Sunday, January 19, 2020

Living Well in Chappaqua Is the Best Revenge

Yeah, I've been poking around the weird part of the t00bz again, and I found a video of someone suffering from an advanced case of Hillary Derangement Syndrome:



Maybe I'm too even-keeled for my own good, but I can't fathom this degree of rage, especially at someone so middle-of-the-road as Hillary Clinton. This is the result of decades of propaganda regarding the former first lady, senator, and Secretary of State. I imagine a deep dive into the fever swamps of the Right would reveal tens of thousands of raging loons exactly like the woman in the video. This is a Two Minutes Hate that has lasted a quarter of a century. Meanwhile, in Chappaqua, not too far from my beloved City of Y______, Hillary is probably sipping chamomile tea, working on the NYT Sunday crossword puzzle, perhaps dimly aware that her mere existence enrages a demographically significant population in these here United States.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

It's a Jungle Out There

Today's snarkfest involved the rollout of the proposed battle dress uniforms for Trump's Space Force. The camouflage pattern was the source of the mirth:



The general thrust of the mockery is that these uniforms would only be useful if the Space Force were fighting the hostile autochthons of the Forest Moon of Endor:





Those fuzzy little freaks should have raked the forest floor!

Being a child of the New York Metro Area, and an avid listener of college radio, and 'alternative' commercial radio, I immediately realized that these uniforms would be useful if the Space Force ever had to invade a space jungle:





Any real action by the Space Force would have to involve the securing of Penzey's locations... for, uhhhhh, reasons:





I know I'm jumping on the bandwagon here, and that one critique of criticism of the Space Force is that people ragging on it would have supported it if Obama had proposed it, but I genuinely believe that the militarization of space is a bad thing. NASA was specifically created as a civilian agency to signal to the Soviets that the space race should not be weaponized. I'm not exactly comfortable with the US signalling that the 'final frontier' is a war zone. Sure, it might be comical to rag on the camouflage uniforms for our newly minted star warriors, but the whole endeavor seems a bad business.

Friday, January 17, 2020

This Is Your Brain on SCIENCE!!!

Poking around the t00bz, I found a video of what might be the greatest experiment in the history of science... a study of the effects of drugs on the web-building ability of spiders:





I love how the bone-dry delivery early in the video sets the viewer up for the uproarious joke that follows. This is a perfect example of deadpan snark. There are other 'Hinterland Tales' videos of a similar... uh... nature, so it seems like I've found yet another timesink.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Faithful Custodian of His Father's Legacy

Today's bummer news concerns the death of Christopher Tolkien at the age of 95. Young Tolkien was the custodian of his father's literary estate and the creator of the Middle Earth Phenomenon out of his father's copious notes. I'm a Tolkien fan, but I'm not a completist by any stretch of the imagination, so I 'tapped out' after The Silmarillion, when all of the interminable 'Unfinished Tales' and 'Whole Middle Earth Catalog' volumes started hitting the shelves. By then, the Good Professor's prose had prepared me to read the Eddas and Kalevala, which is what I believe the Good Professor intended. Still, the massive body of work Christopher Tolkien assembled from his father's copious notes is the perfect model for anyone interested in fantasy worldbuilding, dubbed subcreation (PDF) by the Good Professor, down to the various languages he invented for the inhabitants of his world. Almost as much as his father, Christopher Tolkien was responsible for the creation of Middle Earth, even down to drawing the left-justified fantasy map (WARNING: TV Tropes, serious timesink danger) which has passed into cliche status.

I was tickled pink to read that Christopher Tolkien wasn't a fan of Peter Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings' movies, dismissing them as juvenile puncho-puncho-run-run: “They gutted the book, making it an action movie for 15-25 year-olds, and it looks like The Hobbit will be the same.” My take on the movies is that they looked fair but felt foul, and that Peter Jackson's real intention was to make a big budget remake of Hawk the Slayer.

