Two Can Play At That Game, Darcysport

Darcy has shamelessly posted a cheesecake shot on her blog, in the guise of, you know, being about tennis.

Ha, ha, we all have a few laughs, Darcy gets a few hits, and no harm done, right?

Except that in doing so, she completely misses the most important tennis story of the season. Possibly, the most important tennis story of our time. Seems that young Simona Halep, as well as being endowed with impressive tennis skills has also been over-endowed in some departments.
OK, seriously, normally I’m against any sort of surgical breast changes. I don’t like implants, generally. I mean, if you’re a pro, they might be a prudent investment. (I’m told they can be worth $5K a week for strippers.) But aesthetically, they seem to lose their appeal the closer you get.

I also don’t like reductions. I could be wrong, but I think the complaints that women have (back pain) could usually be resolved by losing a little weight or exercising the torso a little more. Also it seems like a kind of horrible thing, arbitrarily removing parts of the body. (I feel that way about appendix operations, too, so, you know: Just crazy ol’ Blake again.)

But in this case, neither of those would seem to be plausible: She’s obviously in top notch shape, and those things actually cause drag when she’s running across the court. So, good luck and God bless.

And the ball is in your court now, Ms. Sport.

(h/t Protein Wisdom)

The Goode Family

Mike Judge has come a long way since his seminal Beavis and Butthead cartoon “Frog Baseball”. (Heheheheh–I said “seminal”.) At least financially. Those early shorts, along with the lesser known “Inbred Jed” cartoons, revealed a lot of his sensibility and grasp of human character.

“King of the Hill”–possibly the only primetime show with a genuinely conservative lead (excluding cartoonish parodies done by far-left liberals like Seth MacFarlane’s “American Dad”)–is something of a phenomenon, having run for thirteen seasons (and possibly being picked up for more by ABC) distinguishes itself by being consistently funny and also essentially kind. Kind sitcoms are only slightly rarer than funny ones, but kindness seems to be one of Judge’s hallmarks. Even the biting satire of Idiocracy and Office Space had an essential benign optimism.

So, it’s not surprising that “The Goode Family”, Judge’s new show is both funny and kind. In fact, it’s “King of the Hill”, only instead of the well-meaning, stalwart Hank Hill, we have the well-meaning, and less stalwart Gerald Goode. (Mr. Goode is surely in touch with his feminine side, a proposition that would appall Mr. Hill.) Judge uses a voice closer to his Office Space character’s (the passive aggressive Chotchki’s manager) but the cadences are still very similar to Hank’s.

It’s also a bit more exaggerated, I think, than KotH. At one point, Helen Goode (the wife, played by Nancy Carrell) is at the Whole Foods-clone and looking at a big board which lists things that are Good on one side, and things that are Bad on the other. As she watches, “farm raised catfish” toggles between good and bad several times.

There is a religious aspect to all of this, as well as a social-religious aspect. Where people used to go to church for guidance and also to one-up each other, the Goodes go shopping. And you sort of have to admire Helen for handling the paper-or-plastic dilemma in a way that makes every other woman shopping–who had all been trying to make her feel bad a second ago–feel ecologically inadequate.

There are a lot of good dynamics here already: The Goodes’ neighbor is a black man who doesn’t eat vegetables. Gerald’s boss at the university is more interested in the bottom line while paying lip service to diversity. Helen’s father brings rib take out over to the (naturally, vegan) Goodes house.

And then there are the two kids: Ubuntu (Judge regular, David Herman) , the child that the Goodes adopted from Africa, without realizing he was a blond-haired South African; and Bliss (Linda Cardellini) who rebels in the first episode by eschewing frank talk about sex with her mom for an abstinence group.

Christians make an appearance in the form of purity pushers. David Herman also plays Trayvor (Trevor?) who Bliss likes and who is an aspiring Michael Moore-type “documentary” maker who is planning to ridicule them. The show doesn’t dance around the fact that these open-minded, tolerant people–represented most squarely by Helen–really aren’t particularly interested in–or comfortable with–people who disagree with them.

