Sunday, March 30, 2014

Movie Review: Mr Peabody and Sherman

When I first saw the poster for a movie based around Mr Peabody and Sherman I was a little horrified. Another damn movie taking a children's property and royally screwing it up. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that the movie, if done right, might actually be really good. So I held out hope and dread both.

The source material was more of a test of your historical knowledge than educational material. It took history and messed around with it as well as throwing in some horrible puns.

This new movie does mess with history a bit, but does try to stick closer to historical fact than my memory of the original cartoon did. Still, while it does point out that George Washington didn't cut down a cherry tree it does claim that Marie Antoinette said "Let them eat cake" which just isn't true. Or, if she did ever say it, she wasn't the person who originated it.

And they try to keep the horrible, horrible puns.

What you get with this movie is essentially "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" for kids. I was 14 when "Bill and Ted" came out. Mom took me to see it. I didn't get all the jokes at the time. Specifically "69, dude!" But the historical figures I knew. Alas, when I showed it to the neighbor kids a few years back, they were 16 or 17 at the time, and they didn't know half the people in the movie. They had some idea who Freud was, but didn't get his jokes. Some of the others it was like watching Captain America actually catching a reference. "Dude! I got that!" Alas, the 10 year old (or so) girl sitting two seats over from me had the same problem with "Peabody and Sherman". She didn't know who those people were or anything about them.

Even so, I would recommend taking your kids to see this movie. You'll likely get the historical jokes and your kids... even if they don't get the jokes they'll remember some of the names. When this stuff does finally come up they'll remember the movie and be better able to store and retrieve what they learn in class. I mean there's plenty of historical and scientific issues that stuck with me because of Monty Python or the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Star Trek. How much classical music do you know because of Bugs Bunny?

I should warn you that after a good strong start the movie slows down a bit. They have to send Sherman off to school for a good adversary and start to screw up their lives before they finally get in the way-back machine, again. Because, really, what do we know about these two characters other than that they have a time machine and a fondness for puns.

I wouldn't be surprised if Peabody and Sherman end up with their own cartoon. Bill and Ted did and Peabody and Sherman started there in the first place.

All that said, I probably won't be getting it on DVD soon. When I do it will be to show it to others more than to watch it myself.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Links: March 28

Bluegrass Gangnam Style.

... and with that we can call time-of-death on Gangnam Style.

Youngest soldier in WWII. [link]

Sleep helps flush toxins from the brain. [link]

Any life we might find on Mars or Europa may have come from the dinosaur killing asteroid impact on Earth. [link]

The Windows boot sound was created on a Mac. [link]

Earth is technically inside the Sun's atmosphere. [link]

An artificial heroin causes a decades worth of Parkinson's in just days. [link]

FDR's Economic Bill of Rights. [link]

Former Iran hostages talk about their time in captivity. [link]

Game: 2048 [link]
I'm totally hooked on this game. It's why Friday Links is so small this week. It seems like it should be so easy.

Kidney stone passed during gubernatorial debate. [link]

Google Flu just didn't work out. [link]

Haunted soda machine. [link]

There's some debate about whether superheroes can testify in court because of the whole vigilante with a secret identity thing they have going on. Here's how Superman deals.

Excited dogs were running around on the deck of the Titanic as it sank. [link]

There was a Doctor Who movie planned with either Michael Jackson or Bill Cosby as The Doctor. [link]

A butt load is 108 gallons. [link]

77 facts that sound like lies. [link]

Embroidering your own skin. [link]
We did this in high school, but not to this degree. 

India is now Polio free. [link]

An impressive Wheel of Fortune win. [link]

An interview with Nigerian scammers. [link]

A goshawk flying through a tiny hole.

What women like in a dancer. [link]

DON'T help your kids with their homework. [link]

Some of the reasons I am not having children ever. [link]

Putin and Cheney - hard to tell apart. [link]

Monday, March 24, 2014

I saw a doctor

I can count the number of times that I've been to a doctor since I left high school on one hand. Twice since college. They managed to convince me that insurance was a waste of money. I mean, I give them 1/3 of my salary and they give me ... the finger. That's pretty much been my experience.

