Thursday, 30 June 2011

Turning The Dial Left

My esteemed former housemate has a post up on the current ideological state of American TV that I thought was worthy of discussion, so go read that first.

Whilst in the most general sense, I have sympathy for an argument that says that the TV deck is stacked in favour of my end of the aisle, I think the actual situation is deeply complex, and merits detailed consideration.

First of all, at the risk of being facetious, I'm not sure 2.5 M is necessarily the best case study for liberal programming. A rich playboy who beds whomever the hell he wants without consequences? That's pretty much the GOP dream. The only difference between Charlie PseudoSheen and Newt Gingrich is that Newt screwed around whilst he was already married. And then ran for President.

Dexter also strikes me as a poor example, because whilst there's certainly a good deal of shagging going on in there, the central concept of a man who decides that the legal system (controlled by the government) needs to be circumvented in favour of individual action is entirely consistent with the views of much of the American right. "Government is never the solution", as Reagan put it. 

This, indeed, points to a major problem in determining the ideology of such shows; a live-and-let-live ethos and a rejection of standard authority is at least as indicative and in many ways more indicative of right wing libertarianism than it is of what the Americans would recognise as liberalism (and what, and I'm sure Tomsk will correct me if I'm wrong, I tend to think of as "social liberalism").  One need only look - and I think I've mentioned this before - at the number of US shows that start from the premise that someone can redeem themselves for past crimes according to their own moral compass, rather than that of the state (see, for example, Angel, or (EDIT: Whoops! Forgot to actually add the second example, which I've now forgotten.   Damn.)).  That's neither a liberal nor a conservative position, so much as a libertarian one. 

Moreover, it makes for good TV, in a way that a hero turning himself into the boys in blue doesn't.  The idea of "do what thou wilt" is hardwired into an awful lot of American TV, and I'd question whether that stems from liberal leanings so much as the the veneration (I'd would say "fetishisation", but that's both an abuse of language and a topic for another time) of freedom in American culture.  In truth, I rather think in recent years American conservatives have become rather contemptuous of a whole host of freedoms, but I feel safe in assuming that this is a point neither Gooder nor FOX is attempting to make.

We should also consider that there's a real risk of selection bias here. The vast majority of British people - including me - who watch American TV shows are watching those that have already been judged impressive (or at least watchable) by some kind of international Western audience, which is of course significantly more liberal (as a general rule) than a great deal of the States. I have some vague recollection - and that's all it is, so take this with a hefty pinch of salt - that a lot of local American TV in the Bible Belt and elsewhere in the South is a lot more socially conservative, and we never get to see it.  As I say, I can't back that up at the minute with any specific examples, but it's at least worth bearing in mind when Englishmen discuss the state of American TV.

More importantly, the problem with saying things like "US TV is liberal" is that it fails to note that liberalism can be divided into social and economic arms at the very least, and also -as mentioned already - because liberalism and libertarianism, whilst very different in many respects, both have (or are supposed to have) a live-and-let-live attitude, which I think is what's really on display here.  In addition, one needs to consider what a conservative program would even look like in the first place.  I can't say what made Gooder choose the examples that he did, but the common theme would seem to be that the "liberal" programmes include things that piss of conservatives, whereas his example of a "conservative" programme, 24 , got liberals hot under the collar.  But 24 is an anomalously easy call because it explicitly deals with politics and national security, both of which have (broadly speaking) well established and mutually exclusive liberal and conservative positions.

If we're really going to compartmentalise American TV in general, though , we need a better definition of a conservative show.  Is, for example, The Cosby Show conservative? That's all about the importance of family and marriage, two things which American conservatives are convinced liberals don't give a shit about.  If a show in which a woman gets an abortion without crippling remorse or long-term psychological problems, then a) is that a liberal show, and b) what's the alternative to make the show conservative?  If she chooses to keep the baby, is that conservative (in truth, a lot of liberals argued that this was the case regarding Juno, which if nothing else serves as proof that not everyone I nominally agree with necessarily has two IQ points to rub together)?  Or does the show specifically have to show her refusing to even countenance it, or even for her to go through with it with massive negative consequences?

