580 thoughts on “Ending, Beginning

  1. In response to a few comments on the last thread:

    To update Polar Express, I think I’d be inclined to keep an animated feel, just use today’s animation techniques, update the facial expressions and body movements so the characters aren’t such lifeless automatons.

    Ahsoka had some great moments, but overall was a goddamn mess, and was entirely hinged on idiotic decisions/actions to advance the plot.

    I had no idea Frank Langella was initially in that role on FotHoU. I wonder what got him fired? He’s generally pretty excellent. Bruce Greenwood hit it out of the park, though, so all ended well.

  2. And one more thing: I’d been hearing for literal decades about the greatness of the 70s Horror film, Suspiria. I know it’s a revered classic.

    I think I missed the window by a few decades. The bad acting and hokiness are so extreme, they kill any atmosphere the movie tried to build. I bailed after about an hour. Am I wrong? Is it worth finishing out?

    • Depends on whether or not you are a fan of the Giallo film style. Personally, I find it too slow. I’ve watched Suspiria and Deep Red. Neither was that good in my opinion. I did enjoy Deep Red though because it was on The Last Drive In with Joe Bob Briggs. That show if awesome and you will learn a ton watching it.

      Also, I still love Jessica Harper, despite Suspira.

      • Last night I finally activated a threads account.
        Seems like most of the people I follow are there. I may keep the Twitter account but probably won’t go by there much.
        Time for Twitter to go the way of “My Space” and Napster.

        • I’m fine with the public calling it Twitter. I just find it funny that X itself hasn’t embraced its own branding.

          I haven’t been on Twitter in years, I do have a threads account but don’t post very often.

  3. Today I will be mostly playing Galaxian.

    I’ve always preferred Space Invaders because those destructible bases really save your bacon from time to time.

  4. I spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day…riding almost 70 miles. I question my IQ sometimes. Legs and back are not appreciative of my efforts just now.

    Jack – hope everything turns out well for Tiffany.

  5. Thanks, everyone. Turns out to be the flu. So not good, but she’s home and medicated and resting – – and will med up some more tomorrow. Not feeling great.

    Our main hope now is that the little one and I don’t also get it.

  6. And. . . . we finished Picard season 2 last night. Truly, truly awful. The first one was fine. This one was a mess.

    But I hear the shouting about season 3. I’ll still watch that.

  7. Status report!
    Still sick, still not really on the mend. The college kid seems to have dodged it. So far, the little one is doing well.
    I’m starting to feel the tickle, but I’m fighting it.

    I hope you’re all doing well. I hope that shoulder is ok, TEB!

    • I have been telling myself since I was 12 that one day, I would own a pinball machine.
      Still waiting.
      You have to have a dream I guess.

  8. OK, so now she’s back to the advanced urgent care for a new chest x-ray.
    I’d have gone with her, but I gotta work, and gotta pick up the little one after school.

    All with fingers crossed for good results.

    • She’s home. All tests clear. Just gotta wait out the crap feeling.

      As for me, I’ll quote Traffic/Joe Cocker: “You feelin’ alright? I’m not feelin’ too good myself.”

    • Oh Jack. If it’s anything like what I had early December, expect to be in it for the long haul. I still have a lingering cough

      Hope you all feel better soon

        • Good grief.
          Is this supposed to be this years flu?
          Does the flu shot help mitigate the effects much.
          My mom got the Flu and had taken the vaccine but given that she is in her 80’s and only weighs 79lbs it is hard to judge anything from her results other than she survived.

          So from what I hear the flu seems to be going rampant around here as well but there was also a Covid flair up here at Thanksgiving.

          I have gotten the vaccine for both and now just knocking on wood.

          • This isn’t flu. Not what we’ve had. The doctors we talked to didn’t seem to know what it is, but I describe it as strep-like.

          • Yeah, when I went to the doctor’s in December, she told me there was something going around that was neither RSV or Covid that they hadn’t identified yet. Almost worse than the flu, but not pneumonia. She gave me an inhaler for my lungs and cough but said there wasn’t much else to do except the normal fluids and rest. I know I was in bed for days and, as I said, am still coughing.

          • There seems to be a varied crud going around this year. maybe half of everyone I interact with at work (100 plus people) have gotten something in the last month. I got an inner and outer ear infection, Mrs. Asshat got bronchitis, and my neighbors got something flu like. Not sure why it’s implementing in such varied ways, but it seems to start with nasal congestion that then leads to some other major thing from there.

          • The cough with this thing has been no joke. It’s been bad at times to the point of near-vomiting and suffocation. And it’s been lingering for both of us. The secondary infections are also problematic.

  9. Ooof.
    Just hearing that my mother-in-law has just gone to the hospital. She was staying with her daughter over Christmas and two days ago got sick. I don’t think they sought medical treatment until now.
    Apparently she can’t keep anything down.
    She is also in her 80’s and wouldn’t get the flu shot because she insists it gives her the flu.
    Narrator: “That’s not how it works.”

    Anyway. Good time to hunker down.

  10. So, Tiffany officially tested positive for the flu. That’s not a good thing at all, but maybe at best, a “devil you know” situation. I can only assume that’s what has taken us all out. I had a marathon sleep overnight (achy with weird dreams) and took a sick day from work. Dunno yet about tomorrow.

    She had been bouncing back while I tanked, but she’s now having a bad night. I feel meh.

    The worst news: the little one now has a low fever. Her mood is still OK, but we may be just getting started. I sure hope this all blows over and everyone is on the mend tomorrow, but we’ll have to rest and see.

  11. CW: 2010

    I like the film but it actually feels a lot of the tech is less futuristic than it looked in the 1968 film, especially the computer and screens.

  12. BTW- on our “sickness watch”
    Good friends of ours decided to take their college age kids to Los Vegas for New years. The kids are ok so far but both parents came back with Covid.
    They are convalescing at home but neither one is having a good time.
    I’m not sure if they got the vaccine but it wouldn’t surprise me if they hadn’t this time around.
    BTW – MIL is out of hospital

  13. I’ll get caught up on all the fun links above.

    Been a lot of sloth time in front of the TV these past few days. Currently the Disney animated Robin Hood. It’s like a warped blend of Excalibur, The Holy Grail, The Jungle Book, and The Dukes of Hazzard.

