smart people reviewing dumb movie.

The Atomic Nerds take on Pocahontas in Space Avatar in a two-prong approach:

LabRat offers a cerebral perspective on the philosophical failings of Jim Cameron’s White Guilt in 3D, while Stingray opens up a can of review whoop-ass that makes the most caustic review at Rotten Tomatoes read like the transcript from a five-year-old’s Winnie the Pooh tea party.

Go read, but heed my warning and put all beverage containers out of reach before reading Stingray’s review, because I will not be held responsible for soaked keyboards:

LabRat vs. Avatar

Stingray vs. Avatar


CrankyProf goes to school spring dance; random observations on specific asshattery result.

(T)here are members of the human herd that should be clubbed down like harp seals for the good of the race entire. Seriously. There ought to be a superhero — “Darwin Man!” — who appears, bludgeons the wart on humanity into paste — “For the good of all mankind, I apply the rod of Natural Selection!” –  and disappears until necessity calls. He’d probably be overbooked as all Hell.

Darwin Man…we have a great need for this superhero’s specialty skill.  He needs an awesome costume, a snazzy theme, and his own light signal, to be shined into the skies from the top of the police department.  Maybe an outline of a dodo?

wednesday randomosity.

Some random bullet and link salad to go with your coffee, tea, chai, or microwaved cup of whisky this morning:

  • Matt at Blunt Object on his personal views on politics, where you’ll find significant overlap with my own political philosophies.  I don’t often say “+1” or “what he said”, but nothing I’ve ever read at Blunt Object has ever had me disagree on any major point.  Matt’s posts are the kind of stuff I read for intellectual stimulation.  He’s in the same league as LabRat and Stingray over at Atomic Nerds when it comes to well-articulated intelligence, and his stuff is always worth a read, especially the posts on economics.  ( I’ve come to believe that 99% of the electorate and 99.5% of the gang in Congress know fuck-all about economics, and don’t care to know anything about it.  Instead, they believe in a strange sort of Loot Voodoo, where the government always has money, there are such things as “free” goods and services, and you can conjure up those “free” things with the stroke of a legislative pen if desired.)
  • Australian writer Damon Young wrote a piece on the appeal of writing with a fountain pen, and he, too, has me saying “+1”, “what he said”, etcetera.  The computer is an indispensable tool for writing, but I found that it’s only indispensable for the editing process, and that the slowness and single-task functionality of the fountain pen are much more of an advantage than a drawback when it comes to making up new stuff.
  • The Mac mini my wife has so  graciously purchased for me is currently on a USPS truck, and winging its way to me from some warehouse in the Midwest, so I’m cleaning up my desk while squee-ing in anticipation.  Does anyone have a good suggestion for a new keyboard to go with a Mac mini?  I have plenty of wireless and wired keyboards floating around at the Castle, but I’d like to get something particular to fit the minimalist character of the Mac mini.  Specifically, I’d like to find a keyboard that is both wireless (Bluetooth or 2.4GHz), and missing the numeric keypad I never use anyway.  (Yes, I know that Apple makes a wireless BT ‘board without the numeric keypad, but I still can’t make up my mind whether those little two-dimensional keys are great or horrible, and I want to shop around for alternatives as well.)
  • I know I haven’t done the Search Term Safari on Monday.  You know why that is?  It’s because I had exactly two original and snark-worthy search terms to work with.  In fact, most of the terms in the Snarkolator were either repetitive, or downright gross.  (Note to self: Must cut down on discussing the masturbatory practices of the homeless and/or disturbed members of society.)  So, I got cranky and grossed-out when I went through the stats page on Monday morning, and decided to postpone this week’s Search Term Safari until the Snarkolator has refilled with more wholesome and original fare.
  • I have a deadline coming up this weekend, and between that and the daily kid maintenance stuff, I’m even busier than usual, just in case you were wondering why I’m not on Google Chat/AIM/IRC much lately. 
  • In the category Small Victories, I won thirty-eight bucks in rental credit at my local video rental place in town.  They had a drawing, and my name came up, so yay me.  It’s not the Powerball, but it was a nice surprise, and it beats a swift kick in the junk, doesn’t it?  That’ll keep the kids in new movies to watch for a few weeks.
  • I’ve had home-made Reubens for lunch the last three days in a row, and I don’t feel the least bit bad about that.  A competently assembled Reuben made with quality ingredients is the tastiest deli-type sandwich there is, and I will entertain no discussion on this subject.
  • Fourth day of spring, and I see snow coming down out there this morning.   This winter was a mild one, though.  We went through four tons of wood pellets, two cords of firewood, and maybe $50 worth of propane.  I actually turned on the propane furnaces for a few minutes yesterday to make sure they’re still in working order, because we haven’t used them all winter.  (Our dryer runs on propane, too, so all our consumed propane was used to make our undies toasty.)
  • I think I need a vacation.  One of Robin’s friends is coming for a stay next month, and I’m seriously considering just saddling up the car and going on a drive for a few days, to work off some of the mental ballast that accumulates when you’re at home with two small children day in and day out for years without a break. 

