (he claims jokingly) that he wasn't comfortable sharing the stage with Romirowsky in an e-mail to event organizers.


Anyone else go to work in costume? My coworkers had a brief gawk at my kilted expense.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

UD Gets Some National Attention

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is taking aim at the University of Delaware Residence Life system. While there was definitely ideological problems within ResLife back when I was a student, it wasn't anything that a determined student couldn't easily circumnavigate or ignore. Either things have gotten worse or mountains are being made of mole-hills. Via Instapundit.

UPDATE: John Leo takes it to the University in a similar manner, largely because most of his post if FIRE quotes. Joanne Jacobs coverage starts with FIRE, but includes first hand accounts of the ResLife brainwashing.

If you would like to look into this further, try UD ResLife's home page. I believe many of the more flagrant statements come in their Whole New World Training for RAs. The Torch, FIRE's blog, has more statements that sound like actual ResLife policy. (The ones in their earlier press release sounded cherry-picked from documentation.)

Helping the Wounded at Home

Chris Byrne made me aware of a program to procure computers for soldiers rehabilitating in military hospitals around the country. These laptops are equipped with software like voice command capabilities that allow even disabled members of the military to keep their minds active while bedridden. It is a great idea.

In the spirit of friendly competition, they have broken the donations down by service even though all the money ends up in the same place. Chris is ex-Air Force. I work for the army so...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ordered to Buy Toys, What a Woman!

Amybear has been fighting a case of pink eye. Because it is highly contagious, she's quarantined at the house under eye doctor's orders and isn't allowed to go to work. Which would be great if she actually paid for sick days. The lack of income isn't really a problem, but cabin fever is definitely starting to set in.

So what did we do? Last night, she sent me out to buy a crimson DS Lite with Brain Age 2 and Pokemon Diamond. The clerk at GameStop was amused when he saw the post-it Amybear used to specify my purchases. He asked if it was a gift and I told him that I was buying video games under my wife's orders. I told him I intended to savor the experience of being told to spend money on video games by my spouse. He admitted that it was pretty unusual.

I played a little Brain Age and it's ok, but parts of the interface just piss me off. Dr. Kawashima, the game's host, really annoys me. I just want to get to the puzzles not discuss their benefit to my prefrontal cortex with a polygonal physician. Hopefully he'll show up less as I play more and get through all the mandatory mini-game tutorials. The recognition software also has a hard time with my handwriting. Not only does it fail to recognize things, but sometimes it will recognize them incorrectly. My 4s become 9s, etc. Which means I end up with "mistakes" that aren't mistakes. And it is slow. While I don't have an alternative for the word games that require the full alphabet, the game would run a lot smoother for me if they just gave me a numeric keyboard on the touch screen for number games like Sudoku.

But maybe it will grow on me. And maybe I should hit my brother up for some of his old GBA games that need some love.

UPDATE: This has come up a couple of times, so I thought I'd address it here. The DS can play both DS games and Game Boy Advanced games. Because the two game cards have different form factors, the DS does this by having a DS slot and a GBA slot on the unit. The GBA slot is also used for some other peripherals. Like the Game Boy Micro and unlike the GBA or GBA SP, the DS cannot play original Game Boy through Game Boy Color games. The DS also uses wi-fi for multiplayer instead of cables so the multiplayer modes on GBA games won't work either.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Trials of Success

The Press seems to be admitting that the Surge has worked. You can tell because now they're focusing on relations with Turkey and Iran instead of soldiers getting blown up. So the question is, when are prominent Democrats like Speaker Pelosi going to start being for the Surge before they were against it?

UPDATE: Don Surber makes pithy quote: "You see, if the enemy turns its swords into plowshares, that’s bad because the enemy will corner the market on plowshares." Exactly! Just like the Iraqi unemployment crisis in the grave digging sector.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Movie Reviews: Knocked Up and Fantastic 4 II

Amy and I rented these over the weekend. The second Fantastic Four movie was comic book eye candy. People stretch, catch on fire, and warp the fabric of reality. Good stuff, but not a lot of character development or a real strong plot. If you liked the first Fantastic Four movie, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one as well. Its very comic book in both good and bad ways. I'm sure Stan Lee would be proud even if Sue and Reed didn't let him into their wedding.