    • I love that movie. I watched that recently with my grand daughter. The next day we were constantly saying oodelally or doing that horrible clap that Prince John was doing where one hand is turned down and the other is lightly tapping it from above and doing his horrible laugh. Ahhhhh haaa.

  14. Crap joke for today:

    A guy walks into an Irish bar and there is only one other guy in the bar. He goes down and sits next to the guy. He orders a big beer. The other guy says, “I couldn’t help noticing by your accent you seem to be from Ireland.” The other guy says, “As a matter of fact I am. Let’s drink to Ireland.” And they do and tell the bartender to set them up again. Then one asks, “Where are you from in Ireland?” The other says,”I’m from Dublin.” The other exclaimed, “That’s amazing! I’m from Dublin! Let’s drink to Dublin!” So they drink up and order more. One asks, “By the way, where did you go to school in Dublin?” The other replies, “I went to St. Mary’s in ‘59.” The other speaks up and says, “That’s amazing! I went to St. Mary’s in ‘59!. Let’s drink to St. Mary’s!” The phone rings behind the bar. The bartender answers, “O’Toole’s.” The person on the phone says, “This is Eddie Shawnessey. I’m wonderin’ if there’s anything going on down there tonight?” The bartender replies, “ Not much. Just the O’Grady twins getting drunk again.”

  15. Status report:
    Tiffany is still sick, is taking yet another sick day today.
    I’m still sick, but I plan to work tomorrow.
    The little one has no temp and seems to be improving. Fingers crossed.

  16. Portal Revolution is out on Steam, a fan made mod for Portal 2 it adds new levels and a new scenario to the game. So far it runs nicely on a Steamdeck.

  17. And so, we did charge through S3 of Picard. (I know we’re late to the party).

    This is peak Trek. Very well done. Better than most of the movies.

    • While I don’t disagree with the hazard assessment … I think back to the equipment on playgrounds that I grew up on and wonder.
      Some of that equipment make this thing look super safe.
      Perhaps they were made as they were back then, to “cull out” the species.

  18. Had one of those “suggested for you” things show up in my Facebook feed that said yesterday was Erin Gray’s birthday. Turns out she’s the same age as my mom. Which means she was also the same age as my mom back in her Buck Rodgers days.

    That’s a bit of a weird thing to be confronted with.

  19. Speaking of very British things, we finished out the 4 Doctor Who specials.

    Some really strong points to all of them.

    But why, oh, why, did there need to be singing?

    • Think I would replace a couple of those with the conversions of Skykid and Dig Dug, which did a good job of replicating the arcade experience.

  20. So rewatched Dune tonight as it just dropped on Netflix in the UK.

    I only had the volume at 52% but the sub woofer was really get a workout by the thumping soundtrack.

  21. Crap joke for the day:

    An Irish woman of advanced age visited her physician to ask his help in reviving her husband’s libido.
    ‘What about trying Viagra?’, asked the doctor.
    “Not a chance,” she said. “He won’t even take an aspirin.”
    “Not a problem,” replied the doctor. “Give him an ‘Irish Viagra. It’s when you drop the Viagra tablet into his coffee. He won’t even taste it. Give it a try and call me in a week to let me know how things went.”
    It wasn’t a week later that she called the doctor, who directly inquired as to progress.
    The poor dear exclaimed, “Oh, faith, bejaysus and begorrah! T’was horrid! Just terrible, doctor!”
    “Really? What happened?” asked the doctor.
    “Well, I did as you advised and slipped it in his coffee, and the effect was almost immediate. He jumped straight up, with a twinkle in his eye, and with his pants a-bulging fiercely! With one swoop of his arm, he sent the cups and tablecloth flying, ripped me clothes to tatters, and took me then and there passionately on the tabletop! It was a nightmare, I tell you, an absolute nightmare!”
    “Why so terrible?” asked the doctor. “Do you mean the sex your husband provided wasn’t good?”
    “Twas the best sex I’ve had in 25 years! But sure as I’m sittin’ here, I’ll never be able to show me face in Starbucks again!”

  22. It’s finally winter in the Omaha area, too. Snowing outside as I write this. Going to have a high of -9F on Sunday – most extreme I’ve experienced so far. Good thing I’m allowed to WFH on Sat and Sun.

  23. JW: The Boys in the Boat

    At cinema.

    The spider sense was tingling as I watched and I was thinking “was this filmed in the UK?”

    Consulted Wikipedia and yes it was.

    • Kids can spoil anything.
      My eldest child’s take on TBITB –

      “A bunch of guys with white male privledge overcome the advantages of a bunch of guys with RICH white guy privledge to stick it to Hitler.
      OR MAYBE we could talk about what Jessie Owens did at that same Olympics.”

      While she is not wrong, I fear we have developed a generation that can’t find joy. “Generation Meh”

      Anyway… my wife says the book is great.

      • I mean. . . I don’t know the material, so I shouldn’t comment. . . .

        But wouldn’t that logic also apply to Schindler in Schindler’s List?

  24. I started reading Geddy Lee’s autobiography last night. I hope time and energy allow for me to keep going.

    It’s well-written so far. He dedicates a lot of ink in the early chapters to his parents’ and grandparents’ horrific experiences as Jews in Poland and Germany during WWII. Unexpected, but powerful.

  25. I *wish* I had an engine heating block right now. I’m most likely staying warm and safe at home tonight instead of going out to pose for costume photos at another Star Wars hockey night, because I’m so worried about my poor car.

    I did finally replace the Velcro pieces on that old Jedi tunic with new ones. They needed it, they’ll be eight years old in September.

  26. Oops, forgot something. The other reason to have one of those spandex bodysuits is to cosplay as a superhero. I have a custom screen-printed one I had made for Dragon Con 2022. Good times with a silly OC superhero group. 🙂

  27. Watching some coverage in passing on Iowa. Ignoring the fact your c election cycle is several years—They said the candidates spent over $100 million combined in Iowa alone. $100 mil I. Just one state!!!

