Monday, January 31, 2011

The word for the day is...

Ultracrepidarianism, the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one's knowledge.
Surprisingly useful, even if it has a sort of, well, creepy sound.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Homochitto's nice this time of year.

Whether you're in camp:
or on the trail:
And no, that bridge isn't broken, it's just that steep.  One more pic:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Mardi Gras Time!

Although not in New Orleans, and not anytime this century.  Apalachicola used to do this stuff too.  Like many good things, WWI and Spanish Flu put a damper on this celebration and it never really came back.
It is vaguely disturbing though that I'm old enough know (well, have known) some of the people in the pictures at the linked article.  And I could swear that I remember that giant pocket knife on one of the floats was hanging in Sizemore's hardware store when I was growing up.
Anyway, laissez les bon temps rouler – just in this case, on oyster shell streets.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's True

True Grit is as good as everyone's saying it is.  Go see it before it leaves theaters.
This has been a phenomenal year for movies: Inception, yet another Harry Potter, The King's Speech, and now True Grit.  Not to mention a rash of fun-and-gun summer movies, plus raucous tripe like The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  Way better than anyone had any hope of expecting.

The Damn Martini

Very simple:
- chunk of ice, maybe a couple of small cubes
- 1.5 oz good gin
- 0.5 oz good vermouth
- salad olives – these let the flavor out better
- olive juice to taste, from zero to a teaspoon full
Toss in ice first, add the olives & juice, then vermouth, finish with
the gin.  Give it a quick stir.  And that's it!

The name?  As in "Hey!  I need another Damn Martini!"  Kind of like naming one's dog "Dammit" for all the hilarity you can have calling him to you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The King's Speech

Saw it Friday night at Canal Place.  Just going to a movie there is a treat in and of itself.  No chatty cellphone-weilding teenagers, floors aren't sticky, no gum on the seats – and the seats!  Nice leather, with a buzzer switch to summon attendants bearing tasty food.  All for a price of course, but well worth it.
Anyway, back to the movie.  The Prince of York, who quickly and unexpectedly becomes The King upon his brother's 1936 abdication, needs to fix his stammer PDQ so that he can get on the BBC and lead his empire to victory in WW2.  Sounds almost Seinfeldian in its thin plot, right?  Maybe, but the way the story is developed, and the actors, and, yes, even the sets just leaves me amazed.  3.5/4 stars.
Bonus points: Rated R, with no violence, explosions, sex, or crime.  Just a lot of profanity during the speech therapy sessions.  Leave that out and it would probably qualify for a G.  Tell me that's not messed up.


Norm Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, says America is losing its edge in innovation.  Here are some bitter comments from Slashdot.
Yes, we do have a problem.  And solutions are lying all around – pretty much all spelled out in the linked article and comments.  But these ideas won't be implemented.  Why?  Once again, see Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stomping my feet in anticipation.

Less than a month to go before Evil Plans is hatched.  N.B.: that is "Evil Plans," not "my evil plan, muha-ha-haaaah!"  It's a book.  Somebody else's.  Had this been an actual evil plan, well, you would've known by now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sci-Fi Podcasts

Classic stuff: Dimension X and X Minus One.  Most fate-a-rific part: in a 1950 episode, Destination Moon by – who else – Robert A. Heinlein, there's a short news interruption to announce the kick-off of the Korean War.
Links to downloadable archives are at the Wikipedia pages linked above.  Damn, but this beats almost anything else on commute-time radio.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yes, more like this one please.

Inception, that is.
I finally managed to see it.  Am slightly pissed that I missed it in theaters, but thank goodness for big-screen and Blu-ray.  VHS on the 19" just wouldn't have gotten it.  If you haven't seen it, it's worth the time.
What's it about?  Dreams, and the invasion thereof for the purposes of information stealing or – in this special case – idea implantation.  There's a minor technological gimmick that allows small teams to operate in one dream together, but beyond that it's as recognisable as next week.
So how was it?  Some of the best sci-fi I've seen in years.  Mmmm, 3.5/4 stars.  Didn't quite rock my world enough to be 4/4.  But that's for the best – if it rocks your world that much you're probably still stuck in Limbo Land on a double-date with Cobb, Mal, and her spinster cousin.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

H1N1 silver lining

A new study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (BBC article link) shows that winners of the 2009 H1N1 Flu Award (*cough*choke*cough*) may now have enhanced resistance to a wide range of flu viruses.  So maybe there is a silver lining to my household's Sept. 2009 bout with that strain.
But I'm still keeping some guaifenesin tablets in the cupboard.

Monday, January 10, 2011

St. George Lighthouse

Over New Year's the Big Sis and I visited – and climbed to the top of – the St. George Island lighthouse.  Highly recommended if you happen to be in the Apalachicola area and have good weather.  (Not recommended in inclement weather.  Having trusted my health and well-being to an Acme Lightning-Proof Umbrella (now strangely absent from their catalogue), take my word on this.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lunch in New Orleans yesterday

At Stanley.  Had the reuben, and the Darling Daughter had the softshell crab po-boy.  Mmmmmmmmmm.....

Fun Music Part 1: The Rezillos

A couple of days ago I mentioned a few lines from a Rezillos song, and have been listening to them on and off for a week or so now.  They only put out one studio album plus one live album.  Some things are shiny and new and not meant to last.  But while they lasted... wow!  (And sure, some of the band members re-formed years later and they're still around.  But the just-for-fun manic energy of a bunch of 20-something art students is hard to re-capture 35 years later.)  Anyway, here's a link to their remnant CD, Can't Stand the Rezillos, that squeezes their studio and live albums onto one disk.  And here's the obligatory Wikipedia article, but I think this history by an early band member tells more about what they were all about.  Finally, here's some art from their studio album.

The world needs more of this stuff.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year

I was running over New Year's while listening to the Rezillos on the iPod when these lyrics cut through the breathing and sweat:
        Change direction
        it's a new day.
        Make your mind up
        in your own way
        Get together
        for an action replay!

A good way and good thoughts to start the new year.