Showing 1 - 10 of 286 posts found matching keyword: walter
Plague Sequestration Update, Stardate 97840.49:
I finally had to replace the roll of toilet paper in my bathroom. That was the first time I had to do that since this COVID-19 sequestration began.
I still have 9 rolls in the closet. By my reckoning, I won't need to plan a heist from my local McDonald's men's room until the first week of August.
The calendar has been marked.
Rush Limbaugh announced earlier this week he has "advanced" lung cancer. I'm not sure how advanced. Maybe his doctors don't know. So far as I can tell, he's been a talking tumor for years.
True story: in the 1990s, I considered myself a pretty hard-core conservative. My father had always resented authority of any sort, and I had accepted his libertarian philosophy. In a nutshell, I figured that anything that infringed on the rights of anyone was bad. It was Rush Limbaugh who changed my mind.
I don't remember the exact moment or quote, but it was sometime after the Clinton impeachment, probably the early days of Bush Jr's first term, definitely before Limbaugh outed himself as a racist on ESPN. Day after day, Limbaugh was on the air, drunk on the sound of his own voice. Though he claimed to be a great champion for reason, he constantly vilified and dehumanized the people he didn't agree with using insulting terms like "moron" and "libtard."
It was while listening to caller after caller parrot Rush's demeaning talking points railing against political correctness and anything else that he disagreed with ("mega dittos, Rush!"), I realized that I didn't enjoy listening to them. To any of them. These were, theoretically, the people who I shared ideology with. Did everyone who believed these things act this way? Was this how I wanted my friends to act? Was it how I wanted to act? The obvious answer was no.
In the years since, I've tried to be a better person and not condemn everyone who disagrees with me. (I know, I know. I said I've tried, not that I had succeeded.) I now believe that an unwavering obsession with political ideology is never as important as the people that ideology is supposed to serve. I believe in the facts, even when they are inconvenient. And unlike the President of the United States who used last night's Constitutionally-mandated State of the Union address to award Rush the Presidential Medal of Freedom for constantly blowing smoke up his ass, I've decided that the world would be a better place without anyone who abuses others the way that Rush Limbaugh does from his radio pulpit.
So thanks for helping on the road to self-improvement, Rush. Smoke one more cigar for me!
The Hollywood Reporter reports the totally inevitable news that Disney is remaking Bambi as a "live-action feature" as a "companion piece to its remakes The Jungle Book and The Lion King." I can't tell you how much it bothers me that Disney insists on calling its computer-generated eye-candy "live-action." I also can't tell you exactly why.
A large part of it must be related to my distaste for Disney itself. I once had a great deal of respect for the company that Walt built on the back of an animated mouse. Mr. Disney was an imperfect man, but he really did believe in making disposable entertainment into art. His successors less so. These days, the powers-that-be at Disney are obsessed solely in their quest to be the only entertainment company on earth. They'll do anything that gets them an extra almighty dollar, mostly including exploiting pre-packaged nostalgia for Walt's corpse.
However, a bigger problem is the lie itself. Computers are powerful, but outside of Weird Science, they remain incapable of breathing life into binary code. Nothing about The Lion King was live action, but Disney has been very careful to avoid saying so. (For example, they refused to submit the movie for consideration for Best Animated Feature Film Oscar.) I don't know why. Movies aren't real to begin with, so why mislead people about how they are made?
It increasingly looks like we're living in a post-truth society. The man in the White House can't say two sentences without a lie. Facebook will not restrict political campaigns from spreading intentional, demonstrable mistruths in paid advertising. Enemy states are using face-switching technology to promote propaganda on social media. With politicians already doing such a great job at it, why should we let corporations continue to degrade America's tenuous grasp on "reality" any further?
Sigh. I know I'm over-reacting. It's just promotional press for a movie that I won't watch. (Unless they shoot Bambi this time.) I know I'm just getting old and weary. But these uncontested, re-reported lies are really starting to get to me. It feels like 1984 is getting closer ever day, and now it's coming soon to a theater near you.
Just a quick FYI: I watched the pilot of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist last week, and I liked it. I liked it a lot.
The protagonist is a coder for a San Francisco tech company, and a plot point is that their code doesn't work. Zoey manages a promotion after realizing that no one on her entire team knows even the first step in debugging a network communication error. I
probably definitely should have been irritated, but series lead Jane Levy is too cute for me to be mad that she's bad at her job.
Knowing that musical television is an uphill battle, NBC is streaming the episode on NBC.com and YouTube to build positive word of mouth in advance of its February 16 series debut. In software development, we call that a soft launch.
