atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4627: What's "grand" about this?

Boehner, the Democrat majority leader in the House of Representatives, is a skunk. "Wait," you say. "John Boehner is a Republican!" Indeed, that's what his party affiliation is, and it says "Republican" on the Ohio ballot.

But despite the fact that he ran on opposing Democrat policies in general and Obama in particular, since January 20th the GOP has done nothing but cave, give in, submit, and yield to Democrats, to the point that any challenge to Boehner's leadership will be opposed by Democrats. Well, hell, why wouldn't they vote for Boehner, when he's giving them everything they want without even token opposition?

Under Boehner's leadership--if you can call it that--the GOP has raised spending on items even George W. "I still have checks left!" Bush thought were excessive.

That's why he's got to go.

* * *

Aaron Shock is stepping down.
Schock had come under Question by Extremist Right Wingers for misrepresenting $3000 in costs for a private jet flight as a purchase of "software," and for his lavish $40,000 decoration of his congressional office.
It's worth noting that the private jet flight in question actually cost $13,000 and was provided by a constituent, but Shock only paid $3,000 for it. It therefore counts as a bribe or, at least, an unethical campaign donation.

I'm glad this guy is leaving, but I'd wager he's only doing it to avoid prosecution.

* * *

Borepatch links to a story by a "nationally known author" who writes about the decline and fall of Detroit. I am just cynical enough to expect that this woman votes Democrat, and does not see the connection between her votes and the current sad state of her childhood home.

* * *

I touched on this one last week. "Big Data shocker: Over 6 million Americans have reached the age of 112," goes the headline. The lede adds, "Just 13 are claiming benefits, and 67,000 of them are WORKING".

So there are even more methuselans around than we thought there were. Who are these people? Are they Heinlein's Howard Families? Is there some kind of secret society of people who are getting anagathic treatments from space aliens, but are insufficiently "with it" to cover their tracks? Is there actually spring water from the fountain of youth for sale somewhere?

Or is it--as seems more likely--that illegal aliens are using the social security numbers of dead people in order to avoid having their illegal status detected?

I'm going to have to go with Occam's Razor on this one and assume it is the latter.

* * *

I think Vox Day is right about this. The problem with Adolf Hitler is, he wasn't a madman; he was too high-functioning for that. He may have been a psychopath; certainly he was evil--but he wasn't batshit insane. He was able to present his ideas in a cogent and reasonable fashion, and he was very persuasive.

That's what scares people about Mein Kampf. It shows that Hitler applied reason and thought to achieving his goals, however wrong they may have been, and it forces people to confront the fact that Hitler wasn't a monster. He was human.

And if Hitler was merely human, it means that people are capable of great evil. That simply does not fit with the leftist world view, which holds that people are inifintely perfectable and that everyone wants to help out and fit in and follow the rules.

The leftist world view maintains that only monsters are bad. Problem is, "people who don't agree with us" is the majority of their definition of "monster".

Vox Day concludes:
...[T]hat is possibly the best reason of all that it should be published; it is a vivid reminder that far from being "outside of human logic", every rational man is capable of choosing between good and evil, and choosing between setting himself to achieving great good and committing great harm.
There's not much more I can add to that.

* * *

When I build a world and write about it, one of the things that I think about are the rules of that world. There's nothing unusual about that; all SF writers do it. You have to establish rules and follow them--or if you break them you must do it in creative and limited ways--else your story becomes a mishmash where anything can happen and logic is worthless. You end up with a severe "Mary Sue" story, or worse.

The problems come in when you establish a world that looks a lot like ours, but isn't. It has to be obvious that it's not our world, else you get objections from readers who didn't notice the differences.

That's all right, though.

* * *

So I can say that Velocity's new YouTube mining show, Wheels That Fail, is approximately as bad as I'd feared it would be. The voiceover is what kills it dead, exactly as expected, and I knew that there would be one. The comments made in the voiceover add nothing, are not funny, and frequently are simply stupid.

A better way to handle it would have been to have the voiceover explain what was going on around the clip: "Joe Blow had finally figured out how to do a stoppie with his motorcycle, and had done four of them perfectly. Then he had his friend videotape the fifth." Something that adds information and context without trying to be funny.

This kind of thing is why I can't watch Mystery Science Theater 3000. When something is stupid or bad I make my own comments; I don't need a bunch of cretins on TV to do it for me, especially since they typically say things that I don't find even remotely amusing.

The YouTube fail vids don't need commentary. That's why there are so many of them; people aggregate the clips and patch them together, and other people (like me) watch them: look at the idiot doing a wheelie at 70 MPH--is he surprised that he gets into a wreck? Certianly I don't need a voiceover to tell me what's happening on the screen.

I used to watch Velocity more than I do now. There are too many idiots and dickheads on there now; all the shows feature some morons with bad facial hair and tattoos going on and on about building this or that car for some rich asshat, or which they plan to sell for scores of thousands of dollars. There's no reality in these shows, nothing useful or interesting to me. Wheeler Dealers, at least, takes on different cars than the same old Camaro/Mustang/57 Chevy/hot rod/Challenger/pickup truck/v-twin Harley clone stuff we see over and over and over again from all the other car shows in the universe.

I want to see people do interesting things with vehicles. I don't want to see people buy a brand new car, then upgrade it by bolting on a bunch of parts from a kit they got out of a catalog.

That's also why I stopped watching SpikeTV's Powerblock. It got to the point that's all they were doing; even Extreme 4x4--which had started out fabricating just about everything--had begun to move towards assembling kits. "Today we're going to install a Skyjacker 5" lift kit on a brand new truck!" Thrillsville. Wake me when it's over. Horsepower TV was the first to go, and by the time I quit watching all they ever did was to buy kits or assemblies and put them together. They stopped building engines, for the most part, and just swapped parts on already-running engines to compare effects on their engine dyno. Occasionally informative, but always boring.

Wheeler Dealers is the last gasp. They do interesting things, though, and every week features something different. A Citroen 2CV, for example, or a BMW Z1. They go all over the world, just about, to get cars, and there is very, very little duplication. (They've done two VW buses that I know of, for example; they might have done two Beetles. I know they did at least one Beetle and a dune buggy.)

What they do not do is what the American shows do ad nauseum: keep bringing in Camaros or Mustangs or Chargers or 57 Chevies or hot rods, wash rinse repeat, over and over again, doing exactly the same things every time: change engine and transmission, add aftermarket brakes, 20" wheels, lower car, add high-flow exhaust. Blah blah blah etcetera.

...I'd like to see WD do a Fiero, though. That would be fun.

* * *

Well, today is Saint Patrick's Day, and I've run my errand for the day: I went to the store to buy corned beef and cabbage. It's simmering on the stove, and it's going to take a couple of hours before it's ready for the potatoes and carrots, so I've got some time. And so I'll now turn my attention to writing fiction. Whee!
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