Thursday, March 27, 2008

10 things I've done that you (probably) haven't

Stolen from here.

The idea is to note things you've done that you think might be unique or, at least, rare. You might be surprised by how many people end up saying "Hey, I've done that, too!" List them in your blog and let the fun begin. (Alternatively, you could add your list in comments here or put a link back to any entry you write.)

Here's my list:

1. Double back sommersalt, and I even did it back in the days when we did floor-ex on the actual wood gym floor, not those lovely padded, spring-loaded floors they use now. For that matter, just consider this entry a list of gymnastics tricks: double front in vaulting, peach basket, planche, fliffis, German giant, etc.

2. Piloted a canard aircraft - this one. They are the absolute shits!

3. Rode out a hurricane at anchor on a sailboat (Rita - 2005). (And survived Katrina, for that matter.)

4. Competed in Modern Pentathlon.

5. National Merit Finalist.

6. Been next to Jim Wickwire at a mountaineering event and survived. (Kind of a joke but not completely. A number of people have died while climbing with Jim and even his law partner was murdered in a bizarre case of mistaken assumptions. I don't wanna call him a "typhoid Mary," but...) Parenthetically, if you follow the link you'll see Chris Kerrebrock's name in the writeup; he's the first guy I did Mt. Rainier with. RIP.

7. Kendo and iaido.

8. Was a librarian.

9. SCUBA Divemaster.

10. In a rock band in the 60s whose (only) record is rated #31 on this list of the "top 100 garage 45s of the 60s." A copy of this deathless two-sided musical masterpiece sold on eBay in June of 2007 for almost $1700.00. Yes, that decimal point is accurate. Shocked the hell out of me, too. I have a copy, if anybody wants to make me an offer. I'll even autograph it. (grin)

and a bonus

11. Married Ronnie and fathered MJ and Chloe! The best entry of 'em all!

C'mon! Do a list yourself. You know you wanna!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Book meme

Stolen from here.

0. Take five books off your bookshelf.
1. Book #1 -- first sentence
2. Book #2 -- last sentence on page fifty
3. Book #3 -- second sentence on page one hundred
4. Book #4 -- next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
5. Book #5 -- final sentence of the book
6. Make the five sentences into a paragraph.

Because I've recently been blogging about science-fiction, I decided to do this as a genre exercise. All books used were from my sf collection. It almost makes sense. I admit I did a little searching because purely random grabbing of titles made for worthless nonsense which would not have been amusing. Here it is:

The Patrol ship, Starfire, Vegan registry came into her last port in the early morning; and she made a bad landing, for two of her eroded tubes blew just as the pilot tried to set her down on her fins. "I have piloted ships in my time but I have had no experience with the late-model pocket cruiser." "You have no control over the ground outside this area." Because Borges said nothing, Acosta needed two seconds to realize his predicament. "Well," the captain muttered, heading hurriedly across the outer room towards the passage, "here we go again!"

1. Andre Norton - Star Rangers
2. Isaac Asimov - Foundation's Edge
3. Arthur C. Clarke - The Fountains of Paradise
4. Dean Ing - The Nemesis Mission
5. James Schmitz - The Witches of Karres

Top(?) movies 101-250

Ok, after doing the top 100, Nicholas finished off the list through 250. I can do no less. Ones I've seen are in bold. Some have comments.

I've seen a total of 233 of the complete list of 250, some I wish I hadn't. (What the hell is the 1980s John Carpenter version of "The Thing" doing here? Blech!) How about you?

