Aug 312012
 

My colleague brought this moth to me yesterday.  Sadly, she had already perished.  (The moth, not my colleague.)  Isn’t she beautiful (and big)?  (Again, the moth, not my colleague.  Well, on the “big” part.  Oh, just look at the bug!)

I believe we have Amphipyra pyramidoides here, commonly known as the Copper Underwing, though I certainly welcome corrections.

 Posted by at 10:10 am
Aug 302012
 
  • Isaac’s certainly not moving very quickly.  Hoping and praying for as little destruction as possible on the Gulf.
  • Football today!  There are games five days in a row to start the season!
  • The Dark Knight Rises is not a terrible movie—it expectedly excels in sets and effects, for example—but neither is it a great one.  There are routine sins, like a plot hole you could fly the “Bat” aircraft through, and a little-too-obvious Subaru product placement.  But the main one is what, to me, sinks more promising present-day movies than any other:  excessive length.  It checks in at 2:45, and should have been at least two films.  Here is solid proof that Christopher Nolan can disappoint.  5/10
  • After extricating myself from the blast radius of some mediocre storytelling earlier this week, I thought of a couple of stories I told when I was in college that play rather poorly in my memory.  I didn’t think I was bad at it then.  I hope I’m not way worse at it than I think I am now.
  • I have a couple of access ramps in my commute that are long, smooth, and gentle, and I’m not afraid of law enforcement on them, so if there’s no traffic I sometimes just go as fast as I can.  Had the Technical Writing Express up to 93 mph yesterday.  What a daredevil!
  • You know, I don’t really care, but I keep a little bit of a soft spot for Lindsay Lohan.  I wish she’d figure out how to only get in the news for movies for a couple of years in a row.
  • Finished the Disney dining reservations.  That was the last bit of stress, I think.  Now to the “gazing with childlike wonder” part!
 Posted by at 12:00 am
Aug 272012
 

I took a bit of a long lunch today and saw 2016:  Obama’s America at Monaco Pictures.  To my surprise and delight, several dozen people did the same thing.  When the theater is two-thirds full for an 11:10 early matinee, something must be going on.

2016: Obama’s America is based on The Roots of Obama’s Rage and Obama’s America, both by Dinesh D’Souza.  The film begins with D’Souza noting the many parallels between his life and Barack Obama’s life.  Then, he spends a little time on what it meant to the United States to elect Barack Obama in terms of unity, measuring progress from the wrong paths of the past, and so forth.  The shank of the film makes two primary inductive arguments:

  • That Barack Obama has his father’s anti-colonialism; and
  • That said anti-colonialism informs Obama’s policies and decisions.

Finally, the film concludes with an assessment of what might happen in a second Obama term—one in which he is wholly unburdened of election concerns.

It was difficult to know what to expect from this movie.  Noting comparisons to Michael Moore’s films, part of me disappointingly considered that it might just be routine partisan blood in the water.  Then, people I trust started coming back with reports of how somber and measured it is, with no sensationalism about it.

And indeed, that’s what you get here.  This is significantly more elevated than a rah-rah movie for those already in agreement.

For one thing, its focus is tight.  It would have been easy to make this a laundry list indictment, and it isn’t.  Largely, the film makes the arguments I’ve outlined above, and that’s all.  For another, there are almost no moments of levity.  This is not a chucklefest by any means.  D’Souza clearly intends for his effort to be taken seriously, and it shows.  (There is just a bit of spastic editing—rapid cuts, shuddering, and so forth—but not enough to sustainedly distract.)

The film makes ample use of Obama’s reading of Dreams from My Father.  D’Souza interviews an impressive lineup of subject matter experts to make his arguments.  He interviews George Obama, the president’s half-brother.  He interviews friends and associates of both of Obama’s parents.  He builds evidence in an honest, straightforward, unadorned way, and when he is finished the result is nothing short of compelling.

Dismissals of 2016:  Obama’s America—and there are several out there, from reliably liberal sources—are simply trying to squelch interest in it.  Any left-wing reviewer who actually watched this film knows very well it’s not typical red meat, and in dismissing it, is desperately trying to keep anyone persuadable from seeing it.  I think there’s significant word out on this one, though.

8/10

Coda
Ladies and gentlemen, if you are an undecided voter, please see this film.  In fact, I may even help you with that.

If you are an undecided voter in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Wisconsin, I will pay for your admission to 2016: Obama’s AmericaEmail me so we can chat about it just a bit.  I will honor this offer for the first ten respondents.

 Posted by at 6:20 pm
Aug 262012
 

Neil Armstrong died yesterday.  He was 82 years old.

Neil Armstrong is one of the first obvious heroes I can remember.  My maternal grandparents gave me Webster’s Encyclopedia of Dictionaries as a present when I was eight or so.  I used it all, but I camped on the space exploration section in it.  I can remember thinking no one could be cooler than Neil Armstrong.

I’ve mentioned before that I wish I’d seen Apollo 11 on television.  I didn’t.  I’m not quite old enough.  I missed it by that much.  But there’s no doubt in my mind that Neil Armstrong had what might have been the single greatest experience to date that a single human being could have.  It’s still mostly more than I can fathom.  Look up at that moon tonight, dudes and dolls.  He stood there.  He was the first person to stand there.

Wow.

Thank you, sir.  RIP.

 Posted by at 8:50 pm
Aug 252012
 

Dublin Park was busy today.  Both boys had games. A bit before Nathan’s game started, we shared our field with this guy:

He did this every two minutes for at least half an hour, and maybe much longer depending on how much he did it before we got there.  He seemed to be in charge of a group of perhaps two dozen adolescent boys, who were running back and forth on the park grounds.

Now best I can tell, the only purpose of this highly disruptive activity was to communicate two-minute intervals to his runners.  So, basically, he’s chosen to be an inconsiderate jackass instead of require his kids to have stopwatches.  He’s standing at the south end of Dublin 4, so he’s pretty much right in the middle of the park.  He can be easily heard on all of the soccer fields, and he’s very loud on three of them.  (Did I mention this horn sounded every two minutes?  Isn’t he modeling wonderful behavior for the boys in his charge?)

BamaDan texted me from another field and (jokingly?) suggested a shallow grave.  That’s a bit much, but I’ll gladly get a blog post out of him.  Congratulations, air horn guy!  You’re immortalized!

 Posted by at 3:49 pm

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