“As for smoking bans in ‘public places,’ there are three reasons why they’re unjustified. First, pubs and clubs are actually private property. Second, bars don’t have to be smoky any more, with the air-cleaning technology available. But most importantly: no danger from ‘second-hand smoke’ has ever been proven. Unlike most journalists, politicians and, regrettably, doctors, I’ve gone through all of the more than 40 studies. Only a few show any risk, and it’s statistically insignificant. There are higher risks from drinking milk, using mouthwash and keeping pet birds. I swear I’m not making this up! People who use this sort of ‘junk science’ to stigmatise smokers and to nag and bully us out of our pleasures should be bloody well ashamed of themselves.”— Joe Jackson, in The Independent
Continuing my trend of finding out about DVD releases a month after they reach the stores, I tripped across a copy of Dirty Pair: Project Eden today. I practically knocked over the shelf in my haste to grab it, because my ancient bootleg VHS copy is almost unwatchable, and this is one of my favorite OAVs. There’s just something about scantily clad Women of Mass Destruction.
[The Dirty Pair Flash DVDs, and the recent graphic novel Run From The Future, on the other hand, do nothing for me; I don’t like the art, and I don’t like how they redefine the characters. The rest of the stuff is action/comedy gold, though.]
My other recent discovery was the John Carpenter cult classic They Live, best known for the lengthy and surprisingly realistic fight scene, in which two big guys beat the crap out of each other, and then spend the rest of the movie limping around like someone just beat the crap out of them. Loads of fun, and a far better alien-invasion story than just about anything else ever made in Hollywood.
None of the local retailers have They Live in stock. When I asked, one chain store manager complained “they ship me two copies of a great film, and thirty copies of crap I’ll never be able to sell.”
The local Borders cheerfully offered to order it for me, and since I’ve still got at least a dozen DVDs piled up to watch, I told them to go ahead. When I checked back today, I discovered that they expect it to take one month to get the order in, if it’s in their warehouse.
WTF? A recent release, and the best they can do is send the warehouse a polite note asking if they could pretty-please send one along sometime after Thanksgiving? Should I point out to them that borders.com is an Amazon storefront, and I could have it before the week is out?
Just went through a twenty-minute phone survey on a California ballot measure to tax indian casinos and allow card parlors to install slot machines. As usual, there were several questions I couldn’t give a completely honest answer to, and the guy asking the questions shared my amusement at my “unclassifiable” responses. The bit from the opposition about how the eeeeeevil pornographers would benefit just made me laugh out loud, but all he could record was “would not convince me to oppose the measure”.
On the whole, it was a fairly balanced survey, asking you four times about your support for the measure, first after hearing a basic summary, then after hearing pro arguments, then con, and finally “if Arnold supported it, would you be more likely to support it?”. There were also questions related to how you voted in the recall, the last general election, the last presidential election, and if you were determined to vote in the next presidential election. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the results.
I did think it was interesting that the measure allowed existing card parlors to install up to 30,000 slot machines statewide, but also prohibited opening new card parlors. That was the item that most reduced my interest in supporting this measure. If you’re going to expand gambling in California, don’t play favorites.
This makes two good phone surveys I’ve participated in in my lifetime. The last one was about 15 years ago, on the subject of mayonnaise.
[Disclaimer: I like slot machines, especially since I’ve always ended up coming out ahead by hundreds of dollars, but I’ll continue to play them exclusively in Vegas. I’m not really a gambler, I just enjoy hanging out in casinos and watching the pretty women go by. I suspect California card/slot parlors won’t have the same caliber of scenery.]
Things not to do in Civilization III: detonate 270 ICBMs in one turn, blasting every other civilization back into the stone age (or at least to cities of size 3 or below).
Why shouldn’t you do this? Because the resulting global warming took fifteen minutes to resolve. That’s fifteen minutes each turn, for the rest of the game. Fortunately, there were only a few turns left, as my Modern Armor rolled across the countryside razing cities. Then I signed peace treaties with the survivors.
Belatedly, it occurred to me that this is the sort of behavior that the folks in Berkeley and Hollywood are expecting from the current administration.
“I’m not a telemarketer, I’m just doing some cold calls.”
5 Star Mortgage, 831-757-3691
The best part was that he admitted that he knew I was on the do-not-call list.
While making dinner just now, I had a truly evil thought about who should provide the voice for an Ann Coulter audiobook: anime voice actress Kotono Mitsuishi, playing the title character from Excel Saga (link goes to MP3 clip).
It’s such an appealing thought that I’m tempted to grab a bunch of video clips of Excel and re-subtitle them with one of Coulter’s articles.
[for more fun, IMDB reports that the same actress also voiced the busty assassin Christie in the two Dead or Alive Xbox games (DOA3 and DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball), as well as the title character in Sailor Moon. Don’t go there. :-)]
After the famine, a feast. I’ve finally updated my picture site, posting the last scans I made before I abandoned my flaky Nikon LS-2000 for good. These are from a quick outdoor session with Playboy Playmate Liz Stewart, seventeen years after her centerfold.
I’ve met 200 or so Playmates, and Liz made my top-ten list about fifteen seconds after saying “hello.”
I hadn’t gotten around to browsing for audio books in the iTunes Music Store before, mostly because I’ve never understood what people see in them. After listening to a number of 90-second excerpts, I pretty much still don’t get it.
Worse, I don’t understand why some people insist on reading their own material. In print, Ann Coulter is a wild-eyed fanatic who sharpens every sentence to a razor edge; speaking into a microphone, the nicest thing I can say about her is that most computer-synthesized voices sound less realistic. And it goes on for six hours. I couldn’t listen to six hours of phone sex by a woman with a purring-kitten contralto; six hours of loosely-coupled politics in Coulter’s grating, emotionless voice would surely trigger a road-rage incident.
On the other hand, the folks responsible for The Worst-Case Survival Handbook: Travel had the good sense to hire someone who not only has a good voice, but who fits the tone of their material: Penn Jillette.
Even Michael Moore, Coulter’s even-less-reliable counterpart on the Left, lets Arte Johnson read Stupid White Men.
One of the most common excuses used to explain why the 10,000+ gun-control laws in the US never deliver what they promise is “leaky borders.” Because there exists some other city/state/country “nearby” that has less restrictive laws, criminals will just travel there to get guns. They never explain why criminals aren’t using guns more often in that other, less-evolved place, but that’s a side issue.
Enter England, a nearly perfect test case for gun control. Physically isolated from all those bad gun-loving countries, and they never had the quantity of guns the US had, or the violent crime. Over the past eighty years they’ve gradually eliminated virtually all gun ownership from society. Paradise Island, yes?
No. Crime in general, and with-gun crime in particular, has been increasing steadily since 1920, and the near-total ban on handguns has only accelerated the problem. Meanwhile, the violent crime rate in the US has been dropping steadily for years, with the murder rate down 45% since 1980.
Is there still more murder in the US? Yes, if you’re a young black man living in the worst parts of our major cities. You know, those places where it’s illegal to own a gun? Where the concept of calling 911 for help is openly mocked?
I never bought Lott’s argument that increasing gun ownership reduces crime, but it’s quite clear that reducing or eliminating it doesn’t help, either. Could it be because law-abiding citizens with guns aren’t career criminals? Sounds obvious, I know, but somehow legislators keep overlooking it.