So, a lot like “King of the Hill”.

I was laughing out loud through a lot of the episode. Here are some lines I liked:

Gerald, trying to distract his wife from Bliss’ interest in abstinence: “The View is on. The pretty one is saying crazy stuff again.”

Helen, who doesn’t approve of Gerald’s support of Bliss, and also doesn’t want their newly 16-year-old son to drive: “You’re teaching our son to drive and our daughter to not have sex: Where have I gone wrong?”

Gerald, in response to Helen’s objections that a man is wearing a flag pin: “Since the election we can all wear flag pins!”

If you missed it on ABC Wednesday, you can view it at ABC.com and IMDB.com.

Oh, Just Say You Don’t Like It

…when people tinkle in the pool.

You don’t have to cobble together some sort of “science”.

I mean, seriously, let’s say somebody empties a quart of urine into a good sized pool. Ours holds about 17,000 gallons. A quart is a sizable amount, probably more than the trickles that are likely (mostly from kids, and mostly due to the temperature change, I’d guess).

Even so, that’s 150 parts per million, urine-to-water, if my math is right. Since urine is 95% water, we’re down to 7.5 parts per million for the health threat. Given that the astronauts just celebrated by drinking pee, I’m guessing it’s not too bad.

Meanwhile, we dump chlorine into pools, which is well and truly toxic. I like how the article conflates urine and sweat, saying that the problem is that they combine with chlorine. But you can’t help but sweat in the pool, even if you don’t know it.

CDC notwithstanding, I think we’re seeing the sort of objections that arise when people realize they eat food with bug parts in it. Come on, people, a certain amount of unconscious ingestion of biological matter is part and parcel of life.

Learn to deal.

Exciting News in the Blog World!

Lots of things happening for our little Althouse-offshoot community. In alphabetical order!

Chicken Little has a blog! A little light on the posts, just yet.
Darcy has a blog! Also a little light on the posts, yet. Darcy gets more space here, though, ‘cause she’s a hot blond sports chick. I’d hit on her but: a) Don’t know nothin’ ’bout sports; b) she could easily beat me up.
Hector has changed his blog’s name! If Rain in the Doorway (the title of a lesser known Thorne Smith novel) wasn’t obscure enough for you, he’s now called “Kiarian Lunch” which refers to certain characters in the novel. And if you don’t know Thorne Smith, Google. His books are available online for free reading (outside the US, sigh), and well worth the time.
Micheal H has a blog! Right now, it’s empty, but not too long ago it had a very nice post of a speecch Mr. H made.
Last, and not least, not only does Pogo have a blog, it’s marvelously idiosyncratic and he’s posting up a whirlwind. Fun to read! Lots of pictures!! Weirdly named “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”.
And, as always check out Trooper York, the, uh, glue that holds us all together.
PS: And don’t a dope like me forgetting to link Ruth Anne Adams’s blog; the woman with the puns of steel.
PPS: And Kelly’s back at Loaded Questions, too. Kelly never, ever, ever comes to visit me here, but I’m a good friend so I pimp her site when she bothers to put up stuff. Check it out: She has her own dot-com, too. Hi-falutin’.

A Girl and her Dad

I started a tradition years ago of spending one day a year with The Boy where he got to call the shots. Whatever he wanted to do, we did. This usually involved going to the movies, Chuck E. Cheese’s, an arcade, a toy store, a gaming specialty shop, whatever. (These days, it involves going to the shooting range and knife store.)

I naturally carried it forward with The Flower (and will with The Barbarienne, when she’s old enough) and yesterday was her day. It’s a little different with a girl, I learned. First of all, for part of her day, she wants The Boy to come with her. She likes to go to the movies, but she wants to have grandpa along.

And when I’d take The Boy to a store, he’d pick out five or six action figures that were really cool, and then agonize over which he wanted. I’d never placed a limit on him, mind you. It was just his mindset to check prices and weigh his perceived value against them. I’d have to convince him it was okay to get two or three toys. (And sometimes, I couldn’t, if he felt something was priced too high.)