    My question is, why? They keep going on about country deficits, can’t afford social programs, etc, but this can be spent just on campaigning.

    I find this very confusing

  28. Listening to a podcast about errors in Wikipedia when it started, this one made me laugh:

    The first law of thermodynamics is you don’t talk about thermodynamics..

  29. Post-birthday recap:
    Got to watch the eldest daughter’s aerial arts (Cirque du Soleil) class. Amazing.
    She also told me she’d listed me as writing inspiration for an assignment in her Creative Writing class.
    The garage door repair bill came out to $450.00. Fuck me.
    We binged Echo over a few nights. Excellent.
    We watched S3E1 of ST:D. What the hell? Eh, we’ll keep at it.

  30. Excitement builds as the temperature approaches the freezing mark for the first time in 4 days.
    Well… more accurately, the “not freezing” mark.

    • Oof. That’s a gut punch.
      A great man who did for Classical music what Weird Al does for Pop. Though his paradys are a hoot, often his funniest jokes came in the form of the music itself, with weird time signatures, incomplete phrases and just plain “wrong” key changes.
      I don’t know that there is anyone else out there doing this.
      Sadness.

    • Looks nice, although I’m not a big fan of platform puzzles that ape the Super Mario games. I’ve been playing Doom Eternal and the fights are great, but the “figure the right timed jump, grab, run, release” sequences drag the game to a halt when you are trying to clear a level. I hope the new Indy game doesn’t over do that aspect.

    • Re: “Daily Kos”
      I was very active there back when Bush launched his invasion of Iraq.
      One day I added a comment to a news item about the Isreal/Palestinian conflict and a someone with moderator permissions took it in a way I had not intended and had me locked out of my account.
      It was very frustraighting. I had been on there for years and never had so much as a warning or repremand or anything and I very much wanted to issue a public apology for how my post could have been misunderatood and underscore the importance of what the moderator was upset about. I didn’t want to argue with them, I agreed with their point.
      … but I was locked out of my account.
      So I walked away. Seemed a sorry way to run something.

    • That actually fits pretty well. I would have argued that it wasn’t time appropriate, but the song really did come out that year. Damn!

  31. Clawed its way up to 13F here in the Deep South. It is sunny though so maybe we get some melting anyway?

    Going to have to trek out today anyway. Need supplies.

    • The cat is super annoyed with me.
      No mater which door I let her out, it is still extremely unpleasant out.
      She is clearly displeased that I won’t let her into the “nice” outside.

    • We sell my wife’s wood burning crafts at a farmers market and here in Florida those run all year long. That’s great until you get a morning in the 40s. Not bad if you’re from up north. But also not fun to stand in for 6 hours straight when you don’t own a lot of winter gear.

  32. Watched the 1st two episodes of “One Piece” last night.
    It’s amusing. Will probably watch the rest.

    Finished this season’s Fargo.
    The usuall whacked out fun. Lots of characters to love or hate. Very topical this time as it takes place in 2019 (I think).
    I will say there seemed to be quite a bit of filler. Like maybe they only had enough show for 2/3 of their season and just need to stretch it out.

      • Van is referring to the Juno Temple who played Keeley in “Ted Lasso”.
        She is awesome in this, playing an entirely different character and showing her range!

    • I’m not going back to Hulu any time soon, but I do need to get in on this show. I’m told that each season is its own capsule, so I can start with any of them.

      Any consensus on favorite Fargo seasons?

      • I enjoyed them all, though the fourth was probably the weakest, but only by comparison.

        While each story is distinct, there are generally some Easter Egg type connections that I mostly miss myself.

      • One of the things they do with this show is cast really well known actors and put them next to actors I’ve never heard of. In all cases they seem to bring out the best in each other.
        Once I was able to get past the fact that I was seeing Chris Rock (season 4), I was blown away with his performance. I felt like casting him in that type role was a real gamble but he really pulled it off.

        • I’ve always always liked Chris Rock – – since he was a young standup comic in the 80s. Never understood the hate. (I don’t want to resurrect the Wil Smith debate) I’d definitely like to see him in a different kind of role, like this.

  33. Crap joke for the day;

    A man walks into a bar and tells the bartender, “Give me a double shot of whiskey NOW” even before he reaches the bar stool.

    “Everything OK?” the bartender asks the patron while preparing his drink.

    “Jesus! No,” says the patron. “I just found out my brother is gay and that he’s been secretly in love with my best friend for over 5 years!”

    “Oh man,” the tender says, “that’s messed up. So sorry about that.”

    A few days later, the same man enters the bar again, even more flustered than before. “Give me a double of what I had last time.” So the bartender places 2 glasses in front of him, each with 2 shots of whiskey.

    ”Man, you OK?” The bartender asks again. “Looks like you’re having a rough week!” he adds.

    “Oh, God! If you only knew,” replied the patron. “My nineteen year old son just came out as gay and he stole his sister’s boyfriend from right under her nose! The house is in complete turmoil.”

    During the weekend, the same patron entered and told the barman, “Man just bring the whole bottle of whiskey and a glass.”

    Shaking his head in disbelief, the tender asks, “Doesn’t anyone in your family prefer women?”

    Downing a glass and then another, the patron looks at the barman and says, “Yes. Apparently my wife does!”

  34. I’ve been watching Blue Eye Samurai on Netflix – – about halfway through. I was a little leery at first, thinking it was going to be a mess of juvenile cliches, but it won me over. The action sequences are actually fresh and exciting. I’m digging it.

    • I am through Ep4
      There are some very charming and fun things about it. But it also somehow feels awkward and I can’t really put my finger on what it is.
      I plan to watch all of it but can’t help but feel something is missing.

  35. It’s actually going to get above freezing today. The roads are going to be slushy heading into the city later this morning

  36. Well, we watched Blue Beetle today. It was actually pretty enjoyable. It wasn’t really a “superhero” movie so much as a “comic book” movie, in my worthless opinion. Taken in that context, I thought it was a nice change from all the grim-dark that is the usual DC and to an extent recent MCU movies.

