Monday, December 7, 2009

Agent K sums up modern science

1500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat. And 15 minutes ago, you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.
-Agent K

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Star Wars with a laugh track

It makes all the difference in the world:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

But don't drink it!

Hm. Kind of reminds me of the product on The Simpsons back in the day: 'Nuts and Gum' Tag line: "Together at last!"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yay

This guy came up with the rebuttal I tried to voice a few months ago:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rock the vote

Voting has started on the artwork contest at Iowahawk. My entries are 29,30, and 88. You can vote on all 3 simultaneously if you'd like, and the vote page is here. I stand to win $33 if I'm successful, but I have a long way to go to catch up with the entry that's currently in 1st place, which has 62 votes to my 4. So tell a friend!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Last minute pic

I'm 12 minutes over the deadline but am hoping this can still get in:

The contest

I've entered two of my Obama-themed pictures in famed conservative humorist Iowahawk's art contest. The contest ends today but my work has been posted here. Wish me luck! I stand to take home $33 if I'm the winner.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Surveillance does-I hate those.

Better off Ted

My favorite new show of 2008.

"Veronica and I sold so much wrapping paper, not only are you going to Disneyland, but Mickey's gonna be wearing your ears on his head. Oh, wait. That's a horrifying image."

Louder with Crowder

Steve Crowder needs to win an internet Oscar.

I am not some conjurer of cheap tricks


And just to kick off the blog's re-launch, here's a picture of Gandalf, for no reason whatsoever.

Back in black

It's good to be back. Hopefully the redesign feels a lot more like home to everyone. I've been all over the place lately as far as Twitter and Facebook go, but I think I'll make this my home for the conceivable future, unless I have something that can be said in less than, what is it? 120 characters? Something like that.

Ha!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Direct to Chicago

Don Surber raises an interesting point today. Apparently some liberals have been accusing conservatives of being 'un-patriotic' about celebrating that Chicago lost the Olympics.

Ignoring the obvious hypocrisy of that accusation (who was it exactly who has been hyper-sensitive the last 8 years about having their patriotism allegedly called into question?), I think it's important to make a distinction here.

Apart from all the very practical reasons Surber lists in his post why Chicago would be a lousy host city, conservatives are celebrating today because, dang it, it's just good to see the president taken down a notch. A man that arrogant could use a little humility and needs to be reminded time and again that not everyone sees him as "sort of a god," even, amazingly, Europeans.

The results of the president's policies won't be nakedly apparent for a while, though there's more than enough malaise to go around already, so until then this event will hold us over as a fun karmic jellybean.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

10 Things I Hate About U

10. I hate the many bulletins that line your dingy walls. Advertising about an anti-capitalism rallies, within walking distance of the malls.
9. I hate your corn-based food-related products, such as forks, spoons, and straws. I also hate your aging female faculty members, with their Birkenstocks and no bras.
8. I hate your high tuition, your fees and fines and parking cost. I hate all that construction, and my tendency to get lost.
7. I hate your outright bias, groupthink, and godless commie lectures. I spend most classes shooting invisible laser beams at the overhead projectors.
6. I hate your flipping group projects, your activities and panels. I hate your beardedd professors, with tweed jackets and some flannels.
5. I hate all your bumper stickers, like "Department of Peace" and "Obama/Biden 08." In protest I would rock my McCain/Palin, but as a candidate, the Mav wasn't that great.
4. I hate your Coke products, they're everywhere and suck. At least get a Pepsi Machine, you really stupid Huckabee-hating people.
3. I hate that you have no parking, and would rather plant grass than spaces. If I wanted to wander in the wilderness, I would have bought some stronger laces.
2. I hate your whole location, it's way too far away. Is it because of your proximity to the Avenues and their population, gay?
1. I hate the students' whining, their skewered world view. The only thing I would hate more is waking up as you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's almost like some kind of pattern

Don Surber made me laugh today:

The Gazette editorialized that proponents have pushed universal health care for 97 years.

Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail.

I think the American people have spoken, but keep doing the same thing and expecting different results, guys.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Rights vs Yours

Many people think free health care is a right, because you supposedly need health care in order to survive, despite almost the entire history of the planet surviving for millennia with little more than an herbal supplement guru at hand.

So why stop there? If health care is a basic human right, then food should be as well. And not just food-all of our clothes. You NEED food and clothes in order to survive. They are basic, inalienable rights, such as the right to free health care. And not just food or clothing, but shelter. We all need free homes as well. But as we know, we need to sacrifice and do our share, which means we need to get to work. So we'll need cars for that. And gas, and car maintenance, and free registration and car washes and stereos.

Basically the only thing in life that shouldn't be universally free to everyone everywhere are comic books. For that, you're on your own.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rebuttal

In the spirit of open-mindedness, I watched the following video to get the other side's take on the healthcare debate:



There's so many things to say-for now I'll just tackle the first 50 seconds or so.

First, it's a fallacy to think that everyone needs insurance. I personally am on a high-deductible plan with my insurance, so I am almost someone who self-insures. There are plenty of people, though, who deliberately choose to not have health insurance. They save up their money and they pay for their health costs themselves. There are people in the world who can't afford big operations, though, definitely. That's why they invented payment plans. We couldn't pay for our c-section this year by just handing the hospital a $5000 dollar bill. We've had to make payments, which we do tax-free via our HSA account.

So this argument just becomes a moral argument, that because we need the fire department we also need health insurance.

I've heard this argument before. But there are few, if any people, who would argue that the government should not pave roads, establish laws, enforce justice, provide for the common defense, and put out fires. There are plenty who say it should not teach our children, pay our social security, run the only postal letter system in the country, give away money to NPR, PBS, the NEA, and so on etc.

If all the government did was pave roads, fight crime, kill terrorists, and put out fires, I'd be all for it. But health care is not more necessary than a paved road. Everyone uses roads. Not everyone uses health insurance. I also think that there's no reason private industry couldn't do these things and do them better than the government. If your house burns down and you don't have fire insurance, then too bad, you should have bought fire insurance.

'Free' health care is something liberals want conservatives to help pay for. So what if we wanted liberals to help pay for something we wanted, such as, say, shutting down and paving over abortion clinics. Would they be for it? It saves lives, and saving lives is a right. Right?

Search for Spock method of politics

There's a scene in Star Trek 3 wherein Kirk and Christopher Lloyd, who plays the Klingon bad guy, are negotiating. Kirk convinces CL to beam up the rest of the cast while the Genesis planet implodes, so everyone gets beamed up-McCoy, Sulu, Dead David, etc. Spock is left there and Kirk says "Hey, you should beam him up too." CL says "No!" "Why?" says Kirk. "Because you wish it!"

So there are a great many things I'll put up with simply because their very existence annoys liberals. I didn't mind Glen Beck until he had that recent massive coronary unhinged screaming moment at a caller on his radio show. I loved Sarah Palin until she resigned (which I completely understand, but from a personal perspective that puts her out of the running with me for prez. VP, sure, but prez, no). But liberals hate both with a fiery blue flame, and thus I support both with a fiery flame. Why? Because you do not wish it.

Probably seems petty, and it is, I guess, but I'd likely use the same logic to vote for Senator Buttars here in Utah. He seems like kind of a moron and says absolutely ridiculous things, but if Massachusetts can keep someone like Ted Kennedy in office for 40 years, we've got to be able to do the same, right? Even if it's just in the name of annoyance?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Layout change

Sorry, I had to change the format yet again-I couldn't stand the old one. I know this new one isn't me, either, but it's at least 3% better than the previous weirdness. I'm going to commit to a final (well, yeah, meaning final for about 2 months at least) update by Sunday night. I know you're all very excited, so try to contain yourselves if at all possible.