Christopher Tolkien was a faithful custodian of his father's legacy, and the intellectual property which, perhaps not for the better, codified the 'Epic Fantasy Industrial Complex' for a myriad of lesser writers. While collating and editing his father's notes, he managed to release the contradictory writings which demonstrated how his father's 'canon' was shaped and re-shaped. Mythology is a messy business, even when written by Just One Guy. The hunger which the reading public received the body of work which went ever ever on is a testimony to the power of that creation, and the need for escapism in a world as callous as ours. Christopher Tolkien lived well, he served his family well, and he served the reading public well... without him, would his father's legacy have achieved such eminence?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

There Is no Doctor Jekyll

It's a strange case, that of Mr Hyde, but there's no good counterpart, no Dr Jekyll to balance out the sinister Robert F. Hyde, Trump donor and Connecticut congressional candidate. Hyde's communications with Ukrainian 'operative' Lev Parnas regarding ambassador Yovanovitch have a sort of 'turbulent priest' quality:



Confronted by the Daily Beast about his activities in Ukraine, Hyde responded with an insult of Representative Adam Schiff. Hyde is apparently a QAnon conspiracy loon, making reference to an evidence-free accusation that Schiff committed vague atrocities in the basement of the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles:



This is the sort of lunacy typically peddled by whackjobs like Liz Crokin. Hyde has become is so toxic that the chairman of the Connecticut GOP has asked him to drop his congressional bid:



Mr Romano fails to realize that Hyde perfectly embodies what his party has become, a morass of corruption, conspiracy nuttery, and threats of violence against political opponents. The Connecticut GOP is moribund, and Hyde probably hasn't got a chance in hell to win, so at this point, Romano might just want to make sure that he still gets invited to parties by nice people... can't have a deplorable making the country club set nervous. I doubt that anybody online is going to let him unfasten Hyde from around his neck.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Alec Guinness, Reanimated

Poking around the t00bz, I found something which should be catnip to a nerdly fellow such as myself, a synthesized simulacrum of Alec Guinness 'reciting' H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu. I'm a huge fan of Alec Guinness, both being somewhat of a 'Star Wars' fan and a fan of Tinker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy. I'm also a Lovecraft fan. The simulacrum captures some of Sir Alec's sonorousness, but with an odd Mi-Go sort of rasp:





In contrast, here is the real Sir Alec reading T.S. Elliott's The Waste Land:





Although Alec Guinness is best known for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the pulpy 'Star Wars' franchise, it's amusing and a bit grotesque to imagine him reciting something as outré as The Call of Cthulhu. I like to think of this simulacrum being a take on a Mi-Go abducted Sir Alec, forced to recite pulp cosmic horror from the confines of a brain cylinder. I'm not so sure he would have approved.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Those Sneezings and Wheezings Are Due to 'Sexism'

Given the sombre nature of my recent posts, I figured I needed to lighten things up a bit by posting some pop science. Atlas Obscura has a wonderful post about how the use of male ornamental plants has led to increasing severity of allergies. Landscapers tend to stick to male trees because female trees produce fruit, which tend to create messes when the fruits fall onto the ground. As a firm believer in usufruct, I am of the opinion that female and male/female trees would be a useful addition to landscapes urban and suburban, with no restrictions on usufruct. I'm fortunate to live in an area where there are plenty of mulberry trees and a handful of precious cherry trees, and I work at a site which has apple, quince, and cherry trees in a relic orchard (sadly, the lone peach tree has given up the ghost).

One of the trees mentioned in the article, the ginkgo, produces edible seeds, but the fruits stink like puke... and handling them can cause dermatitis. Even as a committed forager, I haven't brought myself to grab any- I always forget when they are in season, and I really don't want to transport a bag of vomit-aroma fruits either in my car or on public transportation. Every once in a while, I get ginkgo curious, when I smell that characteristic aroma, but the desire to have a habitable car dissuades me.

Anyway, the article is a fun, informative read, and it will give you insights into why you are suffering in the Spring... hopefully, landscapers will get over their 'botanical sexism' as they replace trees lost to age or misfortune.