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A Slightly Different Vantage Point Than Biden Offers… March 31, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
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“I’ve watched him make decisions that would make another man or woman’s hair curl,” Biden told the crowd of 150 inside the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee, according to a pool reporter on scene…

…while the rest of us have watched him make decisions that would make another man or woman’s stomach turn.

Examining the Essential Elements of John Carter March 30, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
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I’ve been a huge fan of the Princess of Mars series for nearly 40 years. I have all 11 books in the series, as well as all four books of ERB’s other, lesser-known series, Carson of Venus. I even have most of the Jandar of Callisto series – a virtual clone of PofM by Lin Carter.

In short, I’m pretty hardcore when it comes to swashbuckling adventure with a healthy sprinkling of sci-fi.

So my daughter and I went to see John Carter 3D last night, and I thought I’d share a few impressions; particularly since there have been a lot of very negative reviews floating about the web. So here it is broken down by my personal categories for rating movies (which may stray a bit from Ebert’s).

  • Swashbuckling (B+): The movie never developed a true sense of swashbucklery, hampered largely by the writers’ focus on Carter’s disillusionment with noble causes. And oddly, after all that focus, the dang writers forgot to fix his disillusionment. Instead they have him decide to fight for love, which is nice, but not nearly as noble as fighting for freedom for the peoples of Mars. Reluctant heroes brooding over past tragedy don’t swashbuckle well.
  • Sword-Fighting (B+): The books are all about these amazing sword fights, reminiscent of the movies from 80 years ago. In modern times, I don’t think anybody would have minded if they’d upgraded the sword fights with some Yuen Woo Ping-type action (like Yoda w/a light saber, for example). But no, pretty conventional hack-‘n-slash stuff.
  • Eye-Candy (A-): Can’t speak for the ladies’ level of satisfaction, but I was a little disappointed with the babe content. Not that Dejah Thoris wasn’t quite the hottie – she was obviously assembled by first-class artisans. But she’s pretty much the only woman in the movie. They should have written the story to spend a little less time with the Tharks (thus saving money on CGI), and more with the babespeople of Helium.
  • Buddy Relationship (C): As long as you’re rewriting portions of the story, you should go ahead and take advantage of the things you’re doing right. Kantos Kan was turning out to be a great character, and would have made an excellent bud for John Carter (as well as lightening up a lot of the movie), but we only really get to enjoy him in one scene. Guys love a buddy movie, and this could have been a good one.
  • Amazingly Creative Death Scenes (D): It’s like they didn’t even try.
  • Special Effects & CGI (A): As long as you’re going to blow your budget and make a movie that is hugely in the hole from the start, you might was well make the coolest aliens ever. And that’s what they did. Awesome job on the Tharks.

Overall I’d give the movie an A-. It’s biggest weakness is that they tried to cover too much ground, so they skipped over a lot of development and exposition. A couple more scenes each would have really helped cement the romance between John and Dejah, the brutal culture of the Tharks, the virtues of the society of Helium, etc. If you have read the books it’s a little annoying to see some of the explanations crammed in at the last minute as an afterthought, but if you haven’t, then you end up baffled and really irritated (like many of the reviewers on-line).

But I liked it. The daughter liked it. You just might like it, too.

Initial Unemployment Claims Data – Goin’ Nowhere Real Fast March 29, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
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The initial unemployment claims data is out, and is essentially unchanged from the beginning of the year. Last December we had a dramatic drop in claims from around 400K to the 355-365K range, but since then there’s been no improvement. This is probably due to increasing gas prices, so President Obama’s complacency and Stephen Chu’s starry-eyed “we’ll fix gas prices by replacing gasoline with green energy (in 30 years)” are hoisting this administration on its own petard.

You’ll be needing a graph:

Marine Corps Recruiting Video March 27, 2012

Posted by Retired Geezer in Heroes, Man Laws.
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Since Geoff hasn’t slipped in here recently with an Important post, I thought I would treat y’all to a little Fluff.

That makes me want to enlist.

Or at least convince Dave in Texas to volunteer.


Cat and Owl Playing March 25, 2012

Posted by Retired Geezer in Religion, Science.
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This is the coolest video you will view today.

It was published a year ago… I guess it’s old.