Genealogy

Any aunts/family on my Dad's side-I think most of us assume pretty strongly that almost any genealogy in the family has been done going back to about 4 BC. Is this an accurate assumption? Who is the family history expert?

Ponderables

In my latest Neal A. Maxwell book, EM talks about our relationship with God in an interesting way. He says (paraphrasing) "we are not here to build a relationship with God. This implies that we are somehow equals with God. Ours is not to build a relationship with God-we are here to serve and worship God."

I think that's absolutely true, but it's quite different from the standard LDS cultural thought on the subject which is to cultivate a relationship via your manner of prayers and studying.

However, I don't think Elder Maxwell necessarily meant that it is wrong to try to develop an understanding of God and cultivate a communication channel. By relationship I think he mostly means that our relationship with deity who has literally purchased us should be more formal and worshipful than relationship we have with earthly parents or other close family.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Legislative victory vs actual victory

The press talks a lot about political victories (at least when a Democrat is president). In this sense the $700 billion 'stimulus' spending was a 'victory' and Sotomayer getting on the supreme court was a 'victory' and the House passing the 'cap and trade' bill was a 'victory.' But is a victory getting your way or actually succeeding.

Edsel Ford successfully produced a car-a difficult thing to do and a true 'victory' for him personally. Was the car a success? If you get your way and everything you implement sucks, have you really succeeded? Not really.

History has a long memory, and if you can trace future problems back in a straight line to your administration, chances are you won't be thought of too well by posterity. Witness Jimmy Carter, LBJ, etc. Every president is popular for awhile-they have to be to get elected or re-elected. But when we reap the consequences of current legislation, will we be talking about what a victory we're enjoying?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wal-Mart

In response to a Twitter question today of "Why do people think Wal Mart is evil?"

1. Wal-Mart doesn't pay its workers health insurance below management level.
2. Wal-Mart doesn't allow its workers to unionize
3. Wal-Mart buys dirt-cheap products from China, some of which might be made in sweatshops.
4. Wal-Mart squeeze out Mom n' Pop stores, thus crushing the dreams and the lifework of the elderly and kittens and stuff.
5. Wal-Mart is shopped at by icky poor people, and that's icky

I'll take on the items one at a time.

1. So what? Did you really think you'd make your fortune working at Wal-Mart? If you don't like this arrangement, work for a store that will provide health insurance. No one is forcing you to work at Wal-Mart.
2. This is a very good thing. I wouldn't either. Unions are the devil incarnate. Just ask Ken Gladney.
3. Meh. They'll buy the least expensive thing, wherever that is. They can't control the conditions at the place that makes them. And if you're a worker in such a place and you don't like the working conditions, quit and work somewhere else. Again, no one's forcing you to work there.
4. If there was a demand for Mom n' Pop stores, they would still exist. Do you really want to buy all the things you can buy at Wal Mart by having to stop at 12 different stores all over town?
5. Wal-Mart has done more for the poor in this country than any government program ever has.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Done with school

Well, at least for the summer I am. It picks back up on 8/24/09. But until then I will be making the very most of my 2 weeks off. We'll be headed up to Bear Lake for a few days of solitude next weekend and after that, a 'staycation.' We might do a house project or two or three between now and then. My nomination: new interior doors here and there.

I have no idea if my political insights are in demand or not, but I've promised my wife a political vow of silence on Twitter. Thus, any political thoughts will be relegated to T.E.R. my blog that desperately needs its template fixed. That might be the first project of the coming 2-week break.

So here's a quick summary of where I stand on recent political events:

1. Sotomayer: A stupid pick. BHO could have put anyone in there. The choice was NEVER about who he could get in; with a supermajority in both the House & Senate Democrats could have put Bill Ayers on the supreme court. The real importance of the choice was hwo influential the justice would be. And a lightweight like Sotomayer who bases her decisions on 'empathy' and who frequently had her decisions overturned by higher courts will not influence justices Alito, Scalia, Thomas, & Roberts on anything. So it's a wasted choice. Who did she replace, again? Stevens, I think?

2. Health Care: I like my health care just fine and don't want it changed in any significant way. If anyone wants to change anything they can follow Bobby Jindal's advice here: http://tinyurl.com/m7u87f

3. Sarah Palin resigning: A very disappointing move but probably the best recourse for her personally. Unfortunately I'm not a Democrat and experience for the presidency does matter to me a lot more than personality & philosophy. If you don't have a lot of real-world experience running things then I don't want you running the country. Mitt Romney is only marginally better in this regard in that 4 years as governor is better than 2 but still not great.

I think that's all the major stuff. I'm sure I'll be chiming in more over the next 2 weeks. Might even get a few new original Paint artwork items posted.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Corporation

Finals week has arrived. I had a final last night, a final tonight, and just had to finish an extra credit essay on a ridiculous movie called "The Corporation" that one of my teachers forced us to watch. For your snarky pleasure, that essay is below.

In The Corporation, several communication strategies can be highlighted. The film comes in at approximately 2 and-a-half hours and is broken into several segments, each highlighting what is presented as an objective evil perpetrated by corporations. But because of its overwhelming theme, in which no dissenting opinion can get through without being marginalized, ridiculed, or dismissed, I’m concentrating on the hegemonic groupthink present in the presentation of the material, as well as the discursive closure strategies used to accomplish these goals.

In the film, the modern corporation represents the low point of human history; this was apparent by the time the 1:50 mark arrived and the film was comparing corporate practices with those of Nazis. For The Corporation film, the idea of ‘the corporation’ as a business entity is an object of abject abhorrence that completely dominates the entire film’s narrative. In this way the idea of any corporation anywhere as patently evil is taken as sacrosanct. It is the type of hegemony on display that is somewhat more difficult to define.

On the surface the film would seem to be more of a subtle form of hegemony in that it utilizes symbols (i.e. images and audio) to influence people and ‘move’ ideas in a direction different from the predominant viewpoint, namely that corporations, while not perfect, provide incomes and insurance to billions of people across the world and have contributed significantly to the modern conveniences that make life more efficient now than it ever has been before.

However, there is nothing subtle about The Corporation. Though no actual labor strike occurs and the viewer’s life is not inherently altered by the viewing of the film, it represents a form of speech that is nothing if not overt. By choosing the most extreme examples of corporate mistakes and misbehavior, the film makers present only the worst of the worst and the viewer with no additional frame of reference could come away from the movie with a significantly dim view of any corporation. If the film had been more intellectual honest in its approach they could have informed rather than engaged in what amounts to a 150-minute filibuster. They even managed to get a negative-sounding quote about corporations from Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, perhaps the greatest defender of capitalism and corporations the world has ever known.

Group think is present in several instances, although to catch it one would have to be aware that several of the film’s points mirror common talking points from anti-corporate groups and thinkers. But most examples come from the subtext. Why are there no voices allowed to make opposing viewpoints in this film without being marginalized, dismissed, or depicted as foolish?

For example, the expression of the opinion that corporations “transform people’s lives for the better,” it is delivered by a na├»ve-looking teenage boy in what appears to be a 1950s junior high educational film. While he delivers this opinion, cartoonish “Leave it to Beaver”-esque music plays in the background. The scene is cut off with a jarring cut wherein more anti-corporation talking heads arrive to override the previous opinion, putting into place disqualificative discursive closure to marginalize the offending thought, showing the audience that the dissenting opinion is one that can’t be taken seriously.

