Posted on September 26th, 2022
Well, today was the day.
Exactly as planned when it launched last November, the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft slammed into Dimorphos... a moonlet orbiting the asteroid Didymos.
And why would NASA do this?
Because it seems prudent to see what we might can do to knock an asteroid off-course that's headed for earth. This test will give us an idea of what may or may not be possible.
The whole DART mission has me irrationally emotional. I feel sorry for DART, who was ordered to crash and be exploded. I feel sorry for the asteroid who was minding its own business and got exploded into. My life would be easier if I didn't anthropomorphize animals and objects. What even more awful though? DART filmed its own demise...
Am I the only one who thinks that this is sad?
But I guess extinction of all life on earth from an asteroid impact is also sad, so make of it what you will.
Posted on September 8th, 2022
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II • 1926-2022
The Queen is dead, long live The King.
Years ago I read a book about Her Majesty by famed biographer Ben Pimlott. She is about as fascinating a figure as you'd expect. It's because of this book that when I think of Queen Elizabeth, it's usually in the context of her extraordinary dedication to the monarchy and service to her country. No matter what you may think of her in any capacity, you gotta respect her dedication. I've seen more than one documentary on The Queen, and it's always stuck with me how she dug in with the rest of Britain to serve as "Princess Auto Mechanic" during World War II...
Photo from the Imperial War Museum, London
Every day since then, she's continued to serve her people with grace as the face of all Britain to the world. And she was very good at her job. As well she should be, since she's had it since she was 25 years old.
If you want to know a little bit about the history of the Royal Family without having to read stuffy biographies, have I got a short CGP Grey video for you!
And if you want to know how Her Majesty Queen Ellizabeth II happened when royalty is a primarily male-dominated concept (until recently, natch), have I got an even shorter CGP Grey video for you!
And if you're dying to know what good The Queen is when a constitutional monarchy reduces her to nothing more than a ceremonial figurehead, guess what! Yet another short CGP Grey video to explain that to you too!
As you'd assume, all is not perfect in the land of royalty.
I find the entire concept of a monarchy to be antiquated and impractical (it's my duty as an American to feel this way). I think that the idea that somebody is qualified to hold any political position based on genetics and name recognition to be full-on nuts (even in the UK, which isn't an actual monarchy but a constitutional monarchy where the Queen doesn't hold much actual power). History is replete with examples of bad rulers who got the job just because of who their mummy and daddy were. I wouldn't put Queen Elizabeth into this category... but it's still incredibly weird to me that this kind of thing is still going on in the Year of Our Lord 2022. Maybe I would feel different if I were next in line for the throne. Though I'd like to think that my first act after having a massive party for my coronation would be to abolish the monarchy, so I dunno.
There are many examples I could drop about how the Queen is problematic to me. But here's one that has bothered me for a very long time: Her Majesty has a long record of homophobia, and infamously didn't allow partners of gay staffers to attend her annual Christmas Ball at Buckingham Palace until protests in 1995 changed the mind of her and her handlers. 1995! That's surprising (but hardly shocking), as you'd think that somebody who is supposed to represent all of the people would make even a tiny effort to recognize the LGBTQ persons that she rules over (not that Americans are ones to talk given how our leaders are no better... and, in fact, worse in many regards). The fact that she could have done something... anything... to make LGBTQ persons feel a welcome part of her reign but never did is kinda shitty behavior, to be honest.
And so there it is. I'm sorry for her family and all those subjects who loved her, but really hoping that King Charles III does even a little bit more (or a lot more) to be inclusive of all his subjects. And if not? The guy is 73 years old (long may he reign), so maybe I'll see it happen in my lifetime if I'm alive when King William V ascends the throne. Which is entirely possible if he has more of his mother in him than his father, as she always seemed so compassionate towards people... all people, regardless of station or circumstance... than others in the Royal Family.
And now, because I can't help myself, here's a CGP Grey video about tumbleweeds...