This is where we get to the very meat of the problem. Even at its best, American conservatism, as well as our home-grown version, is as regards its social aspect (there is of course an economic aspect which is just as important; this is another reason why breaking up TV shows into "liberal", "conservative" and "neither" is probably a bad idea) significantly, if not primarily, concerned with the importance of what is "normal".  Marriage is "normal".  Family is "normal".  Being straight, white and heterosexual is "normal".  All of which means that shows that fit in with the conservative viewpoint are by their very nature more difficult to spot [1].  I wonder what the black, Hispanic and homosexual communities would think about Gooder's suggestion that Friends is liberal.  Six white straight people with more money than sense taking it in turns to sleep with each other?  That's not the liberal dream, that Paris Hilton's Saturday afternoons.

We cannot judge a show by how many times it does something contrary to conservative thinking, because so often every time it does something in line with conservative thinking, it passes without comment.

And all of this, all nine of the above paragraphs (hey, well done for making it this far!) is without dealing with the fact that over-representation is not the same thing as bias.  There are certainly TV shows (or at least episodes) that do portray certain conservative ideas in a bad light.  But that's where studies need to be focused.   Not on how different political groups view what is portrayed, but regarding how political groups are portrayed themselves.

(Lastly, and somewhat parenthetically, I'd like to point out that the example of the Simpsons might show something other than what is intended. Far from proving that even FOX feels compelled to show liberal shows, I'd say it merely proves that FOX prefers raking in shitloads of cash to ensuring all it's programmes tow the conservative line. Indeed, the one time I'm aware of FOX giving direct orders to the Simpsons writers, it was that they were never again allowed to make fun of FOX News, after Groening et al portrayed FOX News anchors as being rabid propagandists.)

[1] Indeed, the argument that US TV is drowning in a sea of liberalism can be easily punctured thus: liberals don't like guns.  How many American shows involve people who have are not agents of the state using guns?  I can't give a precise value, but I'm estimating that it's a metric fuck ton.  And why?  Because guns can make a story interesting.  Just like divorce and constant bonking. 

In fact, I'll make Gooder a deal.  Let's go through all the American TV drama episodes we own between us (I'm only including drama because sex is far easier to get laughs out of than gunplay), and count how many of them involve sex outside of marriage, and how many involve a hero or heroine holding a gun despite being neither a cop nor a federal agent.  If the ratio ends up being more than 1:10 (a fairly generous one in scientific terms) in favour of between-the-sheets action, I'll buy you dinner. 

But not in a gay way.  I don't want this argument to have a liberal bias.

She Didn't Even Use Tongue!

Dammit!  Why did no-one tell me Slovenia was so promiscuous before I spent three weeks there as a dynamic, unattached mathematician! Number 3 on the list, for God's sake, and the only kiss I got out of it was from my host's two-year-old!

At least I'll be off to bonk-happy Austria next month, I guess, but I don't think The Other Half is going to accept "They're an extra 52% gagging for it!" as an excuse for philandering.

Not that the test seems that well-written, to be honest.   Is the number of times you fantasise about sex with people other than your partner really six times more indicative of promiscuity than how you feel about casual sex?

h/t to LGM.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Keepin' It Civil

Look, I despise Michelle Bachmann as much as the next person with an IQ above what you can roll during Yahtzee!, but I hate when people go after the spouses of Democratic politicians, and that means Republican spouses are off-limits, too.
While Rep. Michele Bachmann has forcefully denounced the Medicaid program for swelling the "welfare rolls," the mental health clinic run by her husband has been collecting annual Medicaid payments totaling over $137,000 for the treatment of patients since 2005, according to new figures obtained by NBC News.
There are cases when a spouses' actions are relevant, of course: see Thomas, Clarence: mad wife.  But all you have here is a husband using federal money for purposes his wife disagrees with.  The degree to which the Bachmann's are prepared to compromise with each other regarding divergent political beliefs is entirely their own business, and everyone else can keep their damn mouths shut.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A Tale Of Cocktails: Experiments In Intoxication

Last night The Other Half and I put the finishing touches to the beta version of our first cocktail.  I say "ours", because after multiple online searches neither of us could find these ingredients combined in any other drink.  It's possible others here have also tried it, or know of something very similar: let me know in comments.

