I Don’t Time Shift; I Year Shift

So, yesterday, I watched Escape From L.A., another film that came out during my adult years that shocked me in how old it was (and by extension, how old I’m getting).

The film came out in 1996. It was set almost 20 years in the future: 2013 (which means this was a good year to watch the film). Of course, when it came out, it had been a long time since Escape From New York (1981). By my calculations, that means it’s been longer between Escape From L.A. and the present day than between the two films.

Also, I can’t help but note that the film deals with an evangelical President who leads us into a Totalitarian state that bans smoking, drinking, and whatnot. Rather like a 2013 book that predicts the same. Somehow a progressive Democrat state (or progressive Republican-for-convenient-election-to-mayorship Independent) never does that in fiction.

As an additional whoa, I digitally recorded this film in one of my spates of recording large numbers of films when I had an extensive satellite package. I’d run through the program guide, record everything in a two-week stretch that looked cool, and then they’d languish for months until I’d watch one, think it was cool, and record everything that looked cool for a two-week stretch. I trimmed the satellite package because I don’t watch television or movies that much these days, and now, apparently, I’m cutting the films I recorded down at a rate of one a year. Considering I have 40 Humphrey Bogart films alone, I’m set until my retirement ends.

UPDATE: Thanks for the link, Ms. K..

If you View from the Porchians aren’t into dystopian academic bubble misinterpretations of the Real World, maybe you’d be more interested in my novel John Donnelly’s Gold, a caper heist novel about four software company workers who seek revenge upon their (former) CEO after their layoffs.

None other than Roberta X. said about the book:

Where Larry Correia’s fictional world postulates our world with a barely-hidden subculture of every monster you ever heard of, the only “monster” in Brian J. Noggle’s John Donnelly’s Gold is a passing mention of the eponymous job-placement company. Nevertheless, it, too is quite an adventure and one that will have you wondering how it all turns out until the very end.

Available in paperback, Kindle, and iBookstore forms starting at just $.99.

Tortoise Death Panels

The government subsidizes a living creature, and when the money runs out, it’s dirt nap time:

Federal funds are running out at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center and officials plan to close the site and euthanize hundreds of the tortoises they’ve been caring for since the animals were added to the endangered species list in 1990.

You see, they have these endangered living creatures that they can no longer continue to provide for with tax dollars.

So do they put them out in the wild and let them take their chances? No, that’s inhumane.

Do they put them up for adoption in case the individuals or organizations can take care of them? No, that’s inhumane.

Euthanasia is the only answer.

The threat of just killing the turtles (If we can’t have them, NOBODY CAN!) is designed to either get the Federal fiscal firehose turned back on or get more private donations. But private donations are fickle, and Federal funds are forever, or the tortoise get it.

It All Started When They Started Sweetening Coke With Lead

Is Soda Making Our Children More Aggressive?:

According a new study out of Columbia University, children who drank soft drinks every day were more likely to become violent, hurting other children and destroying things.

Researchers tracked 3,000 children since their births. Nearly 40 percent drank four or more sodas a day. Some who drank just one soda a day even showed more aggressive behaviors.

KOLR10 News spoke to one local pediatrician who said the study is not exactly conclusive.

“They haven’t looked at what it is in the soda that’s causing that, whether it’s the sugar or the caffeine or exactly what is involved,” says Dr. Ashley Merrick with Mercy.

The story doesn’t link to the study itself, but I wonder how they controlled for other environmental factors, such as what kind of parents allow their kids to drink four or more sodas a day?

Strangely Enough, ‘Critics’ Is Synonym For ‘Competition’

Government action brings out the critics: Critics fear proposed Springfield ordinance could lead to billboard proliferation

The concerned? Those who already have billboards in Springfield:

Billed as a “business-friendly” revision of the city’s existing sign regulations, the proposed ordinance was the subject of an unexpected critique Aug. 12 as two local billboard owners warned that the new rules are too lenient.

“A whole lot of new billboards are going to be built here and in places and locations you might not want to have a billboard in,” said Greg Watkins, who worries a billboard boom could create a backlash.