    Shame that it’s a dead end and didn’t do well.

  37. Crap joke for the day:

    Daddy balloon, Mummy balloon and Baby balloon.

    Mum and dad have a problem, baby balloon keeps getting into their bed during the night, which they have told him to stop doing. Dad has a brainwave, secretly he buys a smaller double bed so baby can’t get in.

    Next night Baby balloon goes to get in their bed and he can’t fit, he has a think and comes up with a great idea, he takes some air out of Daddy balloon and some out of Mummy balloon but it’s still a bit tight. He takes a little bit of air out of himself and hey presto he is in.

    They wake up in the morning and can’t believe it. Daddy balloon tells him straight; we told you to stop doing this, you have let me down, you have let your mum down but worse still you have let yourself down.

  38. The husband said the staff are ordering Thai food for dinner tonight at the school. In solidarity, I told him I’d order Thai food for dinner myself. The difference; I actually like Thai food

  39. My goal is to finish System Shock by the end of the weekend so I can start Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth. Since I have no idea how much I have left to do in SS, we’ll see if it’s achievable.

  40. Read this crap joke yesterday. Definitely liked it:

    A mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, and a computer scientist are traveling to a business meeting together. While driving down a hill, their car brake system fails and they panic as their car careens wildly. Luckily, they manage to get their car under control and use the safety brake to stop. Once they all calm down a bit, the mechanical engineer says that it they need to check the mechanics of the brakes to find the problem. The electrical engineer says that they need to check the electrical system to find the failure. The computer scientist says “we should push it back to the top of the hill and see if it happens again”.

  41. JW: All of Us Strangers.

    A mite disappointed that they didn’t follow the Japanese original that seeing his dead parents is actually killing him by draining his life force. However that aside, well worth a watch.

  42. Watched the first episode of Masters of the Air, enjoyed was a bit disturbed by the snippets of Brit stereotypes in the preview for the rest of the season.

  43. End of the music whirlwind week! (Still a busy AF weekend ahead)

    Saw G3 tonight (Satriani, Vai, Eric Johnson) and Sammy Hagar made a surprise appearance.

    Many more stories ahead.

    • As is my norm, I was most excited to link up with people whom most have never heard of. God, what a thrill to chat with Chris Poland! And Chris Impelliteri. And Becky Baldwin, the new bassist in Mercyful Fate! Wendy Dio. And Ripper Owens. To get caught up with David Eleffson. The guys from Hammerfall. Kings of Thrash. And to hang out with Jimmy Kay, Neil Turbin, and Eamonn O’Neill.

      I’m guessing you’ve never heard of any of those people, but each of those connections was a big deal to me.

      And that doesn’t even touch on all of the great music! Fun is a lot harder to come by these days, but I had a bunch of it this week.

  44. Crap joke for the day:

    A Jewish son tells his father he is moving out. The son returns a year later and tells his father that he has converted to Christianity. The father is upset and calls his friend who is also Jewish. “You won’t believe this, my son David moved out for a year and came back and told me he converted to Christianity.” His friend says, “you won’t believe this…my son Benjamin moved away for a year and when he came back HE converted to Christianity too”! Both upset, they call their rabbi and explain what happened. The rabbi says, “you won’t believe this, my son Joshua moved away and when HE came back he told me he converted to Christianity too”! The rabbi suggests they call God and tell him. The rabbi tells God that all three men had sons who moved away and converted to Christianity and don’t know what to do. God says to them, “you won’t believe this…

  45. Well, now that it’s out on Paramount+, finally got around to watching the latest Mission Impossible. I had generally enjoyed the earlier iterations of the franchise, though even with the last one that featured Henry Cavil struck me as too long and too much.

    This one takes that and ramps it up more, unfortunately. It kinda felt like the latest John Wick in that sense – particular sequences would go on for so long as to wear out their novelty and impact. And so, by the time later set pieces come along, you’re just fatigued. Unfortunately, I don’t see Hollywood recovering from this trend.

    And, really, aside from the next Dune movie, I don’t really see anything coming along that’s going to get me into a theater vs waiting for the eventual home release.

    • I have long been interested in reading Necroscope, but haven’t got a round to it. Haven’t read any of his stuff, actually, but I know he was widely revered. RIP.

  46. Crap joke for the day:

    A woman from New York was driving through a remote part of Arizona when her car broke down. An American Indian on horseback came along and offered her a ride to a nearby town.
    She climbed up behind him on the horse and they rode off. The ride was uneventful, except that every few minutes the Indian would let out a Ye-e-e-e-h-a-a-a-a!’ so loud that it echoed from the surrounding hills and canyon walls.
    When they arrived in town, he let her off at the local service station, yelled one final ‘Ye-e-e-e-h-a-a-a-a!’ and rode off.
    “What did you do to get that Indian so excited?” asked the service-station attendant. “Nothing,” the woman answered “I merely sat behind him on the horse, put my arms around his waist, and held onto the saddle horn so I wouldn’t fall off.”
    “Lady,” the attendant said, “Indians don’t use saddles.

  47. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/artists/wish-pink-floyd-reunion-never/

    A few assumptions in the article, but there are also a bunch of points I didn’t know. I’d always assumed that one-off reunion was privately for Richard Wright, but (it would seem) no one knew then that he had so little time left.

    I also assumed their continued acrimony was mainly Roger, but this article makes it seem like Gilmour at least equally unwilling to let the bad feelings go.

  48. I just learned today that Dee Snider made a lot of money having wrote “The Magic of Christmas Day (God Bless Us Everyone)” which was sung by Celine Dione.

  49. What I learnt this week after watching the pilot of The Rockford Files:

    The actor playing Rocky, Rockford’s Dad is different in the pilot that it was in the tv series.

  50. And tonight’s episode of “empty nester theater” was finally getting around to the new Ghostbusters: Afterlife movie. Now that’s how to you reboot a franchise. Some respectful fan service, not shitting all over your legacy characters, and introducing new characters to the world in a natural and meaningful way.