Given enough time, the film works through almost all types of discursive closure methods to deliver its singular message. Using neutralization, the film tells viewers that a corporation’s concern for stockholders does not qualify as a concern for society. Society in which stockholders apparently do not belong or participate, apparently. In a later scene about sweatshops the film states that corporations create wealth for poor countries but then criticizes the same corporations for sometimes relocating, taking their payrolls with them. In this case the film can’t decide if corporations are evil for enriching poor countries or are evil for ceasing to enrich poor countries. Either way the corporations’ ability to bring wealth to poor nations is rendered a non-issue; something best to not think about too much. This occurs again when discussing layoffs. Corporations are evil and no one should work for them, but corporations that lay people off destroy lives.

Throughout the film legitimation occurs constantly, when the film’s values are presented as the way things should be and as the standard by which all others should be measured. There is a counter-argument to the concept of ‘social accountability’ but in the film the fact that everyone should aspire to this is assumed as normal and uncontested the fact that the world is round. At other times, corporations are discussed to very clearly be ‘not a person.’ This is true-corporations are many people. This is lost on the filmmakers, to whom a corporation is a non-human golem, unthinking and unfeeling.

In the end, the film uses naturalization to make the case that corporations will change, they will come around to the filmmakers’ world view, and they will be fundamentally transformed whether they like it or not. All it takes is some social action and positive thinking. Ironically, however, the film fails to mention that the company distributing The Corporation is “Big Picture Media Corporation”-a corporation. Even more ironically, the inclusion of this fact actually would have conclusively proven their thesis.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The dude in church socks

There is a teacher at school who has a class right before my noon class every Tuesdays and Thursdays and is madly in love with my teacher, as evidenced by his extremely obvious super uber helpfulness with things she doesn't need any help with.

For example, he'll talk in an extremely helpful and really way too friendly voice as if he was talking to a grandmother who donated a kidney to his baby kitten or something. Today he wore church socks with his sneakers and shorts.

Anyway, it raises the question of if I was that blindingly obvious when I was single. I'd like to think I wasn't, but seeing it from the outside is so different.

Plus, I never wore church socks with sneakers and shorts.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A word from the editor...

OK I'm not sold on the new layout and kind of hate it. I like that it's a little bit lighter and easier to read than the former layout but I don't think it expresses the blog's personality very well. And what a grassy dock has to do with a robot-particularly an evil one-I'll never know.

So don't get too used to it as one day in the near to distant future I'll find enough time to toy with the layout again and/or add some original artwork to the mix. I'm sure it will be awesome, if not imaginary since I can't even conceive of having enough time for such an endeavor anywhere in 2009. But still, nice to dream.

Churchyousness

In GD today they talked about apostasy and highlighted some examples of the issues that led people to leave, among which were things as minor as a dispute over a pitcher of cream and a lack of seating at the Kirtland temple.

That led into a tangent about people who left the church because they read anti-LDS literature or saw anti-LDS films. I've never had the slightest desire to read or see anything of the sort, though I know some people who did and who subsequently left the church because they got very caught up in what they saw as 'inconsistencies.'

In pretty much everything else in life I strive to see 'both sides.' But this is a segment of my life that I couldn't remotely care what the other side has to say. No, the members of the church aren't perfect. That's no big surprise. But it's more that I feel few people who leave the church or who aren't members of the church could have anything too interesting to say about the church.

I think of it like this: would you read a book about what it's like to be a woman if it were written by a man? Or say it was by someone who left the church-it would be like reading a book about what it's like to be a man by someone who used to be a man and who got surgery to be a woman.

If that person is no longer a man, it's because they personally had serious issues with being a man, and that is going to seriously jaundice their views about having been a man. I had a friend in high school who really dug into anti-LDS literature and had a copy of an early church newspaper in which one person was told in a blessing that they would bring the gospel to 'the people who lived on the moon.' That such a blessing was apparently given was offered as proof positive against the truthfulness of the entire restored Gospel.

I repeat forever: the church is perfect, but the people aren't. If the assumption in the world at the time was that people lived on the moon, then the fact that someone would express inspiration about touching many lives with missionary work in language that referenced the moon dudes, then good for him. And for all we know, the spirit world has a suburb on the moon-who are we to say 1800s dude didn't serve there?

The point is, if you'd rather lose your way by getting hung up on pointless and meaningless blips that you'd rather react to with outrage rather than faith, then fine. It's like leaving Disneyland and vowing never to return because a lightbulb was out on one of the windows in the miniature Tower of London on the Peter Pan ride.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cowgirl baby

Thanks to Pop Pop and Aunt Thalene for the patriotic attire!

The Passing Parade

With me not having to work today, we decided to do some driving around and found ourselves at the 'Mt. Olivet' (stupid name but pleasant place) cemetery up by the U. I mistakenly thought important people were buried there but we found out they were all up at the Salt Lake City cemetery which is in the avs.

We headed over there via a really winding route that took us past several gorgeous homes that were inhabited by a broad assortment of cultural types ranging from lesbians to somewhat older lesbians. Anyway, we finally landed at the (other) SLCC and set off looking for noteable church leaders.

Along the way we saw a great many Romneys, Eccles, and even a 'Noble.' Beautiful headstones; very diverse. The first person we recognized was Wilford Woodruff, but it turns out we had the wrong one and that Wilford Woodruff was apparently as popular a name in the 1800s as 'Logan' is today.

We found Orson Pratt nearby, and surmised he was related in some way to Parley P Pratt. We were frustrated to not have any kind of map and there was apparently no building anywhere that looked like it was handing them out, so we were on our own. Consequently we were there probably 2 hours or so.

We found George Albert Smith, and that was cool. We looked in vain for Joseph Fielding Smith, who was apparently nearby thanks to a very unhelpful map on Google. Eventually we made our way to the west side, parked, and got out.

We found David O. McKay, whose gravestone is absolutely enormous. I know the stone is determined by his family and is meant as a tribute to him but I don't think he would have preferred something big enough to keep East and West Germany separated. But very close by to his was President & Sister Hinckley's grave.

I will have to post the picture tomorrow of Jan and Mads by the marker but it was a very special experience. Sacred ground-everything was extremely peaceful and quiet there. It's under a very large tree and it looks out at the entire valley. The stone is also pretty large but I think extremely warranted given the legacy he left and the degree to which he was and is beloved.

We also noticed how the grass in front of his marker is almost completely worn down-this is a popular spot, I think. A marker on the back of the stone reads that the stone was made from extra stone from the quarry where they made the SLC Temple and the conference center (which I still think should be named the Hinckley Center, but maybe he asked that it not be?).

We tried in vain thereafter to find Spencer W. Kimball and couldn't, and also struck out on Howard W. Hunter, Ezra Taft Benson, and Neal A. Maxwell, even though we had a picture of NAM's gravestone and thought we could make out the angle and discern its location. Afterwards when we got home and could look things up proper it became apparent that the cemetery continued across the street to the North and that most everyone we were looking for was up there. We'll have to head back again soon.



