[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2018-02-09

Superhero fatigue

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 01:31

I have tried to avoid dumping on things other people are looking forward to… but yeah, I am tired of the Avengers, Spider-Man, Batman, [that’s not] Superman, Guardians Of The Galaxy…. The only superhero movie I am interested in at all is Black Panther (I am looking forward to that).

I am interested in Star Trek and Star Wars even less. Trek has become just … eh. And the last two Star Wars movies were so bad… just… SO bad… ecch. Barring something coming along as unexpectedly entertaining as Force Awakens, I think I’m done with that franchise (I never thought I’d say that).

I guess this is what getting old feels like.

Thursday, 2018-02-01

Godzilla Science

Filed under: Movies,Science — bblackmoor @ 14:47

I’ve been watching all of the Godzilla movies in order. I’m up to “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah” (1995). One of the wacky things about Godzilla movies is their … I guess I’d call it “alternative science”. Most Godzilla movies have at least one scene with people in a lab or around a table, explaining to each other the most nonsensical “science” behind whatever might be happening.

Godzilla vs Destoroyah (1995)

Sunday, 2018-01-28

Identify this device

Filed under: Society,Technology — bblackmoor @ 15:18

From time to time, there is a meme about “name something today’s generation would not recognize”, or something to that effect. How about this? This is what I used to carry in my laptop bag circa 1990 to get on the Internet when I traveled. This was before the World Wide Web was invented (although AOL, Compuserve, and Genie existed — I had accounts on all three). You had to connect to a phone line and make a telephone call to an Internet provider. This was called “dial-up”.

Fun fact! Millions of Americans are still limited to dial-up Internet, because in the USA, Internet access is not legally treated as the essential utility that it is.

telephone cable with alligator clips

Monday, 2018-01-22

Celebrate your oddities

Filed under: Entertainment,Fine Living — bblackmoor @ 15:22

I’m not a fan of professional football, myself, but there’s room enough in the world for people to like what they like. Physical performance is a form of art; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It would be hypocritical of me to criticize someone for what they find fun, don’t you think?

If you are having a good time and not hurting anyone, more power to you.

celebrate your oddities, your work, your sexuality
celebrate your urges, celebrate humanity,
celebrate your fetishes, my message is clear,
there’s no such thing as normal: everybody’s weird

Wednesday, 2018-01-17

Illegal immigration: an observation

Filed under: Civil Rights,Society — bblackmoor @ 11:03

Observation: the core disagreement that people have over “illegal immigration” is based on whether they think people should serve the law, or the law should serve people.

Tuesday, 2018-01-16

The sexual harassment witch-hunt

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 14:23

I believe that the crusade against “sexually inappropriate behaviour” has gone off the rails. No one should have their career ruined for going on a bad date. No one should be fired for patting an upset colleague on the back to console them.

Just as supporting “Black Lives Matter” and respect for honest and competent police officers are not mutually exclusive, it is not a contradiction to treat sexual assault as a real and under-reported problem, while also pointing out that Aziz Ansari and Garrison Keillor have been treated unjustly.

Intent matters. Context matters. And human relationships are messy: misunderstandings happen, even between people who genuinely care about each other, and sometimes things go badly without anyone being at fault for it.

P.S. A bit more on the Aziz Ansari incident. I rather like this part:

All of this put me in mind of another article published this weekend, this one by the novelist and feminist icon Margaret Atwood. “My fundamental position is that women are human beings,” she writes. “Nor do I believe that women are children, incapable of agency or of making moral decisions. If they were, we’re back to the 19th century, and women should not own property, have credit cards, have access to higher education, control their own reproduction or vote. There are powerful groups in North America pushing this agenda, but they are not usually considered feminists.”

Except, increasingly, they are.

(from New York Times, “Aziz Ansari is guilty. Of not being a mind reader.”)

P.P.S. Personally, I am hoping that this current loud trend of demonizing flirtation and treating “bad date” and “clumsy advances (when the advances are from a man)” as akin to sexual assault will go the way of “bra burning” and not shaving one’s underarms. I hope that ordinary common sense and the human desire to form couples will assert itself, and this will be seen as a quaint but temporary cultural oddity that happened around the same time that actual sexual harassment became far less of a problem, and actual sexual assault ceased to be an underreported crime. (Note: Yes, I know that feminists did not literally burn bras.)

The case against home automation

Filed under: Fine Living,Technology — bblackmoor @ 11:04

I have said (and will continue to say) that if a machine can do a task as well and as inexpensively as a human, it should. No one wants to wash clothes by hand, and no one should have to perform drudgery just to give them a job to do.

However, I was an early adopter of home automation. I had voice-activated indoor and outdoor lights in the 1990s, for example. I eventually realized that most of the time, it’s easier to use a button.

I see little use for these voice-activated Google/Amazon gadgets. In the time it takes to turn down the TV or music and speak clearly, I could have typed in “Ewan Macgregor birthday” and found out how old he is. If you have hands and a phone, you don’t need a Google Echo, or whatever. You certainly don’t need one that smiles at you. They’re the current generation’s version of those countertop gadgets that collected dust back in the late 1980s/early 1990s (quesadilla makers, sandwich fryers, etc.). Useless frippery.

Saturday, 2018-01-13

Trainspotting, again

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 22:15

We watched “T2: Trainspotting” (2017) tonight. To put it in the vernacular of the film, it wasn’t shite. I enjoyed it. Quite a bit, actually.

And if you’ve not seen it recently, you really should see the original.

T2: Trainspotting

We have gotten the whole “shithole countries” thing wrong

Filed under: Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 12:12

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

— President Donald Trump, 2018-01-11

A lot of people have become irate at the phrase “shithole countries”, and responded, in effect, that it’s racist because there are no “shithole countries”.

I think they are wrong, or at least half wrong. Put down the pitchfork, give me a moment, and allow me to explain.

There are places in the world where the ground is so hard and dry, where life is so difficult, where the rule of law is so fragile that hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of people flee those places and try to find somewhere, anyway, else to live. I myself have used the phrase “third world hellhole” to describe such places. It’s not a condemnation of the people who flee — it’s an acknowledgement of the horrors they are fleeing from.

Some of the people who flee those places seek to come to the United States (rather than any of the kinder, saner countries). They walk, ride, or float on rafts for days or weeks or even months to escape the horrors behind them and seek a place to live where they can find food, shelter, and peace. A rather famous poem by Emma Lazarus calls such people “wretched refuse”.

So here’s the thing. Read the quote from President Trump again. What part of that makes you angry? If it’s the phrase “shithole countries”, I think you are missing the point of what makes that comment so horrifying, so inhumane, and so fundamentally anti-American.

“No, no, that’s part of it!” I can almost hear you say. Yeah. Sure it is. Which is why the phrase “shithole countries” is all anyone is talking about, rather than the Republicans’ racist quest for “immigration reform”. We’ve become a society that cares more about vocabulary than intent or outcome.

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Friday, 2018-01-12

Wanted: a simple black computer case

Filed under: Technology — bblackmoor @ 17:30

If you want a new computer case that does not look like a glowing alien life support pod, good luck. I looked high and low for a simple black metal box with no weird protrusions, glowing LEDs, or peek-a-boo windows. I did eventually find one, at a good price, but it took a while.

PH-ES614PC_BK

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