Old 880 Honored by the United States Mint

The new $100 bills, as reimagined by Old 880:

For the past few years, the Federal Reserve has been preparing to introduce a redesigned hundred-dollar bill into circulation. It will have a Liberty Bell that changes color, a new hidden message on Ben Franklin’s collar, and tiny 3-D images that move when you tilt the bill this way or that. But delay has followed delay. And now again: The New Yorker has learned that another production snafu has taken place at one of the country’s two currency factories, according to a document from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The cause of the latest blunder is something known as “mashing,” according to Darlene Anderson, a spokeswoman for the bureau. When too much ink is applied to the paper, the lines of the artwork aren’t as crisp as they should be, like when a kid tries to carefully color inside the lines—using watercolors and a fat paintbrush.

Old 880, as you might remember, was a bad counterfeiter of $1 bills.

(Link via Instapundit.)

I Had Just Discovered Eydie Gorme

Popular singer Eydie Gorme dies at 84:

Eydie Gorme, a popular nightclub and television singer as a solo act and as a team with her husband, Steve Lawrence, has died. She was 84.

I bought Blame It On The Bossa Nova recently; I got it on vinyl at either the spring Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library or at the local antique mall. We’ve listened to it a number of times, including her biggest solo hit:

I just last week got one of her Spanish titles on CD, Canta en Español.

What a wonderful voice, silenced. Rest peacefully.

The Wheels Within Wheels Come Off

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has ties to an organization to defend Republican Paul Ryan:

The arm of the Mark Zuckerberg-backed immigration reform group that focuses on conservatives is going on air in Milwaukee with a pro-reform spot defending Rep. Paul Ryan, POLITICO has learned.

Americans for a Conservative [sic] Direction bought roughly $350,000 worth of TV time targeted toward Ryan’s district, a source tracking the air wars said.

Now notice the subtlety here: The pro-immigration amnesty group has the name Americans for a Conservative Direction to fool the simple mouth-breathing conservatives into thinking the group is conservative. You know, sadly, the same kind of low-information conservatives who turned out for Todd Akin in the primary when Claire McCaskill said Todd Akin was too conservative for Missouri.

So this CINO organization is helping Ryan out to bolster him because he might or does support the immigration reform thing going on in Washington.

But, unfortunately, some low-information liberals who nominally support the effort that the Americans for a Conservative [sic] direction support don’t see the ruse as demonstrated by a tweet:

Mark Zuckerberg is funding GOP asshat Paul Ryan through a shell group. Yet another reason you should not use Facebook.

Unfortunately, even though Zuckerberg is not a conservative, his action here does a two-fer: It helps a Republican through supporting a nominally liberal cause, and it makes out like big business through shell corporations and corporate money is helping the Republicans, which is an illusion that gins up the liberal base. So even if it hurts Facebook or Zuckerberg in the short term, it still helps the liberal cause.

* I include [sic] with the description conservative in the name of the organization because there’s no way this reform ‘conserves’ anything. As with many ‘conservative’ policies, I disagree with some of the loudest, most self-appointed guardians of the Conservative Flame in thinking that the immigration reform is A Very Big Deal. No, it’s a small deal that exacerbates existing problems in the country–namely, too much public spending on social programs, the immersion of the individual into the tribe, too much centralized control through the Washington machine. But it’s a symptom, not the cause, and the rifts this particular Hill to Die On creates in the country and in the Republican Party are far more damaging than the particular legislative package.

Draw the Trauma Out

As seen on Amazon:

Soft claws

You know what’s more humane to a cat than a declaw? Holding a cat down every month while you glue some press-on nails on each and every one of its claws, that’s what!

I’m surprised that the “Customers Also Bought With This Item” section did not include gauze, bandages, and scale mail armor. (Not chain mail, because that catches the cat’s claws uncomfortably. Take my word for it.)

We recently integrated three cats into our household as house-only cats, and at first the veterinarian was not in favor of a declaw and counseled us lightly against it. But as the end of their first week of isolation in my office, I thought about them moving into the household where, as we enter middle age, we’re getting nice furniture, and I decided to blunt them.

