Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Three Interesting Things

1. This is one of those good news/bad news type deals. The good news is a man's wallet stopped the progress of a bullet headed for various internal organs, the bad news is well, bullet. 
2. I was a huge fan of the Virginia Renaissance Faire that ran in Fredericksburg.  (There is one now in Lake Anna.) I had heard that the property was lying vacant, so am sad to see the state of it right now, although there is some definite creepy weirdness to these abandoned sets.
3. And while my thoughts on "Sleepy Hollow" were more, it's silly fun, but also represents some important (but super silly fun) diversity. I feel like I just told you vegetables are good for you (which they are...but) so I'll throw in a link to the Orlando Jones tumblr which is just silly. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You Got Your History in My Entertainment

I firmly agree with the idea that there are no guilty pleasures, only pleasures, and if you are doing something for entertainment that entertains you, then success.  But, there are things that I enjoy, even as I fully appreciate that they are flawed.
So, I personally am unable to watch "Braveheart". (I watched a lovely special about the making of "Braveheart" and the history (or not) within that really only confirmed this.  One of my friends said, basically, so it's almost entirely historically incorrect, it's great fun!  And here's the thing A is and was (likely) correct that it is great fun.  I, personally, am unable to separate myself from the knowledge of the actual battle of Stirling Bridge to enjoy a movie where the climax is that battle and there is no bridge.  This is a me thing, not a "Braveheart" thing. 
So, I am watching and enjoying "Sleepy Hollow" even though it's revisionist history (although Ichabod Crane* is a fictional character, within the show he interacts with a number of known historical figures) is revisionist, and while I personally find just about all the historical parts zzzzboring, they are fully committed to the thing that they are doing and it's keeping me engaged week to week.  (I still think they should try teaching the horseman ASL.  Hey, headless guy learning ASL makes just as much sense as a headless guy who's a crack shot.) 
"Reign" on the other hand is more in the vein of "Braveheart".  While I get the sense the "Sleepy Hollow" writers have mountains of research they are sifting through to pick the parts that work well for the show, on "Reign" I get the sense that they picked a historical figure and time that sounded fun, and are basically discarding most of the messy history stuff to make a show about royal intrigue that is much like "Gossip Girl" set in the renaissance. And even though I wrote an extensive paper about Mary Queen of Scots, I find the show (so far) fun.  The costumes look a little renaissance the prom version, the supposed burdens of kingdom ruling are mentioned only in passing, and I sort of feel like some of these people deserve a better show to be on, but so far (I'm a few episodes behind) it's fun.  It's ridiculously wrong from a historical perspective or even from a why does everyone in 16th century France speak English with an English accent.  (Look, I get that they speak English for me, but why an English accent?  None of these people are supposed to be English.) 
So yes, sometimes even with contemporary shows I find it's easier to pretend they live in an alternate universe, one where police investigations always get wrapped up, court cases make it to court in no time at all, and football trainers can become general managers because they wish it. So, why not pretend that this is what the history might have been. 

*Per Wikipedia there was a real Ichabod Crane who may have the inspiration for the fictional character.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Things People Should Know: Context Does Matter, But

Context matters.  The nature of developing news stories often makes this clear.  I have been following the story of the bullying allegations going on the the NFL and caught a clip of accused bullier saying, well, things that seem to make it clear that he does not quite understand.  Now, yes, this story is still in the developing phase, and I imagine the ongoing investigation plus the lawsuit means the people who are talking to reporters are, well, people who are trying to squash or reduce trouble.  So...further developments may change how I (and since, it turns out my opinion matters very little in this - that of investigators, prosecutors, and future jurors) view this thing. 
But, here's the thing.  No matter how many texts you and your teammate exchanged - if you used racial epithets and threatened to rape his family members it doesn't sound racist or violent out of context.  It is racist. You did threaten to commit violent sexual acts.  If you think those kinds of things are hilarious, um, well, I guess that's a choice.  But, it's actually still racist and threatening.  If you don't wish to be perceived as racist, don't use racial epithets.  (Yes, not being racist is bigger than what you say, but nonetheless.)  And the teammates who are saying (for now, a this moment) oh that's just how we talk here, well, again I say the same thing.  See, freedom of speech does in fact mean (with some exceptions) that you can say what you want, including threats of violence, including the use of racial epithets.  But, that doesn't absolve you from any consequences of saying things.  If I say that the moon is made of cheese, my freedom of speech does not mean that no one can worry about my ability to understand how the moon works.  They can. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Three Interesting Things