Try it. You might like it. A lot.
I've seen pictures of my younger self posed in pajamas in front of the refrigerator, but I have distinct memories of only three New Year's Eves in my life.
The first was spent at my uncle's mother's house with my older cousins. It was the 80s, and I barely made it to midnight to drink my non-alcoholic cider before I fell asleep. I probably wasn't 10 years old, but I do remember feeling, perhaps for the first time, like I was a real adult.
The second was while working as a waiter at Chili's in the mid-90s. The restaurant closed at midnight that evening, so the manager on duty brought some champagne for all of us who had to close (my favorite shift). I didn't finish my glass. It wasn't the first bubbly I'd had, but it did cement my opinion that I do not like it. Alcohol isn't my bag, baby.
The third was twenty years ago tonight: New Year's Eve 1999. Mom came from Scottsdale to Athens, and we had dinner at the 24-hour Shoney's restaurant Trey was working in. He had the overnight shift, so Mom and I went back to the house (on Big Oak Circle) to watch fireworks and waited for the Y2K bug to end civilization as we knew it. Good times.
Half a lifetime later, I'm planning on celebrating the calendar change tonight with my favorite pastime: playing video games. I probably won't be making any indelible memories, but I will start the new year while having a good time. Isn't that what New Year's Eve is really about?
Second try on gingerbread cookies. This time I used a 50% smaller cutter, but I only cut the bake time by 25%. Oops. As a result, they're a little crispy. At least they're well dressed.
Frankly, the taste is nice enough, but they could be burnt crisp and I'd still like them. The scents of gingerbread and peppermint are the best things about Christmas.
Next year: colored icing. (I think I'll make that my New Year's Resolution.)
Last year I vowed that instead of gingerbread houses in 2019, I would make gingerbread men. It was a good decision.
I looked at a bunch of gingerbread cookie recipes before deciding which to use. (I didn't want to use my house recipe because I wanted cookies that didn't have the texture of drywall.) Like apple pie recipes, most gingerbread recipes are very similar, deferring primarily in the ratio of
flower flour to butter. The one I decided I liked best I found in the Tis the Season Holiday Cookbook (2000) by Mary Engelbreit. It must have been another good good decision. I made 2 dozen on Friday, and they were all gone by Sunday.
As you can see, I had some trouble with piping the royal icing. My first try was too thin (overcompensating for the 2018 disaster), and the second batch popped the seam of my makeshift Ziploc pastry bag. I got the hang of it only relatively late in the game.
Now that I know what I'm doing, I guess I'll just have to make some more.
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November wasn't only about pies and movies!
When I was a kid, my favorite Christmas decoration was a pair of legs painted on plywood mounted to the top of a chimney. They were connected to a windshield wiper motor and kicked, like Santa was stuck face down. It was a good gag.
Cue earlier last month when Mom said that she wanted a new Christmas yard decoration. She was looking at lit Santa Claus blow molds like she had on her door as a child, but when she tried to convey the idea, all I could think of were those kicking legs.
I didn't manage the same level of technical innovation, but I think I got the nostalgia angle right.
Kind of looks like a bit of Photoshop there, doesn't it? Here it is a little closer.
My next door neighbor seems to like it. He's already asked where we bought it so that he could get one of his own. Mom had to let him down easy. This Santa stands alone.
Two years ago, I helped my mother with invitations and other aspects of preparing for her 50th high school class reunion. Part of that included developing art and layout.
The reason I mention that now is this placard recently spotted in the local public library:
That's my design at the top of that flyer, presumably taken from the reunion website.
It's kind of cool to see something that I had a hand in placed in a cultural archive. I'm immortal!
I'm one of those people who, back in 2018, was reluctant to impeaching the sitting President because there was no way the Senate would do anything.
I'm also one of those people who, even though the Senate probably still won't do anything, has become convinced that impeachment is a necessity in the wake of the sitting President actively
soliciting extorting outside influence on the 2020 election.
I'm bothered that a not insignificant portion of America continues to support the President's interest in subverting the democratic rule of law. I want to give my fellow countrymen the benefit of the doubt. I hope it's a simple case of ignorance, either about the law or about what the President admits that he did.
Late in his life, Thomas Jefferson explained that he wrote the Declaration of Independence
"to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent."
Obviously, that worked out pretty well*. May the inevitable Articles of Impeachment be just as successful.
*John Adams rather famously estimated that up to a third of the American population resisted Independence until the bitter end. In any era, some minds can't be changed.
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