David Thompson
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April 29, 2016

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R. Sherman

An interactive map of global shipping.

Bookmarked for when I start my second career as a pirate.

Also, related to the "Checkout Nightmare," the worst people in the world are those people at double dive through ATMs or fast food restaurants who position their car to block both lanes in order to guarantee they are the absolute next one in line, thereby creating a traffic jam for the rest of them. Those people should be dragged from their cars and beaten to a pulp.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Stasi aesthetics.

I'm trying to imagine Nazi (or even Spanish fascist) prisons being presented so matter-of-factly.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Scientific discovery of note.

It's hard to believe that Bonsai Kitten was all the way back in 2000.

witwoud

These stylish prosthetics make real legs look bad.

WTP

Re checkout nightmare, the most efficient processing for any such situation is to have one line. Why it took businesses until the age of modern computer systems analysis is a mystery to me. Unless they did know better but were afraid to upset their customers.

R. Sherman

Re checkout nightmare, the most efficient processing for any such situation is to have one line.

My local grocer does this. However, I've shopped there long enough to know that when the line reaches four people they grab the fifth person in line and open a new checkout lane. Thus, if I'm ready to check out but there are two or three people in line, I'll graciously allow people to go ahead of me, thereby getting beaucoups chivalry points and getting to be first in the new line.

Chester Draws

Re checkout nightmare, the most efficient processing for any such situation is to have one line.

The problem can be that if one line is formed then it can get quite long and it's not clear what to do at the end as it goes out the door and starts blocking people's movement.

"Disney" queuing, which snakes back and forth with straps in place to show how to queue (and to stop jumpers) is the answer, but requires an investment in the right equipment.

Some places make you take a number. That works even better.

sk60

Expired goods.

Looks terrible. 20 years too late. They should have stopped after season 2.

David

They should have stopped after season 2.

They do seem to have exhumed the bones of the same horse they were flogging fifteen years ago. The trailer’s punchline is shockingly feeble.

Joan

"Stephen talks to Rachel Dolezal, the ostensibly black American human rights activist whose life unravelled last year when it turned out she was the daughter of white parents."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b078jspr/hardtalk-rachel-dolezal-civil-rights-activist

David

Right, I’m off to see Captain America: Civil War. Will report back later.

Captain Nemo

Expired goods.

Heh. I found the caption much funnier than the trailer.

JL

It would be interesting to know what Laurie Anderson thought of that particular representation of her work.

mike fowle

Expired goods. Well, it made me laugh. Whether a complete film would I don't know.

David

Well, the film was fun.

[ Added: ]

It’s a bit like Age of Ultron, in that it doesn’t quite cohere into a satisfying whole but has lots of very good bits. The airport scene alone, in which Spider-Man and Ant-Man pretty much steal the show (for reasons I won’t spoil), is probably worth the price of admission.

WTP

Am I alone in having found Laurie Anderson a pretentious annoyance? My college roomates were fans and I had to listen to that huh-huh-huh-huh-huh crap every damn day and twice on Sundays. On top of that, I've never cared for Superman, but maybe that's not even who she was singing about. Hell, Justin Beiber I can understand. Even (god forbid) Journey. Fortunately she was never all that popular (go figure) but I got a disproportionate dosage than most people, I'm sure. I could even take Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Ornette Coleman in the proper mood for it.

That said I do seem to recall something she did that I liked but it's lost to me today.

Jon Powers

All the Fries

What, no poutine? Blatent anti-Canadian discrimination.

Jason

Re: the Living Dolls...am I the only one to whom the words "it rubs the lotion on its skin" seemed somehow relevant?

Hal

Am I alone in having found Laurie Anderson a pretentious annoyance?

She was/is the standard MTVish Nineteen Empties I'm on camera and therefore fantasize that I can be considered important . . . which has continued to turn out Oh so well since then . . . .

Hal

What, no poutine?

Never had it, and I noticed that one too . . .

WTP

"She was/is the standard MTVish Nineteen Empties I'm on camera and therefore fantasize that I can be considered important"

Funny thing I remember about her was an interview where she made a snooty high-brow statement about how she didn't watch television at all and what little MTV she had seen she found banal because it was all "boys playing guitar in the garage, boys playing guitar on the beach, boys playing guitar in the bathroom..." or some such.

mike fowle

Wasn't the dog washer invented by Wallace?