    I can only imagine what The Force Awakens and the rest of the new Sequel Trilogy could have been if they hand been put in the hand of folks that actually cared about the franchise the way Dan Akroyd and crew did with this one.

  51. And in other news: I believe today is the last day for The Terminator (the original) on HBO. I mean, MAX. I hadn’t seen it in forever, but I really enjoyed rewatching it last night.

    The F/X shots are dated, for sure, but really well done within their limitations. Mostly.

    Linda Hamilton was good enough when she needed to be, but any time she had to speak, she was kinda wooden and awkward. I can’t imagine James Cameron would have accepted that performance in his later perfectionist years (or maybe he was just misty-eyed for his future wife). It’s been awhile since I’ve watched T2, but IIRC, she was pretty good in that.

    The concept of the unstoppable killing machine also feels dated now because it’s been copied and redone to death, but I recall how cool and terrifying it was in the 80s. No matter what you did, it just kept coming. Arnold has never been better onscreen – – not even in Conan or True Lies.

    I’ll have to revisit T2 in the near future.

      • I never felt that it was obvious – – in any of the cuts that I’ve seen, or even in 2049er. In fact, if not for all of the internet speculation, it would never have occurred to me that Rick was anything but human.

        Definitely a fun and worthwhile exercise, but I don’t think anyone can definitively call it.

        IMHO, the story works best if he is human. . . I think his initial cold-blooded approach to his job contrasts with his own humanity, and also against the self-aware inner sentience and varying sympathetic mortality of the replicants (well, except for Brion James. He’s just a psycho).

    • Their arguments are meh and miss much of the point (IMHO). Their take is that the message is “life is life, and all life is precious”. In my mind, the point was always more of “what constitutes life”. The questions around whether replicants constitute life partly revolve around a concept of thresholds. Well, Roy and the gang think they are alive, but may not be because they know themselves to be machines. Rachel represents the next level in that she doesn’t (at first) realize she is a machine and has “memories”. Deckard represents another layer in which even we don’t know if he is a machine or not. So if he is, is he something that finally constitutes life (if we haven’t already bought in at the previous levels)? The author of the article thinks the movie does not make sense with Deckard as a replicant because he doesn’t (essentially) have the same features. I feel like that is a short sighted concept of the movie (why create a replicant that couldn’t physically compete with the other replicants) and misses the bigger picture of making him have different features as an examination of what makes humanity human.

    • So I will just say that this film will always be at the top of my list because –
      (Apart from spectacular visuals, performances and drama) It made me think about all those philosophical things. I was 18 and that film had me thinking about some pretty heady stuff.

  52. Got the PTSD-triggering “hey, can we talk today?” message from my manager, but it turns out to be a nice conversation. They made an offer for an internal move to a different role.

    I don’t know yet if it would be a lateral move or what, but I definitely need to consider it.

  53. Nothing says “out of shape” like when you hold the pad for your kid’s sensei to kick, and you feel like you got clocked by a troll who rolled a natural 20.

    I didn’t fall down, I toughed it out, but man, my dreams of becoming the next Liam Neeson old guy action hero were shattered, along with a few ribs.

  54. At the weekend, whilst going for a walk, I tripped and fell over. Luckily I landed in the grass and on my side. Hurt my neck and back and haven’t been able to sleep all week as the muscles in my back painfully spasm when I lie down.

    So for the foreseeable future I’m the bum who sleeps in his armchair, at least there is no over flowing ashtray and mountain of empty beer bottles…

    • Our modern times and the massive fascination with the word “creepy”. Ug.

      “Besides Something Wicked, The Watcher in the Woods, The Black Cauldron, Return to Oz, and Dragonslayer were produced within a five-year period…”

      I can’t speak to the Watcher in the Woods and Return to Oz, but Black Cauldron and Dragonslayer were both phenomenal.

    • Watched the film tonight. The SFX haven’t aged that well but Jonathan Pryce is very creepy as Mr Dark.

      I wonder if this was some inspiration for Stephen King’s Needful Things.

  55. https://www.reddit.com/r/TikTokCringe/comments/1ad5ard/its_tax_season_if_you_owe_money_this_year_this_is/

    It’s a 5 minute rant, but it struck me because I was floored by this hit right at that time. I had no idea that Paul Ryan was a direct cause. And I get her point about where to direct blame, but I’d say that Biden’s admin should be fighting like hell to repeal this shit.

    This is my last cranky post for the week, barring disaster (all bets are off next week!)

  56. Tonight’s movie was “Maestro”
    It was all that. Accolades are well deserved.
    Great performances and I loved the way the film itself was put together.
    Academy nominations well deserved.

  57. Oh… and last night was “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”
    I really can’t add anything beyond what Ed said. If you’re going to reboot a franchise I don’t think you could do much better than they did with this.
    A lot of fun!

  58. Things I learned this week while listening to NPR.

    In 2023 The US had the lowest rate of violent crime in 50 years.

    The rate of illegal immigration along the southern US border is in a 10 year DOWNWARD trend.

    If you, like me, had the exact opposite impression of things … it was not by accident.
    Marketing is everything.

  59. In a moment of insanity, we bought a carton of quail eggs at a farmer’s market today. They seemed trustworthy, and they were decently priced.

    So that was lunch. They tasted exactly like chicken eggs, just tiny. And no one sprouted a feathery doink on top of their heads, so it was a success.

    • I had had a quail egg once before at a Korean restaurant in NYC (with David Muldawer, to conjure a name from the distant past!), but I think I was too overwhelmed by the spicy noodles to remember anything about it.

    • Not had quail but had ducks eggs. Tasted similar to chicken eggs but were more rubbery when fried. Did make better Yorkshire puddings than chicken eggs though.

  60. In other news, we’ve been plodding through ST: D s3, and so far, I’m not really having a good time. I loved s1 and s2, it this one just feels pointless and uninteresting. I’ll ride it out.

      • Yes, after the big jump. There have been some decent episodes, but it’s lost the magic of the first 2 seasons. That’s not very encouraging, but we’ll still finish it out.