101. Strangers on a Train (1951)
102. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
103. Batman Begins (2005) (Crap. Doesn't belong.)
104. Ladri di biciclette (1948)
105. Salaire de la peur, Le (1953)
106. High Noon (1952)
107. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
108. Ran (1985) (Have I mentioned that I love Kurosawa?)
109. The Big Sleep (1946)
110. Notorious (1946)
111. Back to the Future (1985) (I liked the trilogy, but top 250?)
112. The Wizard of Oz (1939) ( I hate Judy Garland. What a wonderful movie it would have been with Shirley Temple.)
113. Oldboy (2003)
114. Fargo (1996)
115. Unforgiven (1992)
116. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
117. Donnie Darko (2001)
118. Mononoke-hime (1997)
119. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
120. Ratatouille (2007)
121. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) (Doesn't belong. He shot his wad with "Pulp Fiction")
122. Yojimbo (1961)
123. Per qualche dollaro in più (1965) (I still say substitute Sanjuro.)
124. The Green Mile (1999)
125. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
126. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) (I am not a fan. Doesn't belong.)
127. Notti di Cabiria, Le (1957) (Not a Fellini fan.)
128. Into the Wild (2007)
129. Gladiator (2000)
130. Battaglia di Algeri, La (1966) (There are war movies I'd choose over this pedestrian effort.)
131. Die Hard (1988)
132. Annie Hall (1977)
133. The Deer Hunter (1978) (Christopher Walken, yes. This movie, no.)
134. Ben-Hur (1959)
135. It Happened One Night (1934)
136. The Sixth Sense (1999)
137. Platoon (1986) (Dreck. Doesn't belong.)
138. The General (1927)
139. Life of Brian (1979)
140. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
141. The Killing (1956)
142. Smultronstället (1957) Yeah, yeah, more Bergman.)
143. Diaboliques, Les (1955)
144. Amores perros (2000)
145. Finding Nemo (2003)
146. The Incredibles (2004) (Doesn't belong. I let Nemo slide but not this.)
147. V for Vendetta (2005) (Top 250? I dunno.)
148. Heat (1995)
149. The Wild Bunch (1969)
150. Children of Men (2006) (Absolute crap. Does NOT belong.)
151. Brief Encounter (1945)
152. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
153. 8½ (1963) (More fuckin' Fellini.)
154. The Princess Bride (1987)
155. The Graduate (1967)
156. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
157. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
158. The Big Lebowski (1998)
159. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
160. Juno (2007)
161. Crash (2004/I)
162. Stand by Me (1986)
163. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
164. Gandhi (1982)
165. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
166. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
167. Snatch. (2000)
168. Harvey (1950)
169. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
170. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (Nope. See my comment at KB 1)
171. The African Queen (1951)
172. The Thing (1982) (Ack! Hell no. Maybe the original but not this lame fx fest.)
173. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
174. Trainspotting (1996)
175. Gone with the Wind (1939) (No! No! A thousand times no!)
176. The Gold Rush (1925)
177. Wo hu cang long (2000)
178. Groundhog Day (1993) (Ok, kinda charming but top 250?)
179. Belle et la bête, La (1946)
180. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
181. Scarface (1983)
182. The Conversation (1974)
183. Patton (1970)
184. American Gangster (2007)
185. Duck Soup (1933)
186. Toy Story (1995)
187. Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) (I LOVE grand guignol!)
188. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
189. Twelve Monkeys (1995) (Nope.)
190. Cabinet des Dr. Caligari., Das (1920) (Like I said at 187.)
191. The Terminator (1984) (Entertaining, not top 250.)
192. Sleuth (1972)
193. Umberto D. (1952)
194. The Hustler (1961)
195. Stalker (1979)
196. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
197. Glory (1989)
198. Ed Wood (1994) (As a rule I hate Tim Burton; but this one is transcendent. Love it. "Lemme hear ya call Karloff a cocksucker.")
199. King Kong (1933)
200. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) (Snatch, yeah. This... I dunno.)
201. The Lion King (1994)
202. The Exorcist (1973)
203. Hotaru no haka (1988)
204. Spartacus (1960)
205. Grindhouse (2007) (Beyond pathetic. Doesn't even qualify as a drive-in homage. Utterly terrible.)
206. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
207. The Lost Weekend (1945)
208. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
209. The Lady Vanishes (1938)
210. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
211. Magnolia (1999)
212. Stalag 17 (1953)
213. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
214. Lola rennt (1998)
215. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
216. Frankenstein (1931)
217. Big Fish (2003) (No way. This fish sucked.)
218. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
219. Out of the Past (1947)
220. Casino (1995) (Not a Scorsese fan.)
221. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
222. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
223. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
224. Mystic River (2003)
225. Du rififi chez les hommes (1955)
226. Toy Story 2 (1999)
227. Once (2006)
228. 3:10 to Yuma (2007) (Not bad but the original's better.)
229. Hot Fuzz (2007) (Hey! I like Shaun of the Dead but this is NOT top 250 material.)
230. A Christmas Story (1983)
231. Mou gaan dou (2002)
232. Ikiru (1952)
233. Dial M for Murder (1954)
234. Manhattan (1979)
235. Rope (1948)
236. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
237. Young Frankenstein (1974)
238. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
239. Roman Holiday (1953)
240. Quatre cents coups, Les (1959) (Truffaut, right? No thanks.)
241. His Girl Friday (1940)
242. The Searchers (1956) (No.)
243. Shaun of the Dead (2004) (Big fun, but not top 250.)
244. Ying xiong (2002) (Oh, hell no. Crap.)
245. In Cold Blood (1967)
246. Samouraï, Le (1967)
247. Strada, La (1954)
248. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
249. The Kid (1921)
250. Harold and Maude (1971)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bemmys for Obama

If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let Your Sister Marry One?

