Monday, January 30, 2012

Cigarettes for Asthmatics

Richmond of One for the Road mentioned this to me the other night, and I found myself puzzled by the notion, since I'd fancied myself quite familiar with the dubious history of cigarettes, doctors, and advertising in America.

But I'd never heard of cigarettes for asthmatics.

Apparently I'd missed this:

"Dr. Whetzel’s Cigarettes for Asthmatics"



Offhand, I'm guessing the side-effects were probably no worse than epinephrine, albuterol, or whatever that crazy white powder in Advair is.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunshine

Sometimes, on good days, when you've counted your blessings and found the tally overwhelmingly on the plus side, you have the "what if I felt fully alive and could make somebody's day better" fantasy.

Here's a video for you:


[Vimeo direct link]

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Showing Off, But Not Uncool

I can't draw anything but stick-figures, but I understand, technically, the process artists use. They look at their target image, and - in their minds - reduce it to its component elements of line, curve, light, dark, and shade. Then they make their hands reproduce what's in their minds.

In theory quite simple, as elegant things often seem.

An artist is one who can make the elegant look not only simple, but easy.

In this case, painting with a basketball looks easy.

Don't think I'll try it, though:


[YouTube direct link] (Viewer #190,112)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quote of the Day

From American Digest:
*Everyone* is unfairly rewarded, and punished, by the accidents of their births, and of their lives. The world is not fair. That's just the way it is. Trying to make the world less unfair can only be accomplished by making it unfair in some other way.

Amen.

Forget the world.

Just do what you need to do to give yourself the tools to overcome the particular unfairnesses that the world will throw at YOU.

Now With Handy Self-Parodying Feature

From WLS, where they discussed Obama's impending State of the Union address [emphasis added].
The President emailed a video preview of his address to supporters over the weekend. In it, he promised a "blueprint for an American economy that's built to last," with the government assisting the private sector and individuals to ensure "an America where everybody gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everybody plays by the same set of rules." And the President again will propose changes in the tax code so that the wealthy pay more.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rock Bottom

Just watched "The French Connection".

Basically it's 90 minutes of Gene Hackman alternating between standing, walking and running.

Plus 14 minutes of the most improbable car chase I've ever seen.

I'm so numb with boredom that I'm gonna go cut myself now just so I can feel something.

If you're a filmmaker, and you want to make an awesome flick, just watch "The French Connection" and then do the exact opposite of everything you see.

Should be able to gross over $100 mil, easy.

Can't believe this pile of rabbit pellets won "Best Picture".

Nah, Take the Gloves Off

Full disclosure: I've been a big fan of John Hawkins' Right Wing News for a long time, and I'm on his blogger-polling email list.

I know him, I like him, and this time, I disagree with him.
Unless all four campaigns can get together and commit to a gentlemen's agreement to run positive campaigns from here on out, it's entirely possible that the winner of the primary will be so damaged that he may not be able to get the job done.

Yeah, I used to think that brutal primary fights led to weakened, damaged candidates, too.

Until 2008.

McCain had the nomination locked up in March. Then he just coasted into the convention.

Meanwhile, Hillary & Barack duked it out until June, with speculation all the way up into the actual Democrat Convention in August that Hillary might try pulling some wacky stunt to steal the nomination. Three months of mean commercials and cactus-spined soundbites. Two more months of vinegar and acrimony from bitter, jilted Hillary-followers.

I laughed a lot of smug, condescending laughs in those days, figuring they were just writing McCain's campaign ads for him.

The day after the election, I wasn't laughing any more.

I've since come to the conclusion that nothing that happens before the convention matters.

And probably nothing before October 1st.

The 24-hour news cycle has a very short memory, and even dedicated liberal news outlets can only beat a story for so long before it stops selling ads for them, forcing them to move on.

The short-attention-span, unengaged, "swing-voters" who provide the margin of victory in every election won't notice any of the mean & ugly things Newt says about Mitt & vice versa during the nomination process, because they don't start paying attention to politics until they're done passing out the Halloween candy.

So I say "GAME ON!" to the GOP - tear each other apart. At this point in the election cycle, it doesn't matter.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rapidly Going Off on a Tangent

I see that, while popping into Disney World to give a speech (and wreck a bunch of people's vacations because of the requisite security precautions), Obama had this to say about meeting Mickey Mouse:

"Nice to meet a world leader who has bigger ears than me!"

Which reminds me: I don't like Mickey Mouse.

It's nothing personal, it's just that I don't enjoy him as a cartoon character. Mostly because he's all cartoon, and no character.

Illustrating by way of contrast, let's look at the Warner Bros. stable:

Bugs Bunny
Daffy Duck
Porky Pig
Yosemite Sam
Elmer Fudd
Road Runner
Marvin the Martian

Think of any of those names, and you can probably quote a catchphrase and describe their habitual activities.

Which raises the questions:

What does Mickey Mouse say?
What does Mickey Mouse do?

Good luck with those.

Mickey is a flavorless, unmemorable, generic little puppet. As are all the other talking critters that populate his world.

