August 14th, 2010

#2222: Listen to this.

It's a BBC Radio documentary about "Useful Idiots".

It's an audio documentary by someone who understands how evil communism is, and why it's evil, and its myriad ways of being insidious and treacherous.

Via Ace of Spades. I actually went there to see something else, but his post on the BBC Radio piece intrigued me enough to get me to install the Windows Media Player plug-in so I could listen to the show. And it was so compelling I was disappointed that the second part isn't available yet.

* * *

Wait! In the comments for the Ace post, the BBC Radio archive has 'em both for download! Awesome.

Part One.

Part Two.

(You should be able to right-click those links and select "save link as" or "save link target as", but do go to the BBC site instead.)

* * *

Why is Ace of Spades not in my blogroll? "[Obama] took a break from his grueling golf/vacation schedule to have a dinner."

An excellent examination of media bias and how it operates.

Okay, it's on the blogroll now.

* * *

Ironically I got there because of a link over at Big Dick's Place, which was to something entirely unrelated to the post which prompted me to post this.

...and, BTW, that card trick--OMG.

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If you're a native American*, how you talk is pretty much how the original colonials talked.

Interesting point: colonies tend to be more conservative than the places which spawned them, which is why the British lost their rhoticity while we kept it.

Other interesting point: the dialect we now call "Ebonics" came from Great Britain. That's right; in colonial Great Britain there were people who talked like gangsta rappers. Enough of these folks settled in the south that slaves brought to the colonies picked up the accent from them.

* * *

*= I am a native American. I was born here. "Native American" <> "indian". I don't care what the politically correct asshats say.

* * *

Okay, I'm a convert.

I think it was Steven Den Beste who tried Banquet or Swanson pot pies and was disappointed with them. I thought he was being a bit unfair; what does he expect for less than $1? Anyway he compared them (unfavorably) to Marie Callender's pot pies.

I tried one while Mom was in the hospital; I needed fast and easy food and they were on sale for $3.00 each, and they're big. I was impressed with the quality of it. (Well, crap, for a regular price of $3.70 apiece they damn well ought to be big and good.)

Now, I think the Banquet/Swanson pot pies are okay, but they never served as meals for me; I'd have one after getting up, when I needed something just to shut up my stomach for an hour or three, just until I was able to get some real food.

The Marie Callender's pot pies are meals--they're about twice the volume of the cheapo ones--and $3.70 to shut up my stomach for 4-5 hours is a freakin' bargain. There's a good portion of meat in them, and sliced carrots which actually taste like carrots.

...so they've earned a permanent place on the shopping list.

#2223: Or, here's an idea: DON'T LITTER, YOU ASSHAT.

Jerkoff:
If you decide to throw a banana peel out of your car’s window while driving, make sure you don’t hit the police car that is just overtaking you.
I see trash all over the damn place, deposited by lazy people who can't be arsed to throw their garbage into a proper trash receptacle. "Oh, I'm done with this, I'll just chuck it out the window."

I want to find those people, beat them with a tire iron, and then make them watch as a garbage truck dumps its load on their freaking car.

I don't think it's too much to expect of anyone old enough to drive a car that he should be able to plan ahead. If you're going to eat a banana while driving--WTF, sometimes you have to eat while driving. But if you're going to do it, have a plastic bag handy for the peel. It's not like you can't get plastic bags for nothing, since presumably you bought the banana someplace and probably they had plastic bags by the fuck-ton specifically for the purpose of giving you a convenient way of carrying home your purchases. Chances are there's a perfectly good garbage can at your destination, and that way your trash will go to the proper place instead of making an unsightly mess of the highways.

I bet this dickhead is the kind of person who complains about how man is ruining the environment, too.

* * *

Obama votes "present" on the Ground Zero Celebratory Mosque.

* * *

Runaway Slave.

I already know what the template will be for this film: "This film is made by a self-hating black man." "He's an Uncle Tom!" "He's not black; he's an oreo! He only looks black on the outside, but on the inside, he's white!"

Not one person critical of this film will actually address the points raised by it; the critics will universally pan it.

The left is so predictable, who needs a crystal ball? I don't need to tell you these things; you know them already.

* * *

Brian Dunbar is selling his sailboat. I know the pain he's experiencing. I hated it when I had to let Dad's sailboat go, even though I knew there was no way in hell I could afford to rent dockspace and pay insurance and buy supplies and-and-and.

