Well, what can I say? Mrs. Fungus and I have been busy.
Thursday we slept later than we should have, but got up and hit the grocery store for necessities. I grilled some hamburgers--they came out amazing--and after dinner I dragged out the arsenal of freedom.
Mrs. Fungus and I had previously made a trip to the capitalist running dog state to the east of the glorious Peoples' Demokratik Republik of Illinoistan, and came home with some additions to the arsenal, including--for the first time--mortars.
They had a deal on them, four boxes of six shots for $20, so we tried it, and I have to say it was fun stuff. They make quite a bit of noise when launched; the thimbleful of gunpowder in the lifting charge is enough to fire a large bullet. (Which makes sense, if you think about it. The shell weighs more than a typical bullet, though it doesn't go as far nor as fast.) (Physics FTW.)
We set off a few things, then it was time to go see fireworks. We went down to Beecher and watched the show there, and--as it usually is--it was a pretty damned good show. The traffic was as bad as it always is when we left, but we got home in relatively short order, and then we started setting off fireworks again.
That ended around 11-ish when a police car drove by. He didn't stop or say anything but the message was obvious--okay, you've had your fun, time to pack it in for the night--so we finished lighting the few things we had open, policed the site, and then went inside.
Friday, we slept.
Saturday was scarcely more active than Friday. We spent most of Saturday playing WoW, in fact.
Now it's Sunday, and Mrs. Fungus' "return to work" day.
* * *
I last cut the grass on Wednesday, but that seems like it was about a month ago. WTF.
* * *
Meanwhile, around all this, TJIC has had his civil rights stomped by the police. AGAIN.
Tam is even linked by Vox Day.
The first time, his guns were seized by police because he said something politically incorrect. Now he has not even done that much and his girlfriend's guns were seized, without a warrant or probable cause.
In that same piece, Vox Day also mentions a real live Third amendment case: cops decided they were going to use a civilian's home for surveillance whether the homeowner liked it or not; they arrested him on a charge of "obstructing a police officer" because he refused to let them use his house.
When he refused to allow them into his house, they bashed in his front door, aimed their weapons at him, fired "pepperball" rounds at him, and shouted obscenties at him. They shot at his cowering dog and ran him outside, into 100 degree heat, without food or water. That'll teach him to defy the police and insist on his civil rights!
Not only did they do this to him, but to his parents as well, at their house down the street. (Yep, doing this at two separate houses simultaneously!) His father tried to leave the "command center" and was illegally detained. His mother--who had remained in the house--was forcibly removed from the house after she told the cops they could not enter her home without a warrant. While forcibly detaining her, officers searched her purse--again, illegally, without a warrant--and dragged her away from her home.
The two men--the guy and his father--were in jail for nine hours before being bailed out, but the charges against them were dismissed with prejudice, meaning that there's no way they can be tried for those incidents. The charges cannot be refiled in those cases; I have a fair amount of confidence that the arraigning judge did that because the cops were so obviously engaging in malfeasance.
This clearly is not mere misfeasance ("Uh, we screwed up, your honor") because the official report clearly states:
It was determined to move to 367 Evening Side and attempt to contact [homeowner Anthony] Mitchell. If Mitchell answered the door he would be asked to leave. If he refused to leave he would be arrested for Obstructing a Police Officer. If Mitchell refused to answer the door, force entry would be made and Mitchell would be arrested.The problem is, constitutionally speaking police don't have (aren't supposed to have, at any rate) that kind of power. But here we see a police officer planning to remove someone from his own home solely because he stands on his civil rights when it is convenient for the police to use his home as a surveillance post, regardless of what the owner wants and without a judicial writ (ie a warrant) authorizing the action.
I hope these guys win their lawsuit, and I hope they win big--so big that the police department in question is bankrupted.
It used to be--within my memory--that the idea of our government forcing citizens to let its officers use their homes was unthinkable. In school, the Third amendment had to be explained in context, because the typical response to a reading of the Bill of Rights used to elicit a "Huh? Why do we need that?" reaction.
Now? Not so much.
The common thread in these two cases--TJIC and the unfortunate Mitchell family--is abuse of police power. The police have all the force of government behind them; that's why they can waltz in and make their victims do whatever they want, irrespective of the actual black-letter law: they have guns and the legal authority to use them, and if you refuse to do as they "request" they can arrest you and make your life a living hell.
For standing on his fourth amendment rights, TJIC has once again been stripped of his civil right to self defense, and his girlfriend's personal property has been confiscated. For standing on his third amendment rights, Mitchell has been arrested and humiliated.
Police state. Yep.
* * *
...that's probably got me on a list, now. *sigh* Hi, NSA! How are you guys today? How was lunch?
This is depressing. We were born free.
* * *
Over the past few days, Critter has been measured at various times to be 29", 25", and 27" long. He still hasn't reached his high of 36" from Monday, July 1.