The science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon (Fishy name, eh? Possibly a nom de plume, or more likely a nom de mer!) asked this question as the title of a story once upon a time in the "golden age" of science fiction. Because I was recently writing about the death of Arthur C. Clarke while floundering in the maelstrom of current politics, especially the racial aspect as noted in Obama's speech of 3/18, I got to thinking about science-fiction and society and remembering some of the musings of Joseph Campbell.

Science-fiction is our post-technology mythology. Mythology, folklore, whatever-ya-wanna-call-it is how we self-define the zeitgeist of mores and societal expectations/norms for an era. In our case, it's an era of industry and technology far removed from earlier agrarian models. We're not in the antebellum South anymore, Toto.

In that "golden age" of sf (which I'm gonna casually define as 30s through 50s), concepts like race, which couldn't be easily discussed in reality, could be examined in the parable of a sf story. Interaction between races? Heck! Obviously, when we go into interstellar space, we'll meet nonhuman races. There's a ready-made parallel for ya. The lurid pulp fiction of the 30s often sported cover art featuring alien bug-eyed monsters making off with scantily clad White, I mean, *Earth* women. How's that for a Jungian archetype?

Sf folks back then, being the techno geeks of their day, soon shortened "bug-eyed monster" in their stories to a self-indulgent TLA: BEM. Now, BEM is pretty cool, but just a bit awkward to say; it's not very euphonious. However if we turn it into the lovely diminutive "bemmy" we have an aural/oral winner. So, all the elements are now in play for creating societal morality tales (or fairy tales, or mythology, or parables, or whatever the hell you wanna call 'em).

Instead of Whites and Negroes, an author could write about Earthmen (Whites) and Aliens (the dreaded, generic "others") who were BEMs (socially compliant Negroes) or bemmys (dem uppity niggers). An author, who might not dare to explore race issues in a mainstream, realistic story, could write a space opera about the relationships between Earthmen and various types of "others": benign BEMs, malevolent bemmys, maybe hapless (or uncooperative) bemmys who force us to shoulder "the Earthman's burden," or any combination or variation thereof which an astute observer could distill from contemporary society.

And using this conceit, the writer was free from the possibility of becoming the strange fruit which regularly drooped from "Earthman" trees in this country, even within the memory of your humble correspondent. No, no, no, my friends of planet K3 in the Cretinous Cluster! It's not at all a condemnation of Mississippi's K3's White Earth-dominant culture, it's just an amusing little sf story about some silly Earthmen who do some silly things when they interact with a race of bemmys who are simultaneously evil, hapless, malevolent, inept, vicious, and lazy. Amazing how much less evolved than us they are!

Earthman trees were producing strange fruit into the 60s. As recently as a few years ago, Earthmen were giving bemmys free rides on their planetary rough-terrain vehicles by allowing the bemmys to chain themselves to the back of the vehicle. Sadly, bemmy exoskeletons were not up to such largess and the unfortunate bemmys came apart. Who knew? Even in the last coupla years, places like Mississippi planet K3 were reporting negligible hate crime statistics. They say it's because there are negligible hate crimes committed there. I believe 'em. Really. I grew up one planet over from there. I'm sure it's pretty much the same for all the planets in that sector of the galaxy. Really.

No one likes violence but, I mean, what's an Earthman to do? Sometimes ya just gotta make an example of a troublemaker to get the rest of 'em to toe the line.

Some sf stories, especially as we got into the 50s, were very thinly disguised. There were bemmys, and semi-bemmys, and bemmy-lovers with the pure Earthmen lording it over them like ol' Massa pacing the veranda of his plantation with a mint julep in hand, surveying his antebellum domain. Woe betide the bemmy who wanted more than his divinely-appointed station in life. And why, dear, sweet Gods of the Universe!, would any sensible Earthman support such self-apotheosistic ambitions in a lower race? Bemmy lovers!