If there was any way in hell I could justify buying Brian's boat--and if I had the money--I'd have already sent him an e-mail about it. A 13-foot boat is much more manageable than Dad's 23-footer was, because you don't need dockspace for a boat that small: you just put it in the water when you want to use it, and keep it on the trailer otherwise. That also obviates having to clean and wax the bottom twice per year (or to strip and apply anti-fouling paint once per year) and a 13-footer should be small enough to fit in a garage, so storage isn't an issue, either.

If I thought I could justify it I'd offer to trade him a perfectly usable 1977 MGB for his boat. It needs a tune up and some other minor details (and a couple of not-so-minor details, like a new set of tires) but it'd be a steal at $2,000. But if medical reasons keep him from sailing, they'd probably keep him from tinkering with a little British car. (Pity. The car is yellow, like the boat. There's a certain symmetry to it.)

Well, he already has plenty of people interested in buying the thing, which is really good considering the state of the economy.

* * *

I ordered checks last week, with two extra books of deposit slips. The deposit slips arrived Thursday; the checks arrived today.

Estimated time of arrival when I placed the order: August 23.

Okay.

...ironically, I went with the sailboat motif this time. The last box (bought in 2004--I have not written many checks) was a lighthouse motif. What I really want to do is to get a lineup of hot anime babes and have custom checks printed, but I needed the checks and didn't feel like sorting through a billion images to find the right one for my purposes.

I could have had checks printed with a picture of my Fiero, though. I even have one that's perfect for the task:


Now I think of that. *sigh* It only needs a little tweaking in the rear wheel area to be perfect. This is an image I've prepared specifically for applying to a tee shirt...if I ever get around to it. Argh etc.

Anyway, there's nothing wrong with the sailboats. I like sailboats.

Notice please that I--once again--gave thought to the Hello Kitty motif and--once again--rejected it. My iconoclastic streak is still alive and well, even though I keep it on a tighter leash these days.

When I opened my first checking account, I selected a skull-and-crossbones woodcut for my checks. So, right next to the name and address block was the old Jolly Roger; and to my disappointment I hardly ever got any comments about it. I suspect there were more checks out there like that than my young adult imagination could comprehend. After all, this was 1987, before fully-customized checks with elaborate backgrounds were really common, yet the Jolly Roger was one of the available woodcuts. (You could also get the radiation warning trefoil. I shoulda gone with that one....)

#2224: Little Fuzzy DOES NOT NEED a "reboot"!

WTF.

The original book by H. Beam Piper doesn't need to be rewritten and I'll bet dollars to doughnuts this guy's "reboot" of it will be shit.

...his name's John Scalzi and a description of his main body of work includes this lede: "This series of books is what I’m currently best known for," and it's under the "Sci Fi Channel" imprint. *rolleyes* It doesn't mean he's a hack, of course, but I've never heard of the guy.

He's won some awards, though not major ones; and that tells me that he's probably taken a maggoty, runny shit all over H. Beam Piper's world. I'll have to read his fanfic version to see, but I'll be a monkey's assistant if I'm going to buy the damn thing. I'll get it from the local library.

Wait, you ask--what makes me think that? So the guy's won some awards; why does that make you think this guy's crapped on Piper's work?

Well, you see, the only people who win writing awards are people who have the "right" opinions and write with "correct" politics. Okay, Flashforward's author Robert Sawyer filled his novel with short polemics about socialized medicine and also uncritically presented "the future" with massive ozone depletion because of CFCs.

...I don't know how many damn times I've written about ozone depletion and CFCs here; do I need to repeat myself? Short form: the "ozone hole" was discovered in 1956 and explained as a natural phenomenon. The magnitude of the "ozone hole" in 1956 was approximately identical to the "worst ozone hole in recorded history", and the "ozone hole" always recovers every year after the meteorological conditions which prompt its formation pass. In other words, the "ozone hole" scaremongering contained about as much real science as the "anthropogenic global warming" scaremongering does.

Robert Sawyer wins writing awards.

So this John Scalzi has won some minor awards himself; his status as a not-very-well-known writer is probably why he's not won bigger ones. And I'd wager those awards are the kind of prizes given to people because they write well and have the correct opinions, the same way most awards are.