Geezer Toots His Horn… again March 24, 2012

Posted by Retired Geezer in Personal Experiences, Religion.
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Sometimes you wonder if things you do in life will be perceived as good.

Sometimes you get a letter, out of the blue, that makes you smile.

(Names have been changed to protect the innocent)

Hello Mrs. Geezer,

I was looking at some stained glass windows on the internet and came across your beautiful art work.

I hope you, Geezer, and the Geezer Children are doing well.

I’m doing fine. My mom still lives on (the street we used to live on.)

Currently, I’m a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, and I will be ordained a priest in a few months (after I graduate from the seminary with my Masters in Divinity Degree.)

I don’t know if you will  receive this email, but I just wanted to drop a note to say hello.

I also wanted to say thank you for being a positive influence to me growing-up.  (You and Geezer were always really nice to us kids in the circle.)

Take care and God bless,

Father X

He was probably 3 years old when we moved next to him. We lived there for about 12 years.

Shanghai World Expo March 21, 2012

Posted by Retired Geezer in Gardening, Law.
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Someone sent me this video. It’s pretty good.



I’m thinking magnets are holding up the bells. Can you figure out how the Musical Babes are sitting?

Idaho Eagle Cam March 20, 2012

Posted by Retired Geezer in Technology, Travel.
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This is pretty cool. I can’t figure out how to embed it.

They strapped a tiny HD camera on a Golden Eagle and took us for a ride.

Thanks to my friend, Gabby.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter March 18, 2012

Posted by digitalbrownshirt in Art, Entertainment, Heroes, History, Honor, Movies, Politics, Pop Culture, WTF?.
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Note the sweet ax gun at the end.

The Return of the Nuclear Family March 16, 2012

Posted by digitalbrownshirt in Economics, Family.
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I’m sure the media would be happy to spin this for Obama. They can say his economic policies has helped bring back the family values of the 1950’s.

Surprisingly, most “boomerang kids” don’t mind living with mom and dad. If ever there were a stigma about living with parents through one’s late twenties and thirties, the recession and, along with it, a practical dollars-and-cents outlook on life have all but erased that perception.

Of those living at home, some 78 percent say they’re upbeat about their living arrangements, according to the Pew study, and 24 percent say it’s been good for their relationships with their parents (48 percent say it hasn’t changed their relationship).

See, it’s actually a good thing to not be able to support yourselves and sponge off of your parents for a few more decades. I love my children, but I raised them to be independent creatures. It wouldn’t be good for them to move back in for an extended period. It’s kind of like welfare in that way. We want to help people who are less fortunate, but we don’t want to make them dependent on that help to survive indefinitely.

Happy Birthday March 15, 2012

Posted by digitalbrownshirt in Crime, Entertainment, Music.
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To me. The big 44 for me today and this video makes me feel even older. I had the biggest crush on her when I was 13.


The Declining Competitiveness of US Higher Education March 14, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
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I was sitting at a table with Ace, NiceDeb, and a few other luminaries back at the Conservative Blogger Conference in November, weighing forth upon the decline of American universities’ dominance of global academia. “20 years ago only 5 – 10% of technical papers in my field were from foreign sources, and they weren’t very good,” I thundered, “but now over half the papers are from furriners, and most of them are darn good!”

They nodded politely and turned the conversation back to topics more genteel.

But check this out:

U.S. and U.K. universities still sit at the head of the class in world higher education, but emerging schools in Asia and elsewhere threaten to shift the global balance of academic power, a major study shows.

“The U.S. has the most highly regarded universities in the world by a long way. … No other country comes near it,” said Phil Baty, editor of the Times’ rankings.

“But,” he cautioned, “there is absolutely no room for complacency. A large number of U.S. institutions have seen their standing in the table slip, with some of the great public institutions taking significant hits as the world watches their public funding being slashed. Meanwhile, the top Asian universities, which have seen very healthy levels of investment from their governments, have almost all seen an increase in their reputational standing. There are clear signs of the start of a power shift from West to East.”

In the 2010-2011 survey, US institutions took 54 of the top 100 spots, according to the UK Times’ survey. In the most recent survey, we took only 44.

Haven’t I been telling you? I’ve been telling you.