Saturday, February 27, 2010

You Probably Already Knew This

I've learned two things in two days which might be some kind of record. In medieval times, nobles retained the right to wage war on their own behalf, without regard to their nation (a concept that barely existed). This was known as the right of feud, and hence, the feudal system.

This hasn't been proven yet, but every even number, as far as the scientists know, is the sum of two prime numbers. I've proved it to my own satisfaction as far as ten.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Can Give You The Third Degree

I just saw one of my customers on TV standing next to Daniel Baldwin. I've been to my customer's house, well duh, that's what I do, but he's been to my house too (although I can't say it looked like he was having a particularly good time) so it's like a real relationship. They're making a movie or something in Seward, but you know the important thing, right? I just rock when it comes to "Six Degrees of Separation", especially if you consider how likely it is that Daniel Baldwin has met his brother, Alec Baldwin. From there, we (I say, "we" because I'm pretty sure that if you've read this far, you'd probably like to be my friend) can link all the way to Kevin Bacon, and from there it's a whole new game.
Add in that my customer once made a straight-to-video movie with Lindsay Wagner, and really, it's like I'm the Six Million Degrees of Separation Man

Sunday, February 21, 2010

That's Cold

We bought a stove a couple of years ago that I've always hated. Thinking about it, maybe the brand, Frigidaire, should have been a warning. I mean, you wouldn't get a Hotpoint refrigerator, would you?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pardon My Latin

So, if after working on my route, and then another route and then being told that I had to go out again in violation of our contract for the fifth time this week, and then saying a really bad word to my supervisor, wouldn't that prove ipso facto that we have a hostile work environment?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

First There Is A Mountain, Then There Is No Mountain Then There Is

3/4/1933
FDR's First Inaugural Speech:
Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

2/17/2010
PBS Newshour
PAUL SOLMAN
: You see no arguments that keeping the system as it is, is a legitimate political objective?

WILLIAM BLACK: Well, then you are going to have recurrent crises that get bigger and are disastrous. The financial firms get this burst of short-term profits. They max out their personal bonuses of their executives. It's great for them, but it's terrible for the world.


1953
The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis
"And the lesson of it all is, your Highness," said the oldest Dwarf, "that those Northern Witches always mean the same thing, but in every age they have a different plan for getting it."


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Some People and Then, (Don't) Do the Math

I was as excited as tired people get when I got back to the post office this afternoon after doing my route because a lot of people were driving away and I thought that soon I could do that too, but no, they were just some people, and there was a hand-off waiting for me, and it was another eleven and a half hour day, which is starting to seem like a lot for a guy my age (for extra credit you can diagram this sentence). To show how ridiculous the situation has become, the post office was paying our station's shop steward penalty overtime this evening to file grievances regarding penalty overtime.

Speaking of a guy my age (me, in fact) I realized the other day that I'm now closer to seventy than forty, and I'm starting to believe it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The More Things Change

We came back to anchorage a week ago today. While I was gone, the postal service hired a bunch of those TE's I've been telling you would save them money compared to forcing regular carriers to work so much overtime. It turns out that hiring them isn't the point. They really need to use them instead of mandating overtime. Since they're not, I spent a lot of today napping in the recliner. Finally I roused myself to plan a bike ride. In retrospect, I shouldn't have put on pajamas and gotten into bed to work out the details.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The "Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad" Draws Ever Closer

That title is a throwaway reference to Infinite Jest, a great novel by David Foster Wallace that I couldn't finish. As far as I could tell, it might have involved a movie that was so compelling that people couldn't stop watching it. Back in 1996 when it was published, that idea was fiction, but now, neurocinematographers are working to make it a regular Friday night fact. By using fMRI, they can tell exactly which parts of a movie are the most exciting and eliminate the parts that drag. Someday we'll be looking back at Avatar as the progenitor of a new kind of movie, where there is no plot at all. And we'll love it. And if not, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our (movie) stars, but in ourselves,"

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Avatar: Homage, Pastiche, Rip-Off, Whatever. You'll Believe a Toruk Can Fly

There were references to, or total rip-offs of, at least the Wizard of Oz, Pocohantas, The Matrix, Star Wars, Dances With Wolves, mythology, the Bible, and maybe the Last Samurai and Superman. On the other hand, instead of seeing it as lazy and uninspired to not write a new movie, maybe the genius of Avatar is that every scene is familiar not in the contempt-breeding sense, but in the Jungian race memory (which come to think of it is also referenced) sense that allows us to viscerally understand the story even as our viscera are challenged by the very special effects

They Didn't Even Have Cupholders

"Ah, fair sir, it were woundily hard to tell, they are so many and do so lap the one upon the other, and being made all in the same image and tincted with the same color, one may not know the one league from its fellow, nor how to count them except they be taken apart, and ye wit well it were God's work to do that, being not within man's capacity; for ye will note-"
Okay, in the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the Demoiselle Alisande la Carteloise is talking about the distance to her home, but the description fits the way I've been eating here. Just try and pick out one meal, from the steady stream of food. Last night we were out (eating) and Sarah's friend asked what we'd seen in Boston. As I talked, I realized I was just naming restaurants.
In a little while we're going to see Avatar. I'm worried because as far as I can tell from the previews and reviews, after they paid for special effects, they didn't have any money left over for a plot, and I fell asleep in Fantasia. On the other hand, the seats are so much more comfortable than they were forty years ago when I was dozing away at the Fireweed, I might get some rest.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010