A bemmy-lover might as well be a semi-bemmy, and a semi-bemmy is no better than a full bemmy, so they're ALL bemmys.

Which brings me, finally, to the concept of this post. I was often called a bemmy-lover in the 60s and I accept that title with pride, just like Ranger Sergeant Kartr of the Stellar Patrol. Add to that the fact that we're all at least semi-bemmys in our DNA roots and I am, therefore, by the above definition, a bemmy.

As are we all. All bemmys, every one!

So, I declare my political affiliation for this election:

I'm a bemmy for Obama.

In closing, I'll bastardize a coupla couplets while conflating a coupla old tunes and ask the burning question of the day:

The righties will crumble.
The Bushies will tumble.
They all have feet of clay.
Obama's here to stay.

I'm tired of all the drama.
How about you?
I'm for Barack Obama.
How about you?

Bemmys for Obama!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Requiescat in Pace

Arthur C. Clarke is dead.

There is no contender for the throne, the pretenders are especially inadequate. Now all the old masters of scientific science-fiction are gone. I loved Asimov best overall but Clarke *moved* me more often. I admit I miss Heinlein, too, but only for his earlier work; he essentially fell off my radar after "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and I never found him to be an admirable person, like I did Asimov, Clarke, and others from that generation. I'm also not ashamed to admit that I loved Alice Mary (Andre) Norton, who died in 2005. Juvenile books? Fluff? Call it what you want; insult it if you must. I don't care; I love Andre Norton and still reread her regularly. "Star Rangers" aka "The Last Planet" remains one of my alltime favorites. But back to Sir Arthur…

Arthur C. Clarke gave us "The Star," "The Nine Billion Names of God," "Childhood's End," "The City and the Stars," the concept of geosynchronous communications satellites (and that orbital region is now called – by the cognoscenti – the Clarke Belt, in his honor), the concept of the space elevator, which I expect to see started if not completed in my lifetime, and so much more. Ok, and I guess I can't escape without referencing "The Sentinel" which was turned into "2001: A Space Odyssey."

I'll miss him.

I opened part 2 of my math rant with Clarke's famous quote about science and magic and also referenced in that diatribe his waggish "Fourth Law" which states the ineffable truth: For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.

But none to match Sir Arthur.

Adieu, mon vieux!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An award? Wow!

You like me. You really like me!

My wonderful wif [sic - personal joke] has given me an award. I substituted her image for a more... ummmnnn... *personal* one.

I'm not gonna pass it on. I feel completely inadequate to that task but I do sincerely appreciate being on the receiving end.

Wow! That's a big gun, Mr. Eastwood! But mine's bigger, as alluded to in E here.

That's right. I *never* pass on an opportunity for the cheap joke. It's one of my primary charms characteristics.

(Thanks, SAM, for the image.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My 29 levels

No, not a recounting of my last romp through Doom (version infinity). Levels of self-revelation. Oh my!

Stolen from lillasyster's life blog, although she says she stole it from Nicholas. Who knows. It all just seems so desperately inbred. Anyway, here's mine.

Level 1
( ) Smoked a cigarette. (Smoked some dope in my time, never tobacco.)
( ) Smoked a cigar.
(x) Kissed a member of the same sex. (Family/friends, not sexual kisses.)
(x) Drank alcohol. (Regularly with vast enjoyment.)

Level 2
(x) Are/been in love. (For a coupla decades now.)
(x) Been dumped.
( ) Shoplifted.
( ) Been fired.
(x) Been in a fist fight. (Not for decades.)

Level 3
(x) Had a crush on an older person.
(x) Skipped school.
(x) Slept with a classmate. (In college. I went to an all-male prep school.)
(x) Seen someone/something die. (My mother, from emphysema. Wanna go back to talking about smoking?)

Level 4
( ) Had/have a crush on one of your friends who is now on Facebook. (I don't do Facebook.)
( ) Been to Paris.
( ) Been to Spain.
(x) Been on a plane. (At the controls, too. Pilot's license – PP-ASEL.)
(x) Thrown up from drinking.

Level 5
(x) Eaten sushi. (Don't really like most of it.)
( ) Been snowboarding. (Skiing dude. Boarding is too nouveaux for me.)
( ) Met someone BECAUSE of Facebook. (I told you I don't do Facebook)
( ) Been in a mosh pit.