And I've been a supporter of the point of view that if you're not sick then you're not sick and thus don't need to go to the doctor.

Well, my pay has gone up a bit since I last had insurance. The bite isn't nearly so big.

I've put on another 13 years so something is more likely to go wrong. When that happens it's better for the doctor to have a nice healthy baseline to work from.

I got insurance briefly from my last contracting agency. I used it to go to the allergist and find out my peanut allergy is gone. But, I had to go from a contractor to a government employee in order to keep my job. Sure, the government is supposed to give employees insurance. But, you have to have this computer card in order to access the websites that let you sign up. And you have to sign up in the first 3 months or during the 1 month of open enrollment. It took them 5 months to get me my card. By then I'd missed all my windows and had to wait another year.

I got my insurance back in December and found a doctor. I had to wait 2.5 months for an appointment, but I got one. Of course, with this winter, my appointment was snowed out. I got rescheduled for yesterday.

The list of things that could have gone wrong was pretty impressive. If I was feeling cocky about how good my health was before then his questioning was leaving me downright arrogant.

I got the glove and finger for the first time. I'm 38, so it is time. The urge to quote "Fletch" was almost uncontrollable.
"Moooooon River.... Whew. Tell me, Doc. Ever do any time in prison?"
I was there for quite awhile. It was an initial diagnostic session, after all.

Next stop is the dentist. That visit isn't going to go as well.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Links: March 21

Moss powered radio. [link]
I'm unclear on how the power is generated. It looks like it's not much different than a lemon battery. 

Alien banana. [link]

T-Rex arms were tiny, but powerful. [link]

When did pink become for girls and blue for boys? [link]

The late Fred Phelps hated Mr Rogers. [link]

DARPA's new robot squad. [link]

Read the analysis below the picture. [link]

Gandolf's sword is part of the Iron Throne. [link]

The earliest musical instruments to be played one last time. [link]

Video of an earthquake during the news.

Gravitational waves detected. [link]

Surprising a guy whose theories are proven with this news. [link]

How would a dinosaur move... as determined by a chicken with a plunger on his ass.

800 year old monk found sticking out of a cliff. [link]

Hiding from sound waves. [link]

How to hold your breath for 20 minutes. [link]

Salmon need a new commuter vehicle. [link]

Internet companies say "we're not going to do what you gave us that money for. Do you mind if we keep the money, though?" [link]

Intel is taking the name McAfee off their anti-virus software. [link]
Be sure to watch the video about how to remove McAfee from your computer. 

Who is more famous than Jesus? [link]

Translating Lorem Ipsum. [link]

Unintroducing the VW Bus. [link]

How much real estate can $1,000,000 get you? [link]
Whoever did this was shopping in the wrong part of Baltimore.

How much of this will kill me? [link]

Darwin's kids drew on his manuscript. [link]

"No, I like it in here."

A tsunami safe pod. [link]

Sneezing into a trombone.

Obama called Kanye a jackass. [link]
Watch the video in the first comment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Only the good die young

Update: The old bastard died earlier today.

It's said that only the good die young. Luckily, even the very old, like Fred Phelps, get sick and die. That's right, if you haven't heard already, Fred Phelps, high lord of the bigots, is dying. And, apparently, he was excommunicated from the Westboro Baptist Church last August.

Many of us think that Fred is one of the best argument for the Christian faith simply because he makes us want there to be a Hell for him to go to. But, I'm going to take a moment and point something out. Fred will be spending his final days largely alone and unloved. And for that I do feel a twinge of pity for him. 

