Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jokes that Aren't Funny

My wife turned me on to a Salon humor piece about how Rock Band allowed a woman to relate to her husband's gaming obsession, thereby saving her marriage. It has it's moments, but one of them struck me as profoundly unfunny:
"If you don't stop playing that game right now, I'm filing for divorce!" I holler. He can't hear me. You know, the headphones.
This isn't funny. Not even in the slightest. Amybear and I had a talk about lasting marriages and we both came to the conclusion that divorce is not an option for us. We're in it for the long haul with all the mutual sacrifices and issues that may entail. We're not going to "grow apart" because we're committed to growing together.

Divorce is a cancer eating away that the American family. It consumes people and things and delivers very little except fees to courts and lawyers. It is a serious problem. It's like joking that you have AIDS or an inoperable brain tumor. Not funny.

If you make a threat like "I want a divorce" you should already know which lawyer you're going to use to draw up the necessary papers.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Blind Leading the Blind

The troubles of Congresswoman Laura Richardson have been making the rounds in the blogosphere lately. My favorite quote from the first termer from Long Beach was this:
"I am not financially wealthy," she said. "I am not a millionaire. - Based upon what I was going through, changing four jobs in less than one year, I think any American would understand what that does in terms of a person's financial stability."
If you aren't financially wealthy, why does she have a million dollars in real estate debt? We know she defaulted on a $535,000 loan on her Sacramento home and has an outstanding balance of $367,000 on her house in San Pedro that is going up for auction. Since she also extracted $100,000 in equity from her Long Beach home during her last run for office, that comes to $1,002,000 in debt that we know of. She probably has additional debt on her Long Beach home. She ought to have been a millionaire to run those kind of numbers!

Mere Christianity

Paul Smith reviews the C.S. Lewis book over at his place.
Given the clarity and logic of this book, I'd be interested to see what disagreements atheists have with it. It's hard to disagree with. If you're interested in Christianity, this book will help you understand why it's the true faith, and if you're already Christian it will reaffirm your faith.
I think if Mere Christianity has a flaw, it is that the book is very modern and rational in its outlook. Lewis builds his argument largely on transcendent moral principles. If you're one of those post-modern people who thinks relative morality is just peachy, then some of the fundamental concepts may not get any purchase.

I also don't understand Paul's comments about the Eucharist. I've never seen a Christian group that didn't have some sort of doctrine concerning it (or Communion or the Lord's Supper). They might not match up with Catholic doctrine, but...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Honest "Vice"

Slate TV's Vice Capades segment went to the only shooting range in Manhattan. How going shooting is a vice, I'll never know...

Eugene Volokh had this advice to go with it:
Oh, and a piece of advice for one of the women in a video: When you go target-shooting, and at least some of the weapons are semi-automatics, don't wear a low-cut shirt. The ejected casings from the fired rounds are hot, they often get ejected backwards and to the side, and there are places you don't want them to get stuck, even for the second or two it takes to remove them. No threat to life, but unpleasant. I know from personal observation.
I've given the same advice myself. For men, collared shirts are also bad because you can have brass bounce in between the collar and your neck. I generally wear a t-shirt or a close-fitting turtleneck to the range for these reasons.

Sandals and shorts are also a bad idea. Gravity is a harsh mistress. You will have hot cartridge casings bouncing around your feet and legs while shooting any semi-automatic. You might have some even if you aren't because brass from other lanes may bounce into yours. If you're wearing pants and shoes, this isn't a big deal. Go without and you'll be doing the hot brass two-step.

Oh and that story about a woman coming to the range to commit suicide? Not uncommon. It doesn't happen every week or even once a year, but it happens. I've heard of people renting a handgun, turning sideways (so that the bullet goes safely down range afterwards), then shooting themselves.

Note to Self

No matter how interesting your radio morning show makes various spiders and insects sound, do not research them at work while eating your breakfast.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Treadmill Cats

This behavior seems to be quite common, but Milo has never shown any interest in getting on the treadmill with me. I don't think he understands the idea of walking without going somewhere. He sits to one side of the treadmill and stares at it as if to say "you know your not actually moving, don't you Bellyscratcher?"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happenings in Iraq

Good stuff is happening and because it is good, you won't hear about it on the Evening News. National Review reflects on what this means for the US and that Democratic presidential candidates like Barrack Obama are missing:
Obama must not have been paying attention when General Petraeus testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 8, when the general explained why winning in Iraq matters to the greater war on terror..
Maybe he thought he was in church and just tuned Petraeus out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

He Did Make Howard the Duck

From George Lucas via Blue Sky Disney:
"I haven’t even told Steven or Harrison this," he said. "But I have an idea to make Shia [LeBeouf] the lead character next time and have Harrison come back like Sean Connery did in the last movie. I can see it working out."

Better Than the Book?

NRO's Frederica Mathewes-Green discussed film adaptations in light of the recent Narnia film:
Movies that are better than the book they are based on:

1. Gone With the Wind.
2. The Godfather.
3. The Wizard of Oz.
4. The Princess Bride.
5. Jaws.
6. Forrest Gump.
7. Blade Runner.
8. The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
9. The Harry Potter series.
10. Adaptation.
Of the books I have read, yes to 4 and 7. A big no to 8 and 9. I've heard 6 is also inferior to the film and I can believe it.