Level 6
( ) Been in an abusive relationship.
(x) Taken pain killers. (Love 'em. Methaqualone rules.)
(x) Love/loved someone you can’t have.
(x) Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by.
(x) Made a snow angel.

Level 7
(x) Had a tea party.
(x) Flown a kite.
(x) Built a sand castle.
(x) Gone mudding (offroading). (If dirtbiking counts. Come to think of it, guess I've been three-wheeling a coupla times.)
(x) Played dress up.

Level 8
(x) Jumped into a pile of leaves.
(X) Gone sledging. (Sledding? Yeah. I ain't never played no freakin' cricket and done "sledging.")
(x) Cheated while playing a game.
(x) Been lonely.
(x) Fallen asleep at work/school. (When both girls were babies, frequently.)

Level 9
(x) Watched the sun set. (Also see Level 17.)
(x) Felt an earthquake.
(x) Killed a snake. (Vipers, not serpents.)

Level 10
(x) Been tickled.
(x) Been robbed/vandalized.
(x) Been cheated on.
(x) Been misunderstood.

Level 11
( ) Won a contest.
(x) Been suspended from school. (In junior year, my entire class got a 3-day suspension for an obscene football cheer we created for a cheer contest. The winners of the contest won – Wait for it! - ONE day off. Ha!)
(x) Had detention. (I once got *indefinite* penance hall at my prep school. They let me out of it after a month or so.)
(x) Been in a car/motorcycle accident. (Both.)

Level 12
( ) Had/have braces.
(x) Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night. (I've done an entire half gallon in one night.)
(x) Danced in the moonlight. (Yeah! King Harvest rocks! It's a supernatural delight!)

Level 13
(x) Hated the way you look.
(x) Witnessed a crime.
( ) Pole danced.
(x) Questioned your heart.
(x) Been obsessed with post-it-notes.

Level 14
(x) Squished barefoot through the mud.
(x) Been lost.
( ) Been to the opposite side of the world.
(x) Swam in the ocean.
(x) Felt like you were dying.

Level 15
( ) Cried yourself to sleep.
(x) Played cops and robbers.
(x) Recently colored with crayons/colored pencils/markers.
(x) Sang karaoke. (Also played in an actual rock band in the 60s.)
( ) Paid for a meal with only coins.

Level 16
(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t.
(x) Made prank phone calls.
(x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose.
(x) Kissed in the rain.

Level 17
(x) Written a letter to Santa Claus.
(x) Watched the sun set/sun rise with someone you care/cared about. (In the Caribbean, too! Perfect. And coming to an island at dawn after an overnight sail is one of Ronnie's favorite times, especially when she's at the helm!)
(x) Blown bubbles.
(x) Made a bonfire on the beach or anywhere.

Level 18
(x) Crashed A Party.
(x) Have travelled more than 5 days with a car full of people. (10 weeks on our longest roadtrip.)
(x) Gone rollerskating/blading.
(x) Had a wish come true.
( ) Slept with a member of the same sex.

Level 19
( ) Worn pearls.
(x) Jumped off a bridge.
( ) Screamed “penis” or “vagina”. (Does yelling, "You fucking *dick*!" or "You *pussy*!" count?)
(x) Swam with dolphins.

Level 20
( ) Got your tongue stuck to a pole/freezer/ice cube.
(x) Kissed a fish. (Hard to avoid the aggressive ones in the Caymans. I'm not kidding.)
( ) Worn the opposite sex’s clothes.
(x) Sat on a roof top. (For fun and profit.)

Level 21
(x) Screamed at the top of your lungs.
(x) Done/attempted a one-handed cartwheel. (I was a nationally competitive gymnast in school. Wanna see me do a fliffis?)
( ) Talked on the phone for more than six hours (in one day). (I hate the phone.)
(x) Recently stayed up for a while talking to someone you care about.

Level 22
(x) Picked and ate an apple right off the tree.
(x) Climbed a tree.
(x) Had/been in a tree house.
( ) Been scared to watch scary movies alone.

Level 23
( ) Believed in ghosts. (I don't believe in *any* supernatural boojums, gods included.)
(x) Have had more than thirty pairs of shoes (not necessarily all at once).
( ) Gone streaking.
(x) Visited jail. (Been in jail, often – Civil Rights era.)