Typically when someone horrible dies someone tries to remind us that the deceased did have some family who have lost a loved one. Not this time. Fred's family is huge. He's had a lot of children and grandchildren. Some of them eventually escaped the family and have reported on how physically and emotionally abusive Fred and the whole Westboro Baptist Church society is. Those members of his family are not going to be sad to see him go. He's been kicked out of his own temple of hate. So the family he's been close to is not going to be sad to see him go. Fred Phelps has almost done for homophobia what Adolf Hitler accomplished for anti-semitism, so the anti-gay rights crowd won't be sad to see him go. In fact, most of America finds his behavior so reprehensible that they're reserving a dance floor to set up at the cemetery after his funeral.

His funeral will be populated mostly by people who are there to make sure he's really dead and protesters there to give him some of his own medicine. The only people who will mourn his passing will be gay rights supporters who probably wouldn't have made such great strides in recent decades without Fred Phelps there to show bigots the kind of company they were keeping.

Some reporters might try to get in to see him and get some idea of his thoughts and motivations before he's gone. But, apparently, the church is keeping people out. It may well be that he was excommunicated for finally coming out of the closet. It wouldn't be surprising at all to find out that his whole campaign against gays has been to cover his own feelings. Nor would it be a surprise to find out that he's lived this life to promote a pro-gay agenda. He did start his career as a civil rights lawyer, after all.

But, I'd put my money on him blaming all those around him for not honoring thy mother and father rather than him owning up to driving away everyone with a pulse. And I'm betting more than one nurse will show up a bit tardy with his pain medication.

Fred, you're a horrible human being and I hope that your church soon follows you to the grave. It does suck that you'll be alone at this point of your life, but you brought it on yourself and you deserve it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The bedroom report

I want you to look at this picture.

That's what my bedroom looked like when I bought this house. That wood paneling and drop ceiling had been there since the 70s. The carpet wasn't as old.

Soon we had it turned into something closer to this.

By this point we had found that the ceiling had fallen on top of the drop ceiling. And the walls behind the wood panelling were ready to slump off into a pile. That the wiring was old enough it may actually have been made by Thomas Edison himself.

The lath and plaster were torn out, bricks were exposed and repointed, the ceiling was raised, new lights and outlets were installed on new circuits, the carpet was torn out, new framing was built on the front wall so someone else could put in spray insulation, drywall was installed, one guy started the mudding and I finished it when he proved unreliable, bead board and chair rails were put in, the walls were painted, a door was installed, the linoleum was removed and the 1945 newspaper underneath it was preserved.

And this is what it looks like now.

I regret that my camera phone doesn't have the wide area available to it to be able to reproduce the pictures you see above. So how about a video, instead? I know, it's bad form to video tape with your camera turned like this, but it wouldn't work the right way.

It's time to get a bed in there.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Links: March 14

Between Two Ferns with Barack Obama. [link]

All the streets in North America with your name. [link]

A McDonald's employee got fired for buying food for some cold firefighters. [link]

Fake hoverboard rollout video.

Source of some of the problems at the Olympics.

Congress is demanding a Europa mission from NASA. [link]

Hunter saves deer whose antlers were locked with another deer that was eaten by coyotes. [link]

A crew member of the first Space Shuttle was on the Moon when he heard that the budget for the shuttle program had been approved. [link]

Why Umbridge is so hated. [link]

Franz Liszt was the first rock star. [link]

Washed and blow dried cow. [link]

Failed outdoor movie theater in Egypt. [link]

How to fall in love. [link]

50 cent microscope. [link]

Why does everyone hate Monsanto? [link]

A Turing test for poetry. [link]

The benefits of writing your own obit. [link]

Weird facts about states. [link]

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pried lath

This is some of the lath I had to pry away from the wall to get the door installed behind it. To the left is some of the horrible wood panelling that covered every wall of the house. And peeking out from behind the lath you and see the drywall strip that keeps me from having to squeeze drywall behind the door frame later.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

House update update

About a week and a half ago I finally got my ceiling painted and the blades put on my ceiling fan. [link] It was a bit premature, but, I could do it and I was sick of mudding, so I did it.