The drink is created as follows: shake 1oz of creme de cassis and 2oz of peach Schnapps with crushed ice. Pour into a champagne glass, straining out the ice, and top up with lemonade.  Add a single mint leaf, and drink.  It tastes a lot like a woo woo (hurrah!), though a little less tart due to the absence of cranberry juice.  A single mint leaf is actually a bit weak taste wise, so adding another one might be a good idea if necessary.  We call our cocktail, almost inevitably, the impeachmint.

I briefly thought about grading this drink like I have all the others, but there's just no way I could possibly be objective. If anyone fancies giving it a go and letting me know what they think, then by all means have at it.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Essential Classic X-Men: Vol 1

Having read this for the sake of the other blog, I thought it was worth reviewing here.

Reviewing stories from before the Civil Rights movement (or for that matter congruent to it) is often a tricky task.  Some people think Tomb of the Cybermen is one of the best Doctor Who stories the program offered, but others can't get past a vision of the future where monosyllabic black men do the bidding of scheming whiteys.

Essential X-Men: Vol 1 is more or less racism free, actually [1] - you'd have to wait for the second volume for that - but there is most certainly a pervasive sexism running through the book.  Masses of it.  Oodles of it.  If the amount of sexism on display here could be measured in washing-up, you'd need at least three women to tackle it. It's everywhere.

You can either get past the fainting fits and patronising-cum-chauvinistic concern, or you can't.  I found it distracting, rather than unbearable.  It kept pulling me out of the narrative, but it's not like Stan Lee's writing was massively engrossing in any case.

Having said that, this review serves as a belated apology to Lee.  After years of dismissing Lee's work as indicative of an era that didn't know any better, even after I read this TPB for the first time, I've reconsidered.  Partially, to be sure, that's because his successor on the title was so entirely wretched.

It's more than that, though.  Part of my problem the first time around was that Lee's comics were simultaneously ridiculously po-faced and fundamentally unserious, like a performance of Hamlet in which every actor spends half their time mugging at the audience.  I still think that, actually, it's just that I enjoyed it a great deal more once I knew that was what I was getting.

I think it's a fairly common problem, actually: once you love something enough, it's difficult to see it being twisted into a parody of itself.  The fact that in this case the parody came first doesn't really make a difference.  There's just a part of your brain that can't process the discrepancy.

Once you get past that, though - and I managed this mainly through reading enough shitty contemporary X-comics to become essentially immune - Lee's books are actually really good fun.  All of that mugging I mentioned above turns out to simply be a sign of a comic determined not to take itself remotely seriously.  The secret is to realise the ridiculously overblown titles - and for that matter, stakes - are all a part of that.  Once you read "Lo! Now Shall Appear -- The Mimic!" as equivalent to Ron Burgundy exclaiming "By the hammer of Thor!", everything falls into place.

In any event, even if pun-laden soft bigotry isn't your cup of tea (that you'd better make for me post-haste, woman!) you have to salute Lee just from a world-building perspective.  Over nineteen issues, Lee introduces us to the six quintessential X-Men, over a dozen major supporting characters, and concepts from the Danger Room to the Savage Land.  As a historical document alone, this should be in the British Museum. [2]

[1] You could argue that it dips into colonialism, though, with how easily San Marco falls to Mastermind's imaginary legions.

[2] Or the American Museum, I guess.  Do the Americans have their own museum?   Doesn't matter, we'll just nick it, like the Elgin Marbles.

One Step Forward

Right.  Good.  Not before time.  As the US slides into a seemingly inescapable morass of fiscal insanity, reactionary sabre-rattling, and decreasing life expectancy (if you're a woman, at least), it's nice to know that it isn't all bad news.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Justify Your Existence

I realise that I'm no lawyer. I've picked up a few tricks from my father, and a smattering of unstructured reading. So when I learn that the US Supreme Court has thrown out a case brought by a large number of women against Walmart, alleging sexual discrimination, I realise it would be stupid to start throwing my thoughts on the legal niceties of the case.