The Princess Bride isn't that great of a book, it lacks the great style and atmosphere of the movie. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is good book, and in some ways it develops its themes better than the film, but it also lacks the depth and style of Blade Runners techno-noir.

But Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings? No. The Potter movies lack the books depth of setting, pacing, and characterization. Each Harry Potter novel unfolds over an entire school year's time. The movies are badly rushed in comparison. The Lord of the Rings movies completely destroy most of the books' characterizations. Frodo is little more than an emo hobbit tossed by the winds of fate. Aragorn is the reluctant hero. The books are about hobbits braving horrors and the movies are about the great battles of men and elves. Not the same and not as good.

I haven't seen Prince Caspian yet, but it seems like the movie makes the same mistakes as the LotR films. The Pevensie's personalities are wrong. In the LWW movie, the kids are the reluctant heroes. In this latest film, Peter seems to be some sort of domineering bully. Contrast that with the books where the Pevensies are the children of prophecy. They don't become the kings and queens just because they're the first four kids to stumble along. They are also suited for those roles in a mythic sense. I love Prince Caspian the book, because these kids return as the heroes of legend and then they act like it. Even most of the Telmarines don't want to screw with them.

So sure, clean up some of the narrative ugliness by getting rid of the long flashback chapters, but at least get the characters right.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Iron Man

Amy and I went to see it yesterday for a diversion from real life. It was good and I liked it. They just get Tony Stark's personality right. Brilliant inventor, good businessman, arrogant playboy. Good stuff. They really could have done more with the Jim Rhodes character though, he just spends the whole movie scolding Tony for being rash. But when Tony loses himself in the bottle in future films, I expect Rhodey to have a more prominent role.

The Regal at People's Plaza was empty when we went to see it yesterday. I'm guessing the theater might have had twenty people in it. A group of people was front of us and one of them talked through far too much of the movie. Amy was ticked. I considered tapping on the back of his seat with my foot just to express my displeasure. I didn't thankfully. Turns out one of the members of the group was a member of a bible study I led in college. Small world.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

LOL War Heroze?

Ok so I've been expose to lolcats and loldogs. The former being much funnier than the latter because cats seem to have dignity. But then there are lolpols, like this one:

Political picture - John McCain

Now that's funny I don't care who you are!

Gamer Politics

Dork Tower does a pretty good job explaining the presidential primaries for the politically challenged.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Unclean Unclean


Amybear and I have had a game of stomach flu tag going for about a week now. Last Monday we bought some dubious Chinese food which we (and her doctor) thought gave her food poisoning. Well Saturday morning showed us how wrong we were when I got it. On Saturday, I was only lucid for the short bursts required to get me to and from the bathroom. Things have improved every day since, though I'm still not up to digestive snuff. Hopefully I'll be in good shape to enjoy the tasty pastries at the Scottish Games this weekend.

I spent this morning watching the talk shows, as sick people do. Turns out Regis's producer Michael Gelman has just finished some sort of two week intestinal cleansing regime. All I could think was that a good bout of stomach flu would have cleaned him out in a lot less.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Man's Inhumanity to Man

Someone posted the Star Wars Life Day Holiday Special on YouTube. All of it. Lumpy, Itchy, Maude and Norton, the whole bit.

Obama the Fighter

I intend to stay focused on fighting for the American people because what they don't need is 20 more years of performance art on television. And that's what James Carville and a lot of those folks are expert at ... a lot of talk and not getting things done for the American people.
That was Barack Obama's response to James Carville slurring him for a lack of Hillary's "cojones." My response would have been to question Carville's knowledge of Spanish and anatomy.

But seriously, who does Obama think he is? He's been in the Senate for three years during which time he hasn't done anything other than vote party line. And it isn't like Congress has a huge list of stirring Democratic successes. Yet he's the fighter for the American People? Obama is the all-talk candidate who hasn't gotten anything done. If it weren't for identity politics and Obama's skills as an orator, no one would know who he is.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

GTA4: A Kindler, Gentler Crime Drama

There is also a Part 2 and a Part 3. Free cone day at Baskin Robbins! Woo Hoo!


From Stuff Christians Like:
I can't prove this, but I think Christians might be better at frisbee than non-Christians. I know that doesn't sound very scientific, but it feels right. Roughly 94% of the Christians I know can really throw the Frisbee well. They're good at ultimate frisbee, can play disc golf, and can even throw a pretty accurate flick or sidearm if you will. The Christians that can't throw the frisbee? Probably backsliding.
His speculation about Jesus playing pickup Ultimate with the Disciples is hilarious.

I had a similar realization in college. Frisbee seems to be the sport of the counter-culture. Real Jocks play games like basketball or baseball. Nerd Jocks play Ultimate. After IV Gatherings on Friday, people either watched a movie in a dorm lounge or got a game going on Harrington Beach.