Posted on September 4th, 2022
It's the middle of a 3-day weekend, but I won't let that stop me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• There Be Dragons Here! We're three episodes into House of the Dragon and I'm fairly impressed. Not so much for the show, which is okay and I'm certainly enjoying it... but because anybody who has read Fire & Blood already knows what becomes of all these characters, and that's kind of exciting. At least we think we do. Heaven only knows that they could change events in order to drag the show out and have it end in a pile of shit like Game of Thrones...
In the books... this period in Westerous history which culminated in the disastrous "Dance of Dragons" war, was actually quite cool and interesting. If they stay faithful to it, the HBO series could have a great ending. If not? Well, strike two, I guess.
• POWERRRRR! In Amazon's absurdly expensive competition for the above, The Rings of Power, we've returned to Middle Earth (last seen in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy). While watching the first two episodes, I was confused. What in the heck is this supposed to be? We're in The Second Age, which is fine... but it's not feeling very "Tolkien." Nor does it seem to be coming from The Silmarillion (Tolkien's book of stuff that happens in the First, Second, and Third Age). Sure, you've got Elrond and Galadriel, but not in a form that they're recognizable. At least not to me...
Not knowing what to think, I ran to Google to find out. Turns out that Amazon didn't buy the rights to The Silmarillion at all. All they got were the books which have already been made into movies, including the appendices, which is where the concept for Rings of Power came from. But the actual story? Pulled out of their asses. The show is visually stunning. The acting is great. And the story doesn't suck. I will absolutely keep watching. But, it's like, WTF? You would think that the Tolkien Estate would want for the series to be close to Tolkien's vision as possible. But I guess not. Money speaks louder than Elvish, I guess.
• GAH! MY GOD! WHAT DID HAPPEN TO MEN?!??? (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@chris_wells_ #stitch with @tre_valley ♬ BIG MAD - Ktlyn
I've heard this so many times in my life. "WHAT'S HAPPENING TO OUR MEN?!" It's such a laughable question to be asking. Harry Styles doesn't represent "all men" any more than a landing craft full of men during (assumably)
• Booster for my Booster's Booster Booster! The minute it's available to me... "If you have had your primary series, with or without any number of boosters, you are eligible to get a bivalent booster this fall, as long as it has been at least two months since your last COVID vaccine."
• ZOMFG!!! I do not even know how to respond to this (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@fulldanfisher #stitch with @proudviking2 i dont get it and i love mayonnaise for life #fyp #mayonnaise #prisonlube ♬ original sound - Dan Fisher
Now, I love mayonnaise. It's one of my most favorite foods. No stupid-ass "factoid" like this woman is spinning would make me reconsider. Which is why I'm sharing this, because Dan Fisher's measured response is all that needs to be said.
• Your Sexism at Work! Yeah. Not enough people are talking about this: Grey hair: Fine for George Clooney but not Lisa LaFlamme?
• Food! GAH! I AM IN LOVE AGAIN! This woman’s cooking TikTok is the best thing on the internet right now (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@abir.sag Replying to @Krami lulu Maltese Pastizzi 🇲🇹#malta #🇲🇹 #pastizzi #abirzkitchen ♬ original sound - Abir el saghir
Seriously, go watch her videos. She's absolutely lovely, has amazing recipes, and her videos are wonderfully entertaining.
• Safety. A quick and important read if you own an iPhone: How to Hard Lock an iPhone to Prevent Unauthorized Biometric Access (I don't know how this works on an Android phone, but you should find out if you own one).
See you in seven.
Posted on September 1st, 2022
Traveling the world is not the only way to have a more open perspective concerning the people living on it. But it definitely helps. If there's one thing that I've taken away from my travels, it's that the vast, vast majority of people on this planet just want to live their lives in peace. They want to have a place to life. Have food to eat. Maybe pop out some kids and raise a family. But above all, they want to not have to live their lives in fear. Unfortunately fear is a highly effective tool to control people, so our lives are governed by fear.
