I didn’t get a chance to blog about this last week, but I saw a news article about the bombings in Rome that were linked to anarchists. And I thought, Really? Anarchists? I knew that President McKinley was assassinated by an anarchists back in 1901, but I haven’t heard about anarchists for years. Are anarchists trying to back the spotlight from people like Al-Qaeda, or is Al-Qaeda slipping so that anarchists are now bigger?
Archive for December, 2010
Everywhere you look this time of year you see lists for The Best/Worst Whatever for the Past Year/Decade. So, I might as well get in on it as well.
This is my list (in order of release date) of what I consider the ten best scifi/fantasy movies of the past ten years. The main difference between the movies listed here and some big name movies is that these have coherent plots. For me, that means far more than flashy special effects.
Donnie Darko – 2001
Harry Potter – 2001-2010
(I lumped all of these together because it’s easier than trying to pick one. I also tried to find something that had all the trailers together, but I couldn’t find a good version, so this is just the trailer for the first movie. How far they have come.)
Lord of the Rings – 2001-2003
(Same as with the Harry Potter movies.)
Spider-Man 2 – 2004
(This one it is easier to pick one of the three movies as better.)
Serenity – 2005
V for Vendetta – 2006
Children of Men – 2006
Iron Man – 2008
(The second movie was good, but I think this one is better.)
Watchmen – 2009
District 9 – 2009
Each roundtrip home, I travel some 350 miles on the interstate. It seems that each trip, I see the same thing: people in cars who appear to not be able to pass semis. This is how I think it happens. Some schmuck has their cruise control on and it’s set about half-a-mph faster than a semi is going. So they slowly creep up behind the semi. Then the schmuck thinks, I ought to pass that guy, so they hit their turn signal (maybe) and move over to the left lane. They then wait while that half-a-mph takes them passed the semi. Meanwhile, someone like me comes up behind them and I have to turn my cruise control off because there’s a semi in the right lane and the schmuck in the left and there’s no place for me to go. I check out the scenery for a mile or so, and when the schmuck has finally passed the semi, I hit the gas and buzz by both in a matter of seconds. Apparently, the schmuck doesn’t realize that you can hit the gas while the cruise control is on to go faster so you can quickly pass people, and once you’re done you can take your foot off the gas and you’ll go back to whatever your cruise control was set at. At least that’s how all the cruise controls I’ve used have worked. Maybe they’re too busy yakking on their phone to realize they’re holding up everyone behind them. Or maybe they’re just schmucks.
Now, there is one case I can think of where it’s okay to hang back from passing a semi. That’s when there is an onramp coming up and I – being a considerate driver – will hang back to leave the semi room to move over in case someone is coming up the ramp. If no one is, then I hit the gas and pass normally.
They stop playing crapping Christmas music and movies 24/7!
Instead of the “Buy festive worthless crap!” commercials go back to the standard “Buy worthless crap!”
Recently, I was in a bookstore café doing some writing over a cup of Earl Grey. At one point, I looked in my cup and saw some tea leaves floating. I laughed at myself and wondered if anyone could read them for me. Then – because my brain is weird – I began thinking of animal entrails. Extispicy “is the practice of using anomalies in animal entrails to predict or divine future events.” I started wondering who was the first person to do that, and why? I mean, it’s understandable for a primitive to look at lightning as proof that the sky god was angry, but communications from the gods in sheep entrails? WTF?
My question is, how could such a thing gain “credibility?” I mean, I once read that in ancient Rome they read entrails before every major decision, and there was a government position to make sure there were enough animals to meet the demand. So people believed in it, but why?
In the last few weeks I’ve seen I don’t know how many car commercials where someone buys somebody a car. They pop up ever year, and they always annoy me because they’re so unrealistic. If someone bought me a car, I’d be like, “Really? I mean, that’s nice and all, but shouldn’t I have given it a test drive? What if I don’t like the color? And when I’ve bought my two cars, I had to sign like twenty papers, so do I ‘own’ the car yet, or do I still have papers to sign?” (As I’m typing this up, there was just one of these commercials on.) I know, they’re just stupid commercials and not something I should get worked up about, but every time I see one I groan a little.
Now to be fair, I did once semi-seriously consider buying someone a car. It was for an ex-girlfriend. About a month or so after we started dating, she totaled her car. She was more-or-less unemployed at the time, so she couldn’t afford to buy a replacement. Things were going bad between us going in to Valentine’s Day (we broke up a week before) and in a bad mood I considered that she would only be happy if I suffered in some fashion. So the idea of buying her a car popped into my mind, in that I would suffer in spending money I didn’t really have to spare. Now, in my defense, I felt that even if I bought her a junker that she could only drive across town to the supermarket, it would give her a small sense of independence by not having to wait for me or her parents to take her. But I’m still bugged by these commercials where people give new cars as gifts.