1. "Good Morning America" has been a part of my morning routine for some days.  I'm sorry, I actually meant decades.  And in October, like a lot of news outlets, particularly given host Robin Roberts well-documented experience with breast cancer and resulting MDS, they did stories about breast cancer and the importance of mammograms.  Contributor Amy Robach agreed to have her mammogram on air, which is brave.  (Could not pay me.  Well, maybe, let's talk numbers.)  Well, it found cancer.  So, now she is having surgery and getting treatments.  As other have pointed out, mammograms are boring and not fun and most people get negatives.  But the reason you do it is because sometimes they find things.  They find things, generally faster than self exams (although those are also important) or other ways that these things show up. 
2. There's a lot of talk about how the nerd in class often go on to become writers or actors or what have you.  Author Matt De La Pena wants to make sure the tough kid who might also be writing in the back of the class also gets attention. Possibly even those kids labeled reluctant readers.
3. You almost have to see this to believe it, but someone has created matched photos of sexy men and cats in the same poses. (Safe for wherever photos of sexy (at least partially clothed but sexy men and cat photos are acceptable). 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Links for help and aid

The Philippines, which just had an earthquake last month that had already left a lot of buildings damaged and people displaced, just got hit by a record breaking typhoon, as you have likely heard.  It is also Veteran's Day, whether or not that means you get a day away from work or school. 
So, it seems like a good day to reflect, give thanks, and possibly reach out to others. 
Doctors Without Borders has people already in the Philippines (and other places around the world). 
The US Red Cross is sending a team to the Philippines and also provides services to veteran's here.  (There is also a Red Cross Philippines.)
Shelterbox provides a box that contains, well, shelter and cooking utensils to those displaced by disasters.  (The link is to the US organization.  Should you be elsewhere there are other branches, just go down to the bottom and click your location.)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Three Interesting Things

1. Another study shows that the biggest difference between kids who do well at math and kids who don't, is that the kids who do well believe that they are math people.  Having read Michael Oher's biography this year, this was one of the things that he talked about, that it's easy to assume he was successful because he got adopted by the right family, whereas he made a decision early in life to be successful and worked hard to get himself into a position where, among other things, a lovely family adopted him, so that he was prepared to take advantage of the opportunities made available to him.  The other interesting point that this brings up, particularly regarding things like math or language, is that at any age, you could then work to change this about yourself.
2. The stores have been stocked with green and red for weeks now, and I have already received a coupon for a holiday tree.  (Even if I did live, or formerly live holiday trees, I would not do them in early November, but that's just my preference).  So, in case like Charlie Brown and Phoebe Buffay you wondered what happens to the poor trees not chosen for home decor, the answer, at least in one part of Berlin is elephant food.
3. And I look forward to hearing about the results of San Francisco's stint as Gotham City.  This is not for a movie, it is as part of a wish granted to a boy with leukemia who told the Make-A-Wish team that he wished to be Batkid.  Apparently the police chief is expecting some special crime that day, that only Batkid can assist with. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

References Available

My Fictional Skills and Experience:
Once played Tetris for a six hours*, demonstrating focus, logic, and ability to work through distractions.  
Managed seven fish tanks in Fish Adventure, overseeing feeding, happiness, decoration, and breeding programs, demonstrating ability to manage multiple projects. 
Have played Where in the US is Carmen San Diego, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego and Where in Time is Carmen San Diego, demonstrating ability to grow and use skills acquired on one game to expand my abilities in another.
Achieved expert levels in Sally's Spa, Sally's Salon, and Sally's Yoga Studio, demonstrating abilities to manage increasing levels of responsibility and multi-tasking. 

*Possible exaggeration.  I don't recall.