This weekend I did most of the rest of it. I painted the beadboard a dark blue with a hint of grey to it. I finished sanding and mudding around the last window. I painted the walls a grey that turned out darker than I intended. I cleaned up a lot of the plaster dust that has been gathering on the floor. I installed the door. Packed mud behind one chair rail. And I put in the other chair rail. It's finally looking like a bedroom. I honestly think I can go bed shopping next weekend.

The door was the trickiest part. The door I ordered was made the size I asked for. But they added an inch or so to the bottom so that the door would be able to clear any carpet I put down or those metal strips that separate one kind of flooring from another. Which meant that the door was too tall for the space I had. So I shaved off a quarter inch to make it just barely fit.

You want the edge with the hinge to be straight up and down or the door will swing open or closed of it's own accord. Oddly, while the wall stud said it was 90° straight up and down, the door frame, when shoved into place, also said it was 90° straight up and down. This, despite the fact that there was a great deal of space between the door frame and the stud at the top of the door and none at the bottom.

So, shims in place, nails through the shims, and close the door. The door doesn't want to close. I push the door frame above the handle up and the door closes. Fine. Let's just nail it up there. But the nail keeps bending. Maybe because I'm nailing it to 100 year old wood that I salvaged from elsewhere in the house and maybe because the nail is a complete dick. Mind you, the next two nails were complete dicks, too. So I got out the nail gun. I should have started with that, but I was lazy and didn't want to drag it and the compressor out of the basement. So I put the door frame where I want it and hit it with the nail gun. The wood smashes and rains splinters on my face. But it's holding. Fine, whatever, a bit of wood putty will handle that.

What I had just put into place was one side of the door frame. The side with the door. The other side is just supposed to slide into a groove, you put a few small nails in, and it's all good. But, in this case there's a lath and plaster wall starting very close to it. So close, that I have to put the lath either under the door frame or over it. I should say that I put drywall there first. So when I eventually knock out this lath and plaster I won't be having to worry about space between the door frame moulding and the drywall. So the lath already is over the strip of drywall I put in. I had to slip some board under the lath to pry it out so I could slip the moulding of the door frame under it and connect this side of the door frame to the other. It doesn't sound like much if you say it fast. But the lath didn't want to be pried out. So much so that it was warping this side of the door frame. I had to pry the lath away with the board, push the door frame into place with a foot, and beat the crap out of the frame with a rubber mallet to get the tongue and groove of the two sides of the door frame to line up. And then, they didn't want to click together. I had to get a clamp around them and force them together.

I'll try to post some pictures of what I'm talking about this week, but the rooms are a bit small to get proper pictures.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Friday Links: March 7

How do vaccines cause autism? []

How the blocks of text on movie posters is built. [link]

When may I shoot one of my students? [link]

Bearing sons can alter your mind. [link]

Turning chickens back into dinosaurs - how's it coming? [link]

Turns out beer and wine wasn't popular because the water was bad. [link]

Chocolate chip cookie shot glass. [link]

Researchers in China have come up with a copper version of graphine. But they gave it the unfortunate name of CuNTs. [link]

Find all the streets in North America with your name. [link]

Russian child has been to a lot of concerts.

Warrior farmers with defensive towers built right into their homes. [link]

Rules of golf during an air raid. [link]

Koala have human looking fingerprints. [link]

5% of people don't react to music. [link]

Pelican learning to fly.

A village for dementia patients. [link]

World's longest aircraft. [link]

A dog experiencing a head massager.

3d printed pace maker. [link]

Snake eats crocodile. [link]

Batman vs Terminator.

Where Americans got their accents. [link]

Kids react to a rotary phone. [link]

Michael Dorn talks about Worf. [link]

Woman lifted with the help of two model helicopters.

Fountain chains.

Why would I want a washing machine with internet access? [link]

A button that can give you orgasms. [link]

I've posted part of this before. It's cartoons about the recent history of The Congo. [link]

New maple syrup extraction method. [link]

Gandolf watching House

Monday, March 03, 2014

Working with duct tape

Duct tape roses I made recently.