The Flower, meanwhile, would blithely hand me everything she liked from every store that caught her eye. She had found out, possibly through Disney-inspired necromancy, that there was a store called Build-A-Bear. Our first trip there cost us $20 for a bear, and $180 in accessories.

This year was a little different. The Flower loves to be treated, but she also worries that she’s being spoiled. I’ve tried to explain to her that you can’t really spoil someone by giving them things. (That’s a common misconception.) And in any event, you couldn’t really spoil The Flower without some serious effort: Generosity is in a prominent part of her nature.

We started out our day with breakfast at Denny’s. The Flower loves Denny’s. And I guess I shouldn’t complain, since it’s cheap. But it usually gives me a vaguely uneasy feeling: Not quite heartburn, but the sense that I’ve consumed something I really shouldn’t have. I’ve always figured they use some sort of Pam-like spray on butter substitute that disagreed with me. I’m off meat at the moment, though, and breakfast did not leave me with that feeling.

Then it was miniature golf. We tried doing that last year, but the place shut down because of a little sprinkle. But this year we got in a game, with our biggest problem being smacking the balls into the numerous water traps. The Flower was very good at fishing them out. (The Boy’s first–and only–game was hilarious: He had decided that it wasn’t so much the number of strokes that was important, but the speed at which you progressed through the holes. We literally had to run to keep up with him.)

Then off to the movies with The Boy and grandpa.

The Boy stayed with us for Chuck E. Cheese. The Rat is an interesting phenomenon. (Did you know it was the brain child of Nolan Bushnell, the man behind Pong and Atari?) Over the years, The Rat’s Place has gone from being filled with fun, but hard to clean and non-profit generating activities (no more ball pits, and few habitrails) to being largely pseudo-gambling games that encourage you to pump in tokens as fast as possible. Most of the games are designed to eliminate any skill, of course.

Meh. Skee-ball’s still one token and nine balls.

What’s sort of ironic is that while the pizza is definitely aimed to challenge the “no such thing as bad pizza crowd”, the salad bar is very fresh. I find that sort of amusing since the salad bar craze of the ‘80s has vanished so thoroughly that you can hardly find a good one, even in restaurants that used to be salad bar oriented.

Then it was off to the mall. Build-A-Bear is quite affordable, as long as you just get the bears. They advertise quite prominently that you can get a $10 bear. The accessories are, individually, inexpensive seeming: $3.50 for underwear (yeah, bear underwear) or a pair of glasses, $5 for a pair of pants. A complete outfit makes your $10 bear cost $40 or more, assuming you stick with the cheap stuff.

The Flower has come to realize that most of the accessories get quickly lost anyway, so she was more than happy when I told her she could get two, as long as she didn’t dress them. She got a bear (her fourth) and a unicorn, and we spent the same or less than anyone else in the store.

We went by the Disney store to get a few more things, including some gifts for her mother and baby sister. (The Barb shares a room with The Flower and is quite at a loss to understand that big sis has more stuff just because she’s been around longer, and the stuff is cooler because she’s older.)

Then a late dinner at Denny’s. The veggie burger was actually pretty good, surprisingly enough. The Flower ordered hot dogs, and then a big slice of cake. She didn’t eat much of either.

Finally home to share all our conquests with everyone.

All-in-all, a successful day. I wish I had more of them.

Inevitability

We have a conceit in this country that we debate things from “both sides”. But, of course, any question has multiple facets and nuances, and very often when we’re looking at “both sides”, we’re looking at the same thing, trivially distinguished.

Look at the political parties: They argue only about what the government should exert its force over first, not whether it should exert its force at all. The Dems bitched about the effect the War on Drugs had on civil liberties, but once in power, they didn’t repeal those laws. Same with the War on Terror. Both parties bitch about spending when they’re not in power, but they never actually reduce spending when they are.