WTP

Somewhere Eric Cartman is running around yelling, "Monk fight!! Monk fight!! Hey everybody, monk fight!! It's ON!!!!"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/peoplesdaily/article-3563111/That-s-not-zen-Bizarre-moment-members-public-pull-apart-three-MONKS-brawling-Buddhist-temple.html

Jason

Cinematic Sword Fight Montage: https://vimeo.com/99113746

mojo

http://www.amazon.com/BigMouth-Inc-Countdown-Clock-Timer/dp/B004WKQOT0

Spiny Norman

Jason,

That was some impressive editing.

[+]

The airport scene alone, in which Spider-Man and Ant-Man pretty much steal the show (for reasons I won’t spoil), is probably worth the price of admission.

It was. :-)

David

It was.

It was definitely fun, and that scene in particular stands out. Almost every scuffle in it is ingenious and the big reveal had me laughing out loud. I also liked the Black Panther – the film became energised whenever he appeared. The fight and stunt choreography is very good. Wanda’s mishap with the explosive was quite tense too. The problem, I think, is that the film relies much too heavily on our being invested in the wellbeing and liberty of Winter Soldier, which I wasn’t. He just isn’t enough of a character to justify the investment or his position as a lever in the plot - he barely speaks and is essentially blank.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Meanwhile, in the US, ABBA: The Movie showed up on TV yesterday afternoon.

I know you're all sad you missed it. ;-)

dicentra

From the grocery queue Tweet I followed some bread crumbs to the @realscientists Twitter account. Anyone know if it's worth following, or is it infested with global warmongering?

Guess I'll find out.

dicentra

Patsy and Edina are back?

OMG, I do love AbFab. Even the bad episodes are better than most of what's out there.

That said, I don't have lots of hope for the movie. The original episodes had something that's difficult to reproduce at all (as the reboot showed) and probably impossible to put into movie form.

Ah well. Nice to see them again even if it's just in that trailer.

Will

This engineer guy video talks about the problem of queueing. The single line is far more efficient, but people think a bunch of shorter lines looks better. People are dumb.

dicentra

My namesakes are at their peak: https://www.flickr.com/photos/36459782@N00/26101680533/in/datetaken/

I never cease to be amazed at how well they do every year in that awful clay.

David

Even the bad episodes are better than most of what’s out there.

Oh, I dunno. There are some pretty awful later episodes and one-off ‘specials’. For the first couple of years it was very funny. (I have fond memories of Edina’s doomed attempt to economise.) But by ten years later, with appearances by Emma Bunton and Whoopi Goldberg, it was getting quite painful to watch. I think it’s a fairly pointed example of not knowing when to stop.

Trevor

For the first couple of years it was very funny.

It did date very quickly. Unlike the best character-based comedies (e.g. Dad's Army) too much of Ab Fab's funny came from mocking passing fads, which is ok if you are brand-savvy and meme-aware, but means that unless you were there the humour/satire can be elusive. I find almost all of Jennifer Saunders work unsatisfying: not quite fully realised, whether due to laziness or that she is operating at the limit of her ability I'm not sure.

TomJ

On the Winter Soldier: I watched Civil War at a minute past midnight; wouldn't have bothered with catching the first screening but for the fact it was the end of an Avengers marathon in the cinema (First Avenger, Avengers, Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, Civil War). Having watched the first 2 Captain America films immediately before Civil War you do understand and support Cap's defence of Bucky against all comers. Which highlights the way one of the strengths of the Marvel (Cinematic) Universe, its wealth of continuity, can become a weakness: it's getting to the stage where if you haven't seen all the films, or even if you haven't seen some of them recently, you don't get all of the plot/character cues.

Jonathan

Cats are a liquid? Maybe, but they also they make a tasty snack

David

Which highlights the way one of the strengths of the Marvel (Cinematic) Universe, its wealth of continuity, can become a weakness: it’s getting to the stage where if you haven’t seen all the films, or even if you haven’t seen some of them recently, you don’t get all of the plot/character cues.

Yes, the overlapping continuity is quite an achievement, though how long it can be sustained – 13 films and counting - is unclear. And maybe that’s a factor to some extent; I hadn’t seen Winter Soldier for a while. But I don’t think the character is fleshed-out enough, substantial enough, to support that kind of plot weight. Our involvement, such as it is, is largely vicarious. And memory-impaired or not, he’s just not very interesting. Apart from the punching and running, as a character he’s practically inert. And so for me Cap’s personal motives were less compelling than the political division, which I could have happily seen more of.