Having said that, there is one undeniable fact in all of this, and that is that Chief Justice Scalia is an idiot. That is not to say he's wrong on this case overall (as I say, I have no idea whether he is or not), but this argument is so infuriating in its total absence of logic or thought it actually took me a little while to process its foolishness:
[L]eft to their own devices most managers in any corporation—and surely most managers in a corporation that forbids sex discrimination—would select sex-neutral, performance-based criteria for hiring and promotion.
Lemieux is appropriately gob-smacked by this line of "argument", but I don't think he's followed it through to conclusion. If we tweak the Scalia quote just a little, we get "left to their own devices most citizens in any country—and surely most citizens in a country that forbids stealing cars—would select legal currency-based methods for acquiring automobiles".

You see the problem? It's not that the statement becomes false - I'm sure that most US citizens who own cars did indeed pay for them - it's that it becomes patently absurd to utter the phrase whilst considering whether a specific individual stole a car or not. I'm not for one second suggesting we abandon the idea of "innocent until proven guilty" - though of course whether or not that applies to such cases, I am unsure - but to use the fact that most people follow the law as an argument against the prosecution is self-evidently imbecilic.  You would have thought that point would be obvious to a man whose entire profession is based around dealing with the people who don't follow the rules like the rest of us.

Most people are not murderers. Most people are not rapists. Most companies, for all I know, do not employ discriminatory hiring practices.  Unless we're going to start applying Scalia's argument to any crime we believe less than half the citizenry are guilty of, however, (and let's not forget, there's only one person in this post who believes that corporations should be treated like citizens, and it sure as hell isn't me), Scalia's position is laughable. Unfortunately, it's also entirely in keeping with his inability to argue with any coherence whenever a large company comes running to Daddy.

Monday, 20 June 2011

A Return To Dolan

It seems Archbishop Dolan just can't stop making stupid comments about gay marriage:
One has to wonder why the proponents of this radical re-definition, who claim overwhelming popular support, would not consider, for example, a referendum to determine the people’s will on such a drastic departure from traditional values? 
The redoubtable attaturk explains exactly why we shouldn't take this idea seriously:
why not bring a vote on birth control and if you lose in New York you have to shut up about it?
Political rule #1 for referendums: they only count when (you think) they're going to agree with you.

1.5 Matriculation, Part 2: Youth Is Wasted

This time round on Guiilds of Goleg, we are proud to present: the past!

Obviously, I'm biased, but I genuinely adore Steven's presentation of the flashbacks.  I guess Stame proves that bitter pedantry keeps you young forever...

1.6                                                                1.4

Sunday, 19 June 2011

"The Kingsroad"

(With apologies to Tom Petty, and to anyone who hasn't watched the first nine episodes of Game of Thrones)

To the tune of "Kings Highway"

Just after Arryn died
The King came to pick him up
Wanting help for the sake
Of a dead woman's love

And so he rode due south
Into those fields of green
Hoping there was some way
To beat the Lannisters' schemes

Oh, Lord Stark must rue the day
Arya asked Micah to play
As they rode down the Kingsroad, hey

And he can’t fit in
In this Southron town
He wants to hold his Gods up
But their trees were chopped down

He didn’t want to end up
Spending time on the Throne
You see so much bloodshed
But you'll never see snow

Oh, Ned Stark must rue the day
Lady died, Nym ran away
As they rode down the Kingsroad, hey

Oh, we all must rue the day
Stark's neck met with Stark's blade
At the end of the Kingsroad, hey

Saturday, 18 June 2011

It's The Crib That Says "Sleepy Motherfucker" On It

Now that C & T have become the second Durham collective to generate offspring, this has probably arrived just in time: Samuel L Jackson reads "Go the Fuck to Sleep".

It's days like this I wish I had a child of my own, purely so that I could mess with its head as some kind of messed-up psychology experiment.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Another Stab At The "Shorter" Meme

Shorter Archbishop Dolan: discovering we were thinking about letting gays marry meant I had to check I wasn't in a Communist dictatorship! But don't call me a bigot!  I've spent loads of time trying to make sure gay people have exactly the amount of rights I, Archbishop Dolan, believe they should have!

Friday 40K: The Great Devourer (Second Helping)

Fun fact: my first post on my Tyranid army, which I put up two years ago (almost to the day), is by some distance the most commonly viewed item on this 'ere blog.  It's had more than a thousand hits in the last twelve months alone.