From Britain comes the story of Caroline Cartwright, “remanded in custody”–I think that means “sent to jail while the state figures out what evil to do with you”–for having noisy sex.

Of course, making noise can get you into trouble, that’s not new. What’s new, is what this Reason article points out: The previous injunction against the woman having noisy sex applied to the entire country. She couldn’t go anywhere in England, no matter how remote or soundproofed, and legally have noisy sex.

This is a “liberal” government at work.

Greg Gutfeld repeats the old saw that conservatives want to control your private life and liberals want to control your economic life, but inevitably, all “progress” leads to a goverment that controls everything.

Reason.TV’s Gutfeld Interview

Just in case you thought that Greg Gutfeld wasn’t doing schtick on “Red Eye”, there’s a fun interview with him over at Reason.TV. Check it out, check-it-outers.

It was interesting to hear the thought processes behind Gutfeld’s oddly evolved persona of sexual deviance with transgendered under-aged pool boys from third world countries, drug use and obsession with unicorns, but there’s a similar sort of theme over at Ace of Spades. (Hobo-killing, cheap vodka swilling and the perennial obsession with transsexuals.)

The constant PR blitz that portrays anything “liberal” as cool and anything else as uncool has left those who actually want to debate issues in an interesting predicament. Protein Wisdom’s Jeff Goldstein talks about how the left frames the debate and appropriates the right to assign meaning to what others say, even when it’s the exact opposite of what they’re saying.

But before and beyond that is the non-verbal delineation of tribes–I’d link to Bill Whittle’s “Tribes” essay here except his move to Pajamas Media seems to have killed it. (Here’s an excerpt from another site.)

The ex-Soviets, the Marxists, the statists–they’ve won the PR war. Those who object, therefore, find themselves in the unpopular crowd, attacking the cool kids. I think the defense is apparent in the whole attitude that Gutfeld, Ace and to an extent, even Goldstein take: “We may be creepy morons, but we’re not stupid enough to believe THIS crap.”

Or, for a different perspective, humor is the only defense against power.

A Bit Maelstrom First: Embedded YouTube!

Yeah, I know, I know: Welcome to 2007, but I’ve always kept this a mostly text blog, only occasionally posting a pic (or even rare, a really picture heavy post).

Anyway, I thought this cartoon, circulating ‘round the ‘net a lot these days, is just so apt, so simple, and expressed in such an obvious way that a child could understand it, that it’s also obvious how far we’ve fallen in how short a time.

Worth watching, all the way to the end, and over again. Basic truths. Of course, the mistake in the YouTube headline is that it’s not predicting future, it’s reminding us of the past.

This just in…

…I’m a “cyber millennial.”

Yet I don’t drink at all. (What I love about this link, tho’, is that the ad right next to it shows a bunch of chicks in their underwear using beer bongs.)

I’m a little unclear on the designation, actually. Is it a requirement to drink to be a cyber millennial?

I always liked the generational name “buster” for those of us who came after the “boomers” but I guess that never caught on.

Manic Monday Apocalypso on Friday!: Terminator Salvation

We were going to see the new Michael Keaton movie (he directs) called The Merry Gentleman, but it had cleared out to make room for the new Terminator movie, so we saw that instead.

I would save this review for Manic Monday Apocalypso but I figured some of you might consider seeing this this weekend.

I’d skipped the third movie in the Terminator series, feeling that it was really James Cameron that was the heart-and-soul of those flicks, that raised them above standard B-movie fare. (I’m dubious of Harlan Ellison’s claim on the property. Not that Cameron didn’t steal the ideas, only that the ideas are both fairly generic and not at all the point.)

A chilling factor for me is that this movie is directed by the infamous McG, who helmed the two Charlie’s Angels movies. There was much to dislike about those strangely uneven films but they at least weren’t boring. And that’s not a bad way to describe the new movie, though it’s not nearly as uneven as those earlier films. Unfocused might be a better term.