Knocked Up was quite good. I was pleasantly surprised really, because I didn't expect to like a movie built on the premise of illegitimate pregnancy. Illegitimacy is probably the greatest unaddressed problem of our times and I don't find it especially funny. However, the film actually uses the crude comedy to lighten a film dealing with weightier issues like personal responsibility and accountability.

Alison is a nice girl who lives with her sister and brother-in-law in LA. Alison is a promoted to on-air talent at E! and goes clubbing to celebrate. She meets affable stoner Ben who came to party with his drug-addled housemates. The two get very drunk and have a one night stand. 8 weeks later, Alison finds out she is pregnant and discovers that Ben isn't just socially awkward, he's also a penniless illegal Canadian immigrant whose job aspiration is starting an internet porn venture with his buddies. Not father material, but she decides to keep the baby anyway.

The plot thickens. Alison's sister's marriage hits a rocky patch that forebodes poorly for Alison's future with Ben. Meanwhile Ben's attempts to be a responsible father conflicts with his irresponsible lifestyle. Will Ben clean up his act? Can he? Is Alison capable of being a single mother? Should the two of them even end up together?

The movie's comedy is earthy, but with a halo of truth because raising children is a messy business. The jokes are like ones I've heard friends and family tell about having their own kids. More striking to me was the thematic importance of honesty, responsibility, and commitment in the film. But keep in mind the movie is R-rated and it deserves it, so you can find plenty to dislike if that sort of thing really bothers you.

Computer Solutions

Well after a lot of trouble this weekend, my home computer seems to be virus free. I found the manual mode on one of my anti-virus tools last night and was able to get rid of the DLL that allowed the infection to keep growing back. Thanks to everybody who offered to help, but things look stable at this point.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Saying What You Mean

John the Methodist has a great clip of poet Taylor Mali from the second season of Def Poetry Jam.

One of the good things about Christianity is that you ought to know what you believe. You should be able to make definitive declarations about it. The bad part is that definitive declarations are a double edged sword. Many people will respect you for saying what you mean. Many others will consider you a jerk. It is a difficult path to walk.

Friday, October 19, 2007

On Writing

John Scalzi recommends Stephen King's aptly named book about storytelling. I read the book while on business travel a few months ago. King writes in a very open honest style and the book is part memoir, part writing guide, and part introduction to the business of writing. It is a good, well-rounded book.

The Positivity Blog has an overview of King's writing suggestions, most of which are heavily influenced by Strunk and White. King pays homage to Strunk and White. At one point he states that most books on writing are largely full of bullshit. He knows On Writing is no different because it is at least three times as long as Elements of Style.

Amybear's Kind of Gun

Forget the pink shotgun, go for the Hello Kitty Kalashnikov.

I think whomever is planning to take over the work using teenage Japanese girls wielding HK-AKs has made a grave tactical error. Old japanese grandmothers are indestructible. Young japanese girls? Not so much.

Viral Annoyances

My home computer has some sort of viral/trojan/hellspawn infection. Grrrr... It's still hanging on after multiple Ad-Aware and Norton Anti-virus sweeps. Joy.

UPDATE: My computer is infected with the Vundo trojan. My copy of Norton is smart enough to detect it, but not smart enough to completely get rid of it. It's a persistant SOB, but thankfully only opens advertising pop-ups. I was able to use the VundoFix tool from Atribune to knock the infection back to manageable levels. Unfortunately it hasn't gotten rid of it. I'm currently using a Zone Alarm firewall to keep it contained. From some research I've done this morning, I've discovered a few more tricks and utilities I can use. Hopefully I can kill the last of it tonight.

By the way, Vundo gets in through security flaws in old Java installations. If you aren't running the latest, it is probably worth your time now to avoid an entire weekends worth of annoyance later.

New Rugers

Sturm, Ruger, and Co have recently come out with a new 9mm automatic explicitly designed to compete with Glocks, Springfield XDs, and other similar weapons. Either it was announced very suddenly or I somehow missed it in my new found obsession with 19th century sabers. Can you blame me? The French 1829 and the US 1840 Artillery Sabers are gorgeous. Ruger handguns? Not so much really.

