September 26, 2007
September 25, 2007
#5. ADAM WEST - Batman: The Movie (1966)
BatWest fights like someone having a stroke. To be fair, Batman: The Movie's supposed to be campy. To once again be unfair, it looks like they didn't so much choreograph their fights as just run around flailing their arms like the set just caught on fire:
#4. GEORGE CLOONEY - Batman & Robin (1997)
BatClooney sees no problems whatsoever with suiting Chris O'Donnell and Alicia Silverstone up in benippled costumes and enlisting the idiots in his war on crime, despite the fact that no right-thinking person would trust Chris O'Donnell or Alicia Silverstone to lick stamps without turning purple and asphyxiating themselves.
#2. MICHAEL KEATON - Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992)
Smoothness with the Ladies
For a short guy with no muscles, BatKeaton scores positively epic amounts of ass during his Bat-tenure in Batman and Batman Returns, including Kim Basinger and Michelle Pfeiffer in a catsuit. Must be that impressive wingspan on the cape.
Plus, unlike other Batmen (who refuse to get involved in relationships because it would distract from their war on crime), BatKeaton's all about the pussy: That crime stuff can just chill out for a night, he'll get to it tomorrow. He freely reveals his identity to his girlfriends, romances them with candle-lit meals at Wayne Manor, and then makes them watch him sleep upside-down after he's bedded them. That's a little creepy, admittedly, but one could argue that after you've managed to bed '80s-era Kim Basinger, you can pretty much go ahead and do any goddamn thing you'd like.
The definitive DVD collection features all 176 classic episodes from the series' 1987-1994 run along with all-new special features including "The Next Generation's Impact: 20 Years Later," "The Next Generation's Legacy: 2007" and "Star Trek Visual Effects Magic: A Roundtable Discussion." The collection is encased in an incredible collector's packaging and includes an exclusive poster. Each season also includes additional bonus features exploring memorable missions, crew profiles, behind-the-scenes and much, much more.
Time for a Deep Space Nine collection.
September 21, 2007
In 2004, at the height of the Dan Rather Memogate story, I wrote in National Review: Across the media universe the questions pour out: Why is Dan Rather doing this to himself? Why does he drag this out? Why wont he just come clean? Why would he let this happen in the first place? Why is CBS standing by him? Why ... why ... why?
There is only one plausible answer: Ours is a just and decent God.
I'm more of a gallon of gasoline and a Spaceballs- the Flamethrower- sort of a guy, but whatever gets you going.
Lord of the Rings is more or less the foundation of modern D&D. The latter rose from the former, although the two are now so estranged that to reunite them would be an act of savage madness. Imagine a gaggle of modern hack-n-slash roleplayers who had somehow never been exposed to the original Tolkien mythos, and then imagine taking those players and trying to introduce them to Tolkien via a D&D campaign.
Alas, 144 episodes later and the D&D trek through the LOTR books and movies is complete. However, he's got a new project, which I'm certain you'll find entertaining as well.
Update: I'm such a moron. I'm been clicking through DM of the Rings so long that I didn't realize that I hadn't actually added Twenty Sided to my blogroll. Consider that fixed.
Speaking of the blogroll, I'm going to start pruning some names real soon. Not because I want to exactly, but some of the links and domains no longer exist. Sure, I held on for a couple of years until Rachel Lucas started blogging again, and it was a small matter to change A Small Victory to A Big Victory when Michele Catalano started blogging solo again. And I don't drop people for not blogging. What I do drop them for is when their domain no longer exists, or has become a porn site. In any event, some dead wood will be removed.
September 20, 2007
You answered 57 out of 60 correctly 95.00 %
Average score for this quiz during September: 75.2%
Average score since September 18, 2007: 75.2%
The 3 questions I missed shall remain nameless. In any event, how did you do?
September 19, 2007
Anyway, check it out, if you're so inclined.
Global warming alarmists have repeatedly warned us that if we don't act now to stop global warming, we place our lives at increased risk.
Amanda Staudt, a climate scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, for example, wrote: "Many American coastal communities may face more intense storms as the oceans continue to warm in the decades..."