This sank in after I threw around a disc with some guys from from my classes. They were as close to jocks as Engineers get. The sort of engineering student who joins a frat, talks about cars a lot, and hits a bar to celebrate finishing the night's problem set. Not the guys I normally hung out with. When I joined the circle, the guy with the frisbee decided to have some fun with the beanpole and rocketed it to me. I caught the disc one handed, flipped it around, and shot it off to the next guy in kind. After a brief game of how far and how fast, they realized that I'd thrown a frisbee before.

My experience with after-work Ultimate has shown me what a backslider I am though. I blame my lack of quiet times with the elliptical trainer rather than any spiritual deficiencies.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Vegas is Sin City

Stuff Christians Like explains this idea. Let's see, network TV series devoted to its violent crime? Check. Advertising campaign promoting bad behavior? Check. Town built on bilking stupid people out of their money through gambling? Triple Check.

Yeah, that's all true. But what bothered me most during my business trip to Vegas last September was how sleazy it was. For instance, there will be a topless show within easy walking distance of where you are staying. It may be in your casino. A walk down The Strip will have you passing by countless card-flippers* doing street advertising for erotic phone or escort services. Trucks carrying billboards advertising erotic shows, clubs, services, etc. drive down The Strip at all hours day and night. Many casinos have outdoor shows featuring dancers wearing less than most Victoria's secret models. It's just nasty.

*If you haven't been to Vegas, the flippers either aren't allowed to speak or don't speak English (almost all are Hispanic). Instead they flip playing-card sized advertisements in their hands to make noise and draw attention to themselves. Then they try to hand them to any passerby who will take them. Once the sun starts to set, they are on every street corner, footbridge, and major pedestrian thoroughfare. The cards (which are censored just like the rolling billboards) get stuck in chain-link fences and are thrown on the floor of every casino.

Tough Times

Please say a prayer for John the Methodist. Recent events in his candidacy have really hit him hard and he could use any prayer support you can give him. If you read his blog regularly, don't be surprised if he takes a few weeks off to regroup.


CBS Evening News did a report on the Single Action Shooting Society on Friday. While there are a few digs on the sport (and lets face it SASS shooters do look kinda goofy) the reporter really seemed to like it.

McCain Eligible to Run for President

Even though he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, the Senate has unanimously resolved that he is a natural born citizen. Now if they could do something about all the hassle similarly born citizens get at DMVs across the country.

Amybear's dad is an Air Force vet and she was born on an airbase in Italy. Delaware somehow equates "not born in the US" to "foreign national" and made her jump through all kinds of hoops to transfer her residency and get a Delaware drivers license. Not fun for her at all.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Free Comic Book Day

It's tomorrow. Captain Blue Hen will be hosting their usual festivities.

UPDATE: I picked up several free comics thanks to library cards and food donations. The Hellboy comic was actually pretty good, the Marvel movie superheros comic was entirely mediocre, the Dresden Files Del Ray book was a tease, and the last book was for Amy and I didn't read it. I also finally picked up Invincible Ultimate Collection 2 which was awesome.

Wright Wing Conspiracy?

Moviemaker Spike Lee suggests something interesting about why Jeremiah Wright won't shut up:
“Jeremiah Wight needs to be quiet,” Lee said yesterday. “If he loves Obama he needs to shut up right now. It makes me question his motives for talking. I’m starting to wonder whether somebody has been contributing to the building funds of his church. Seriously.”
This is a very interesting idea, not because I think someone is bribing Wright to destroy Obama, but because I think that Wright probably is reaping rewards from this whole situation. Think about this:
  1. Trinity UCC is "paid" by filling pews and collecting offerings.
  2. Church growth is often interpreted as a successful ministry doing God's Work.
  3. Wright has received massive amounts of national exposure because of his comments and relationship with the Obamas.
  4. There is no such thing as bad publicity.
Much like Ford Bronco sales after the OJ chase, Wright's church attendance and giving may be going up. His spiritual empire is growing and Wright may very well interpret this as God's blessing on him for being outspoken under fire. Why should he stop, other than consideration to a congregant?

It isn't a conspiracy. Wright is probably just experiencing a self-reinforcing loop common to many forms of outlandish activism.

Via Instapundit.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Twisted Verses

Mark Hemingway notes Jeremiah Wright using the first part of John 10:16 to justify ecumenicism with Islamists.
MODERATOR: Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the father but through me. Do you believe this? And do you think Islam is a way to salvation?

WRIGHT: Jesus also said, Other sheep have I who are not of this fold.
The entire verse is: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." How exactly does this verse say what Wright thinks it does? It doesn't.

It often annoys me when people twist a passage into saying what it doesn't. A common one is Matthew 7:1. You know, "judge not lest ye."

People like to set this verse up as if it were saying that Christians should never ever judge anyone. Rubbish. The end of that passage in Matthew 7:5-6 contradicts this view. 7:5 (remove the plank from your own eye...) says that you should fix your own problems so that you can better make judgments. Likewise 7:6 (pearls before swine) is all about judging others.

The point of that passage is not "don't ever judge anyone". The point is to judge wisely because you will be held eternally accountable for those judgments. It's a big difference.

Any other favorites out there?

You Like Me...

I guess I can't say I've never won anything.