But the new gun, the SR9, is trying to be pretty. The grip is modeled after the 1911 as is the manual safety. The backstrap is adjustable for different hand sizes. The slide, unlike Ruger's usual massive steel slabs, is actually fairly svelte. Ruger makes some claims about it being the thinnest 9mm slide on the market, but I doubt it actually has the Hi-Power beat. The real question is whether the trigger pull is any good. If it is the typical striker spongy squeeze, then I'm not interested.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Micro-Stamping Firearms

California passed a stupid new law, this one requires that guns stamp microscopic info on fired cases on fired cartridges. Why is it stupid? Because it doesn't work.

Laws like this have come up before. Fired cartridge registries are almost as stupid and just as worthless. Why are they stupid and worthless? Because they are easy to circumvent and fundamentally flawed.

If you buy a gun in California, all you need to do to circumvent this technology is to purchase and install a new firing pin. Since firing pins are not a regulated component you can just go to the a gun parts shop in real life or online and buy a new one. Install it (which is usually trivial) and now you have an unmarked gun. Or just take a file to the tip of the firing pin. Or just buy a revolver because they don't eject brass in the first place. Or just shoot your gun a lot because letters that small will probably wear off or become illegible rather quickly.

Worse yet, the technology really doesn't work and the State knows this because they funded a study on it at UC Davis. The ID numbers are only correctly identified on about 20% of fired cartridges. That is one hell of a failure rate. Want a scarier thought? What is the false positive rate from the 80% of incorrectly identified numbers? What is the chance that innocent men and women will be brought in for crimes they didn't commit because forensic scientists misidentified their gun as one used in a crime?

Were I a handgun manufacturer, I'd just stop selling in California at this point. All of California, including and especially the cops. It really wouldn't hurt me much. Some manufacturers already don't sell in California because their draconian gun safety laws push the limits of profitability.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Zombie Weapons

So the dead are rising and shambling about. And for some reason they're really hungry. What do you need? Well food and water of course! But food and water are boring, so lets talk about armor, guns, and sharp pointy things instead.


Zombies are pretty strong, but not superhumanly strong. They have normal human strength, but they don't regulate the amount of force they use. Either they can't or they won't. And they're pretty uncoordinated and not especially bright. They're like big brain-eating toddlers. They're also stupid like toddlers, so about all they can do is shuffle up to you, grab on with all their might, and bite down really hard.

The good thing about all that is that defenses are pretty easy. A good concrete wall or a strong reinforced fence will hold small numbers back. But a larger mob can be more problematic because a bunch of people can exert a surprising amount of force. Most walls and fences are really only part of a layered defense.

What about body armor? Well you don't need heavy bullet proof vests or kevlar helmets that's for sure. Not to protect you from zombies at least. All you need is something that they can't bite or tear through easily. A set of full motorcycle race leathers would probably do it. Add a set of boots you can walk comfortably in for long distances, a good hockey or football helmet, and something to protect your neck.

If the dead walking is a supernatural event, you could stop there. But there is a chance the zombies are because of an ancient plague or modern genetic engineering. If so, these things only seem to be spread by a zombie's bodily fluids. So pack safety glasses and a surgical mask or bandanna in case you get some of him on you when you kill him. And maybe some cleaning chemicals for afterwards.


I see a lot of people saying 12 gauge here. Or machine guns. No, not really. While big guns might be useful if the living dead cause an overall breakdown in the social order, they're not necessarily that useful on zombies. Why? Because the only shot that counts on a zombie is a shot to the head that penetrates the skull and scrambles its brains. Shotguns and machineguns deliver a cone of fire, but they aren't going to give you an accurate head shot over long ranges. Plus the ammo is expensive and gets really heavy, really fast.

My suggestion? A decent .22lr rifle and a lot of ammo for it. The gun itself is cheap to buy and most are accurate. Ammo is cheap so you can stock up. Ammo is light weight so you carry a lot. Now you can own any zombie that gets within about 25 yards of you. They're also quiet so your gunfire will be less likely to attract other zombies who want to eat you. They're even quieter if you shoot from inside a building or with a silencer (which is unfortunately illegal to own in my state).

If you want more lethal range or something that will deter people, get a .223 rifle as well. The AR-15 is a great choice because they're generally quite accurate. This will let you own zombies over greater distances, but the gun is really loud. Really really loud. Just start making blood curdling zombie groans yourself loud. Which will attract more zombies to your position. So you have to fire and move or prepare to significantly reduce the entire local zombie population.

As always, handguns suck over everything but short distances. But at very short ranges they could be all that saves your life.