So, let’s talk about the good things. Fine acting, as you would expect from Christian Bale. In smaller roles are Jane Alexander (who could be her own MMA feature for her 1983 role in Testament), Helena Bonham Carter and the great Michael Ironside. The primary supporting roles are played by Sam Worthington and Moon Bloodgood, who I thought were fine, but seem a little callow in comparison. (Partly and maybe mostly, this is their characters, and by the end I think the actors have fleshed them out more than the writers did.) Anton Yelchin, fresh of his Checkov role in Star Trek manages to come off pretty dang tough, and evocative of Michael Biehn in the original movie. They even have a little girl in the Newt role.

Elfman does the music, and does a fine job, though there’s not enough of it. This may sound strange, but there’s not an over-reliance on CGI. The T-800–the classic Terminator–has been slightly redesigned. It was a skinny, skeletal thing in the original, stop-motion animated. But we’re sort of jaded to that now, I think, and the redesign has a more muscular build–like it’s a guy in a Terminator suit. This is a good choice.

Also, the CGI is really good. That helps a lot. It might not be a guy in a Terminator suit, but if not, it’s smooth. This helps the action feel a lot more credible, and to McG’s credit, there are some good old-fashioned fights and vehicle stunts, instead of the CGI spectaculars that get so numbing.

There are a lot of other really nice touches, too, which I won’t spoil by enumerating here.

This movie falls well short of greatness, though. First, we have the time-travel problem. The story requires John Connor (Bale) be the savior of the human resistance, but he mostly seems like a pain in the ass. In fact, I went through 2/3rds of the movie wondering what the hell he was doing that was even necessary, given the way the war was going. That was nicely resolved, though, and ultimately made sense. So I didn’t count that against it.

No, the real problem is with the characters of Marcus and Blair. We see Marcus put to death in the first scene of the movie (in 2009, presumably), and yet he’s walking around in 2018, and Connor and Reese (Yelchin) are secondary characters to him, and–to a degree–his relationship with Blair.

But because the story really should be about Connor and Reese fulfilling the prophecy of the first movie, we get a lot of cuts from Marcus to Connor or Reese, sometimes disrupting the flow of the action. Also evoking Star Trek, in the sense that the baggage the movie is required to carry is both its strength and its weakness.

This forces some awkward scenes, such as Connor having to decide what to do with Marcus. He actually makes up his mind and then yells, inexplicably, “Who are you?!” Bale does a good job, but the whole scene–a dramatic focal point–flops.

The next big dramatic moment, where Connor delivers a speech about how humans are different from machines, also flops out of sheer silliness and inappropriateness.

And without giving too much away, the story hinges on this bit of information which allows the main Skynet base–and silly me, I thought the Skynet base would be, you know, in the sky–to be attacked. Things don’t come off as expected (do they ever?), yet the Skynet base ends up seeming ridiculously easy to get in and out of.

And there’s the other thing, the big thing, which is that the view of the future doesn’t quite hold up. The original concept had humans as a ragtag underground resistance. This movie carries that idea forward, but at the same time, features humans with subs and jets–neither of which would really be sustainable in that context–and says there are areas the robots haven’t ventured. (And, queerly, at the same time, those areas are not where the humans are strongly based.)

To top this all off, there’s a strongly hierarchical command structure and traditional military at the begining of the movie, with a suddenly completely casual rebel feel at the end. And they communicate via radio. Like, regular radio.

But I suppose I’m just overthinking it. One of the nice thing about those old WWII movies, though, was that were enough people around who had been there, that movies had a certain verisimilitude I’d like to see more strongly applied to post-apocalyptic stuff. (As you know if you’ve read this blog for long.)

Anyway, The Boy liked it very much, though he was a bit taken aback by the PG-13ness of it. And it’s true, this is a much gentler movie than the first two. There were certain things that didn’t hold together for him, but it didn’t keep him from enjoying it.

So, once again, a good summer popcorn movie, like Star Trek, but rife with flaws, like Star Trek.