Spending that much time amongst the non-living definitely has the effect of making one contemplate their own mortality. It also leads to some great jokes and puns, particularly one I made when we turned down a street that was a dead end. Still, the experience made me extremely grateful for a knowledge of things as they really are. Life would be pretty bleak and without purpose otherwise. It's still astounding to me how many people can be led to miss something as blindingly obvious as the sun at noonday. People are trading eternity for about 5 seconds of being considered intelligent by people who are just as insecure as they are. Why the desperation and fear behind the need for reinforcement of such beliefs is not apparent to everyone is a mystery.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yay

One of the best things ever on YouTube IMHO



Fastforward to 1:45 if you want to skip the rain part.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Utah Amusement Park

I have a brilliant consumer idea which will generate millions of dollars of profit for me and my shareholders. If any of you want in on this, contact my accountant and we'll talk.

We know Utah only has 2 amusement parks: Lagoon and Raging Waters. Seven Peaks doesn't count because it doesn't exist because I've never seen it despite living in Utah most of my life. Both of our amusement parks are filled to capacity, but both completely miss the bigger picture.

You live in Utah. Close your eyes. What is it that fascinates and thrills Utahns more than anything else on the planet?

Welcome to 'Drive by a cop who's pulled someone over Land'! For only $40 per car, you can drive down 1 MILE of road and view in extreme slow-motion 9 COPS on BOTH SIDES of the road who will have pulled people over.

But these aren't ordinary cops and this isn't an ordinary theme park. You will experience variety the likes of which you've never seen before. It all starts with a bike cop writing a ticket for a kid who was driving a mo-ped without a helmet. From there you work up to a motorcycle cop ticketing a semi, then a highway patrolman, then the sheriff, then Incident Management. It all leads up to a Utah rubbernecking extravaganza wherein 2 ambulances, a fire truck, and 5 patrol cars load someone with whiplash onto a stretcher. You won't believe your eyes! And you can drive by as slow as you want-slow enough to buy food at our many refreshment bars along the way.

So what are you waiting for? Hurry up to slow down and massively inconvenience everyone behind you the way nature intended. Visit "Drive by a cop who's pulled someone over Land" later this summer at the Tooele exit.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ug

I shouldn't blog late at night-that last post makes me look incredibly arrogant. I'm not cool for the choices I've made-I just try to make the right ones like anyone else. I probably fail more than I succeed. But the whole point of morality and spirituality is that you have an ideal against which to measure yourself. You can't be a 'hypocrite' if you have no standards to betray.

This is getting too deep. My main point: I should stick to unicorn pictures.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The basis of testimony

Cousin Cory echoed a thought I had fairly often back in my 20s (which seems like a very long time ago):

I often wonder what I would do if those around me who claim to know who I am suddenly disappeared and I was free to act without judgement.

Basically what this is asking is do you act the way you do because of expectations of friends/family or do you act that way because that's how you want to act? And if you suddenly found yourself completely separated from said contacts and were 'free to act' however you wanted, how would you act?

I've found myself in that situation a few times in my life. The first time was when I moved to SLC in 1997 and got my own apartment. I still had loved ones and friends but not physically living with me or seeing me on a regular basis. This was a very important time in my life where I really confronted that question-now that 'no one' is looking, how will you live?

Fortunately I feel I made the right choice and stuck with church and actually really dug into it and strengthened my testimony far greater than it ever had been before. This made it much easier to weather the next two times I was in this position which was when I moved to Phoenix for a few months and when I moved to Wisconsin for a few years.

It's a pretty interesting question and it's one that I think everyone needs to answer. Are you going along with the church because you think your family would freak out if you lived otherwise? Or are you living the gospel because you actually believe it's the best course for your life? Finding this out is really the time in your life when you take the training wheels off and see if you can remain standing. That's why I feel confronting this question is potentially of much greater impact on a person's spiritual foundation than a mission. Because on a mission you're constantly surrounded by extremely strict restrictions. It's pretty difficult to not choose the right on a mission, even if you want to. Weird, huh?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Poor Nevada

You voted for him-he's all yours. Enjoy the next 4 years.

That didn't take long

Any of you who were afraid of the BHO administration somehow succeeding can rest easy. This should expedite things nicely.

OK

...and now we stop messing with the banner for a while. Even though I can't seem to get my high-res version to display. But I've had enough banner redesigns for a while so there!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cetera

Our girl's boyfriend, in Teletubbie form.

New banner

The new banner is just temporary pending some tweaks, i.e. replace the Buccaneer font, make the new robot look at least 10% less satanic, etc.

Twit

I'm not sure how I ever survived without Twitter. It's like blogging except you don't have to think of something interesting to say! Feel free to follow me at: @theevilrobot. On iPhones download Twitterphon and then add such celebrities as:

Neil Diamond!
Fran Healy!
Michael J. Nelson!
Me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Recommended columnist


I discovered a great new political columnist I'd never heard of before: David Harsanyi. His articles can be found here. This is a guy who makes arguments and supports those arguments with strong examples. His articles, unlike those by many other pundits, are substantive and thought-provoking. So many writers slide by on name calling and on fluff, but Mr. Harsanyi takes the issues head-on. He's conservative-leaning but he doesn't let the GOP off the hook when it messes up, which is what any true conservative should do as well. We can't help it if the other side doesn't play by the same rules-the are completely incapable of ever admitting that the people who lead their party are fallible. Anyway, he's worth a bookmark if you're into this kind of stuff.

You'll want to get it up to 600 PSI

My favorite commercial ever:



This one is very good too-you've probably seen it:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Breaking News

Dom Deluise was apparently still alive.

I have absolutely no desire to see this

Quote O' The Day

"We rich people can't stop the world's 5 billion poor people from burning the couple of trillion tons of cheap carbon that they have within easy reach...If $40 trillion worth of gold were located where most of the oil is, one could only scoff at any suggestion that we might somehow persuade the nasty people to leave the wealth buried...So the suggestion that we can lift ourselves out of the economic doldrums by spending lavishly on exceptionally expensive new sources of energy is absurd. 'Green jobs' means Americans paying other Americans to chase carbon while the rest of the world builds new power plants and factories. And the environmental consequences of outsourcing jobs, industries, and carbon to developing countries are beyond dispute. They use energy far less efficiently than we do, and they remain almost completely oblivious to environmental impacts, just as we were in our own first century of industrialization. A massive transfer of carbon, industry, and jobs from us to them will raise carbon emissions, not lower them" -- energy and technology expert Peter Huber, writing in the Manhattan Institute's City Journal

Mads Diamond

I love this kid.

Monday, May 4, 2009

101.9 The End's Complete Playlist

Just in case any of you need a reference, I've decided to post 101.9 FM's complete music playlist for you. This should be good for about the next 10 years or so.

Midnight-11 AM: U2
11:00 AM-1:00 PM: Colplay
1:00 PM-5:30 PM: U2
5:30-5:34 PM: "Hollywood" by Collective Soul
5:34 PM-Midnight: U2

You're welcome

What bias?

This makes me mad...



UPDATE:

A relevant follow up from Nationl Review -

If reporters treated President Obama the way they treated President Bush, some reporter would ask the current president whether he would allow CIA interrogators to deprive suspected terrorists of food, water, and medical care, and whether forcing a suspected terrorist to live the remainder of his life in a trash dumpster constitutes torture.

The reporter's follow-up would be a request that President Obama explain his vote against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.

. . . and the questions would be posed as the president was leaving the stage at Notre Dame's commencement ceremony.

