Friday, March 30, 2012

Going down with the ship again: one Titanic reaction

Last Saturday morning we caught a showing of The Hunger Games (in IMAX), which was intended to be a birthday surprise for my wife (although she wasn't completely surprised she was still excited). However, that's not our topic du jour.

No, I must address something that happened before the film even started.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Zou Bisou Bongo

During the season premiere of Mad Men there was what proved to be a much commented-on scene where Don Draper's new wife, in the middle of throwing him a surprise birthday party he didn't want, performs a seductive French pop number of the day, "Zou Bisou Bisou", in front of all their co-worker guests. The scene's drama stemmed from how inappropriate it was to do publicly, but a big part of the post-show internet buzz was due to how insanely catchy the tune was. It proved to be the easy meme to cull from the episode.
For me there was something else about the scene that jumped out at me which I doubt was noticed by others—nor should it have. It was entirely an egad-could-Doug-be-more-of-a-dork moment.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spoiler alert

On a recent Extra Hot Great episode, they solicited another set of "I am not a crackpot" submissions (where listeners offer their pop culture rants).

One suggested that there's no such thing as a "spoiler" when discussing narrative works, and thus no need for issuing "spoiler alerts" by those who talk about those works. Anything that relies on a twist to hold any value to make it worth seeing/reading does not actually have any value to make it worth seeing/reading. Good shows/movies/books won't be ruined by knowing major plot points ahead of time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why the designated hitter going to the NL is good for people who hate the DH

With the move of the Houston Astros to the American League in the 2013 season the major leagues will have an equal 15 teams, but because that's an odd number per league there'll need to be interleague games happening throughout the season; since the introduction of interleague play in 1997 those games have been scheduled in specific blocks in the middle of the season, with almost all teams in each league playing teams from the other league during the same period.

A recent article in Sports Illustrated postulated that this move toward uniformity in MLB and the constant interleague play eventually will bring about a change to the structure of one of the leagues: the adoption of the designated hitter in the National League.

Baseball purists will scoff, considering the DH to be an abomination to the game, but given that the American League has been operating with this one player who only hits and doesn't play defense since the '70s and in the National League most pitchers are fairly abysmal with a bat in their hands, there's little justification for arguing the game is still "pure" and at all close to the contest Doubleday* came up with.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In praise of stupidity

There's long been rhetoric in politics and society in general about the importance of education, but let's face facts: No matter how much we lead a horse to a book we cannot make it learn. No matter the opportunity presented some will be disinclined to integrate knowledge.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting we give up on our public education system. It's far from perfect but it's still important that we offer it so all children (and heck, adults) get a chance to develop their minds.

But for those who won't, let's acknowledge that they provide society with an important function as well.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A plea for Daylight Saving Day

Over the weekend most of America subjected itself to the transition to the period of the year where we pretend it's an hour later than it really is.

It's called Daylight Saving Time, as everyone knows. Yesterday at 2 a.m. the time jumped forward to 3 a.m., leaving us with a day where the period from midnight to midnight was only 23 hours. In the autumn there'll be a 25-hour day as time gets put back on track ("Standard" Time).

Here's the thing: Of course the tilt of the earth's axis as it revolves around the sun makes the amount of daylight—the period between when the sun emerges above the eastern horizon and when it descends below the western horizon—be longer during the summer than in the winter all on its own; there's nothing about us changing the time on our clocks that affects the amount of actual sunlight available. It merely shifts some of the darkness from the evening to the morning, so that we have more sunlight in the evening hours.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Our glimpse of a Levitated Mass (aka the LACMA rock)

In the hours before dawn this morning a 340-ton boulder rolled into mid-city Los Angeles, completing an 11-day, 105-mile journey from the desert. Its destiny is to become part of a tremendous sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), to be made by artist Michael Heizer and called "Levitated Mass." And you can click on the links to read more about that if you're interested. This post is about the experience my wife and I had involving it a few nights ago.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The importance of poor penmanship

Last week I went to a new doctor, and as to be expected upon one's first visit to a doctor's office there was a bunch of paperwork to fill out. As I sat in a chair with the clipboard on my lap, printing my information in the various boxes, I was reminded of how atrocious my handwriting is—even when I try to write in clear block letters. It's as though years and years of typing on keyboards have made the very action of holding a pen to paper something of a foreign action for my body.

Sure, I occasionally jot notes, but with those I'm not attempting to have any level of clarity; it merely needs to be such that I can jog my memory later when I glance at it; I don't have to be concerned with something that will be read by others for the purpose of entering it accurately into records.

And the reality is that filling out paperwork is so unnecessary. Recently I also visited a new optometrist, but with them when I called to make the appointment they emailed me a link to fill out the "paperwork" online ahead of time. So when I arrived they merely handed me the printout and have me sign at the bottom. It really was marvelous (and I presume it may alleviate the need for some assistant to have to try to make out my scribbles and enter the same info into the computer system—it's not that I want to take away someone's job, but ultimately it's more efficient, and that must be better for all).

Back on the topic of my handwriting:

Saturday, March 03, 2012

These aren't the droids you're looking for

Today fabulous my wife surprised me. All week she'd been talking about it, making sure I didn't have to work this weekend so we could do the surprise. When we left the house this morning I honestly didn't even know where we were going. (I won't go into the story she told or the things that I went through to keep up the ruse to keep me from guessing.)

And where did we end up? At the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana to see the exhibit of costumes, props, and models from the Star Wars movies. (Yep, we're geeky enough to do that, but not so geeky that we made it to the exhibit any time since November when it opened.)

Although I only had my cell phone I still took a bunch of photos, including some artistic attempts at:
Tight shot of stormtrooper costume.