But that was when the army was a mere 2000 points.  Now that it's reached 2500 points, it must be worth an extra 25% more hits.  The power of maths compels you!

So here they are.  Having left SkwydRuum X a barren husk, they've moved out-system, and are now doing all sorts of nasty things to SkwydRuum XI.

There's not a great deal new to say about these models; pretty much all of them were either in that original post, or, like the Giant Death Worm, have been shown at a later date.  Still, once again, props to edenspresence, whose basing technique has really worked, and made the army look significantly better.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Amazing Racism

I spend so long mired in the morass of US politics that sometimes I forget how to analyse or assimilate political appeals as a citizen of the UK.

So help me out, my friends.  Cast your British eyes upon this (NSFW) attack ad against Janice Hahn (a Californian Democrat running for Congress), and let me know what you think.  I mean, I think it's nauseating in its racism (though that may also be motion sickness).  But maybe I've just gone native.

Seriously, I haven't felt so ill since the car chases in Bourne Ultimatum.

And yes, it's a real ad. Really real.  So really real that the people who released it turn out to be sharing a PO Box with a campaign consultancy firm that works for Hahn's opponent.

I think I might be sick after all...

P.S.  I realise that this isn't really important in the great scheme of things, but man, that rap is terrible.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Game Over, Man, Game Over!

Well, that's certainly set the cat amongst the highly-symbolic pigeons, hasn't it?  I haven't seen the internet this up in arms since the 10th Doctor regenerated into himself!  And this resolution wasn't even shit!

But, after the smoke has cleared, and the blood wiped from our eyes, how successful was "Baelor" overall?

(The uber-est of uberspoilers follows after the jump.  You Have Been Warned...)

Monday, 13 June 2011

Great Innovations In Bloodshed

Doug J's question about why fox hunting is such a hot-button topic made me wonder something: why aren't all those people insisting fox-hunting is just a method for pest control suggesting we give up on putting together an expensive cull in favour of reintroducing badger baiting?

Think about it!  The employment opportunities!  The ticket sales!  The merchandise!  Just what we need in this downtrodden economy, at least until the Golden Jubilee gives this country a shot in the arm.   The badgers bring it on themselves!  All that horrible bovine TB they keep spreading!

I think I'll set up a Facebook page.  I wonder if I'll get 32 000 supporters?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

A Tale Of Cocktails #20

Kir Royale


5 oz champagne
1 oz Creme de Cassis

Taste: 8
Look: 6
Cost: 7
Name: 8
Prep: 9
Alcohol: 4
Overall:  7.1

Preparation: Add Creme de Cassis to a champagne flute, then fill will champagne.  Stir gently and serve.

General Comments: Yay!  Fizzy blackcurrant alcohol!  There is no bad here.

That is the end of my review, by SpaceSquid, aged 31.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Chainsaws Tied To Shotguns

Apparently serious questions are being asked in the corridors of power regarding Leicester City's ability to withstand an undead invasion.  There are growing concerns that a wave of stinking, brain-dead lumbering bodies without purpose or intelligence might not be able to stop the zombies.  Ba-dum tish!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Friday Talisman: The Fourth Horseman (Tribute)

It's taken a while, since my painting schedule was buggered by my relocation, but I've finally put the finishing touches on my Dread Knight.  I'm particularly proud of the marble base.

(If he looks slightly different to the other models I've shown here, it's because I haven't yet varnished him.  Dude's naked!).  I deliberately used some of the techniques I employed when painting the Grim Reaper, since it seemed reasonable to assume that they shared certain similarities. Death is a bit paler, and his eyes a little more aflame (as is only fitting), but I do think they go well together.

Anyway, that's three Talisman figures painted.  Next up, the Rogue...

Talisman odd-one-out competitions lack
our 21st century sophistication.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

War Games

If comparisons between a TV show and its literary source are inevitable (and you have to figure that they are), then the phenomenon is going to be amplified by orders of magnitude when the original writer has a crack at a teleplay for the series (The Walking Dead's creator being one recent and partially successful example).