      • This looks like the seed for an interesting discussion. . . but also a clickbait article. Based on some of this things in the article, I don’t know if the author even believes it.

        (Full disclosure: I didn’t read it cover to cover)

  61. Crap joke for the day:

    As a trucker stops at a red light, a blonde catches up. She jumps out of her car, runs up to his truck, and knocks on the door. The trucker lowers the window, and she says “Hi, my name is Heather and you’re losing some of your load.”
    The trucker ignores her and proceeds down the street. When the truck stops for another red light, the girl catches up again. She jumps out of her car, runs up and knocks on the door. Again, the trucker lowers the window. As if they’ve never spoken, the blonde says brightly, “Hi my name is Heather, and you are losing some of your load!”
    Shaking his head, the trucker ignores her again and continues down the street. At the third red light, the same thing happens again. All out of breath, the blonde gets out of her car, runs up, knocks on the truck door. The trucker lowers the window. Again she says “Hi, my name is Heather, and you are losing some of your load!”
    When the light turns green the trucker revs up and races to the next light. When he stops this time, he hurriedly gets out of the truck, and runs back to the blonde’s car. He knocks on her window, and as she lowers it, he says “Hi, my name is Kevin, it’s Winter in Michigan and I’m driving the SALT TRUCK!”

  62. 1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

    2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

    3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

    -Douglas Adams

    • This brought to you by a group I’m in that some people post that the 80s were wonderful tech wise and it’s all gone horribly wrong.

      /eye roll

      • I’ve joined a Gen X group on the FB, and it seems like people are constantly posting crap about how the good old days were so much better.

        • The GenX subreddit is generally a lot more chill. It’s also one place on the internet that I regularly hang out in that at least feels like a majority of the members are women. Makes for some interesting conversations.

          Although, there are occasionally thread that remind you that back in high school we were all in different clicks and weren’t ever necessarily friends, even if we’re of the same age group. I think most of that has faded over time, but it’s still there.

    • I guess I don’t get out enough – I had never heard that song before in my life. Can’t say that I feel like I’ve been deprived in anyway, though.

      • I’ve love loved this song and its eerie atmosphere since the 90s. But yeah, it’s in so many movies and shows, it’s gotten ridiculous.

        Hard Times gets full marks for mentioning Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at the end.

      • I have the X-Files soundtrack “Songs in the key of X” so I have been familiare with that for years.
        Pretty perfect fit for Peaky Blinders

        BTW- there are some other pretty good tracks on the CD as well.

  63. And just because I’d never seen it. . .
    Re-Animator was a lot more well-made than I expected. Pure 80s schlock, replete with Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Coombs – – but it leans into the comedy. I don’t know why I’d never seen it.
    What I assume is the most famous scene is truly yucky, even moreso in our more-aware times, but the perpetrator is the worst of the movie’s bad guys. It’s not titillating and it’s not excusing him at all. It’s just mean to gross you out.

    Do I recommend it? If you haven’t seen it, then this is fun for the right frame of mind.

  64. The a key on my keyboard keeps multi-tapping. I’ve tried taking it apart and cleaning it but I still get more A’s in words than I should. I might have to invest in a new keyboard. The problem is, good gaming keyboards are rather pricey.

    • I must confess, I was only barely aware of the original Elmo tweet that kicked off the big response and hadn’t heard about the Larry David thing at all. While I do think as a society we’ve lost a good bit of our sense of humor, Larry’s response doesn’t strike me as the comedy gold he probably thought it was.

  65. Well last night I watched The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark, so I can cross that one off the list of Elliot Gould films I still have not seen.

  66. Headed to the optometrist in just a few moments. Going to see if I need eye surgery. The vision in my left eye has gotten noticeably worse in just the last few months.
    What a drag it is getting old.

  67. That’s me.
    As well as a “visual field” test.
    On on 3 different eye drops to try and relieve pressure. Seems that over time my body gets used to medication and overcomes it.
    Today he put me on the last eye drop modern medicine has to offer. They’ll check again in 4 weeks and if it isn’t working then it’s off the “surgical consult”.

  68. So last night I watched Who? from 1974. starring Elliot Gould as an FBI man trying to see if the Soviets have sent back an impostor after a top scientist has to be rebuilt after a car accident.

    Not too bad at all. Although if the rumour that it was called Robotman when it was released in the US makes me want to travel back in time to slap whoever decided to do that with a wet fish.

    • Had I been 10 years old in 1974, I’d have spent all my paper route money to see a movie called Robotman.

      Had I been 11 years old, I would have realized that was a godawful name for a movie.

  69. Ticket booked to see Zone of Interest at the cinema this weekend.

    I’ve heard it’s best to see it with an audience and a cinema with a good sound system.

  70. Tonight we’re going to watch the Jeremy Irons D&D movie. Tomorrow we’ll watch D&D Wrath of the Dragon God. Unfortunately we can’t find The Book of Vile Darkness or we’d watch that one too

  71. Superb Owl verdict:

    Game – excellent. Probably one of the best actual games in a while.
    Halftime – didn’t like is as much as I wanted to. Lots of good bits, typical technical gremlins
    Commercials – Mostly decent, nothing that I’m going to remember after a few days.

      • Well, since I’m not yet cynical enough to assume she was just acting, we rather enjoyed the enthusiasm of her reactions when they cut to her after a big Kansas City play.

        • The last time the Devils were in the Stanley Cup finals, it was against the LA Kings. Alyssa Milano attended every game in LA, and the cameras cut to her after every single play.
          It’s almost as if people are eager to find things to complain about.

    • Superb Owl verdict:

      The grocery stores were way too crowded.
      I took my mom to try Ramen (she did not care for it).
      Mrs. Asshat and I watched the 1979 Nosferatu the Vampyre with Klaus Kinski on the recommendation of a really good friend (We did not care for it)
      Mrs. Asshat and I watched the Billy Joel segment of the Grammys on the recommendation of my Son (it was meh, but good that he is writing again)
      I think there might have been a football game on somewhere

    • Agreed on the game.
      That the outcome was unclear right until that last pass in overtime kept the suspense unbearable.
      Think it has to be a win for the NFL. I wonder how many Swifties tuned in for the novelty and because of the excitement of the game, became actually fans.