Level 24
(x) Played chicken. (Played Mark Twain, too.)
(x) Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on.
(x) Been told you’re hot by a complete stranger. (60s rocker, baby! Easy, easy money. Easy, easy chicks.)
( ) Broken a bone.
(x) Been easily amused.

Level 25
(x) Caught a fish then ate it later.
( ) Made a porn video. (Only with your momma.)
(x) Caught a butterfly.
(x) Laughed so hard you cried.
( ) Cried so hard you laughed.

Level 26
(x) Mooned/flashed someone.
(x) Had someone moon/flash you.
(x) Cheated on a test.
(x) Forgotten someone’s name. (Often. Ok, usually.)
( ) French braided someone’s hair.
(x) Gone skinny dipping.
( ) Been kicked out of your house.
( ) Tried to hurt yourself.

Level 27
(x) Rode a roller coaster. (Love 'em.)
(x) Went scuba-diving/snorkelling. (I'm a PADI Divemaster.)
(x) Had a cavity.
( ) Black-mailed someone.
( ) Been black mailed.

Level 28
(x) Been used.
(x) Fell going up the stairs.
( ) Licked a cat. (Ummmnnn, no thanks!)
(x) Bitten someone.
(x) Licked someone - not in private places… (Private places, too.)

Level 29
(x) Been shot at/or at gunpoint.
(x) Had sex in the rain. (As Herodotus mostly said: (Relax! I'll do it in English. Sometimes I'll inflict Latin on y'all but I'll spare you the Classical Greek!) Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor darkness of night can stop me from doin' what I gotta do.)
( ) Flattened someone’s tires.
(x) Rode your car/truck until the gas light came on. (Frequently.)
(x) Got five dollars or less worth of gas. (Hey! When gas was $0.30/gal, that was a LOT of gas.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Top 100 movies? Really?

Taken from Nicholas.

I followed his format and bolded the ones I've seen. I added comments to a few. I agree with him that there seems to be a time bias at work. Think of some of the movies from the 30s and 40s compared to some of the crap that made it on this list. Where's Philadelphia Story? Where's Bringing Up Baby? Hell, where's Ben Hur?

Whine, whine, whine. Grump, grump, grump.

What's your opinion?

1. The Godfather (1972)
2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
3. The Godfather: Part II (1974) (Doesn't belong.)
4. Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966) (Howzabout Yojimbo instead? And Sanjuro belongs on this list a lot more than some of this lame crap.)
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
6. Schindler's List (1993) (Don't have the fortitude to watch it yet. One day.)
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
8. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
9. Casablanca (1942)
10. Shichinin no samurai (1954)
11. Star Wars (1977)
12. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
13. 12 Angry Men (1957)
14. Rear Window (1954)
15. Goodfellas (1990)
16. Cidade de Deus (2002)
17. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
18. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
19. C'era una volta il West (1968) (Fun, but doesn't belong.)
20. The Usual Suspects (1995)
21. Psycho (1960)
22. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
23. Fight Club (1999) (Absolute crap. Doesn't belong.)
24. Citizen Kane (1941) Fuck Hearst!
25. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
26. North by Northwest (1959)
27. Memento (2000)
28. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
29. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
30. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
31. The Matrix (1999) (Fun, but doesn't belong.)
32. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
33. There Will Be Blood (2007)
34. Se7en (1995) (Absolute crap. Doesn't belong.)
35. Apocalypse Now (1979)
36. Taxi Driver (1976)
37. American Beauty (1999)
38. Léon (1994) (I like Luc Besson and Jean Reno but howzabout Nikita instead?)
39. Vertigo (1958)
40. Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le (2001)
41. American History X (1998)
42. The Departed (2006) (DiCaprio always sucks. Doesn't belong.)
43. No Country for Old Men (2007)
44. Paths of Glory (1957)
45. M (1931)
46. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
47. Chinatown (1974)
48. The Third Man (1949)
49. Leben der Anderen, Das (2006)
50. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) (Absolute crap. Doesn't belong.)
51. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
52. Alien (1979) (I liked it, but top 100?)
53. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
54. Laberinto del fauno, El (2006) (Doesn't belong.)
55. The Shining (1980)
56. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001) (Impressive, but doesn't belong.)
57. The Pianist (2002)
58. Double Indemnity (1944)
59. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
60. Forrest Gump (1994)
61. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
62. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
63. L.A. Confidential (1997)
64. Das Boot (1981)
65. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
66. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
67. Untergang, Der (2004)
68. Aliens (1986)
69. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
70. Raging Bull (1980) (I'm not a Scorsese fan, but ok.)
71. Metropolis (1927)
72. Rashômon (1950) (At 72? Behind LOTR? Behind Godfather 2? Really?)
73. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) (Fun, but doesn't belong.)
74. Modern Times (1936)
75. Hotel Rwanda (2004) (Don't have the fortitude to watch it yet. One day.)
76. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
77. Sin City (2005)
78. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (Best on a double dose of LSD.)
79. Rebecca (1940)
80. Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957) (Bergman... Ok, I guess. De Duva is better, IMO. Word on the street is that Bergman enjoyed De Duva, too. Watch it here. It's only about 15 minutes long, unlike Bergman movies.)
81. All About Eve (1950)
82. Some Like It Hot (1959) (Kinda lame. I wouldn't include it here.)
83. City Lights (1931)
84. Amadeus (1984)
85. On the Waterfront (1954)
86. Vita è bella, La (1997)
87. The Great Escape (1963)
88. Touch of Evil (1958)
89. The Prestige (2006)
90. The Elephant Man (1980)
91. Jaws (1975)
92. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
93. The Sting (1973)
94. Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1988) (Doesn't belong.)
95. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
96. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
97. The Apartment (1960)
98. Braveheart (1995)
99. The Great Dictator (1940)
100. Blade Runner (1982)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Music to dance to. Kinda.