Others, such as Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, claim that global warming is a "major factor in the increasing number of Atlantic hurricanes."
Since the planet has warmed since the end of the Little Ice Age in the mid-19th Century, one might expect, based on Staudt's and Holland's warnings, to have seen a rise in -- I don't know -- maybe the frequency and intensity of storms hitting American communities.
But we haven't.
In fact, right now, the continental United States is in the midst of its fifteenth longest sustained period without a hurricane strike. (For purposes of this post, a "hurricane strike" refers to a hurricane affecting the continental U.S. The eye of the hurricane may not necessarily have made landfall, but there will have been hurricane force winds on land.)
It is not the first such extended hurricane strike-free period in recent years.
In fact, four out of the 15 longest periods without hurricane strikes (that's about 27%) have occurred since 1983 -- when the planet was presumably in full overheat mode. Lengthy strike-free periods extended through 1983 (1105 days, ending with Hurricane Alicia), 1995 (700 days, ending with Hurricane Erin), 2002 (1084 days, ending with Hurricane Lili) and 2007 (688 days and counting).
Nothing to see here, just move along.
Update: Received via email from a friend:
Top Ten Pickup lines for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day
(We came up with these in an effort to interest The Other Dave (Letterman) in TLAPD. His staff liked 'em, but alas, his show was"dark" the week of Sept. 19.)
10 . Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?
9. Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?
8. Come on up and see me urchins.
7. Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.
6. I'd love to drop anchor in your lagoon.
5. Pardon me, but would ya mind if fired me cannon through your porthole?
4. How'd you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?
3. Ya know, darlin, Im 97 percent chum free.
2. Well blow me down?
And the number one pickup line for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day is
1. Prepare to be boarded.
Arrggghh, as it were.
Update: Well, the result of this pirate name generator kind of sucks:
You've recently acquired a peg leg, eye patch, hook and parrot, but now you need that perfect pirate name. Enter your current name and be redubbed:
Old name: physics geek
We'll now call ye:
Androgynous Bernard Smithe
September 18, 2007
Its National Cheeseburger Day. The best one in town is a matter of endless debate, of course, but Im partial to McDonalds. The perfectly flat meat, the sawdust bun, and the apathetic pickle somehow merge perfectly with the strange yellow sheet of congealed cheese-based protoplasm to create an object I will willingly eat if I cant get all the flies off the roadkill. I mean, sometimes theyre just dug in.
And here's the appropriate website for today,with a little sample to whet your appetite:
Update: Turns out that the Puppy Blender was on the same wavelength as me.
September 17, 2007
Let me borrow a few words from a John Denver song:
Your kisses that I live for,
your love that lights my way.
The happiness that living with you brings me.
It's the sweetest thing I know of,
just spending time with you.
It's the little things that make a house a home.
Like a fire, softly burning,
Supper's on the stove.
It's the light in your eyes that makes me warm.
So that was my weekend. How was yours?
September 13, 2007
It's always interesting to witness the blindness of the 2 SD crowd, who don't seem to understand that 3-4 SD intelligences see them as being every bit as stupid as they view normal people. I'm not a gambling guy, but I would bet $500 that Dawkins has an IQ below 3SD.
I had the benefit of knowing two people in the 5 SD+ range pretty well, which is one reason why I never got overly carried away with my own intelligence.
I've long been used to being the smart nerdy kid, getting flogged for that little bit of social outcastery many times growing up. I always knew that I was brighter than most of the dicks who took delight in pummeling me. Even surrounded by other nerds in college who also majored in physics, I felt that intelligence were a footrace, I could keep them in sight. A couple of them might be way ahead, but none of them would disappear from view. And then I reached graduate school, whereupon I was reminded of just how smart someone really could be, and how stupid I was by comparison: I met Bo.
