Or, at least, their (no doubt soon-to-be-former) pilot Bruce Wayne Wallis sure was giving it the ol’ college try.
Monthly Archives: March 2016
Bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon and bacon.
This excellent commercial for a British film download service stars Kevin Bacon, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Bacon, and Kevin Bacon. Enjoy:
(I think the best part is that the jerk — who turns 58 this summer — has aged so well he can plausibly reprise characters from 1980 (when he was 22), 1984, 1992, 1995, and 2000 in one commercial and have them all be immediately recognizable.)
Wow! This is almost cute.
I just got an honest-to-goodness “Nigerian prince” spam:
Whatever else he is, J. J. Abrams is an enthusiastic nerd
He’s been instrumental in getting Don Coscarelli’s late-70s cult horror film Phantasm restored and released on Blu-Ray and DVD, on account of BIG FAN. Coscarelli:
It started a loooong long time ago in a graveyard far, far away. J.J. Abrams called up, oh, about 12 years ago, back when he still doing TV stuff. I didn’t know who he was. He said “I’m a TV producer, and I love Phantasm.” And we started talking about it. In fact, at the time, I think we were finishing up Bubba Ho-Tep. And I got a little trouble with the editing process, and I was having trouble making that movie come together. And I brought it over and showed it to him and we hung out and he was a real cool guy. And, over the years, from time to time we stayed in touch. I introduced him to Angus Scrimm [ed. note: the “Tall Man” villain in Phantasm], and he ended up putting Angus into a recurring role on his Alias TV series. Angus really appreciated that and really enjoyed it.
Flash-forward to about a year and a half ago, I got another call from J.J. and he wanted to screen Phantasm for his workers over at his company Bad Robot. And I told him that the only choice he really had was my scratched-up old 35mm print, or the standard-def DVD. Those weren’t really great choices, so he said “Oh, we gotta fix that!” So he put [me] in touch with their head of post-production, a guy named Ben Rosenblatt, and he came up with this plan as to how to restore the movie efficiently. So that’s how it started.
I’m not really a horror fan, and I’m no fan of Abrams, but this is a cool story.
Just how fucked up IS North Carolina?
The “small government” Republicans in the state legislature have passed an omnibus “hate bill” in response to a Charlotte ordinance protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination that produced whole host of horrors in addition to rolling back those protections:
But the legislation introduced and passed into law by the General Assembly yesterday didn’t simply roll back that ordinance. It implemented a detailed state-wide regulation of public restrooms, and limited a person’s use of those restrooms to only those restrooms that correspond with one’s “biological sex,” defined in the new state law as the sex identified on one’s birth certificate. (So yes, by law in NC now, transgender porn star Buck Angel (look him up) will have to use the women’s room…isn’t that precisely what these lawmakers are actually wanting to prevent?).
But the legislation didn’t stop there. It also expressly pre-empted all municipal and county ordinances or policies broader than the official state anti-discrimination statute, which does not include sexual orientation or gender identity among the list of prohibited bases of discrimination. So that effectively wipes out local LGBT anti-discrimination protections in numerous NC cities (and, ironically, wipes out the protection of discrimination based on “veterans status” in Greensboro and Orange County (Chapel Hill)).
But wait, there’s more. The legislation also expressly states that there can be no statutory or common law private right of action to enforce the state’s anti-discrimination statutes in the state courts. So if a NC resident is the victim of racial discrimination in housing or employment, for example, that person is now entirely barred from going to state court to get an injunction, or to get damages of any kind. The new law completely defangs the state’s anti-discrimination statute, rendering it entirely unenforceable by the citizens of the state.
But wait, there’s more! The legislation also prohibits municipalities and counties from passing a higher minimum wage than the State’s. Not that any municipality or county had done that…but in case any of them were thinking about it, that’s now prohibited, too.
The GOP is, absolutely, the party of discrimination and hate. They don’t even try to hide it anymore.
As if you needed MORE proof that Jerry Jones is a shitstain of a human being
Jerry Jones: Link between CTE and football ‘absurd’.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called the connections between CTE and football “absurd” on Tuesday.