In my mind, here’s the humane scale:

  1. They have a procedure, use special litter for a couple weeks, and get the run of the household with a loving family for the rest of their lives.
  2. They don’t get declawed, and we worry every day of our lives that they will damage something. And when they damage something, we mourn it and/or have it repaired and worry every day that they will damage it again and/or shred our other declawed cats, which they very well might.
  3. We either before or after something or somecat has been damaged place the bladed cats with someone else who might not take as good of care as them as we do.
  4. We wrestle with them every month to get these things on them.

Some people have strange ideas of the humane treatment of animals. Forcing a cat to take medicine is bad enough. This sounds like torture to both the humans and the cats.

But I have made the links above Amazon Associates links, just in case you disagree and I can profit from your naiveté.

You Know Who Lives In Huntleigh?

Huntleigh ranks as richest U.S. community:

According to the “Wall Street Cheat Sheet,” our fair burgh has the fairest of them all when it comes to the richest communities in the U.S., based on the annual income of the top five percent of earners in the community.

Huntleigh, conveniently tucked between poor neighbors Ladue and Frontenac, has a median income of about $2.7 million for those five-percenters.

You know who lives in Huntleigh? John Donnelly, that’s who.

Yeah, I keep flogging that book, but I’m really excited about it. Sometime in the next three or four years, I’ll probably sell my 100th copy of it.

You Will Never Again Experience MfBJN The Way It Was Intended

Firefox 23 nixes support for outdated blink HTML tag:

Mozilla announced on Tuesday that Firefox 23, the latest version of its browser, will not support the HTML tag blink.

I’ve used that tag for years, off and on, on this blog. I’ll be sad to see it go.

Frankly, it’s just a case of the cool designers finally promulgating their disdain for a particular tag. Heaven forfend the hipsters start thinking that italics look weird.

(Link via VodkaPundit.)

Book Report: Realm of Numbers by Isaac Asimov (1959, 1967)

Book coverI have tried to read this book many times in the years past; the first time, actually, was when I needed something portable to stick in my pocket so I could read it at the airport while waiting for my sainted mother’s flight to arrive. That, my friends, was six or eight years ago.

So I stuck it in my pocket again recently and, since I’m running behind on my reading this year (I might crack forty books this year if I buckle down), I resolved to finish it. And I did.

But I bogged down a bit in the same spot as last time.

The first part of the book is as much history as mathematics: Asimov explores ancient civilizations and how they began enumerating and coming up with the basic concepts such as 0, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. So far, so good. Not only is this basic mathematics, but it’s history and narrative in nature. Then, when he gets to square roots, exponents, and higher order concepts, the history that makes the first half of it so easy and enjoyable to read evaporates, and he focuses on proofs and formulae. As such, the juice that made the book succulent dries up. Yeah, I learned some things, but some of it rolled right over me, and I was content to let it do so.

But at 140 pages, it can be a quick enough read once you give yourself permission to skim the formulae at the end. It’s also a bit of a gateway for me to acutely wanting to refresh my math skills. So if you’re into that sort of thing, give it a whirl. There are a couple of others in the line, Realm of Algebra and Realm of Measure, that I’ll keep my eye out for, but you don’t find a lot of Asimov at book sales and garage sales. Sadly, people have turned from informed and informative books like this to reality television and Twilight fan fiction tie-ups.

Books mentioned in this review:

USDA To Lay Low, Wait Till The Heat Is Off

New USDA rule put on hold:

After the complaints of a local magician went viral, the U.S. Department of Agriculture delayed the enforcement of a new rule requiring businesses with animals to prepare emergency plans.

As of Wednesday, the requirement is temporarily off the books while the department looks into how it should be applied across the spectrum of animal businesses. They range from zoos and research facilities with thousands of animals to Marty Hahne, an Ozark man doing children’s magic shows who uses a single rabbit.

That is, the rule has not been rewritten or stricken from the books. Instead, it’s going to be examined. Maybe they’ll change it. Maybe they’ll just put it into effect when the public’s attention is elsewhere.

Hey, I should just be happy that OSHA has not decided that its regulations apply to software test users. After all, I put those poor virtual people through hell every day.