Let me state for the record that I came to know just how inferior in intelligence that I could be to another person. I was completely outclassed in every way in terms of raw, native intellect. If our brains were in a footrace, I wouldn't have even laced up my shoes before Bo would have accepted the trophy, gone home, taken a nap and then come back to run again. And he would have finished first, second and third against me. With only the two of us running. It was a completely humbling experience. However, everyone should experience such a thing once in while to remind you that no matter how good you are, there's always someone faster, stronger and much much smarter.
The Linux value proposition
In the last year or two, a few Linux makers have designed desktops expressly for PC users, not geeks. The main contenders are: LinuxMint, Linspire, Mandriva, Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED to its friends), PCLinuxOS, SimplyMepis, Ubuntu, Linspire and Xandros.
They all include the operating system, a host of utilities and a full suite of Office, Internet, Graphics and Multimedia applications. You can check the goods on offer with the Live CD, and installing a full system can take as little as half an hour.
Getting there is not beyond the scope of a competent Windows user. The install is mostly automatic and includes setting up the internet connection. Common printers, scanners and faxes take a few clicks and a few minutes to install. These desktops offer 3D graphics that rival Vista and OS X in terms of 'eye candy'. Software updates are semi-automatic, and that includes all applications on the system. And Linux never asks you to reboot.
You can make this cube spin and you can make the panels transparent, and you can do all this on an ordinary PC with a basic Intel graphics card.
The value proposition becomes irresistible when we consider that most of these Linux desktops cost nothing, including all the applications. They come from the Open Source community, a group of very smart people spread all over the world who contribute their skills, energy and time to the endeavor of creating software for people to share.
There's an old joke that begins like this: What if operating systems were airlines?
Windows Airlines -- The terminal is pretty and colorful, with friendly stewards, easy baggage check and boarding, and a smooth take-off. After about 10 minutes in the air, the plane explodes with no warning whatsoever.
Mac Airlines -- All the stewards, stewardesses, captains, baggage handlers and ticket agents look the same, act the same, and talk the same. Every time you ask questions about details, you are told you don't need to know, don't want to know, and would you please return to your seat and watch the movie.
Linux Airlines -- Disgruntled employees of all the other OS airlines decide to start their own airline. They build the planes, ticket counters, and pave the runways themselves. They charge a small fee to cover the cost of printing the ticket, but you can also download and print the ticket yourself. When you board the plane, you are given a seat, four bolts, a wrench and a copy of the seat-HOWTO.html. Once settled, the fully adjustable seat is very comfortable, the plane leaves and arrives on time without a single problem, the in-flight meal is wonderful. You try to tell customers of the other airlines about the great trip, but all they can say is, 'You had to do what with the seat?'
I've had plenty to say about the problems I had with Linux distros, so it's time to talk about some of the advantages I found after spending more time with them.
- Cost -- Down under, an upgrade from XP to Vista Home Premium would cost me US$ 250, and an upgrade to Ultimate over $400. Moving up to Office 2007 would cost the same again. For folks running a business with several servers and lots of desktops, a low cost alternative like Linux must be music to their ears.
- Security -- Citizens of the kingdom are fed up with all the crooks, spies and burglars who roam the highways. Most of them envy the folks in the mountain villages who leave their front doors unlocked, even at night.
- Performance -- Linux boot-up times seemed slow compared to my XP systems -- 1 to 2 minutes versus 45 seconds. Linux makes up for that be being ready to use moments after the desktop opens, while XP takes another minute or two for all the start-up programs to get out of bed and for the AV to load down the latest updates. In other words, XP gets to the starting blocks faster but takes time to put its running shoes on. Once they're up and away, there's isn't much distance between them, but XP tends to run a little faster.
- Optimization -- My XP systems are optimized for speed while the Linux distros I tested were not. I looked into this but soon retreated -- a look here will explain why. If I'd compared Linux with the Dell Inspiron Core Duo the way it worked out of the box, XP would've been a distant second at every stage of the race. The effort it took to get rid of Dell's bloatware and to free the laptop from McAfee's iron chains is another story. Linux doesn't come with bloatware, and that's a big bonus.