Manual Brain Scrambling

Unfortunately, you might run out of ammo. Well crap, now what? Well you need a hand held and muscle powered tool that will let you destroy a zombies brain or decapitate him. I prefer the former because Zombie heads can still bite and they tend to wind up under foot.

Don't use baseball bats. Hitting two round objects together, like a bat and a skull, is a recipe for ineffectual glancing blows. Plus they break easy. A friend of mine once broke two aluminum bats in the space of 15 minutes. Yes he was a burly blonde mountain of a man, but do you want to risk it if the dead are walking the earth?

A good makeshift solution is to buy an ax, sledge hammer, or crowbar from the hardware store. Swing it over your head and into Zeds. These have fairly long handles which keep you out of reach and can do a good job of cleaving or crushing a skull. And they're cheap.

If you want to be flashy, more specialized weapons are always a possibility. Max Brooks likes the shaolin spade, but its a decapitation weapon and where do you get one? I like the good ole poleaxe. Spike him through the eye or bring it down on his head. A flanged mace isn't a bad idea either. Spears are cheap, but I don't know how easy it is to penetrate the skull with one. If you're looking at swords, I recently discovered Windlass Steelcraft's Civil War reproduction sabers. They're sturdy, reasonably well balanced, and often priced under $100. That's a great price for a sturdy sword with a decent temper that will take a good edge. Or go buy a katana like everyone else.

There are of course other options for killing zombies. Just keep in mind that if it doesn't destroy the brain, it doesn't do the job. Unless you rain fragments down on their heads, blowing them up doesn't work. Don't unleash a flamethrower onto the zombie hordes either. You just get zombie hordes that set things on fire.

Cute Puppy

Awww, Chris and Melody Byrne have a new puppy. He's a Rottweiler/AmStaff mix so he's going to be a big puppy. One my parent's neighbors had/has a pack of Rott/Pit mix puppies. They're big sweet dogs.

UPDATE: They've named him after Jayne from Firefly/Serenity. And put him in a funny hat.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The People Problem

John the Methodist addresses calls for reforming the process the Methodist Church uses for ordaining ministers by saying this:
But I think that none of these critiques address the root problem in the UMC ordination process. ... It is this: our denomination is shrinking in America. ... Were we a rapidly growing denomination, as we were in the 19th Century, the District Committees and Boards of Ordained Ministry would be struggling to find even semi-qualified candidates to fill pastorates in new churches as a wave of revival sweeps across the land.
I'm not a Methodist and the sum total of my experience with the process of becoming a Methodist minister is from a college buddy who married one.

I've given this some thought and I really don't think you can separate a declining church with a poor ordination system. Why? Because ultimately church growth is about going forth and making disciples. Ordination ought to be the final part of that discipleship process. Now not everyone is called to be a minister, I'm certainly not. But if you aren't training ministers and doing it well, then you ultimately aren't making disciples properly. That will effect church growth and could cause church decline. While the ordination process is not the only problem within the Methodist church, it is a serious problem and should be resolved.

Could a major social and religious change in America alter this? Probably not, no. If a huge American revival happened in the US tomorrow, how can you expect to exploit it without manpower (and womanpower in the case of the Methodists)? You need mature Christians to be able to start discipling those people. If you don't have leadership to offer them, then they will either fall away from the Church or go to another denomination. I've seen it happen.

Even in more mundane situations, an overstretched clergy has a hard time making headway. My aforementioned friends wife covers two churches on different sides of a small town. She preaches two sermans and she splits her Sunday mornings in half. I have no idea how she manages to build decent relationships with her congregants. I have no idea how she manages to tailor her sermons to something relevent to her churches.

Myself, I think having too many spiritual leaders is a far better problem to have than having too few. Reforming the system may not help, but good Lord it certainly can't hurt.

Back to Self Defense Basics

Larry Correia discusses self defense with hand guns, shotguns, and rifles. He covers almost all of the important bits and does it in a way that is easy to understand. Most of it is very similar to my own past advice, but these are the basics and the basics are always worth covering again.

Oh and Correia also has a piece on HK which is a hoot. Rife with hyperbole, but a hoot. If HK mp5s or G3s were such cheap stamped guns, there wouldn't be infinity threads on gun boards complaining about Century Arms or Special Weapons. But everything he says about the HK416 upper is completely true.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Kitten Cuteness

Awwww. Knees getting weak, must hit back button before consumed by kitten cuteness...