David

I was also very tickled by the de-ageing of Robert Downey Jr in the holographic flashback scene. The directors seemed to be having real fun with it, having him gradually fill more of the frame, and then linger, as if so pleased with the result they were practically defying the audience not to be impressed.

mojo

I bet Stan cackles with glee every time somebody uses the phrase "Marvel cinematic universe" non-ironically.

SumDumGuy

"Monk fight!! Monk fight!! Hey everybody, monk fight!! It's ON!!!!"

I expected more Jackie Chan and less house wife slap fest.

Rich Rostrom

WTP: In Kipling's Kim, the lama whom the hero accompanies recalls brawls between rival monasteries in Tibet, with the monks slugging each with their pen-cases.


My question is: how do they get the dog in the dog-washing machine? And how do they get the dog in the dog-washing machine a second time? Because dogs remember.

Ray

What confuses people about Buddhist monks is that young men often do a few months stint in a temple to atone for bad behavior, and so a young bloke in a saffron robe is quite likely just a young bloke in a saffron robe, not somebody engaged with the spiritual life, and quite possibly actually less spiritual than the average young bloke, depending on the bad behavior.

dicentra

But by ten years later, with appearances by Emma Bunton and Whoopi Goldberg, it was getting quite painful to watch.

I never saw those episodes, and it sounds like I ought not.

Thanks for the warning.

David

I never saw those episodes, and it sounds like I ought not.

If you’ve seen the first two or three seasons, that’s the best of it. By season 5 and the episodes with Saffy’s baby, it’s pretty dire.

Microbillionaire

The Guardian, guardianing:

It may be Austria’s democratic right to elect a cleaned-up fascist as president, but it is our right to suspend the country from the EU

"Our"? Do you have tapeworms, Paul Mason?

Police in Austria report a 60% year-on-year rise in racist incidents

Which I think is not an entirely accurate paraphrase of the supposed citation:

Last year 927 cases of racism in Austria where registered with ZARA, compared to 794 in 2014 and 731 in 2013. (...) Austria's police intelligence agency received 1,201 criminal complaints about racist and xenophobic crimes between January and September, compared to 750 in the same period last year - a jump of 60 percent.

I could go on picking at individual pieces, but I am reminded that Wesley "nydwracu" Morganston had an interesting form of analysis which I will now apply here: fnording, or stripping it down to the most value-laden words phrases, so one can get a quick impression of the extent to which repetitive point-and-sputter has replaced detailed analysis and serious journalistic coverage. Without further ado, I present to you distilled eau de Guardian:

rightwing nationalism outright fascism far-right far-right racist racism anti-migrant hate speech outright fascist cleaned-up rightwing nationalist rightwing nationalists rightwing nationalist jackbooted militia fascist antisemitic rightwing conservative stifle the press rightwing conservative authoritarian nationalism outright fascism anti-minority racism oligarchic state manipulation graft is endemic far-right squadism extremism patchwork fascisms far-right authoritarian socially conservative nationalism far-right severe breach of fundamental rights far-right authoritarians racists fascism
Spiny Norman

Eau de Guardian has a rather stale, musty smell, doesn't it?

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

It may be Austria’s democratic right to elect a cleaned-up fascist as president, but it is our right to suspend the country from the EU

So much for democracy. (The same thing is going on WRT the EU's witch-hunt againt Poland.)

Darleen

Cats are a liquid? Maybe, but they also they make a tasty snack

Where I live in So Cal, suburban it may be, but we are surrounded and intersected with varying areas of wilderness.

Listening to the coyotes yip & yowl is regular occurrence and I've driven out of my neighborhood on the way to work more than once to watch them trot along then turn towards the foothills.