-Peter Kirsanow

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Video roundup

We've got a video roundup for our readers today. First, a cute pet trick:



Next, the best dubbing ever done ever on the planet:



Tune in later for a new 80s video review!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pet Tax Exemption

This is an absolutely excellent article from actor Robert Davi arguing for the creation of a tax deduction for owning a pet. I admit I'd never considered the economic and social benefits of owning a pet but he makes a very convincing case. Even if his only point had been talking about how much gov't money is wasted trying to rescue pets and a tax deduction encouraging pet adoptions, I would have been sold. Worth a read for any pet lovers or potential pet lovers out there.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A really good name for a band

With apologies to Dave Barry, a really good name for a band would be "Steve and the Meat Department." Inspired by a recent trip to Albertsons.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"I'm sure there's a story in there somewhere."

This is the funniest thing you'll read all month long. Jonah Goldberg posted a link to it on National Review's site and said "My one criticism is that they should have had someone defending the president's privacy. This is between him and the families of the victims, after all." I wrote to him and said "I’d also have liked to see someone blaming the Obama double homicide on the ‘culture of violence’ that President Bush created." and he replied and said 'yes!', which is cool. JG is a conservative celebrity to us political nerds.

Four score and 152 years ago

For my college class on Political Communication, our final project is to form groups and run a press conference for a fictional presidential candidate. My group decided to make our candidate a communist named 'Feliciy.' Our motto is 'security. unity. felicity.' My role in the group is speechwriter and logo designer. The following is the rough draft of the speech I came up with for the press conference. It was fun. The whole thing about people with mullets was that we decided we needed to 'scapegoat' someone as in fascism, etc. And mullets seemed the least offensive thing we could find.


A spectre is haunting America. This spectre is not some unseen phantom but is real and tangible. This spectre does not conceal itself but marches in the open. From this spectre, no one is safe.

Four score and 152 years ago, our forefathers established this great country to enshrine liberty and protect freedom for everyone who wished to enter its borders. We have had the misfortune to live in times that have seen that spirit of liberty become shrouded in fear and darkness. From this battle, we must not shrink.

Though our troubles are serious, we are brave. Where those who would ensnare us would have us submit, we will defy. When storm clouds gather, we will buy an umbrella, and maybe some of those rubber shoes. Not the skateboarding ones, but the bigger ones. And when our enemies assail us, we will remain standing. Because against the mulleted-Americans, there can be no surrender.

Look around you. Most everyone in the country knows or mingles with a mulleted-American. These who possess mullets do so proudly, and without shame. And yet we know that they are the destroyers of all the things we hold dear.

The people cry for better healthcare, and the mulleted ones tie up our emergency rooms with their mullet-related machinery injuries. The people cry for the ability to protect themselves and their families, and the mulleted ones waste all the good bullets shooting at road signs. The people cry for a cleaner environment and the mulleted ones pollute the atmosphere with their Aquanet and extra-large Wal Mart mullet gels. The people cry. And I cry too.

All around you the people cry for police protection, and the mulleted ones tie up all the officers by appearing on COPS, being arrested for assaulting their neighbor’s TV when the bowling championship was preempted for news on the Somali Pirates. The people cry for a financial responsibility and the mulleted ones have just taken out the 3rd mortgage on their double wide so they can buy pro wrestling tickets. The people cry for more attractive neighborhoods, and the mulleted ones have just taken apart their El Camino and strewn the parts all over their front yard. The people cry. And I cry too. Though it might be business up front, the party in the back is destroying this great country.

While it’s true that our problems can be blamed on those with mullets, the solutions can only come from one person alone, and that person is me: Felicity. For you see, I know the enemy. I have looked into their eyes and I have emerged victorious.

A long time ago I was in a relationship with someone who sported a mullet. This was a dark time in my life. I went with him to NASCAR races, I watched as he tipped cows, and I waited in the car when he followed Lynyrd Skynyrd around on their 1997 “Freebird Forever” tour. The relationship did not end well.

Since birth I have always made sure that the hair on the front of my head was the same length as the hair on the back. This makes me uniquely qualified to lead us out of the darkness. To do this, comrades, there is only one plan.

First, we must be secure. Secure in the knowledge that the mulleted ones will be captured and shaved. We will be secure against all things, and we must protect ourselves from any outside influence that could ignite again into the inferno that is mullets in society.

To do this, we will close all the borders. No more trade with anyone. No one gets in, and no one gets out. It is the only way. You ask if you can still visit your friends across the Atlantic. Of course you can. As long as they don’t have mullets, we will bring them here to America to visit you, where they will not be allowed to leave. As for visiting Hawaii, that is something that only the Felicity senior administration officials will be allowed to do, to personally ensure that the mulleted ones do not break free and attempt to gain control of our nation’s body surfing and pineapple industries.

We will all be secure because we will all work. There will be no shortage of labor and no surplus of labor. The recent financial crisis in America has shown Capitalism to be a scary and unfair sham that punishes people who make poor financial decisions. Never again will the people, or as I refer to them, the ‘proletariat,’ have to fear financial insecurity. We have no need of feeling alienated from those who control the means of production. Under my America, the government will control the means of production, and there will be joy. We will be as secure as something that is really, really secure. Really secure.

In my America, we will be secure against historical revisionism. The fools who control the media will be sent to live with the mulleted ones. Maybe not in the general population, but on the premises, perhaps up in a tree fort. I will control all the information in the schools and in the news media. We cannot trust those who lie to us and who would use their biases to obscure and suppress the news they do not find palatable. In my America, there will be no secrets, and we will all be secure in the knowledge that we no longer need to protect our identities one from another, because all information everywhere will be published. As brothers and sisters we will march into a new dawn, arm in arm. Except for me-I will be carried. But the rest of you, arm in arm.

The second pillar of my plan is unity. We will be as one in Felicity’s America. There will be shared responsibility and shared rewards. We will take things away from you for the common good, and we will distribute to those who have less. In Felicity’s America, no one will be any better than anyone else. People talk extensively about the importance of diversity. I declare to the proletariat of America that I am diversity made flesh. We are all individuals who, with our various talents, will collectively run the perfect machine that is the country we will create.

In Felicity’s America, we will require you to work. We will demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. I will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

Though difference in class between you, the people, the proletariat, and me, the bourgeoisie, are severe, I will deign to lead you. And that is because I am the third pillar of my plan.
Only through Felicity are all things possible. Only Felicity can heal your hearts and mend your shattered dreams. Only Felicity can go to China. Only Felicity can cause this to be the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this will be the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.
Yea, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil, for Felicity is with you. Together, we will defeat the mulleted ones and we will endure the barbs of capitalism and of super gelled hair and “I think your tractor is sexy” t-shirts. I am the way. Vote for me, or I will smite you.

Thank you and have a good night. Drive safely, everyone.

And one more

Just taken tonight.

New Mads

I make these 3 faces every day I think.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Disturbing Strokes

Goodness gracious this made me laugh so hard I cried. It's the opening credits to Diff'rent Strokes redone with an alternate soundtrack.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Diddly qua-qua

Something very odd happened this week. I heard a new No Doubt song-an enthusiastic remake of the quirky "Stand and Deliver" by Adam & The Ants-on the radio. Not on the internet! The only mention of the song on the internet whatsoever was a brief blurb on RollingStone.com on April 8th with a link to a YouTube 'video' of the song being played over the top of a still picture of the band.

So it was completely bizarre that I was even listening to the radio in the first place but it was just a quirk of being in the right place at the right time. But the real oddity came when I discovered you couldn't download the song on iTunes. It wasn't on there anywhere, which in 2009 is digital blasphemy.

This made me so upset that I went out to determine the reason for this outrage. It turns out the band is offering a digital download of their entire catalog if people buy a ticket to a No Doubt concert this year. The new song is included in this offer, making this an act of deliberation.