Actually, I wonder if kittens are so cute for just that reason. You get overwhelmed with cuteness, then they gang up on you and go for your jugular. Then they eat you. It wouldn't surprise me to see a brood of feral kittens take down a deer or a hiker that way.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sounds About Right

How smart are you? - Intelligence Test

Via Tamara

On to Barsoom

John C. Wright noticed that Pixar is developing a movie series based on Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars Trilogy. Sweet! I wonder how they'll deal with the horrific violence and every present nudity found in the books. Hopefully not by dumbing them down too much.

By the way, the first three books in Burroughs Mars series are now in the public domain and are available from Project Gutenberg.

Oh But I Love the Color!

I highly recommend shotguns as home defense weapons. The gunblogosphere has been going nuts over Gander Mountain's recent debut of a pink 20 gauge Remington riot shotgun. The perfect defensive gun for a woman! Right people?

Yeah, I guess. I have a 12 and a 20 gauge and I wouldn't want to stand in front of either. 20 gauge is certainly more manageable for people of lesser stature and training. So I'm not pissing all over the caliber. My 20 gauge is a Sears marked Remington 870 that I inherited from my Grandfather. Roughly the same gun Gander Mountain is selling.

I have to question the price tag though. $370 for youth/bantam shotgun? You'll notice that Gander Mountain sells the same gun with normal wood stocks for $290. In my mind pink is not worth an $80 premium even if you do get a free Remington hat. A polymer stocked gun and a can of Krylon will get you a pink (or purple or green) gun for a lot less than Gander Mountain is charging.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

...Like a Pirate Day

I guess I missed sword review like a pirate day. And of course he reviews a stout cutlass. Or perhaps not so stout as it is a Windlass product.

Pick-up Lines for Church

I think my favorite line from this Parchment and Pen post was "Until this moment, I thought I had the gift of singleness." I took a lot of those hackneyed spiritual gifts tests in college and the gift of celibacy showed up a fair bit. Most of us who received it quickly reworked our tests so we ended up with more appealing states of giftedness like martyrdom.

Via Locusts and Honey

Fun with Paracord

Parachute cord is really useful stuff if you know how to use it. Stormdrane's Blog seems to have a lot of different ideas and options that range from belts to bookmarks.

Police Rifle

I guess that's how I'll start describing Mabel: a police-style Ar-15 rifle. But of course only cops should have guns...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Lawn Catan

For those sunny days when you just want to play outside. Some of the materials they used were actually pretty ingenious. As with standard Settlers, the the sure way to lose is still to get 9 points.

They Came From.... Behind

I'm bucking the trend that everyone must make a Porkins reference when they see this video of an amateur rocketry X-Wing braking up in mid air.

UPDATE: No one has pointed out that my Gold 5 title quote is inappropriate yet? I thought someone would have noticed that Gold squadron flies Y-wings not X-wings by now. I guess my readers are not the nerds I am looking for.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Property Rights

From Instapundit:
Message to Republicans: The entertainment industries are your enemies. They're one of the main sources of money for Democrats, and provide a lot of valuable free media for them, too. Why help them out? Especialy when you might actually pick up some youth votes by taking a different position?
Why? Because property rights are the foundation of free societies and you can't stop respecting them just because you don't like the property owners. You would think that a libertarian would understand those kind of principles.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Definitely Not a Motorcycle

According to my beloved wife, I'm not allowed to own a motorcycle. Something about probably killing myself. I believe I have now found a feasible automotive alternative: the Westfield Seven. This is a rough copy of the Lotus Seven now licensed by Caterham. The Westfield cars are built from kits and have a version which accepts Mazda Miata donor parts. Left hand drive versions are available in the US for a fair bit less than a Caterham. They'd be even more reasonable if the exchange rate improves.

No power anything, no doors, and seat-of-the-pants driving, but it still has seats with racing belts, a safety cage, and a roll bar. Close enough to a motorcycle. Now if only I had money, time, a garage to build it in, and a place to park it.

UPDATE: It seems I'm not the only person that compares the Seven (or Se7en) to a motorcycle. Here is quote from the late Colin Chapman, the Seven's creator:
The Seven was the car I dreamed about as a schoolboy. When I got the chance to build it, it was the most basic, lightest, high performance little car we could come up with... a student's car if you will – a four-wheeled motorbike.
This is from Jalopnik's two part trip up "The Dragon" with a group of Seven enthusiasts.