The problem is, he likes to play with the measuring tape, and if you try to measure him, he moves. Still, once in a while you can get him in a fairly somnolent mood when he's stretched out on the floor, and that's when you have to take the measurement.
* * *
The episode of Lost where Hurley finds a VW van in the jungle, and they get it running, has a song stuck in my head. I don't know the name of it. (EDIT: "Shambala" by Three Dog Night. IMDB FTW. /EDIT)
The series continues to be weird. The major problem with Lost is that the people behind it threw stuff in solely to make the audience go, "WTF was that shit about?" That's why there are polar bears on a tropical island, for example, and the hatch, and-and-and. It's all meant to heighten suspense.
But that kind of randomness leads to trouble when it comes time to explain things. You end up with half a dozen conflicting causes.
From halfway through the third season, I'm left wondering: so, the Dharma Initiative is clearly this big secret operation, well-funded...and the Others (or Hostiles) are also clearly a big secret operation, and also very well-funded. These two organizations are in conflict with each other, to the point of there having been a "war" between them some years ago, and the Others won, because the Dharma program has clearly fallen to pieces.
There is no way to find the island from the outside, except by accident? Do I understand this? GPS doesn't exist in this world? The organizations are huge and powerful enough to keep the island off of maps, such that old-fashioned navigation is also incapable of locating this place? A big deal is made of the fact that the implosion of the hatch set off a huge EMP that ruined the navigational beacon that enabled the Others to find the island from the outside, such as when someone took the submarine off the island. When Jack is about to be sent home, it's made plain that the sub can't get back to the island without the sonar beacon. No one can use a sextant and chronometer to navigate the old-fashioned way? I mean, when you are going somewhere via ocean, you need to know where you are starting from lest you end up going the wrong way.
Prior to the destruction of the hatch and the EMP, there was a satellite station that had a robust data connection to the outside world. Someone could have looked up on-line how to operate a sextant, so why didn't they? These people are portrayed as incredibly crafty and intelligent, yet there isn't a backup plan for finding the island in the event of something as pedestrian as a power failure?
...this is why the series ended in such a mess. (Reportedly. I remember the howls of "WTF??" when Lost ended production.) It ended in a mess because the writers didn't have a plan.
Contrast that with Babylon 5. J. Michael Straczinski planned on the show taking five seasons to tell its tale, and had an outline established. That's why, in the pilot, Ambassador Kosh greets Commander Jeffrey Sinclair with a slightly astonished, "Entil'Zha Valen!" Kosh recognizes Sinclair as the founder of the Rangers and would, considering the way the Vorlons do things.
Now, look: I understand that B5 is the exception, rather than the rule. It's almost impossible to plan a TV series because the public is fickle, and what works once often won't work a second time. But it really doesn't--or shouldn't--take much extra effort to establish boundaries for a story, a rough idea of who and what and why and where, so that you don't end up in a morasse of conflicting elements when it's time to close down the franchise.
The ramshackle ending of Lost (I won't describe it here) ends up being the only possible ending because they wrote themselves into a corner. If the explanation isn't "XYZTHETA"* then there is no possible explanation that makes any f-ing sense whatsoever.
Not that the actual ending made sense, hence the howls from fans of the show.
* * *
Anyway, summer has arrived: it's hot outside.
Little by little I am figuring out how to keep the reconfigured bunker cool without running the AC constantly. It's to the point now that Mrs. Fungus and I no longer have to be warm at night.
Mrs. Fungus invested in a pair of Chillows for us. I will say that the thing works as advertised--it keeps your head cool, all right. It's a bit inconvenient, but it works.
...the commercial featured--among other things--a fat guy saying, "I kept waking up in a pool of my own sweat!"
I quipped, "I woke up in a pool of my own semen!" This was before Mrs. Fungus took the plunge, and it amused her considerably; last night as we laid in bed, using the Chillows for the first time, I said, "I apologize in advance if we happen to wake up in a pool of semen."
And then we laughed for about five minutes, until tears came, and she commanded me to stop saying anything, but once we calmed down we were able to sleep quite well.
The only real quarrel is the strong vinyl scent, which is inevitable with something that's new and made of vinyl. It does a nice job of keeping your head cool.
If only the Salad Shooter had worked as well.
* * *
Speaking of Lost, back when Mrs. Fungus and I were watching B5 I noticed a name in the credits: Wally "Boobis" Sweeterman. It became a thing for us to watch for his name in the end credits and yell, "BOOBIS!" when we saw it. We were disappointed when he stopped appearing in the credits of that show.
...Friday night we were watching Lost and I saw a weird name in the end credits--Walrus something--and when I wound back to look at it again, whose name was above Walrus?
BOOBIS! Listed as "Wally Sweeterman", but it was Boobis!
That was almost as funny as when we were watching an old Twilight Zone ep and one character identified himself as Cadwallader.
* .daed si enoyrevE