Jones told reporters there was not enough data to establish a relationship between the degenerative brain disease, linked to repeated hits to the head, and the game of football.
Last week, NFL senior vice president for health and safety Jeff Miller said that there was “certainly” a link between football and CTE, which has been found in the brains of numerous former professional football players postmortem.
Look, if you’re behind the fucking NFL on an issue like this, that ought to be a warning, you know?
And now, a pretty good lay description of Apple v. FBI
Also, its title is “Mr Fart’s Favorite Colors“, and how can you not read that?
More on FBI vs. Apple
Bruce Schneier has a nice rundown of recent events.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the FBI has seriously overstepped here, even to lay people.
“Chicken staff meetings, chicken progress reports, chicken analytics, chicken sprint review”
My Well-acquaintance Laura decided to try her hand at making real coq au vin, which, as you may or may not be aware, assumes a mature cock.
The one key thing that is generally understood about traditional Coq au Vin, however, was that it was supposed to be made with a farmyard rooster (hence the “coq” (cock) – and not “poulet” (chicken)).
The chickens we buy in parts in the supermarket today are no more than a couple months old, and they don’t move much in their short lives. That’s why they are so tender. They are still babies.
The traditional coq au vin recipe involves braising a rooster in wine and stock for a really long time to break down the tough meat and connective tissue and to soften it up. That long braising time is how you actually make an old rooster edible. The long braising time also reduces and enriches the wine sauce. The long time to cook is part of the entire point.
As it happened, though, Laura had a big ol’ cock on hand, and so she was off to the races. This is a fun read, but it also makes me want to find a source for mature birds and try it myself.
Here’s something interesting…
Well, to me, anyway.
You’ve all played pool on a coin-op table in a bar, obviously. Did you ever wonder how the table knows which ball is the cue ball? It has to be able to tell somehow, because after every scratch during play it returns the cue instead of trapping it with the object balls.
Turns out, there’s two ways.
One method involves a big-ass magnet and requires the cue contain enough iron for the magnet to pull it to one side and change its pathway inside the table. That’s pretty neat. (Click through; there’s video.)
The other method involves a cue ball that is fractionally bigger (2 and 3/8 inches vs the standard 2 and 1/4) than the object balls, and uses a slightly different mechanism to do the segregation that’s perhaps a bit easier to imagine since it’s size based.
This information has implications, though.
First, it means that home or premium table cue balls won’t work on coin-op tables, because in those sets (a) all the balls are the same size and (b) none of them contain iron.
Second, a bar owner who needs a new cue ball for his table will also need to know which kind of mechanism his table has, because there two types of cue balls and the iron one won’t work on a table that expects an off-size cue, and vice versa.
Interestingly, the first several billiard supply shops I found online didn’t even deal with coin-op cue balls; they were all about the home or premium market. I assume this is because a bar owner (or similar) is dealing with some local amusement vendor and not the Internet most of the time, whereas folks searching for “pool table supplies” online are looking to outfit their own billiard room.
No idea why this information charms me so much, but there it is. (Also: Magnets!)
Maybe you’re confused. It’s everywhere, but what IS it?
Hamilton is pretty much on fire, but I admit I wasn’t really receptive until the JoCoCruise. I had apparently even skipped the New Yorker article last February about Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Off-Broadway production (which you should track down and read, because it’s amazing, too.)
Anyway. That article mentioned the origin of the show: basically, Miranda got obsessed with Hamilton after reading Ron Chernow‘s biography, and started working on material. The first public airing of the work was the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and Spoken Word — in 2009.
Well, dear reader, you’re in luck; the piece then called “The Hamilton Mixtape” was taped. Here you go. First taste is free.
Actually, it’s the first TWO tastes, because for the Grammys they took a live feed from the theater to show the Grammy audience the first number of an actual performance of the show on Broadway. So here’s what that song became five years later. The lyrics are mostly the same; the biggest difference is that instead of all being from Burr, it’s split up between Burr, Laurens, Jefferson, Madison, Eliza, and Washington.
(Seriously, the embedded link is like watching that old footage of Prince playing “Purple Rain” for the first time. It’s amazing.)