This is even more of an issue as regards Game of Thrones, because the density of the novel and the rabid devotion of its fans (not without reason, I love it myself) has left the show less room to forge its own identity than something like, for example, True Blood [1].  That, combined with my reasonably thorough knowledge of the book (though as Jamie pointed out after my episode 7 write up, not perfect), and - if we're being honest - some rather prosaic installments in the season's first half, has led to me spending a lot of my energy considering the scenes added in, rather than the interpretations of what the book contained (the opening minutes of the pilot episode remain an obvious but lonely exception). 

For people like me, turning these scenes over in our heads is an opportunity for entertainment of a different sort, as we attempt to work out why scenes have been added, deleted, chopped around, etc.  All of which is brought to a head by an episode penned by Martin himself, because at that point, what he leaves in, what he cuts out, and what he simply invents for the screen, takes on a great deal of importance.

(Spoilers follow)

Political Maths Is Fun

Not entirely sure why, but this Larison quip made me collapse into giggles:
If we take the most self-important interpretation of historical events since 1941, and the United States gets at least partial credit for all of the people liberated from “communism, fascism, and jihadism” in the last seventy years, that won’t get us remotely close to one billion people, much less the multiple billions Pawlenty seems to think were liberated. And those were just the good people. There’s no telling how many bad people Pawlenty may think were liberated.
In fairness, we do know that Pawlenty thinks the ratio of good people to bad people must be higher than 1:4.  That, or that America was also responsible for liberating Narnia, Endor, and Middle Earth.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

QOTD: Penis Edition

I'm currently in the middle of reading Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? (eight years old, but still current, as they say), so I'll probably have a piece up about what I took away from it before too long.  In the meantime, though, this Greenwald quote sums up a large chunk of the problem with US journalism:
Reporters who would never dare challenge powerful political figures who torture, illegally eavesdrop, wage illegal wars or feed at the trough of sleazy legalized bribery suddenly walk upright -- like proud peacocks with their feathers extended -- pretending to be hard-core adversarial journalists as they collectively kick a sexually humiliated figure stripped of all importance.  

For those of you who haven't been following the story itself, Greenwald is lamenting the media storm that has erupted over a Democratic Congressman, the unfortunately named Anthony Weiner, who took a picture of his crotch (covered by underwear that was, shall we say, under some pressure at the time?) and sent it over Twitter.  Apparently, he hadn't quite gotten the process for sending things privately quite right and, well, things got out (if you'll pardon the expression).

The argument for covering this story in detail is that Weiner is married, and therefore sending such pictures to other women is Not OK.  But Greenwald is exactly right.  Weiner hasn't campaigned on "family values", he hasn't tried to restrict the amount of soft-core pornography available on the internet (now there would be a labour of Sisyphean proportions).  He's just done something that it's easy to believe that his wife wouldn't be happy about.

Leaving aside for the moment the argument that public interest is by definition anything the public is interested in, there are exactly three people in the world whose opinions on this are of any importance: Weiner, Weiner's wife, and Weiner's wiener watcher (sorry, I couldn't resist).  Everyone else is free to make their own minds up, obviously, it's just the idea that people are getting paid to do that which winds me up.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A New Era Dawns

Oh, Hell yes!

Ladies and gentlemen, you are witnessing the birth of a new kind of super-lifeform.  Your obvious and inevitable - though benevolent - superiors are about to be brought forth into a universe crying out for the touch of their wise (if slimy) tentacle.

Why, one day they shall master the currents of time, and send back a dashing, intelligent and surprisingly modest ambassador to pave the way for their glorious reign.  But already I have said too much...

Monday, 6 June 2011

Gaming The System

What with my anniversary break this weekend, and driving to and from same, I haven't really had time to digest my re-watch of "You Win Or You Die", which happened late last night.  Fortunately, someone else has done the heavy lifting.

Auld Favorites

Well, that was a lovely anniversary weekend.  Auld Reekie continues to be my favourite city, at least out of those I haven't actually lived in.

I finally got around to visiting Camera Obscura at the top of the Royal Mile, and it's really pretty good. The various displays mostly range from interesting to genuinely fascinating, and the various Escher and Escher-esque pictures filling the walls are brilliant.  I spent some time trying to decide which one I thought was best, and eventually settled on this one, by Sandro del Prete (a self-described "kindred spirit" of Escher):

They do good mugs, too:

though they obviously pale in comparison to the one The Other Half gave to me as an anniversary present:

Awesome, right?