- Resources -- The distros I tested used between 200 and 250mb of RAM just ticking over, and double that with half a dozen apps running. A standard Linux install occupies around 3 to 4gb of hard disk space, including applications. It uses about the same resources as XP, leaving Vista unchallenged as the heavyweight champ (2mb of RAM, 15gb of disk space).
- Dual booting -- Setting this up had me on the edge of my seat the first time but I needn't have fretted. Some time later I read that you must defrag your drive before you repartition it, so I'm even more surprised that My XP partition is still intact after dozens of installs.
- Configuring hardware -- Many distros set up internet connections automatically (on Ethernet at least) and install printers in a heartbeat. To install the Laserjet on XP was a 20 minute job using an HP CD; to get hooked up to broadband was a similar routine. I moved house recently, and had to change my phone number. After ADSL was enabled by my ISP, XP wouldn't cooperate, saying there was a problem with the address of my laptop. I rebooted in Mepis, which had no issues with the connection, then rebooted in Windows and the problem had gone away.
- Keeping track of software -- Like most Windows users, I have a shelf full of software CDs and keep a little book with serial numbers under my bed in case I have to reinstall the lot. With Linux, there's no need to worry about serial numbers or even losing your install CD -- all you need is a fast internet connection. That's a lot of freedom.
- Losing track of software -- A workshop I took my PC to a while back managed to lose my XP install disk. When I called Microsoft, they wanted to charge me money for a replacement and insisted on proof of ownership. I asked them where the Advantage in the WGA was if I had to dig out the original invoice or photograph the sticker on the box. I never got an answer to that question.
- Updating software -- Linux updates all the software on your system in one session, not just the OS. Microsoft updates are automatic but you have to update each program you've added from other sources (about 60 on each of my PCs), and that's a real pain. My son wasn't impressed with this feature, saying Macs did this too. Of course they do -- OS X is based on a version of Linux.
- No need to reboot -- That's the icing on the Linux cake. With XP, you're nagged every ten minutes until you curse and reboot your machine. And if you choose custom install to select only the updates you want, XP hounds you like a mangy neighborhood dog until you give in. The penguin is much easier to get along with.
- Nothing's lost when you do -- You can shut down Linux with a bunch of programs open and they'll all come up ready to go next time you start up your PC, without a single complaint about abnormal termination.
- Re-installing the OS -- You can't just download an updated version of Windows. With Linux, you can download the latest version of your distro at any time and, if you created a separate partition for your home folder, your data will remain intact. You can arrange to install Windows like that, if you're smarter than the average user, but it'd still takes hours to download all the patches issued by MS since your install CD was burnt.
- Applications -- There are 15,000 apps that run on Linux. That they're free doesn't mean they're not up to scratch. Open Office is a viable alternative to Microsoft Office and has some neat features, like a PDF creator in the Writer toolbar. Scribus will do most of the things Publisher does, Evolution is more than a match for Outlook, and Firefox makes IE7 look stale. ShowFoto is as slick any photo editor I've used on XP. The Gimp has a reputation for being hard to use but who'd argue that Adobe Photoshop is easy?
- Windows apps on Linux -- There's a utility called Wine that lets you run Windows apps on Linux, which I believe has its limitations, so does the commercial equivalent, Codeweavers' Crossover. I didn't try either but that's what the guides say.
- Migration -- Ubuntu's Feisty Fawn includes a Windows migration wizard that recognizes Internet Explorer bookmarks, Firefox favorites, desktop wallpapers, AOL IM contacts and Yahoo IM contacts, and gives you the option of importing them during installation.
- Windows files on Linux -- I was surprised that I could not only access Windows docs with Open Office (on several distros), but even edit them and save them back into the NTFS partition in MS format.
- Freedom from bloatware -- All you get with Linux is the software you need or want. There's no crap to get rid of.
If you expect me to argue with the 13 reasons Kim Brebach gives for why the Linux desktop is unlikely to make it to a desktop near you any time soon, prepare to be disappointed. He's right.
No, you didn't mis-read that. Brebach may be a Linux newbie -- well a newbie who's getting up to speed at a remarkable rate -- but he hit the nail right on the head with his 13 reasons for why the Linux desktop isn't likely to make it. There's only one reason I disagree with him on. But, what he doesn't do is look at some of the reasons why Linux may yet become a popular desktop despite itself.