I can see it both ways on this issue. On one hand it's a good way to drive ticket sales, but it's not like the difference of one new song is going to tip the scales for anyone who doesn't think getting a digital download of the band's entire career isn't sweet enough of a deal with the purchase of a concert ticket. For example, I love the song but would not go to one of their concerts. On the other hand the new song is great exposure for the band-releasing it to the world's largest music retailer-iTunes-would probably be better for the band for increasing awareness of their tour and the digital catalog offer than just letting it float around on the ancient radio, of all things.

So Christian give this decision two thumbs down and will now have to wait for the song to get leaked onto the internet in MP3 form somewhere, where otherwise I would have happily spent $.99 cents of my iTunes gift card credit on the track. For shame, No Doubt. For...shame....

UPDATE: Great, now they took it down from YouTube so no one can hear it but me. In my mind.

UPDATE UPDATE: Wow! For now the track can be downloaded from this page and the world can share in my joy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Whew

All you parents out there need to explanation regarding where I've been the last 2 weeks. It's been topsy turvy but life is finally into a decent groove, and Maddy's nerd training continues tonight with a new episode of Lost.

To catch anyone up who wanted vitals, baby arrived on 3/26/09 via c-section and was 7 lbs, 1 oz. The first week was a little rough as she had jaundice and thrush and Jan was dealing with c-section aftermath but I think we're out of the woods now, knock on wood.

Mom & Mads had a photo shoot this morning. The results of that shoot are as follows:



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Light change

There is a problem that threatens our planet and I have had it up to here debating it. The time for debate is over. I am talking, of course, about light change.

This planet is warming. Every single day, between 6 am and about 7 pm, the planet warms as much as 40 degrees! It gets the hottest around noon or so and then it starts to get cooler. And it's so bright that people have to wear sunglasses for fear of their eyeballs being singed right out of their head.

The light deniers out there think there is no problem. They say it's 'normal' for the planet to get much warmer and brighter every day. I say they are fools who are no better than people who think the planet is flat!

The time to fight light change is now. I propose a combination of a 'light tax' and a 'cap and trade' program to combat this terrible problem. Anyone who consumes light during the day will be required to buy 'light credits' which will be offset by people in Greenland who will go for months in darnkess to make up for all the light consumption by wasteful westerners. People should also have to pay a surcharge on activities that consume unnecessary light, such as walking around and looking at things. I think $1 per sunbeam is appropriate.

Good night and good luck.

Favorite Psych Quotes Part 1,448,459

"Oh, you mean my pilot's license? That's out back in the Cessna. Or perhaps you're referring to my license to kill. Revoked. Trouble at the Kazakhstan border. I could give you the details but then I'd have to kill you, which I can't do because my license to kill has been revoked."

Monday, March 23, 2009

What They're Thinking

Pace my previous post, I've had time to ponder and I'd have to say that there's apparently a large subconscious movement within the church that yearns to have been there in person for all the major church historical events. Wasn't there even a movie recently? Passage to Zarahemla or something silly like that?

So I guess that's understandable, but it's something fairly unique to the church. For every Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court there are 16 "Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites" volumes. People seem to really like the 'fly on the wall' concept and thus you wind up with all kinds of time travel or faux revisionist historical drama wherein President Smith stops by John Steed's house to play Monopoly on his way to Cumorah.

To this, all I can think is that people in the church must have really, really liked Back to the Future 2 wherein Marty travels back in time again and sees himself playing "Johnny B. Goode" while looking for a book on off-track betting or something.

You Could Write a Book

I shared my business idea with my wife over the weekend. I'm going to write a new series of books called "AK-47s Among the Lamanites" and it will be about time traveling covert natives who hunt down and capture annoying LDS authors who insert fictional characters into church history (i.e Chris Humdinger, the Work and the Glory guy, many others).

This leads me to be upset again how very few LDS authors, musicians, or filmmakers seem to be able to create anything that isn't church-centric. I'm all for books/movies/tv shows/whatever that's clean and wholesome, but that doesn't mean that your lead characters have to be missionaries or home teachers every single time. Jared Hess made Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre-why can't they be more like him? If I had time and talent I would write something normal but non-churchy. It's cool that so many people are so into the church, but I feel it's better to be in the church but not of the church. There are some things in life that have absolutely nothing to do with the church, and that's OK. Building cabinets, for example, or picking out a nice hat.

What was my original point now?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What a retard


Seriously.

Wish

I wish I had the time and talent and supplies and ability to design cool t-shirts.

Faceless book

I've received a number of invitations from old friends to join Facebook lately. I apparently have a Facebook account, although I have no memory of ever signing up for one. The thing is, there's a reason most of these people aren't currently my friend, thus 'old friend.' So if it didn't work the first time when I had nothing but free time and attitude and a semi-decent head of hair and semi-interesting things to say, what would things be better now that I have absolutely less than no free time and nothing interesting to say?

I'm guessing it's that they need to borrow some power tools.

Penitent


The penitent man will pass.
The penitent man will pass.
The penitent man...
Penitent man....

Friday, March 6, 2009

ST

The newest Star Trek movie preview is out and I find myself admitting it might not be perfect. The effects look really cool and it will be fun to see Star Trek with so much money put into it, but some of the casting looks silly and the plot looks stupid. A Romulan with a machine that can blow up planets? Ug.

Drudge gets all the best ads

Thoughts

I think it's funny in movies or TV shows whenever any character can read the thoughts of another character and the other person's thoughts are always in really clear, easy to understand and correctly structured sentences.

You never get a show where someone can read someone's thoughts and the other person sounds like this:

Person's thoughts: uhhhhhhhhhh.........zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh...Golden Grahams...yeah righ-hey! ....... Gonna take a lot to drag me awwwwwwaaaaaaaay from you....doo dooo doo doo doo dooooo doo more can never do...passed the brains down in Africa....

If entertainment was more realistic it might not make much sense, but at least it would be honest.

Buble

I refuse to listen to Michael Buble because I refuse to accept that his last name is not pronounced "Booble."

One Day More

Driving in to work today I made the discovery that I have somehow absorbed the ability to convincingly sing all the parts of the Les Miserables song "One Day More." I'm not saying that I'm good enough to put on a one-man show or anything, though. At least not yet.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

DPR


"It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right... and who is dead."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Catching up with Depeche Mode

Or rather, me. I cancelled my trip to India when we found out baby Madeleine is measuring 3 weeks ahead of where she should be. Since I was getting back just 3 weeks before the due date, I felt this was cutting it far too close. It's worked out very well that this cancellation occurred-Jan has had a few moments that have made us both very much feel that this baby will be an early arrival, and it is good to not have to stress out about that.

2 weeks ago my main computer died a terrible fiery death and the main hard drive of my entire life became broken. Hopefully the data is still intact on it, but it will be something like $1000 to retrieve the data. That's every song I ever had, every picture for the last 9 years, everything I've written. Devestating loss. But hopefully it's not lost-just trapped. I'm starting a very slow and gradual fund to save up to get the data if possible.

In the meanwhile I picked up a new mid/low range laptop that will replace said evil computer. I'll have to see if I 'remember' how to draw...

HIMYM

I have never seen any episodes of the show "How I Met Your Mother" because I refuse to accept the premise of the show as a premise to sustain a series of episodes. Supposedly it's about someone meeting his child's mother. So even if you told everyone's backstory, you'd have no more than 1 20 minute-long episode wherein a guy sits next to a girl in college, or maybe they're in the same FHE group. Once they meet, you would have to cancel the show.