OK, I admit that I'm insane. This is better than that addictive "Numa, Numa" thing the kids burned into my brain a while back, which IMO is a strong contender for lamest live performance video ever. At least these guys (Loituma) just sing. Northern Europe rules and Eastern Europe drools!

levan Polkka

Try it. You'll love it. For a while, anyway. This should be in the dictionary as part of the definition of "catchy."

Brought to you (through me) by Aunt Jorene and Uncle Moritz. Blame them!

Stolen homage

With apologies to those who've posted it before me and deep apologies and sincere thanks to the ever-humorous webcomic, which I love, whence it came:

Thinking of Gary Gygax, Ingmar Bergman, Bill and Ted, and "De Duva"; but especially Gary. Requiescat In Pace. Unless there's a high-level cleric who can throw a saving roll? Probably a bit late now; I don't think he'd make a good zombie. Check your Monster Manual for details.

Thanks for the good times, Gary.

My life as an alphabet. I am not a dog.

Explanation for the esoteric/obscurity-impaired: The title of this post is a play on the movie title "My Life As a Dog."

ABC meme taken from Kelli:

A - Available?
For what? Adventure? Sure!

B-Best friend?
Not spouse? Bob, of course. Mr. Toilets. The Bobster. Bob-aloo. Captain Blacktoes. My longtime partner in crime. The only person foolish enough to consistently agree when I say, "Hey! Ya know what we should do?"

C-Cake or Pie?
Pie. (or Pi. I like 'em both.) Lemon meringue, key lime, Boston cream, ...but red velvet cake is good, too, as is wedding cake...

D-Drink of choice?
Nonalcoholic - Coke, maybe lemonade+tea. Alcoholic, I guess kir royale.

E-Essential thing used everyday?
My dick.

F-Favorite color?
6438.4696 angstrom units (cadmium red).

G-Gummi bears or worms?
I say YES to all gummis. The crystal craze gummis are especially good in cheap red wine at sunset in the Caribbean, but only if you're already drunk.

New Orleans. The Crescent City. The City That Care Forgot. The Home of the Blues. The Big Easy. The Paris of the Americas. I could go on.

Local, class, plenary, partial? When you ask a(n ex)Catholic this question, ya gotta be specific. I'll take "plenary" for eternity, please, Alex.

J-January or February?
They're both in the middle of fucking Winter. I hate 'em both.

K-Kids and names?
Marjorie and Chloe.

What about it? The cereal? A prison sentence? Again, the lack of specificity makes this difficult to respond to.

M-Marriage date?

N-Number of siblings?
3 living, 1 dead. Marjorie (RIP), [me], Christine, Charles, Judy.