WWII and Tactics

McQ at QandO has been watching Ken Burn's new series The War. He likes what he's been seeing.

Meanwhile Kim du Toit is dispelling some bigotry spouted by David Frum towards the American fighting man of WWII:
It’s all very well to say that Americans win because they have more equipment than anyone else. Here’s the newsflash: that’s how we fight.

We are a technology-based society, and we have a giant economy with which to back our troops up.

From Band of Brothers in the WWII era: “Horses? What were you thinking? Say hello to General Motors, and Ford, and Chrysler!”
In Stephen Ambrose's book Citizen Soldiers, there is a story about two generally equivalent infantry units fighting over a medieval fortification in France. The Germans take the old fort and barricade themselves into a great defensive position. The American infantry tries to take it, but meet murderous resistance and have to fall back. So the Americans wheel over a 155mm howitzer and blow the hell out of the place. When they storm it, they capture it easily. After the fight, the Germans accused the Americans of poor soldiering because under the same conditions the Germans would have had to make do with what they had. The Americans replied that what they had was a 155mm howitzer thank-you-very-much and enjoy your stay as a POW with Uncle Sam.

An often-overlooked aspect of the war is that after Normandy, the US Army was actually employing something like modern combined arms doctrine. Not only did we have more stuff, but all our "inferior" units could cooperate efficiently to form a superior whole. If American infantry units ran into trouble, their first resort was to liberally apply high explosives via air or artillery or armor support. Most of the other Armies just couldn't do this. What was unfair or poor soldiering according to those Germans was actually an artifact of American tactical and strategic superiority.

When Bad News Comes from Bad Newsmakers

Captain of Crew of One is dissecting a recent CBS News report on assault weapons. Predictably, the weapons they display in their piece aren't actually assault weapons according to federal or state definitions. Most are handguns or shotguns. One is a muzzle-loading rifle. So much for expert reporting.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Justice Concerned With Justice

The blogosphere has been going on about Clarence Thomas's new book lately, but several of the interviews he's given have provided a lot of insight into him as a man. I loved Richard Miniter's Pajamas Media interview and the transcript of Rush Limbaugh's 90 minute marathon is just as good. For instance his take on legal writing legal opinions is refreshing:
So, in writing opinions, you are trying to take something, if it's complicated, you're trying to explain it in a way that as many people as possible can understand it. You're making their Constitution and their laws accessible to them. We talk about "accessibility" in terms of people with, say, disabilities in a wheelchair where a curb is like the Great Wall of China if someone is in a wheelchair. Well, you can use language and writing about the court or about the Constitution that sort of puts a Great Wall of China between them and their Constitution. My idea is simply to be able to explain it to all of my fellow citizens.
The unintelligibility of government pisses me off. It is nice to see someone in government doing something about it, not because he has to, but because he feels it is his responsibility to the people.

I also love that Thomas spends his breaks driving cross country in a big motorcoach with his corvette in tow, eating a truckstops, and talking to average joes.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekend Rentals

Amy and I rented a couple of movies for the first time in a long time. And we were reminded why we hadn't bothered in a while. My pick at our local Hollywood Video was 300. Amy chose with Catch and Release. Neither choice was without its shortcomings.

While 300 had some stirring images, it was just too comic book for me. Although there was some great imagery spaced throughout the piece and good action scenes, the narrative was just clunky. Large parts of it bore no resemblance to actual history and I like the actual history. All the movie made me want to do was read a better fictionalization of the Battle of Thermopylae, like Gates of Fire.

Catch and Release was marketed as a romantic comedy, but it isn't. The story opens with Gray at the funeral of her fiance Grady on the day they were to be married. It doesn't get much happier. The whole piece is largely Kevin Smith playing himself, Jennifer Garner looking sullen, and everyone else being varying degrees of horny or pathetic. Skip it.

Kicking It Old School

Feel the urge to play some classic Nintendo games, but you don't want to spend all day blowing into cartridges? Is downloading emulators and pirated roms hard on your soul? Behold, classic 8bit nintendo in Java format! Unfortunately you will be stuck using keyboard controls. I guess nothing is truly perfect.