So instead I propose it should be called "What I did in my life in the period of time after meeting your mother."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Play review: Phantom of the Opera,

The Phantom of the Opera is a decent play filled with pretty good songs. It's a little cheesy and 80s, especially the original London Cast recording with all the electric guitars, but I feel it holds up pretty well. But it's an interesting story in that it tackles a number of important themes, namely:

1. The struggle between the lower class in France versus the upper crust
2. The capacity for music to bind different people together
3. The superiority of attractive people.

Because at its heart, the entire point of The Phantom of the Opera is, when confronted with a romantic choice between a nerdy guy and an attractive and wealthy guy, go with the attractive guy.

In the 1800s in the Paris opera house, lots of plays are being presented. The star is the primadonna 'Carlotta,' who sings with a lot of trills and is a super pain to everyone around her because she's super famous despite being repellant.

Meanwhile, chorus girl Christine Daie (sp?) is receiving vocal lessons from a disembodied voice who turns out to be the Phantom of the Opera. Also there is Raoul, dashing adventurer with adventure hair. He likes Christine too, and apparently they were childhood friends? I think? There's a song.

Anyway, the Phantom makes his move one day and brings Christine down to his groovy sewer lair while singing about himself and how cool he is. Christine's kind of in a trance but she wakes up eventually and is grossed out by the Phantom when she unmasks him and finds out he has waffle iron face apparently. But he has a good voice (except in the movie version when he's Gerrard Butler) and treats her like a goddess, so she doesn't write him off just yet.

The Phantom decides he needs to step it up, wooing-wise, and he starts to make contact with the opera staff, demanding that Christine be given lead roles in plays and Carlotta be fired and then killed. This is stupid to opera house owners Firmin and Andre, who are the foppish 'comic relief.' They have a few really unnecessary songs, the worst of which is 'Prima Donna' which they sing to Carlotta about how great she is. It doesn't move the plot forward-it just takes up time.

Meanwhile, Raoul takes Christine cruising in his buggy and probably is using leave-in conditioner, so she falls in love with him and accepts his marriage proposal. However, she knows this will really tick the Phantom off, who has shown that he's obsessed with her to the point of overdoing it a bit, so she makes it secret. "Why is it secret?" says Raoul. "I'm Raoul, after all. I mean, look at me."

The Phantom crashes a big party at the opera house while dressed as a skeleton, and he announces he's written kind of a crappy play called "Don Juan Triumphant" or something. Christine is the lead role and they'd better put it on or else. Is this when he cuts the chandelier down? I think it is. He also might have killed a random guy with his 'punjab lasso.' But it's all for drama chick Christine. Would you do any different?

So Firmin and Andre and Raoul decide to do the play but only as a trap so they can capture and kill the Phantom. Why Raoul doesn't use his considerable wealth to just take Christine and move to Canada, I'm not sure. But so they put on the play and the Phantom arrives in it as Don Juan, and it turns out he's the one setting the trap for her. He takes her back down to his sewer apartment again while they sing the very good 'Past the Point of No Return,' which is the best song in the play.

Raoul and Christine's chorus girl friend, who in the movie by this point is wearing black leather adventure pants, head down to find her. Why Raoul wouldn't just give up on drama chick Christine, who clearly has way too much baggage, and just focus on the hot blonde chorus girl friend who seems like a very nice girl, is anyone's guess. But they get there and the Phantom puts a noose on Raoul. But Christine begs for his life so the Phantom says 'fine, screw it' and he disappears on his chair and leaves behind his mask and/or a rose for Christine.

The Phantom liked Christine for her voice and her talent and personality long before he ever met her face-to-face. Meanwhile, Raoul liked her based on her being a skimpily dressed French chorus girl. Life with shsllow Raoul will undoubtably be really boring and stupid, whereas life with the Phantom would have been a non-stop adventure of living in cool caves with candles and singing cool songs like "Point of No Return." Looks triumph over personality, and the hot guy comes out the winner. Yay.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Video Review: Uptown Girl


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHPHIO9O_OI

[Note: YouTube is telling me that 'embedding disabled by request' on this video, so just click the link and it should take you to the HD version.]

It's a busy night at "Gas," the fix-it shop owned and operated by Sir Billy Joel in the video for "Uptown Girl"-easily one of Joel's top 3 best songs and one of the 10 best songs of the entire 80s.

Fortunately, the video lives up to the quality of the song and casts the whole thing in a 50s kind of doo-wop 'let's dance and flirt' kind of thing. They could have gone a number of directions with this video-and remember this was the 80s so 99.9% of those videos would have involved atrocious acting and tons of hair gel-but they reeled it in.

So as the song starts, fellow Joel bandmates Stinky, Winky, Blinky and Pete (names subject to factual verification) are ratcheting along with the beat. And what a beat-it's a terrifically simple but incredibly effective melody that uses this great little chromatic scale that goes up and down. Instantly catchy.

So anyway, Joel is getting ready for a big date by means of running his hands through his hair and fussing with his clothes. He shows his friends a girlie magazine as they prance around the garage, and the guys all make the 'spirit fingers' move, which is a little disturbing.

Just then, the lovely Christie Brinkley drives up in a Rolls. This really gets the guys going, and they dance around the car and strike quite a few poses directly into the camera. Watch for the terrific 'oh oh oh oh oh-o' segment where they're cleaning off the car-it actually works with the music really well. I can't say enough good things about the song or the video.

Brinkley thinks this is pretty cool so she ges out of the car and plays kind of hard to get, which is kind of weird. If she didn't want to be 'got', then why get out of the car?

My mom always said that Christie Brinkely 'couldn't dance' in this video, and that it was embarassing. She said the same thing about Olivia Newton-John in Grease. For the record, I think both women are just fine at the dancing they do. Have you seen Xanadu? If not, why not?

Anyway, the song moves into the drum part and they rev up some motorcycles during this part-a genius move that I mentally insert into the song any time it's on the stereo.

Then some skinny kids do a really cool breakdance and the entire cast starts doing a little dance number thing that I can personally re-create, and often do. I'm available for parties and bar mitzvahs.

Joel and Brinkley ride off in the end on one of the motorcycles, and she lets her hair down. It's really cool. This is a classic video that makes me happy to be alive. It's pure fun, looks like it was a ton of fun to make, and proves conclusively that you don't have to be off-color or naughty to be entertaining and memorable.

Video Review: Stay the Night

Basically what we have in Chicago's classic video for the meaty 'Stay the Night' is a story of a woman who would basically rather kill a man than let him grope her.

Peter Cetera, employed in this video as a mechanic-slash-body shop guy, is in love with a woman who might be a transvestite. She/he's not that hot and definitely isn't worth the heck that he puts himself through to pursue he/she. We'll settle on 'she' for the purposes of this review.

But when PC gets too fresh with 'she' while embracing in his garage, she decks him with her purse, even though he's rebuked her to not hit him with an 'air-too-soo' which multiple listens by Hillary and me during the 1980s only revealed about 10 years too late to be the word 'attitude.' Anyway.

So she takes off in her car and Cetera pursues, hanging off the side of the car. And it actually looks like it's him doing it-how many Peter Cetera look-alike stunt men could there be?

When mystery girl does a maneuver that tosses him off the car, he's picked up by some band mates who are driving a pick-up. They know all the words to the song and sing along as Cetera pleads his case from the back of said truck.

They go off a jump and Cetera winds up on the hood of the girl's car, rather hilariously. He gets tossed off again-this time in front of some cops who are also members of Chicago (who isn't? There's like 500 people in the brass section alone).