Oh, and if you ever plan on visiting Edinburgh, under no circumstances stay at the Travelodge on Rose Street unless you plan to go to sleep after half midnight (the time the pub next door stopped playing heavy rock - you know I'm getting old when that interrupts my sleeping pattern rather than providing an excuse to go rock out), and the combined body weight of yourself and anyone else you're bringing to share a bed with adds up to something rather less than a heavily pregnant squirrel.  Those beds are not designed to hold anything heavier.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Tale Of Cocktails #19



3 1/2 oz champagne
1 oz Peach Schnapps
1/2  oz gin
1 oz orange juice

Taste: 6
Look: 6
Cost: 7
Name: 7
Prep: 7
Alcohol: 4
Overall: 6.2

Preparation: Layer the gin, then the Peach Schnapps, then the orange juice in a champagne flute.  Pour in the champagne, and garnish with a peach slice.

General Comments: This is definitely one of those cocktails for which you can identify each ingredient as you drink it.  Unfortunately, those of us with an unhealthy interest in mathematics would call it a subadditive beverage, because it adds up to less than the sum of its parts. Essentially, the problem lies in the fact that you can simultaneously think of better things to combine the champagne with, superior mixers for the Peach Schnapps, and the fact that you could be getting off your face on gin and tonics far more efficiently.

It's not a bad drink, by any means.  It just carries with it memories of drinks that are far, far better.

Because Life Wasn't Short Enough

Given my recent comparative increase in spare time, I've decided to embark on a project I've been toying with for years but never found time for: a complete re-read of all my X-books in an attempt to conclusively demonstrate once and for all how long the team has been in existence for in Marvel time.

Obviously, this effort is doomed to failure.  Hideous, awful, mock-worth failure.  Still, hopefully it will be fun along the way.  Possibly even illuminating as well, on occasion.  Regardless, such an epic undertaking is worthy of its own blog, which can be found here.  Let the experiment commence!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Before The Fall

“If one is a prisoner of love, must one escape to solitude?” – Lorien, Babylon 5
The first three Lucifer books have done their jobs magnificently. The scene has been set, and destiny and freedom will be our themes.

As we’ve discussed before, Lucifer sees these two concepts as mutually exclusive. One cannot have freedom if one’s movements are known in advance. Free will is merely an illusion. For some, that illusion suffices – what does it matter that Destiny knows the final reel if neither you nor anyone you ever meet is privy to that knowledge – but for Lucifer, only the genuine article could ever be acceptable.

Now that he has moved beyond the scope of Destiny’s book, then, the question becomes: what now?

Escaping from the shadow of his father, our Father – both by escaping His reality and ensuring that he now casts his own shadow, equally large - was certainly sine qua non as far as the Lightbringer was concerned, but necessity is not sufficiency. What comes next in Lucifer’s all-consuming quest to be free?

Thursday, 2 June 2011

A Sudden Interest In Sporting Events

Given my general disinterest in sports, I've not been following the recent FIFA media storm except in the vaguest terms.  Once it gets into the realm of international relations, though, my antennae start twitching a little.

Which is how I've been led to this.  Obviously, I have no idea who "Julio Grondona" is, but from his comments I'm assuming he's entirely fictional, or at least has been replaced with a Jose Mourinho-style Setanta puppet.  The money quote:
"But with the English bid I said: Let us be brief. If you give back the Falkland Islands, which belong to us, you will get my vote. They then became sad and left."
"Became sad and left" is my new favourite euphemism for someone departing in an apoplectic rage after you've said something incredibly insulting (I suspect it will get quite some play over Christmas with my family). 

Further research provides additional evidence that Grodonda can't be a real person, though some of his jokes are distinctly unpleasant:
"I do not believe a Jew can ever be a referee at this level. It’s hard work and, you know, Jews don’t like hard work."
Presumably the Jews then became sad and left. You know, like in 1948.

I say we strike back by promoting Jim Davidson to the highest echelons of the F.A.  And/or sinking the ARA Sarandi.

h/t to Rising Hegemon.