Sunday, November 27, 2011

Play MSTie for me

A while back, I decided to watch the "Best Movies" of all time. I took the films listed in these lists:
At the time I compiled the list, there were 222 films on the lists. I watched them all. More about that here and here.

Now, I'm recovered and ready for my next project: watching all the episoded of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

I enjoyed the show, but came in late, shortly before Joel left and Mike took over as the experiment subject. So, I haven't seen all the Joel episodes. And, I missed some of the Mike episodes. So, I've decided to watch them all.

There were 176 (or 177; more about that later) episodes made for The Comedy Channel, Comedy Central, and The Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy), plus one feature film. I've purchased 78 episodes from the official MST3K Online Store, from Rhino, from Shout Factory, from (including some out-of-print videos), or from iTunes. Most episodes not released commercially are available from fan sites. I've purchased some of these.

[UPDATE: Since I originally wrote this, I have obtained the rest of the DVDs. Not just the episodes, but all of the DVDs, including out-of-print, re-issues, and variations of the packs. So, I have a complete MST3K library.]

I'm looking forward to this project. I just need to figure out when to begin. I think I know when would be appropriate time to start:

In the not too distant future, next Sunday A.D. ...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Beyond Belief

I'm not a huge science fiction fan. Oh, I like me some sci-fi, but I'm not like some of the sci-fi fans I've seen.

Star Trek and Star Wars (the 1977-83 movies), of course. I also enjoyed most of the shows or movies I saw that involved space travel or time travel. But, I was never a big reader of science fiction short stories or novels, except for the writings of Isaac Asimov. So, I'd call myself a casual fan of the genre, but I'm probably a little more serious about it than many.

Most of my sci-fi, as I said, was TV or movies. Some of the ones I watched as a child and remember were The Angry Red Planet (not really a good movie, but entertaining to a kid), The Time Tunnel (Irwin Allen junk, but kid-fun), The Thing from Another World (James Arness as a killer vegetable), The War of the Worlds (I still enjoy watching that) ... Oh, I could go on and on.

Reading sci-fi, though, wasn't something I did a lot. Ender's Game (read it a long time ago), Enemy Mine (long before it became a movie), The Andromeda Strain (read the book before I saw the old movie), Who Goes There? (the story that became "The Thing" movies) ... and tons of Isaac Asimov books.

My science fiction reading began in elementary school. Remember Scholastic Books? Those little cheap paperbacks you could order at school? Well, I saw one that I thought I wanted. It was titled Beyond Belief and it was a collection of eight science fiction short stories. So, I shelled out the 45¢ and ordered the book.

While it wasn't the first science fiction I read -- I think I read Asimov's The Fun They Had in class -- it was the first science fiction book I owned.

I loved it. The stories were all pretty good, and, best of all, it was mine! I could read it any time I wanted. And I wanted to a lot. I took it to school every day. I took it everywhere but to church ... because I left it in the car when I went in to Sunday School.

Then, one day, it was gone. I don't know what happened. Maybe I dropped it. Maybe somebody took it. Maybe it fell into another dimension. Whatever happened, it was gone.

I cried. Really. I cried myself to sleep. I was heartbroken.

Eventually, I got over it. Mostly. I bought some other science fiction books along and along. Some novels, but mostly anthologies. Best of the Hugos and such. But I always missed my first science fiction book.

No longer.

I found Beyond Belief on a Website of close-out books. In fact, the Website said its online store was closed, but it still had a link to an email address. I emailed, and inquired, saying that the Website showed it was still available. The operator of the Website answered my query and said if I'd send him the money, he'd send me the book. So, I did.

The book arrived today.

It's the same little book I remember. I've already re-read a couple of the stories, and I'll read the rest soon.

I'm a kid again.

Discounting Obama

Did you miss the sale? Obama was on sale yesterday.


There are several possible reasons. One is: Barack Obama is racist.

After all, it was on Black Friday that they put a black man on sale. That's gotta be racist, right?

There's another reason: It's a going-out-of-business sale.

That's the one I'm banking on.

So, don't worry. If you missed getting a discount on Barack Obama merchandise, you'll get another chance. Come November, they'll start marking down stuff to ridiculously low prices. Because, by January 20, 2013, everything must go.

Who's gonna lose, week 13

It's finally here. The last week of the 2011 college football season. Unless you count games played next week. And the week after.

So, in a sport where teams at the highest level play 12 regular season games, we're at week 13, with more ahead of us.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those that love college football, those that would rather go shopping, and those that understand why the Big Ten has 12 teams while the Big 12 has ten teams.

If you're not one of those, you may want to skip ahead to something else.

Friday, November 25, 2011

African-American Friday

Today is what used to be called "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving, and one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

The origin of the term is in dispute. It's commonly thought of as the day that helps retailers go "in the black" (turn a profit) because of the large volume of sales. Early references, however, indicate that the term was coined by transit drivers to refer to troublesome traffic because of the large amount of shoppers' traffic.

Whatever the origin, it's become a good thing, with the sales/profit aspect being most common in people's thoughts.

But, can we still call it "Black Friday?" Isn't that racist?

You see, sales and profit are hallmarks of capitalism. And capitalism is supported by conservatives -- even by conservatives that don't know they're conservative. And, since capitalism is tied to conservatives, it must be racist. So, "Black Friday" is racist.