O-Oranges or apples?
Blood oranges. Of course, I wouldn't turn down a nice Granny Smith, especially if it's a Jaclyn Smith. (She must be a granny by now, right?) Nice apples.


"Sometimes ya just gotta say, 'What the fuck.'" Ok. Updated/changed cuz I just reminded myself of this one. From the movie Ed Wood: "Lemme hear ya call Karloff a cocksucker."

R-Reason to smile?
Ronnie. (And look! Her name also starts with an R. It must be Intelligently Designed. Ok, maybe not.)

Summer. Is there any other worth discussing? (And look! It starts with an S. It must be... Oh, never mind!)

T-Tag three people?
No thanks.

U-Unknown fact about me?
Hmmmnnnn, I applied to the Air Force Academy (and was accepted) before I decided to be a pacifist. Oops.

V-Vegetable you don't like?
Am I limited to just one? This is my least favorite food group.

W-Worst Habit?
Just one? Lazy^infinity.

X-X-rays you have had?
Only dental.

Y-Your favorite food?
Crawfish bisque.

Western - Bull. Eastern - Rat. Not the killer. Not the killer AT ALL!

Science today! Oh my!

It's International Pi Day (cuz it's 3/14, get it?) *and* Talk Like a Physicist Day. So eat some pie for lunch while saying things like: string theory, antimatter, strange attractors, frame of reference, Maxwell's demons, Pascal's principle, and zeroth law of thermodynamics!


13 13s

I don't really do the whole Thursday Thirteen thing but I felt like doing this today.

Apollo 13 (‘nuff said)
Mercury 13 (women of the Mercury-era astronaut corps)
Louis XIII of France (think Richelieu, Descartes, the Three Musketeers)
13th Warrior (a fine movie of a delightful book – “Eaters of the Dead”)
Triskadekophobia (Don’t you love Greekification to make things sound ever so much more *significant*?)
13th root (13 is the first prime number over 10 such that the last digit of a 13th integer power is the same as the last digit of its 13th root)
Chromosome 13 ( info here)
13 colonies (later became the United States of America)
Chapter 13 (type of bankruptcy)
PG-13 (movie rating)
13 Ghosts (a bad 60s horror movie made into a terrible 2000s horror movie)
Thirteen Days (a movie of the Cuban missile crisis)
Carbon-13 (unluckier than Carbon-14)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Yet another math joke

This one is a classic and so apropos in the context of my recent math rant.

Two mathematicians were having dinner in a restaurant, arguing about the average mathematical knowledge of the American public. One mathematician claimed that this average was woefully inadequate, the other maintained that it was surprisingly high.

"I'll tell you what," said the cynic. "Ask that waitress a simple math question. If she gets it right, I'll pick up dinner. If not, you buy." He then excused himself to visit the men's room.

The other called the waitress over. "When my friend returns," he told her, "I'm going to ask you a question and I want you to respond 'one-third x cubed.' There's twenty bucks in it for you." She agreed.

The cynic returned from the bathroom and the plotting mathematician called the waitress over. "The food was wonderful, thank you! Incidentally, do you know what the integral of x squared is?"

The waitress looked pensive, almost pained. She looked around the room, at her feet, made gurgling noises, and finally said, "Um, one-third x cubed?"

Chagrined, the cynic paid the check. The waitress turned, walked a few paces away, and muttered under her breath, " a constant."

If that ain't a knee-slapper... well then, you're probably a Three Stooges fan.

Bonus joke:

Three statisticians go hunting. They see a rabbit and the first one shoots, missing it on the left. The second one shoots and misses it on the right. The third one shouts: "We've hit it!"

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Basic math jokes

In the context of my math rant, here are a coupla jokes related to bases, of one kind or another:

There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don’t.

Q: Why do programmers confuse Halloween and Christmas?
A: Because Oct. 31 = Dec. 25.

Q: When the bases are loaded, and no one is out, what partial differential equation must the pitcher attempt to solve?
A: The KDP Equation*.

*In baseball, strikeouts followed by caught stealings are coded “K/DP”.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Music is my life...

...talent is my problem.

Here are links to downloads of our fabulous BHD hits (OK, I use that term loosely.) from the 60s.

I'm Gonna Leave You
I Could Have Loved Her

Here's a YouTube one: I Could Have Loved Her

Plus a photo I haven't seen in decades which I just got from bandmember Eddie. Just call me Rittmeister Maier of the Kaiser's Kavalry.