There's a dream sequence wherein Cetera reminisces meeting the woman for the first time, apparently 20 minutes prior because she's wearing the same outfit, and they exchange some kind of words right around the 3:00 mark. If anyone knows what they're saying, leave it in the comments. As far as I can tell the woman says the word "beef" and PC replies "What?".

So he wakes up from the dream and the chase continues, with the cops trying to convey something to him, kind of caveman-like. They point at him then at her. Anyway, they eventually go off the same jump they went off earlier, only this time the jump is revealed to be a Stargate that transports people through space and time. Though it's broad daylight in LA when they go off the jump, it's midnight in an abandoned movie studio back lot when they land.

The truck explodes into a fiery fireball of fire, even though it's clearly empty and just parked in a stationary position. This does not kill the two occupants of the truck but does mortally wound Cetera, who was riding in the back, if you recall. A doctor-presumbly another band member-who is dressed like an 1860s-era steam train conductor, shakes his head while holding PC's hand, fearing the worst. As Cetera is loaded into an ambulance, still singing along with the song, the ambulance driver is revealed to be...that woman! Who knows what she will do to him know that she's basically killed him-maybe go spin donuts in a parking lot for a while and then drive the ambulance into Cetera's grandpa's rest home, killing off the rest of the Cetera clan just for spite.

It's kind of depressing now that I think about it.

Rethinking 2009

The backlash against my 'things people shouldn't still be doing in 2009' has been bracing. My wife in particular is not in favor of several of the things on the list, causing me to go back and re-think the list as submitted.

So I've thought about the list and I have decided to modify my opinion slightly. For some, these things are the simple pleasures in life. Watching a VHS...if the VCR doesn't eat it. Calling a pizza place and trying to communicate with an illiterate high school drop out who speaks 3 words of English...I can see how that would be more interesting than just using the website or texting in your order. If we are nothing but efficient, we will miss out on the spice of life.

So I submit that not everything on the list should have to be followed exactly. Let's take another look.

1. Watching VHS tapes: See above.
2. Writing personal checks for anything other than tithing. I will not budge a micropixel on this. Writing personal checks is worse than unleashing anthrax on a butterfly farm. It might be the worst way of conducting financial transcations ever conceived. Next...
3. Renting videos from Hollywood/Blockbuster. Redbox I can see, because it's cheap. I suppose if you didn't have Netflix and liked spending a lot on movies that are very likely to be checked out, this would be fun. Plus, Netflix doesn't have overpriced movie candy for sale, so, yeah.
4. Ordering a pizza by phone: See above.
5. Listening to music on CDs unless it's something someone burned for you and you haven't had time to rip the tracks yet. Won't budge much on this, either. CDs skip and are needlessly expensive and frustrating. But you get a booklet, and if that's important to you and you don't like the digital booklets that bands release, then this would be the route to go. Better than tapes, I guess.
6. Placing items on hold at the library via face-to-face: Sure, go ahead.
7. Doing your banking in person: No, this should not happen. You should only go to the bank if you are signing loan papers or you have a physical check you need to deposit. And even then you should only go through the drive-through. 99.9% of all banking can and should be done online.
8. Paying your bills using anything other than their websites or your bank's billpay feature. If you like buying stamps (shudder) and writing checks and wondering and hoping if your bill will travel through the mail safely and arrive on time, then OK.
9. Using a landline telephone unless it's either free or really cheap. This is tricky since I still know people who have a land line. But it's my understanding that it's bundled w/ their cable and/or internet bill and is thus like $10 a month. I think I have enough caveats in here that I can submit it without further comment.
10. Sending physical letters to people unless you're in some kind of caligraphy class and it's a project. Some people, my wife tells me, like to write hand-written letters because they feel it is more personal. I don't feel any more personal writing things down than typing them, but I will take a leap of faith and accept that this is true for some. Others enjoy churning their own butter, too, and shoeing their own horses, and treating cholera with a dose of hemlock and fairy's breath, to frighten the evil dwarves who live in your stomach into submission. If that's your thing, then go right ahead.
11. Buying anything in a store without checking Amazon or Ebay first. No reason not to do this, unless you like paying 2 to 4x too much for things.
12. Reading a physical newspaper. I can concede that this might be necessary, assuming you're starring in a play version of Citizen Kane.
13. Getting your news from any mainstream media news outlet. No.
14. Listen to music on the radio. If you like Coldplay, U2, and obnoxious commercials, go right ahead. I will not stop you.

I hope this clears everything up!

Nick and Norah review

Watched Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. This is basically a movie that was written, filmed, and produced for me and about 3 other people on the planet.

Not that it's that great-it's kind of annoying in parts due to the crudity of some of the dialogue and the general unlikeability of almost everyone in the entire cast except for Norah. There's also no plot whatsoever-it's just a bunch of teenagers driving around New York looking for a pretend band that's annoyingly called "Where's Fluffy?"

But the music-that's really the key. The soundtrack is completely non-stop, like American Graffiti, but it's all obscure indie songs, of which I had every single one on my iPod. It was non-stop great music the entire time. It was also funny because the George Michael character was this quiet guy who makes mix CDs for a girl he briefly dated who stopped dating him several months prior. (This is the way I successfully eventually married my wife.)

So to wrap up: great music, really annoying characters other than the delightful Norah. Everyone in the movie thinks they're about 300% cooler than anyone else just because they live in New York. What is it about living in big cities that makes people think they're really cool and therefore causes people to trend Democrat and believe in God less? Is it because they perceive big buildings to be cool and complicated and 'look what we can do?' or something? Do they really just think that living in a big city is the penultimate of the human experience? I guess...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Inkheart review

We saw Inheart the other night. I'd like to report that it was very good, but really just the premise was good. The rest had plot holes you could drive a planet through.

The main problem with the movie is that the rules of the magic power (being able to read a book and have the thing you're reading come to life) change all the time. Brendan Fraser spends 9 years looking for his wife because when he read 'Inkheart,' the bad guys came out of the book and she went in. So he wants to find the book again, and the book is really rare apparently, so that he can somehow 'read her out.'

Seems straightforward enough except towards the end-and I'm trying not to spoil too much here-it's apparent that just anything at all a "Silvertongue" reads will happen, even if they write it down themselves.

This loophole basically grants Silvertongues God-like powers over all of creation. If they don't like you then can just write 'then Bob's head exploded' and that would be that. They could write down 'then 10 trillion dollars rained from the sky' and it would happen. Cancer? 'Bob's cancer was miraculously cured, as was the entire planet's.' With one stroke of the pen you could wipe out every disease, every social problem, every error ever committed by anyone anywhere and could bring people back from the dead and travel through time and do whatever you wanted and it would work just because you willed it. So why doesn't Brendan Fraser just write down 'and then my wife came back' and save himself 9 years?

So if they'd applied some better rules to this formula, it might have worked. Like, it would have been funny for him to read things kind of silly, like a manual about how to fix exploding toilets or for some kind of embarassing thing like invisible pants or something. Oh well. I would draw something for this post but I'm pretty sure no one would want that.

Money money money

One thing I considered including on my 'things you shouldn't still be doing in 2009' list was 'using paper money.' But I've re-thought that a little bit, since I do still carry around some money, although not very much. Generally it's useful if I'm at school and want to grab a pop during a class break, or it's a good back-up currency if the debit card/credit card machine is down at a store, although that seems fairly unlikely in 2009. But until they install credit card readers on pop machines, I'll leave it off. Thank you.