How do we fix it?

Easy. Call it "African-American Friday."

I know. You're saying, "That's stupid." And, you'd be right. But it's no more stupid than calling blacks "African-American." For example, what about Naomi Campbell? Or Lennox Lewis? Or Robin Szolkowy? You can't call them "African-American." Unless you're that CNN anchor who I heard call a Black Briton an "African-American Briton" before stammering slightly and continuing on with the story.

Okay, okay, enough with the logic. On with the show.

Today is "African-American Friday." Grab your Led Zeppelin IV, throw it in your car stereo, crank up "African-American Dog" and go shopping. You may have someone on your Christmas list who wants a new "African-American & Decker" power tool, so be sure to stop by the hardware store. And, don't forget college football this weekend. It's rivalry week, and one of the games in the SEC will be the Bulldogs from Mississippi State hosting the Ole Miss "African-American Bears."

But, I'm sure there are many other ways to celebrate "African-American Friday." Find an appropriate way.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cartoon: Thanksgiving

Why aren't we this thankful every day?
[GoComics: Gary Varvel]

Thanksgiving 2011

The first presidential Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by the first president, George Washington, in 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor - and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks – for His kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

On this Thanksgiving Day, we hope you will take the time to consider the blessings that you have received, to give thanks for those blessings, and that you may be an instrument of blessing to others.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

America's greatest threat

What's the greatest threat facing America today?


Not the country, the bird. And not just the bird, but the dead bird.

The Department of Homeland Security tweeted on Monday how dangerous it can be to fry a turkey.

And, in case you thought that someone left their computer unlocked and somebody tweeted it as a joke, they also put up a blog post about it.

The Department of Homeland Security, that great arm of Big Brother, knows that Islamic terrorists aren't so much of a threat. Sure, they want to kill us, but that's our fault. Just ask Ron Paul.

After flirting with the idea that right wingers were a threat -- not because of things they've done, but because there's the possibility that some right-winger might do something. Left-wing violence was never an issue. Sure, they've been shooting Congresswomen and crashing planes into buildings and raping hippies, but that's actual violence. The real threat has always been potential violence. Since the left has actual violence, and the right has potential violence, the right must be a bigger threat.

Until now.

As DHS has so kindly informed us, the real threat is dead turkeys. They're evil. So evil, that after they're dead and frozen, they'll still try to burn down your house.

So, as we approach Thanksgiving, be thankful that we have a government department that wants to protect us from turkeys.

Now, if we can only find someone to protect us from the turkeys at DHS.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Who's gonna lose, Week 12

As the 2011 college football season winds to a close, teams are jockeying for position to wind up in the top two in the BCS. Emphasis on the B and the S.

Until the powers that be admit that a playoff system is the way to go, college football fans are stuck with the current nonsense.

Supporters of the BCS maintain that the best two teams always end up playing anyway, but that's not true. Fully half of the teams that have played in the big game since the 1998 season would have been mighty lucky to have survived a playoff bracket, and part of being a champion is stepping up when it counts.

Twelve weeks into the season, it's time for us to step up and let you know who's gonna lose this week. No "gimme" games this week. Okay, maybe a couple. But we are altering the format slightly. Still picking games from my state (Georgia), Harvey's state (Wisconsin), and Frank's state (Iowa, Idaho, one of them states out there). Still picking matchups between Top 25 teams. And, instead of only-game-on matchups, we'll look at the teams in the BCS hunt.

If you don't care for college football, you got an alternative: the new Twilight movie is out and you and the rest of the girls and Nancy Boys can go watch it. The men and the really cool chicks will be watching college football.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Who's gonna lose, week 11

We're nearing the end of the college football season, and the number of unbeatens is getting smaller each week. There are five unbeaten teams remaining, ranging from Number One LSU to Number 11 Houston. But some of the once-beatens are still in the mix, and one might get the championship game nod over an unbeaten.

Is that fair? Well, nothing's fair, until we get a playoff. I got the playoff plan, but the folks running the show won't listen to me.

Of course, some of you don't want to listen to -- or read -- these picks. Which means that you must hate college football and are a communist. Or a Gloria Allred client.

Sit back and find out who's gonna lose this week.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stuffing the stockings

IMAO reader WyoScotch recently brought to my attention a project going on in the Lexington, NC area. The full story hehind it is here, but here's a summary:

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit was recently deployed off the African coast for a longer-than-normal period of time. Because of the expense, there's no money in the unit's budget for some of the usual Christmas activities, so their families have started a project to ensure they get something at Christmastime. And, because of the logistics, they've got to make this happen by next Monday, the 14th.

It seems a worthwhile project to me, so I'm going to help. If you think it's something you want to help with, you can find more details on how to help on their Facebook page.

Here's more about it, with a "how-to" and suggestions:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Who's gonna lose, week 10

Following another stellar week of picking who's gonna lose in college football, I stand at a perfect 100% with my picks. If only the teams I picked were as good in carrying out my picks.

Some of you don't care for college football or these picks. I'm thinking it might be because Herman Cain didn't sexually harass you. I'll put in a call and see what I can do to fix that. At a minimum, I'll see if I can get Mark Block to blow smoke in your face.