Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nerd Journal: Music for an Allnighter

Spring exam season is upon us!  We all know - with a sick sense of familiarity - that we'll be up at all hours for the next two weeks, so let's at least have some fun tunes:

Run, Bernie, Run!

This is probably the first actually interesting thing that's happened in the "I wanna be a candidate!" blitz.  

I'm not saying that I would leap on the Sanders bandwagon in earnest, but I would be darn pleased to see him challenge Hillary, because the whole "Hillary is inevitable" PR attempt reeks of ludicrous entitlement and should be challenged vigorously (not to mention soundly mocked).

While we're at it: Can we PLEASE on principle say no more Bushes and Clintons and nose-wrinkling whiffs of political dynasties and oligarchy?

Monday, April 06, 2015

March Madness 2015 Crowns Duke the Champion

Fine, fine, the hated Blue Devils and diabolical Coach K beat Wisconsin and took the championship.  Congratulations.  Now here's that song, because it's not March Madness without it!  (Sorry it's just a link, but the NCAA wouldn't let me embed it. Booooooo.)

Say Hello to My Little Friend: the Taiwan Navy's Latest

"Carrier killer"?

(Snarky) Quote of the Day: the Purposes of the EU

The European Union serves three main functions. It gives the French the illusion of power, the Germans a possibility of being something other than German and the political class of all European countries the hope of eternal life, or at least of power beyond the normal natural life of a democratic politician. It is a giant pension fund for European politicians.

Monday Therapy: For All of You/Us No Hopers, Jokers, and Rogues

From a little fishing village on the coast of Cornwall, England, comes this group of Cornishmen who made their mark singing sea shanties:

Sunday, April 05, 2015

God Help Us All: the Iran Mess

You know, over the course of watching this entire absurdity happen, I've said more than once - granted, more as a curse than a prayer - God help us all.

So when I looked up the Pope's annual Urbi et Orbi Easter message, I couldn't help smiling just a little bitterly when I read this part of it:
"At the same time, in hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world."
Good luck with that!  Really, good luck with that.

Well, if we're going to be reduced to prayer, there's probably nobody better credentialed to offer one to the Almighty than the Pope, aka the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God.  

Still, I can't resist quoting that old line: "Trust in God ... and keep your powder dry."

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll try to offset my pessimism and bitterness with sweet, sweet chocolate bunnies and cream-filled eggs.  When I'm in a sugar coma, I'm sure Iran will be the least of my worries.

Awesome: Rube Goldberg's Passover Seder

Happy Easter 2015! Christos Anesti!

Happy Easter, everybody!  This year's Easter art is a painting (c. 1511) that was only recently identified as a work by Titian, one of the artistic giants of the Italian Renaissance.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Couch Potato Chronicles: Laddie, Come Home - "Outlander" Returns

The STARZ adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's historical fiction novels returns, and not a moment too soon.  I need to forget the lunacy in the news and the home stretch-to-final exams rush at school.  Fun fact: Ron Moore of Battlestar Galactica is one of the showrunners for this.  (At first the two shows seem wildly different, but they both deal intensely with politics and characterization.)

Short version of Outlander: Claire Randall, an English World War II nurse, is on a second honeymoon to Scotland with historian husband Frank when she suddenly finds herself transported to the 1740s in the same location.  Those are the days of Highlander clans, English redcoats, and the Jacobite risings for Bonnie Prince Charlie that would culminate in the catastrophic Battle of Culloden, the last pitched battle in the British Isles.  Claire finds herself a stranger in a strange land ... and a dangerous one, in which she is a Sassenach, a foreigner, a stranger, and - yep - outlander.
She soon gets caught up in local political turmoil, for the redcoats suspect her of being a spy (for the French, perhaps?) and the Scots suspect her of being an English one.  What would you make of a stranger who suddenly appears in your lands, who has odd mannerisms and no connections? As Claire quickly finds out, she's caught between two radically different worlds.

OK, I must admit, it doesn't hurt in the slightest that the scenery is beautiful, the re-creation of that historical period is quite evocative, Caitriona Balfe as Claire offers us a heroine with brains and spunk (thank goodness for that as an anti-Anastasia Steele!), and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser provides both a complex personality and ample testimony to just how much of a chick magnet an outlaw Scotsman in a kilt can be. 

There's a good deal of violence and some nudity, but both are pretty much nothing compared to HBO's (also wildly popular) fantasy-political epic Game of Thrones.  Still, Outlander is a cable show and not for little ones.

Holiday Humor: Jon Stewart vs. Easter and Passover

From the archives and still hilarious: 

Well-Known Right-Wing Rag Calls Iran Deal a Disaster

Call the deal what it is with a headline of "Obama’s Iran deal falls far short of his own goals."  So, yeah, even by his own stated standards.  Compare and contrast.

By the way, I was being sarcastic in the post title.  Nowadays I can never tell if people understand what sarcasm is.  

Oh, and the Onion nailed it 2 whole years ago.