      I liked the apocalyptic Reese’s ad and the car ad where everyone was impersonating Christopher Walken TO Christopher Walken.

      I forgot about the halftime show as soon as it was over. It was fine I guess but certainly I still would have enjoyed Weird Al more 🙂

  72. Crap joke alert:

    Bartender in the old west is busy cleaning glasses when a guy comes bursting thru the swinging doors gasping “Big Earl’s a-commin into town”. Immediately, all the drinkers drop whatever they’re doing, run out the door and down the street. The bartender thinks this is a little odd (he’s new in town), but whatever. He steps away from the bar and starts cleaning up tables.

    Pretty soon, he hears loud foot steps coming towards the saloon. Then the biggest guy he’s ever seen rips the doors off, tosses them aside, bends down a little to get thru the doorway. He sees the bartender cowering behind a table, picks him up, tosses him behind the bar, walks over and says “whiskey”.

    Terrified, the bartender gets a glass and a bottle and brings them over. The guy grabs the bottle, breaks the top off with his teeth, and drinks it down, dashing the bottle into shards on the floor. The bartender says “can I get you anything else, sir”?

    “Nope. Gotta run. Big Earl’s coming.”

    • I feel like the average consumer of music will want the human connection of a live composer. I’m sure jingles and perhaps soundtracks could be taken over by A.I., but I don’t think there will be a viable market for albums of A.I. music. Time will tell.

  73. Morning Pan
    Had a dusting of snow last night. It’s been such a dry winter, we really need more or farming will be affected come spring

  74. So I bought the core book for the Starforged RPG a year ago and only just recently got to try it out. It is mostly for people who want t to try solo rpgs. https://www.ironswornrpg.com/product-ironsworn-starforged

    Think of it as sort of Nanowrimo plus rolling on random charts. So far the charts have generated a character, Juro Barbosa and he is headed to the desert planet Nax to find clues to a lost people who might help him end a galactic war.

  75. So….. You may recall that the HOA had been trying to con us with bogus legal fees? And we debunked it and their lawyers dropped the case?

    Two days ago, we received a letter telling us we needed to paint our entire house by 2/15 to comply with somesuch bullshit. And there’s an email address on the letter to ask questions and request more time, but here’s the best part – – messages to that email address bounce. It’s not a real email address.

    I’m with Agent Smith about the Earth. I hate it here.

    • I knew nothing about HOAs apart from mention in an episode of the X-files until John Oliver covered them in Last Week Tonight. They sound like a bloody nightmare.

      • They are the WORST thing in the world… until the guy next to you starts leaving cars up on cinder locks in his front yard, burns trash in the back yard, and puts a 40’ trump flag on a pole lit up all night with Kleg lights that force you to have to paper over your windows to get any sleep and your property value drops to somewhere to that of a low end trailer park.

        People can’t just play nice anymore.

        • I live in a neighborhood with no home owners association. The people next door to us have had a truck up on cinderblocks, slowly being eaten by a large bush/tree for 15 years. The original owner was an aging Florida Cracker (actual term that means someone born and raised in Florida, not just derogatory, although I mean it with every ounce of derogatory I can get out of that word) who had been in a wheelchair since he was 18 because he got shot in the ass when caught sleeping with someone else’s wife and (when I knew him) made his living off of selling pain prescription medications. The owners after he passes are his daughter-in-law, someone who is not his son, but apparently is married to his daughter-in-law and lives in a trailer in the back yard while she lives in the house. He is someone who builds fences for a living and yet doesn’t have the money or materials to rebuild his dilapidating fence. Their dog now wanders the neighborhood waiting to get hit by a car because he isn’t fenced in at all.

          The punchline… my house/property is officially worth 3 times what I paid for it 15 years ago.

          • Moving isn’t an option – – and OMFG, I’m so sick of moving – – but the harassment will likely only increase. Certainly if we take a stand against the HOA, and probably even if we comply.
            We can’t afford painters right now, and I’m too old and uncoordinated to be crawling around on the narrow garage roof with a paintbrush, so it looks like we’ll be draining more from the dusty well to hire professionals.

            (And by the way, the house looks fine).

            If money were no object (ha!!), I’d be out of here tomorrow. If I ever do move again, it will be to a no-HOA place.

  76. I hope everyone had a nice VD. Or at least a nice Wednesday.

    You may recall that 2/14 is Leeloo’s birthday, so the date has kinda been co-opted around here, in a delightful way. She had a nice, quiet day. The big noisy kid day is Saturday.

    • I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to have a duel now. That one is a favorite of my wife and I. Yes, the story makes not a damn bit of sense, but it is a swashbuckling adventure with a bangin score and I’ll not have it spoken ill of!

      It’s unfortunate it was so poorly received and put an entire movie studio out of business.

      • I’m not going to throw shade based solely on its bad reputation – – but that’s honestly the first review I’ve heard heard that went beyond, “eh, it’s OK.”

    • I was just wondering how Otto could be a young man in 2024 if this is a sequel, and then I realized my error.

      I’ll probably watch out of morbid curiosity, with less than zero expectations.

      • I’m not sure I follow what your error was. Otto flies off in the car to outer space, but there isn’t any indication that he dies. He could still be an old man in 2024 and would definitely not be a young man in 2024.

        • The new Otto actor is going to be a young man, but it seems to be set in the 2020s.

          But yes, I suppose after his trippy car ride, he could just be transported 40 years into the future.

          My error was in thinking too hard about these kinds of details in a Repo Man movie.

    • Sequels are not on my rage list with remakes, re-imaginings, etc. But I am doubtful of this one. I love the original for sure. But, that movie was definitely of its time. Yes it’s by the same artistic mind, but artists tend to grow and fans tend to grow. The directions they grow into don’t always match. Where this artist’s writing has grown to will not likely match where my expectations are and the chance of that same lightning in a bottle is pretty slim.