And with that, it’s back to work for me.  The kids are stirring, and I have a short story, a query letter, a synopsis, and a novel chapter to finish…in between playing referee, caterer, nurse, teacher, and A/V operator, that is.  More later, time permitting.

ask, tell, don’t give a rat’s behind.

QOTD comes from Jay G., regarding the proposed repeal of the ill-conceived and harmful “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy:

If troops can’t handle the gay cooties, then perhaps the problem lies not with the homosexual soldiers, but the homophobic ones.

Ah, but Jay….didn’t anyone ever tell you that as a gun-toting Conservative NRA member type, you’re supposed to hate you some queers?   There you go again, ruining the stereotype for the other kids.

UPDATE” LabRat has the definitive last word on the issue of The Military vs. Gay Cooties.  Slam dunk, case closed, well done.

the 2009 munchkin wrangler digest.

I started the annual digest thing last year, and it was fairly well received, so I’ll make it a recurring feature from now on…sort of like the Search Term Safari, only fifty-two times slower.

(Feel free to swipe the format for your own blog, and consider it a meme. I got the idea for the “First Post of the Month” from Elizabeth Bear, and cobbled the rest together myself based on what I thought people might find interesting.)

First Post of the Month (with first line excerpt):

January: and then it was oh-nine. “What are we going to call this decade in the future?  The Oughts?”

February: twenty-five things about me. “I’ve been tagged with this meme multiple times both through the blogosphere and Facebook, so here are Twenty-Five Things About Me that I’m certain you’re just dying to know.”

March: parker’s fabulous “51”. “Every once in a while, someone engineers a tool that performs its function so well that it stands out from all the other comparable tools in its field, and earns the title of ‘classic’.”

April: my reward awaits. “Here’s a picture of the stack of books sitting on the corner of my desk:”

May: break out the red banners. “Today is May Day, the international Day of Labor, which all the little Communists celebrate by not going to the jobs they don’t have anyway.”

June: staggering across the finish line. “I used my low-level Apprentice Carpentry skills yesterday to fashion the old center drawer of my desk into a matching stow-away keyboard tray.”

July: canada day. “Happy Canada Day to our neighbors to the north!”

August: a good day to burn some powder. “It’s Sunday! It’s Northeast Blogger Shoot Day!”

September: words to sentences to paragraphs. repeat until finished. “I’ve got nothing but work on my mind today, so all you’ll get this evening is a quick list of writing-related bullet points, the better to put you into a deep sleep with.”

October: notes from a sunday. “We have a very good friend staying with us this weekend, so Castle Frostbite has been abuzz with all kinds of social activities.”

November: first of novembah. “Happy November! Today marks the first day of NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month.”

December: the wordsmith and his hammer. “The typewriter in the picture above is Cormac McCarthy’s Olivetti Lettera 32.”

Top Five Posts of the Year:

  1. guilty gun pleasures: the three-eighty. (4,388 views)
  2. a vote for gun control is a vote for thunderdome. (3,210 views)
  3. major caudill hits the big time. (2,838 views)
  4. gender’s got nothing to do with it. (2,579 views)
  5. the alphasmart neo: a long-term review. (2,524 views)

Top Five Search Terms of the Year:

  1. munchkin wrangler
  2. pretty girls
  3. alphasmart neo
  4. sig p232
  5. midget porn

Top Five Referrers:

  1. View from the Porch  42,263 referrals
  2. The LawDog Files  16,007 referrals
  3. SayUncle 6,618 referrals
  4. A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver  3,886 referrals
  5. Xavier Thoughts 2,749 referrals

funny how that works.

Lissa has a post up on her impending Lasik surgery, which made me realize an interesting circumstance:

Lasik and plastic surgery are two procedures that are not covered by insurance plans, and therefore almost entirely subject to market supply and demand.   If I want to believe the common criticisms of free market healthcare, Lasik and plastic surgery should be expensive as sin, since the providers can pretty much charge whatever they want.

Yet Lasik and plastic surgery become more affordable with each passing decade.  When my friend Joerg had Lasik ten years ago, he paid almost twice what Lissa is paying now.  In addition, I can call most Lasik providers or plastic surgeons, and I can guarantee you that I won’t have to wait very long for an appointment.

Imagine that: a health-related service that’s subject to the whims of the market…and it’s affordable and available.

gender, schmender.

Breda fires off the Quote of the Day (nay, the Quote of the Month) regarding feminism and gender roles:

Feminists, of all people, should realize that there is no "woman’s work." There is only work – and somebody has to do it.

I’ll borrow that one next time someone talks smack about stay-at-home Dads as doing “women’s work.”  There is only work, and as long as it gets done, who gives a shit whether the person on the job has exterior or interior reproductive plumbing?

Besides, without claiming superiority over those who don’t have the opportunity or ability to stay at home with their kids, I’d say that making sure your kids are safe and raised well is at least as important a job as wrangling a spreadsheet for someone else, or fixing Salesdrone 47’s Windows problem for the 321st time…