Sunday, November 28, 2010

Of Bombs, Dogs, and Octopi.

  I once saw a show on one of the cable channels about some monster hunters on the tail of the giant octopus.  It was pretty dull, since I can't remember anything about it save one point: they mentioned that a giant octopus was rumored to live under that particular bridge, but they weren't allowed to dive around the bridge for security reasons.  That struck me as being pretty silly, because that would seem the best way to ensure that a saboteur would be able to work in peace and quiet.  If the police can't get around to their growing piles of arrest warrants, then they surely can't find the time for regular inspection diving. Best way to find those discus shaped thingies with the red blinking lights is to encourage civilians to get out more.  

  Think the same applies to airline travel.  The chances of an airliner getting hijacked are pretty low right now, and it has nothing to do with the valiant efforts of the noble TSA.  Citizens are your best defense here, and it costs nothing.

  I assume the biggest problem is that of explosives, and I have to confess to some confusion:  What's with all the x-ray machines and groping in the name of safety?  Why not subject every traveler to a good sniffing by a bomb animal?  They appear to be accurate, cost very little, and I'll bet people would rather have a giant rat crawling through their clothes than a sweaty human.

Friday, November 26, 2010

One Staggered Into The Cold. The Other Went Back To Sleep.

I had to be up prior to the butt crack of dawn due to the Black Friday sales.  One of the cats tearfully wished me Godspeed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

So Spooky! So Horrific! So Sleepy...

  Pretty much your standard boy meets demon love story.  In a village there is a well whose water can heal the sick.  It can also do things like make you prettier, so it also draws the vain and greedy.  That attracts the attentions of succubi, who are basically lazy and like their sinners gathered in one place.  One succubus gets tired of killing just the evil and wants to try getting someone virtuous.  Enter boy scout Marc, who turns the tables and makes the succubus fall in love with him.  This is considered an outrage in demon society, so the rest of the succubi summon an incubus to help them get revenge. 

  Time for the points:

  Overall, not a bad B horror flick.  The location really does have an otherworldly feel to it, and the story does have some promise.  It is also lacking in action, so it's not a film to watch  when you are tired.  In this day and age, I'd show it to kids at bedtime.  Better than a glass of warm milk.

  Incubus was considered lost for many decades.  It was shown regularly in Paris yet was considered lost.  Hollywood needs to get out more.

  The Sci-Fi network paid for the restoration.  Near as I can tell, that involved putting big black bars over the French subtitles so English subtitles could be used.  Given the crap they push out the door, who is surprised?

  Subtitles are necessary because the film is entirely in Esperanto.   So far, it's the only(?) American(?)  film shot entirely in that language, and it's really a nice touch that adds to the movie.   There is something else I've noticed:  For a language that was invented to help unite people, Esperantists can be awfully snobby.  

  The trouble stems from the fact that the actors didn't speak Esperanto, therefore their pronunciation was a little off.  Instead of being grateful, Esperantists decided to go all clannish and deride the effort.  Human nature wins again.





Saturday, November 20, 2010

How Can Something So Bad Feel So Good?

  I wasn't having a bad day.  In fact, I was having a great one.  Something had to be amiss, so I balanced my karma by making an 80 year old grandmother go outside and sweep leaves in a gusty fifty degrees.


  Actually, she agreed so she could loosen up her back.  She was going to a job interview about thirty years ago and rolled her car a few times.  She called the company she was going to interview with and told them she was going to be a bit late, then walked out of the hospital with a broken back (!!!1!!) and made it a mere 45 minutes late.  Got the job.  

 Know how she met her husband?  Roller derby, of course.  Thirty years, three kids.  Does on a Dairy Queen napkin what District does on his laptop, then shows him his mistakes.

  I keep telling people they grow them bigger now, but tougher then.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back When Brave Warriors And Beautiful Sorceresses Walked The Land...

  ...Gnomish kingdoms were won and lost from the backs of such mounts as these:


  Seriously, that was one big goat/sheep.  It may not be all that tall, but it lumbered with heavy hoofsteps as it walked over to the fence.  I could well imagine a Mexican friar or Greek priest making his rounds on one.

  Go looking for a car, wind up at Honest Abe's Used Ungulates.  


Friday, November 12, 2010

*Contains Helpful Mandarin Phrases!

  Back when I started working for this company, they were selling a toy for children which looked just like a computer mouse with a marble inside.  Turns out, that's exactly what it was, a toy to help children develop computer input dexterity. We sold a lot of stuff like that; toy cell phones, PDA's, and even plastic light up computers.

Now, CheapMart presents the toy for the Next Generation:

Now with My Vacuum Cleaner,  My Sweatshop Sewing Machine, etc.