You don't let your smallish pets outside at night, even in the backyard, unless you'd like them to end up as snacks. Luckily the bobtail cats & pumas don't come down into the neighborhoods, but only rarely.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-mountain-lion-granada-hills-20160415-story.html

I've also had a red tail hawk use the back yard patio as a dining area for mice & pigeons. And now bald eagles have returned.

dicentra

How to tell if a raptor has been using your yard as a dining area: https://www.flickr.com/photos/36459782@N00/14469223502/

dicentra

Sherlock and Moriarty are SOOOO predictable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwJUuN3JUPE

Pablito

Darleen - I used to spend a bit of time in Southern California and loved the way that true wilderness is so close to urban areas. I remember watching a bobcat from the balcony of a flat overlooking the Back Bay in Newport Beach and being shocked that something so wild could just be wandering around a housing development

Never saw a cougar, more's the pity, but was bluff charged by a black bear in Sequoia National Park which was interesting - in a 'fill your pants' kind of way

Hedgehog

Where I live in New York State we have all kind of wildlife running about as well. Turkeys are everywhere; funny thing, twenty years ago you never saw any. There are coyotes in the woods and meadow next to my house. They yowl at night sometimes, which scares my cats. They know that this is wildness, red in tooth and claw, and they fear it. Saw a bobcat once, crossing the Taconic Parkway in the beam of my headlights. A magnificent creature. I haven't seen a bear up close - yet - but they are around. I have a detached garage that is down a bit from my house, surrounded by woods, and I always think that someday I will saunter down and find myself nose to nose with a bear.

There is a saying in French, l'heure entre chien et loup, that describes that part of the day in the evening when the light fails and the dogs go into the house and the nighttime predators start to come out. I was riding home on my motorcycle years ago, with my wife sitting pillion behind me, right about that time of the day, and no more than 100 feet in front of us we saw a coyote crossing the road from one corn field to the one on the other side. He had that loping gait that somehow distinguishes the wild from the domestic, and truth be told it gave both of us a shiver up the spine.

There is an atavistic recognition of the wild in us, I think, that causes us to admire it and to fear it at the same time. No wonder that old tales are always full of wolves and wild animals - they scare us because deep down they remind us of an unknown past in which we had to fight for survival.

David

Luckily the bobtail cats & pumas don’t come down into the neighborhoods…

Well, I was going to brag about watching a fox grumbling with a badger in the garden, or waking up to the sound of a woodpecker. But that all seems rather tame now.

Jonathan

But that all seems rather tame now.

When I worked in Africa, many years ago, I had a Lion snuffling round my bungalow on more than one occasion. Just sayin'.

dicentra

Where I live in New York State we have all kind of wildlife running about as well. Turkeys are everywhere; funny thing, twenty years ago you never saw any.

They've been reintroduced and introduced in multiple locations. Zion National Park recently got a flock, and I don't think wild turkeys ever lived there before.

Not that it's a problem: wild turkeys are wicked smart and have more attitude than any corvid. Might as well spread 'em out.

As for NY state, the wildlife running around is fine and dandy until the frogs exit the swamps after the spring thaw and the road acquires more flattened frog on its surface than blacktop.

David

and the road acquires more flattened frog on its surface than blacktop.

Which reminded me of this.

Hedgehog

Which reminded me of this.

Australians seem to have a history of doing this sort of thing.

Hedgehog

wild turkeys are wicked smart and have more attitude than any corvid

That's as may be, but they have one drawback, which is that they seem to fly (rather ponderously) at windshield height.

One of them miscalculated once and almost flew into the bed of my pick-up truck.

Too bad he missed, too, because he would have made a good meal.

Hedgehog

Which reminded me of this.

Or this.

Jason

Or this.

Humidity is rising
Barometer's getting low
According to our sources
The street's the place to go

It's raining frogs
Hallelujah
It's rainin' frogs
Amen

Hal

Luckily the bobtail cats & pumas don’t come down into the neighborhoods…

. . . But that all seems rather tame now.

There is a story, possibly apocryphal, of one of the hipsters dating from the dot bomb era, where she went off into very northern California, or further north, very far off in the woods, took a fat chunk of cash and spent it on a house, and on goats.

In fact, particularly on goats housed in custom kennels, made of Plexiglas.

Outdoors.

Brightly lit at night, for security and protection purposes.

The rest of the story is that the local and not so local insurance and legal establishment couldn't stop giggling as they spelled out to her, in detail, that the only person she had any capability of suing was herself, given that she was utterly and blatantly the only person who had openly and deliberately signaled to every mountain lion for fifty miles the news of FREE GOAT BUFFET, FIRST COME FIRST SERVED!!!!!

Hal

and the road acquires more flattened frog on its surface than blacktop.

Which reminded me of this.

David beat me to the general reference, albeit where both of us were thinking of the one particular scene.

Great minds think alike, and so do ours . . . .

WTP

Is it next Friday yet?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kppx4bzfAaE

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