It's the OEMs, not the Linux distributors that are going to get Linux 'boxes' onto the store shelves and into people hands. And, as they do so, they're also going to be providing, along with the Linux distributors, the kind of tech support that normal users expect from a company.
At the same time, Linux is getting easier to use. As Brebach noted in the seventh part of his series on his adventures with Linux, there are many Linuxes -- like SimplyMEPIS, PCLinuxOS, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, Mandriva, and Xandros -- that already are good, usable choices even for a still wet-behind-the-ears Windows user.
Now, so long as the hardware vendors keep moving forward with bringing Linux to the masses with better marketing, good systems, and state-of-the-art support, I feel pretty darn certain that Linux is going to grow into becoming a serious desktop contender for everyone.
I'm currently giving Antix, MEPIS' smaller, slimmer, younger brother a whirl. My plan is to install it on an older PC for my children. It's a 400 MHz machine with 256 or 512 Mb RAM (I don't remember how much memory is installed). Such a machine would choke on XP, and Vista wouldn't deign to piss on it. However, Antix should run pretty well, as it doesn't have the bloat of KDE or Gnome. Rather, it uses Fluxbox as its windowing manager, although you have other options, such as Icewm, to choose from, all of which are very low overhead. Right now I'm working through resolving some wireless issues. Once that's fixed, the PC should be good to go. It will run smoothly and quickly and it won't cost me anything except a little bit of my time. Oh, and the spouse will be glad to see the extraordinarily large paperweight in the corner being put to good use again. I'll report back once the system is up and running. It might prove useful to others trying to get some mileage out of older machines.
Sound retarded? Well, it's no more retarded than this idea being considered by the Senate.
Let's call this what it is. It's not a measure of fairness; it's not something that's overdue or necessary; it is in fact an act designed to circumvent the Constitution, with the only goal in mind to create more Democratic votes in the federal legislature. Why beat around the bush? Just give the Democrat votes more weight than those of the GOP, say 1.01 for each donkey vote. Every 100 or so Dem votes would be worth 101.
Sure it's ridiculous, but it accomplishes what's desired and it's honest: it doesn't pretend to be legal or constituional.
September 12, 2007
September 11, 2007
I still remember that day. I remember my friend popping his head over my cube wall and telling me that two planes had hit the World Trade Center. I remember standing around a television set with another 50 or so people, watching an image made fuzzy by a lack of any cable or antenna. I remember watching a broadcast from the Pentagon when the jet hit that building. I remember watching people jump and fall from the tops of the Twin Towers. I remember watching those towers fall down. And most of all, I remember those ass suckers in the Palestinian settlement cheering and passing out candy, celebrating the deaths caused by their goat fucking friends.
Yeah, I remember. I move on and keep living, but I remember. And I will never forget.
Ace and Misha have their own worthy posts on this topic, as do many others around the Intertubes today. And I wouldn't want to forget Bill's post, as the graphic masthead on his blog serves as a constant reminder to what happened, and should never happen again.
Update: And let's not forget Mike at Cold Fury, who provides us with some great links to go along with his analysis.
Update: More links from Bill.
Update: Be sure to check out this post from Billy Hollis. Follow the link to the video.
Final update: A little excerpt from the Bleat back when it happened:
Gnat is rubbing her eyes; I put her down with Winky. She coos and gurgles and shes off to sleep. I think: in the New York of her lifetime, there are no Twin Towers. This sort of landmark subtraction has no parallel.
Theres not a single part of this story that doesnt induce wave after wave of nausea and horror.
So when I heard a plane overhead tonight, it was wrong. Turns out they were military jets circling around, securing the airspace. Just heard an unusually loud one, and I flinched; what had been an ordinary sound, an ordinary annoyance, was now a dire portent. Is this the future? Fearing the sound of every jet?
HELL no. I am not going to live in fear. They want my freedom, my peace of mind? Come and get it.
I won't do your work for you.
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