My favorite part is the reference to a “Writ of Duh”
Over at the Atlantic, Garrett Epps explains the metric smackdown the tantrum-throwing Alabama Supreme Court was just handed by a unanimous SCOTUS. It’s a thing a beauty:
The Alabama Supreme Court has had a rough week. On Friday, the court issued a one-sentence order admitting that “Erm, um, well, urm, okay, fine! Whatever! We really don’t have the authority to overrule the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges. Are you people happy now?” The order came accompanied by 170 pages of bloviation, which read a bit as if Robert E. Lee had tried to spin General Orders No. 9 as a strategic victory.
Monday, in a different but related matter, the U.S. Supreme Court piled on by in effect issuing what I’ll call a Writ of Duh in a same-sex adoption case.
[I]n another case, the Alabama court on Friday took 170 pages to discuss the unremarkable proposition that a state court can’t disobey, set aside, ignore, fold, bend, spindle, or mutilate a judgment of the United States Supreme Court. Here’s the entire operative part of the order: “IT IS ORDERED that all pending motions and petitions are DISMISSED.” Most of the other pages are occupied with sour grapes. Chief Justice Roy Moore (who lost his job once before when he defied an order of a federal court in a different case) was, as always, convinced that the world is eager to hear his views on a variety of subjects. He in his wisdom really thinks Justice Anthony Kennedy is a bad, bad judge for writing the Obergefell decision. Justice Tom Parker (founder of the conservative think-tank that brought the challenge) concurred specially to denounce the Supreme Court’s “despotism and tyranny.”
South of the Mason-Dixon Line, “tyranny” usually translates as “making me recognize the rights of people I don’t like.”
“This is the downside of building party identity around a package of calculated nonsense and comically unrealizable goals.”
Josh Marshall at TPM explains the GOP’s Trump problem in terms of the idea of technical debt, thereby endearing himself to many geeky Heathen.
The deeper causes of the recent trends in the GOP go deep into the society and culture of the American right and American society generally. But Republican elected officials have increasingly coddled, exploited and in some cases – yes – spurred their voters’ penchant for resentment, perceived persecution, apocalyptic thinking and generic nonsense.
Last week, Mrs Heathen and I took a little cruise with 1,100 of our closest, nerdiest pals.
Ever wonder what it’s like to work with Terrence Malick?
Thomas Lennon (The State, Reno 911) got hired as a partygoer in the new film Knight of Cups, and shared his recollections here.
“We’re all standing there and Malick hands out these pieces of paper to all of us,” Lennon said. “And the one he gave me said, ‘There’s no such thing as a fireproof wall.’ And I ask, ‘Is this something I’m supposed to say in the scene?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know.’”
Lennon learned, after talking to the director, that there was no script, just a phrase that might inspire him when cameras started rolling.
“And then Malick goes, ‘Would you like some more? Because I have a whole stack of these.’ And I was like, ‘I think I’m good,’” Lennon said.
Lennon later asked Bale while Malick was away:
Lennon: “Is this how it goes?
Lennon: “Every day?”
Lennon: “How long have you been doing this?”
Bale: “This is, like, day 25.”
Yet Another Bizarre Aspect of Win 10
In addition to all sorts of “phone home” behavior that is, apparently, not something you can disable, it turns out that Windows 10 will delete apps it thinks are outdated without asking first.
What. The. Actual. Fuck.
In which Erin is Awesome
So, last week we took a cruise, which was awesome.
On of the guests this year was fantasy author and awesome human N. K. Jemisin.
Erin and I attended her reading last Wednesday, which was a port day. During the reading, the crew had a drill that involved overhead announcements — which, unfortunately, also cut off the mic Ms Jemisin was using, interrupting the reading.
Over and over. It got comical, really, but Ms Jemisin persevered and finished the reading.
Well, Erin being Erin, she decided that Ms Jemisin should be rewarded for her grit here, and set about making some sort of trophy for her using materials she could find on the boat. That was somewhat limiting, but since one of the bits of swag for the cruise was a stuffed dolphin in a fez, and extras were available, an amusing and on-topic base was quickly identified. Erin festooned it with shiny things from the gaming room, and we gave it to her after dinner the next night. She was very pleased.
And, as it turns out, remains pleased about it now.