    • It’s good. I never disliked sitting through Solo, but I’d still have preferred that its events had remained Star Wars lore, not set pieces depicted onscreen. The movie was fine, but not good enough to improve on that.
      I see squabbling about whether movies are “necessary,” but this is the epitome to me of unnecessary.

      • I think Solo’s biggest “crime” for me anyway – is that every legend about Han Solo was crammed into one movie set over essentially a long weekend. I thought the actor playing Han did a pretty fine job.

  77. Pan’s Labyrinth is every bit as heartbreaking on the second viewing.

    Also gotta be Guillermo Del Toro’s best. I mean, I love me some Pacific Rim, but ithis is another level.

  78. Crap joke for the day:

    A drunk stumbles along a baptismal service on Sunday afternoon down by the river.

    He proceeds to walk down into the water and stand next to the preacher. The minister turns and notices the old drunk and says, “Mister, are you ready to find Jesus?”

    The drunk looks back and says, “Yes, Preacher, I sure am.”

    The

    minister then dunks the fellow under the water and pulls him right back up. “Have you found Jesus?” the preacher asked.

    “Nooo, I didn’t!” said the drunk.

    The preacher then dunks him under for quite a bit longer, brings him up and says, “Now, brother, have you found Jesus?”

    “Noooo, I have not, Reverend.”

    The preacher in disgust holds the man under for at least 30 seconds this time, brings him out of the water and says in a harsh tone, “My God, man, have you found Jesus yet?”

    The old drunk wipes his eyes and says to the preacher, “Are you sure this is where he fell in?”

  79. Going to see Styx tomorrow.
    I keep thinking of that Simpsons bit where Homer goes to the underworld and Styx is playing, and he says, “Oh, this IS hell!”

    I’m kidding. I’m a neutral Styx fan. According to setlist, they’re doing most of the songs I’d hope to hear. Including Mr. Roboto (which they apparently refused to play live for years??)

    • The last time I saw Styx was in 1983, the Mr. Roboto tour. Not sure what kind of energy the guys can bring to a show 41 years later, but I would rank that concert as one of the five best I’ve ever seen.

    • The Grand Illusion and Paradise Theater are two of the best albums ever made. The rest of Styx is hit or miss for me. Mr. Roboto was a huge miss.

  80. A few days ago he was talking to his superintendent and told him he’d buy him some. Yesterday the husband asked me to get some Rush beer. I picked up eight cans, six to give away and two for the husband. Somehow, through some fuzzy logic I admit I don’t understand, the husband took four to work at his morning and kept four for himself.
    *sigh*

  81. Styx delivered! I was there for the hits, and they played them all, plus a few decent deep cuts. Most importantly, Mr. Roboto was the first song of the encore.
    These aging “Classic Rock” bands tend to be extremely tight.* No tapes or backing tracks anywhere and their vocal harmonies were perfect.

    * (not all…. looking at you, Pat Benatar…)

    • I saw Pat Benatar at a free downtown concert series. She spent most of the show trying to hype her husband Neil Geraldo. It was a perfectly OK show. Not something I would have paid money to see.

      • I paid money to see Pat Benatar about 7-8 years ago. She was having an off-night vocally (no big deal), but instead of being a pro, she diva’ed. She cut “Hell is For Children” in the middle, because she couldn’t hit the notes in the climax. Then she blamed AZ’s dry heat for it. Many of the boomers in the crowd walked out.
        I’ve seen many singers who weren’t at 100%; I’ve been there. There are ways to push through. I’d have expected someone who’s been performing for 4 decades to do that.

        Funny – – Toto was her opening act, and they were a precision machine.

    • Only read a couple of books on that list (Slade House and The Terror) although seen a few adaptions of some of the books (The Richard Mathesons ones).

      Slade House was more a scifi book wrapped in horror.

      Sometimes a spider is just a spider and not a metaphor for female genitalia.

      Never read any of his fiction but Paul Tremblay seemed quite a nice chap when he was GOH at Fantasycon. I did get to ask a panel he was on what they thought of tv/film adaptions that butcher their work. His reply was although it would bother him his wife just advised him to take the money.

      • I remember a great interview with Max Brooks about the film adaptation of World War Z. He said he knew it was going to be butchered but that hid dad (Mel Brooks) had advised him long ago that that would happen no matter what so he should just take the money and ignore what they do to it.

    • I should add that only a few of those were on my radar, and I’ve also only read The Terror, The Haunting of Hill House, and Turn of the Screw.

      Fuck Dan Simmons, but damn, he has a couple of great books under his belt.

  82. So Tiffany fell asleep with Avengers: Endgame on. I walked in about 30 minutes(?) in, and goddamn, if I didn’t sit down and watch the rest.

    Someone said recently that almost all of the Marvel movies are good, but none of them are great, except maybe Endgame. Fair enough, but yeah, I’d say that Infinity War and Endgame are great movies.

  83. Crap joke for the day:

    An upper-class Englishman is going through his household accounts. After a moment he looks up and says to his wife: “you know, darling, if you learnt how to prepare meals properly, we could get rid of the cook.” She answers: “And if you learnt how to screw, we could get rid of the chauffeur.”

  84. Last month I was listening to a lot of songs by Blackbriar and my brain noticed that one could replace the lyrics to their song “Cry of the Banshee” with the lyrics of Bryan Adam’s “Summer of 69”. Okay, that’s cute. Nope, I’ve got an imaginary earworm song on repeat three weeks later. Thanks Zora Cock.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ92qocMXlI

  85. It’s official. Mom’s coming out to visit in the spring. She hasn’t given an exact date yet, but that may be deliberate. I can’t conveniently be out of town on that day if I don’t know when it is

      • My mother is a woman of contradictions
        She’s an ardent PETA supporter (don’t get me started on this) but loves rodeos
        Her partner is trans, but the Black Lives Matter movement is all thugs
        She had her name legally changed to phonetic spelling because she didn’t like when people mispronounced it but gave me my name.
        I’m pretty sure all blond jokes you’ve heard were written with her in mind.

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