Now, to be clear, I'm not bashing Disney - they've created a merchandising empire from these bland, pointless nothings. They're the Apple of animation. Good for them.

I'm also not saying the characters aren't "good". Millions of people adore them. That's wonderful, and I hold no resentment over that.

I'm just saying, I find them boring.

With the exception of Uncle Scrooge McDuck, who - despite being a borderline-racist-stereotype of a penny-pinching Scot - is basically an unapologetically greedy capitalist.

What's not to love?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Now With Handy Self-Parodying Feature

Sometimes, I'm amazed [emphasis added]:
Speakers at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in Burlington urged people to fight for justice and to embrace the growing MLK holiday tradition of serving others.

About 50 people gathered Monday in Burlington City Hall’s Contois Auditorium to mark the anniversary of the civil rights leader’s birthday, and to offer reflections about the importance of King’s legacy. Later, about a dozen people moved to a nearby bank to protest that it was open on the holiday.
[...]
Bank officials said last week that the MLK holiday is important, but the bank has traditionaly stayed open on the holiday to serve its customers’ needs.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Off the Milk Carton for 10 Seconds

Long-lost blogson _Jon (formerly of We Swear) popped his head up briefly at Instapundit before falling off the grid again.

Good to know he's still using his super powers to make the internet a better place.

Wish he'd start blogging again, though...

62 Seconds to Nudity

From Awesomer:

Sebastian Schmieg took a single image and fed it into Google Image Search, then picked its top "similar image" over and over, gradually morphing through over 2950 images.


[Vimeo direct link]

Don't bother asking Mr. Owl how long it takes to get from a transparent png image to topless women, the answer is in the title of this post.

Surprisingly, though, it doesn't stay there very long, and reverts quickly to more conventional results.

Still, that should tell you what a dangerous place the internet it. Watch where you surf.

Wrong Recording Device

From FML:
Today, I went to see one of my favorite bands. When they started playing my favorite song I whipped out my video camera and sang along. As I was reviewing the video later, I realized that I couldn't even hear the band over my horrible singing.
The last band I saw was REO Speedwagon a couple years ago (and kudos to them for still having what they had 40 years ago, which they very much do). I couldn't tell you how many people I saw with their phones in the air making videos & taking pictures. Probably about half the crowd.

Friends, the point of live music is to cherish the sights and noise and vibrations and to be part of the positive feedback loop between the band and the mob in front of it.

If you're playing cinematographer instead, you're missing out on the whole point of the experience, and no amount of squinting at that tiny, grainy video with the tinny sound afterwards is going to make up for what you missed.

Put down the recording device and BE in your life for a while.

If you do it right, the image in your brain will always beat the one on your screen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Miss the Days When Her Ilk Felt Obligated to at Least TRY to Utter This Nonsense Discreetly

I could not agree with Debbie less:
"There is nothing wrong with doing well. It's a goal we all aspire to. And we want everybody in America to do well. But we shouldn't have our tax policy exclusively focused on helping people already doing well do better. In America we should target our tax policy towards people who want to be lifted up."

This is very telling.

First, whenever you see a "but" in a politician's statement, it means that every statement that came before it should be ignored.

Second, she claims to believe that, currently, the sole purpose of American tax policy is to help people doing "well" do "better". And this makes her unhappy.

Conclusion: she wants tax policy to prevent you from ever doing "better" than what her cabal feels like defining as "well".

This woman would like to see a government-enforced earnings cap. In a free country.

Honey, this sort of malicious and arbitrary decree is why our ancestors broke from England. If this makes you uncomfortable, maybe this country isn't for you. There's plenty of other places on this planet under the thumb of pious nobility who request your obedience on bended knee. Try one of those.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hi, My Name Is Harvey, and I'm an Addict

Internet addict, that is.

Apparently, it's not that uncommon. Or leastwise it's right up there with left-handedness, statistically speaking.

But, yeah, back at my worst, I was posting at 6 different blogs. Not to mention that since 2003, I've got over 10,000 blog posts under my belt. Got yelled at at work for "being on the internet too much" a few times.

Of course, my addiction GOT me a couple jobs, too, so I guess one man's vice is another man's career move.

In fact, most obsessions are marketable. I mean, how much film you think Spielberg shot as "a hobby" before he cashed his first paycheck?

Anyway, it's under control(-ish) now, as I mostly only post 5x a week.

Still, I freely admit to having both a desktop and laptop running (connected to the internet and set to my Gmail page) 24 hours a day.

And with rationalizations like that, I guess I'm not even at step one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Guilty Pleasure

I was in high school in the 80's, so that's supposed to be "my music," but I had no interest in the pop-music landscape of the era. I thought everything Madonna did was tedious, at best.

Being an angsty, bitter, nobody-understands-me teenager, though, I did enjoy some of the big-hair heavy metal stuff that came out. However, I did not approve of AC/DC's choice to replace dead lead singer Bon Scott with the gravelly-voiced Brian Johnson (although I've since come to terms with it). And I especially hated "You Shook Me All Night Long" - it was overplayed, and the guitar work was really sub-par.