  I'd seen this toy mentioned on other blogs earlier, but this is the first I've unloaded.  I don't think it means the end of Western Civilization yet.   Cleaning houses can be pretty profitable; I know professionals who clean  on weekends for extra cash.   Plus, it won't hurt for the kids to learn how to be tidy early on.  Still, it looks so... professional.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kay-lee The Elect-ron, Do-ing Electron Things

  I can't say that Excalibur is one of my favorite films, but it is one of the few that takes the whole  sword and sorcery genre seriously without being full of itself.  There has been criticism that the full armor is totally out of place in what should be Dark Ages Britain, but I disagree.  Mythology isn't about historical accuracy, and no knightly epic is realistic without the Pre-Raphaelite touch.


  When I first saw it, I remember getting peeved at Lancelot using a chopped off pole arm as a hand weapon.  I assumed it was another case of "Let's introduce another weird looking weapon."  Somehow, I had forgotten that my Boys Big Book of Chivalry and Smiting the Muhammadeans and French  featured the same type of hammer/spear/axe combination in most of the illustrations.  Actually got to use a similar looking device once when opening a car door.  Same theory really: get into a metal shell with a two handed can opener.

  Excalibur was John Boorman's Plan B if a LOTR deal fell through, and he is rightly proud of it, not just for the film, but also for what he did for Irish film and actors.  I like it because it offers a glimpse of what might have been.  Of all directors, John Boorman offers the best version of what Elfhelm might look like, but in the end Excalibur suffers from "The Titanic is gonna sink" syndrome.

  P.S.  I once got smarter than you look points from a substitute teacher for spelling her name right.  I was filling out a movie rental when she said her first name was Caylee.  I dropped the pen when she started to spell it, and as I bent down to pick it up I was able to think 

 A young married woman wouldn't move to Desolation County by choice.

 She is a substitute teacher, therefore doesn't plan on staying long.

 No accent means moving a lot as a youth.

 Good teeth means her parents were not migrant workers.

 Ergo, military brat, military wife.

 Starting to spell her name before being asked indicated it is an odd spelling.

 Caylee indicates Scotland.

 What would parents do in the Hippie Age?

 "C-A-D-H-E?" I asked.  I got it right!  Got extra credit for giving the E a big wedge eyebrow.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stay Away From Me Until I Want Something!

  Not that Autumn is here, everyone is starting to get the colds and 'flu which tend to start this time every year and stubbornly hang on until the Northern Hemisphere starts to warm up again.  The first time I heard a hack today, I thought about a friend I worked with (we were 'lifers' in the grocery business) who died about three years ago of lung cancer.  The bad thing about it was that several years before he was diagnosed, everyone around him knew something was wrong and were strongly recommending that he go see a doctor.   His response?  "Oh well." And a shrug.  Don't even bother asking if he had insurance.  Of course, when the time came he didn't shrug and say something cavalier; he wanted treatment.

  This happens a lot.  Is there a word to describe them?  Warm weather libertarians?  What's so bad is that they never learn their lesson.  There was another fellow here in town who had plenty of money, he just didn't want to pay any of it on health insurance.  He had a heart attack, and instead of doing the noble thing and telling the nurses to dump him out on the sidewalk, he allowed the town to do one of those charity fund raisers for his benefit.  He was able to pay a small portion of his considerable bill; the hospital wrote off the rest.  

  But they didn't, did they?  They just passed it on to me.  No way that MRI cost ten thousand dollars.  My premiums just took another jump, and Mr. Heart Attack still doesn't have insurance.  But he has a new car.

  It's almost enough to make me a socialist.  I think that Obamacare is a huge boondoggle whose primary purpose is political and social rather than medical, but something simply has to be done.

  I believe that if you criticize, you should offer a solution, so here goes:

1.  Yeah, make everyone buy insurance.  Look, few people have enough willpower to say "Let me bleed to death" and not many can stand around doing nothing to help.  If you buy insurance, at least you have some control.  It's either that or more taxes for GovCare.  (Motto: Unions First)

2.  Have cash only medical centers.  It's one of the reasons vets are so cheap.  In fact, I'd let a veterinarian stitch me up.  

3. One form to rule them all.  Make all insurance use the same form.  Should have done that first. 

4.  Everyone who enters the United States has to have proof of insurance.  

5.  Stop telling people how to live.  Trying to social engineer our eating habits may have a hand in our obesity/diabetes/whatnot epidemic.

  By the way, I had this argument with someone who does not have insurance.  I lost, because I decided to make trauma the example, and he had coverage for accidents through his vehicle and homeowner insurance.  You just have to back up and try again.


Thursday, November 4, 2010