Piper's universe was largely libertarian/conservative, with a strong emphasis on personal responsibility and self-reliance; someone who wins writing awards is likely to shit all over that.

* * *

I only know of this nonsense because I posted a comment here and wanted to give non-SF-readers a link to the story I was talking about.

In Little Fuzzy, Jack Holloway used a Nitro Express to shoot a damnthing, you see. I had to go for the reference. Little Fuzzy remains one of my favorite SF novels of all time.

* * *

Scalzi defends his "reboot" of LF by saying that all kinds of things have been "rebooted". But his examples are series which desperatley needed it, because the prior efforts were schlocky or asninine.

...wait; he says "Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek". Where's the reboot of Star Trek? As far as I know there aren't any. Star Trek: The Next Generation is in the same continutiy as the original series; the same goes for Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and even Enterprise. None of these rewrote anything having to do with the original series; even Enterprise was shoehorned in as part of the continuity of the Trek universe. (I could comment on that, answering the criticisms leveled of that series, but I'll leave that for another time.)

But BG desperately needed a "reboot". The original was written for 10-year-olds; it was primarily a way to sell toys, because no one in Hollywood took SF seriously enough to think adults would want to watch an SF TV series. And Glen Larson didn't know shit about serious SF, anyway.

The only reason BG happened originally was that Star Wars had shown that SF didn't have to be a niche market, that it could make serious money if done even halfway correctly. The primary benefit of SW was that it didn't talk down to the viewer, nor did it try to be too fantastic.

Want to make me cringe? Use these terms from the original BG: "Felgercarb". "Secton." "Daggit." "Tylium" (pronounced "tie-lee-um"). The former three were excised entirely; they changed the emphatic syllable of their fuel to "till-ee-um" and it sounded better. They'd say "second" instead of "secton" (the entire Colonial timekeeping method was changed in favor of the units we use) and the entire deal with Boxy and his robo-dog-thing was chopped out in its entirety.

The folks in Hollywood thought, "Oh, those SF nerds eat this kind of junk up. Give everything a weird nonsensical name and they'll love it." This was a disease peculiar to writers, directors, and producers, well into the 1980s.

You want to do a reboot of something? Reboot Battle Beyond the Stars! Holy shit was that a turd of a movie. God damn it. George Peppard as a space trucker! (CB radios were in vogue at the time, after all.) Nestor, the hive mind--Jesus, way to fuck up that concept, guys: one takes a bite of a hot dog and another one chews? How do you explain that? Matter teleportation? And then the first one says, "There is no dog in this!" How the fuck would an alien know what dog tastes like? WTF, why are they even eating hot dogs anyway when this is some society in either the far future or the far past? Because George Peppard the Space Texan has hot dogs as his traditional cowboy food! And John Boy was organizing a ragtag group of warriors to battle some kind of galactic overlord? It was fucking stupid and it made no damn sense at all!

...but 20th Century Fox had a super-hit with that "Star Warts" thing, so we've got to jump on the bandwagon! Shit, that movie by itself put SF cinema back a decade, easy.

How about rebooting Silent Running? Or, here's a thought: reboot Callahan's Crosstime Saloon so that it's not a bunch of feel-good lefty bullshit masquerading as SF. That would be a worthwhile read.

No, wait! I've got it! WRITE YOUR OWN DAMN STUFF! That way people won't think you're a total freakin' hack!

In my family, Alan Dean Foster had--for years--a bad reputation, because all he did was novelizations of movies, and he got them wrong. (In fact, Foster worked from a script, and changes inevitably get made during filming; only Foster wasn't privy to them, so his novels didn't reflect the final version of the movie. We blamed him unfairly; but we didn't know that then.) We thought he was a hack, someone who could only rewrite others' stories, usually badly. (Example: his Splinter of the Mind's Eye, which was probably the first Star Wars book outside the continuity of the movies. And it was shit.)

...but when he finally started publishing his original works, I discovered that the guy was actually a capable writer. His standalone novels are pretty good reads; his Cyber Way is a pretty cool mixture of computer technology and Navajo mythology. His Icerigger trilogy is a great read and it was the first of his books which led me to reconsider his ability as a writer.

* * *

But someone has paid for this "reboot", so it's going to be published. WTF.