Nevertheless, through the magic, I suppose, of nostalgia's beer-goggles, I found myself enjoying Rock Sugar's "Shook Me Like a Prayer" mashup.


[YouTube direct link] (Viewer #235,308)

Don't know what to say, other than the production values are high, and these guy really seem to know what they're doing, musically speaking.

Ace of Spades HQ has some more of Rock Sugar's gems.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

See, It's Just Not Illegal ENOUGH

Saw this ad on a random website, and found it rather amusing in its ignorance:



Um... it's already illegal for guns to be in the wrong hands. Does anybody think that the "wrong hands" people will be stopped by a second law any more than they were by the first one?

Wisconsin already passed the correct solution to wrong-hands gun-ownership: legalizing the arming of the law-abiding.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Worst. Pandering. Ever.

How can you tell when Romney's angling to bamboozle a voting bloc whose values he doesn't share?

His lips are moving.

Or in this case, his tell-tale pretzel-knot-awkward use of the language (emphasis added):
"The National Labor Relations Board, now stacked with union stooges selected by the President, says to a free enterprise like Boeing, 'You can't build a factory in South Carolina because South Carolina is a Right to Work state.' That is simply un-American. It is political payback of the worst kind."

Sorry, Mittens, but "free enterprise" is an economic system, not a synonym for "private business".

This brilliant little gaffe just tells me what I already know: Romney doesn't know the meaning of the words "free enterprise".

Kinda reminds me of someone else who's unfamiliar with common English phrases.

Dang! Now I'm Hungry for Doritos

This works on so many levels for me. Not sure why it didn't get voted #1. Probably the same reason Firefly got cancelled:


[YouTube direct link] (Viewer #593,704)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Be Warned

If your gal asks you if that dress makes her look fat, do NOT tell her "yes".

Because, according to the New York Times, that's racist:
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, in a conversation overheard at Reagan National Airport in Washington, said of Michelle Obama: "She lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself." He offered a lame apology, but as Mary C. Curtis put it on the Washington Post's new blog She the People: "Can you imagine how the incident would play out if an African American congressman made a crude remark about First Lady Laura Bush's body? It certainly would have taken more than an insincere apology to wash that sin away."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Somehow Not Buying It

So a bunch of 3rd graders perform a song about being in the "99 percent", and the adults in charge are claiming that the kids did it all on their own:
"Students aren't told what to write by either school officials or by the people associated with Kid Pan Alley," he said. "I've talked with teachers and they tell me you'd be amazed at how creative a lot of children are these days - even younger than that."

"I've spoken with the Kid Pan Alley people, the principal and they all say the same thing - kids aren't told what to write and you would be surprised or amazed at how creative and how thoughtful children even at that age are," he said.
When I was in 3rd grade, I was 9 years old. I'm not sure where I was exactly in math, but I know I didn't have my multiplication tables memorized until 4th grade, so I'm guessing I probably didn't have a firm grasp on percentages.

As for wealth divisions... I understood from TV that some people had more money than others, but having a grasp of "fairness of wealth distribution"? Nah.

So... resentment over the "unfairness" of it? Inconceivable.

So when they claim the third graders "picked the topic"... let's just say I'm a touch dubious.

What happened is that the adults in charge picked the topic, took the 9-year-olds' lack of strenuous objections as approval, and plowed ahead with the project, giving them great, heaping scoops of "editorial suggestions" along the way.

Like this part:

"Couldn’t make life rhyme
Then the bubble burst"

Yes, because 9-year-olds are very concerned with the work-family balance and whether it "rhymes", not to mention being desperately worried about economic bubbles collapsing.

Or would be if they know what "work-family balance" and "economic bubbles" were.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mix It & Burn It, Please

There are two kinds of Denver omelets in the world:

The kind where the added bits are mixed throughout the egg, the only thing in the middle is the cheese, and the outside is a light golden brown.

And the kind with all the bits in the middle, the cheese on top, and the eggs barely solid.

I got the second kind from my local Perkins. I'm never going back.

I got the first kind this morning from an unremarkable-looking place called Sophia's in Beloit, Wisconsin.

God bless small-town cookin'.

I Should've Seen This Before


[Vimeo direct link]

I'm not saying this is great comedy - probably just a solid C+ - but Saturday Night Live should've beaten this particular humor-horse to death years ago. To my knowledge, they've never touched it.

It frustrates me that a topic so ripe for mockery has gotten a free pass from "professional comedians" for so many years.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Random New Year's Gratitude

To the Blogger comment spam-filter.

On my little blog, it rarely misses, and is even stingier with handing out false positives. I swear it runs about 99% on both sides.

I wish my Netflix movie-rating AI was this accurate.

By which I mean that Eastern Promises turned out to be so awful that I quit half-way through.

They promised me it was a 3.5!

By the way, my star-rating system is:

1 - stinks like a skunk. I regret watching even the first second of this.

2 - I either quit because I didn't care what happened to the characters, or I finished and I want those 2 hours of my life back.

3 - I don't regret watching it, but I wouldn't watch it again.

4 - I'd watch this again.

5 - I will watch this anywhere, anytime - big, steaming bucket o'awesome!