They hate us, so you have to hate them more.
They want what we have, so you have to destroy them before they take it.
We deserve to have what they have, so we need to take it.
Our lives are more important than their lives, so they don't deserve to live.
It is an endless cycle of hatred and fear which keeps powerful people in power and people without power in line so that powerful people maintain their power.
In all honesty, I thought that the advent of the internet would severely cripple the ability of people to use fear as a motivator. "Surely once people see that there is no reason to hate other people since everybody around the globe basically wants the same thing out of life, powerful people will lose their grip on us!" I thought.
To say that this was not the case is a gross understatement.
Turns out the internet was just another tool for powerful people to control us with hate and fear. Even worse, it allows non-powerful people to have a global audience for their hate and fear.
And so it has all escallated to such obscene levels that I'm wondering if we can escape it before we destroy ourselves. It's nice to hope so... but reality says we probably won't.
Which is such a shame.
Because all that the vast, vast majority of people on this planet want is just to live their lives in peace.
Posted on August 31st, 2022
Living where I do, you always live in dread of hearing the words "LEVEL 3 EVACUATION ISSUED". Just in case you are blessed to live in an area without wildfires, LEVEL 1 is the Get Ready level where you should start keeping a very close eye on the local fires because you could be in danger of evacuation. LEVEL 2 is the Get Set level where you start packing up your crap, gassing up the car, and generally be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. LEVEL 3 is the Go Level where your life is in imminent danger if you don't get the heck out of dodge.
I have been in a LEVEL 3 twice. The first time I wasn't at home, so it was no big deal to up and leave the area. I got in a line of slow-moving cars and drove back to my house. The second time was much more serious. Once we hit LEVEL 3, absolutely everybody had left the area except me. I stayed behind running around my apartment building putting out ember fires so that my apartment wouldn't catch fire. Part of the time I was on the roof with a bandana tied around my nose and mouth so I could spot problems easier. After a couple hours, the fire department told me that it had gone way past dangerous, and I had to leave. Because I had stayed behind and "bravely fought to save my home" they promised that they would do their best to make sure it hadn't been for nothing. And they totally did. Other than smoke damage, the building only had a few spots on it.
Yesterday some places in the Lake Chelan region hit LEVEL 3. As I heard the advisory start screaching through everybody's mobile phones, I got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomache that I always get.
Fast forward to today and all the evacuations have been downgraded and the bulk of the fire had been halted at around 20 acres lost. They still don't know how it started. Though I keep getting lightning alerts from my little weather station, so I guess that could be a possibility.
In Other News...
As a child of the 80's, I remember very well The Cold War... and Mikhail Gorbachev's "openess reforms" (гласность, a.k.a. Glasnost) which effectively ended it. Having lived through my entire childhood with nuclear war being a distinct possibility, it was nice to think that... just maybe... things had deescalated enough that the world could breathe a little easier knowing that catastrophic annihilation had been (temporarily, alas) pushed aside even a little bit.
Gorbachev's actions were wildly controversial. And nowhere more so than in the Country Formerly Known as the Soviet Union itself. Now that he has died at 91 years of age, I've seen his пицца хат (Pizza Hut) commercial making it's way through the internets...
If there's one short video which can sum up what Gorbachev in the 1980's was about to American audiences today... it's probably this commercial. I am still amazed that he agreed to actually do it. Which makes me kinda like him, because I love it when powerful people aren't above poking fun at themselves. Humor is a basic human condition, and willing to be the subject of it to better relate to those who are not powerful people... well... it just shows that you still have some humanity left in you. And that goes double when you allow the humor to be coupled with any amount of criticism towards your policies.
Probably why I'm such a fan of the White House Correspondents Dinner. Just the fact that an American president would dare to take part is pretty amazing when you think about it (well, when they actually do take part).
And I know this is a bit cliché... but now I actually want Pizza Hut. I'm all too easily susceptible to suggestion.
Posted on August 14th, 2022
Don't let my busted ass blog ruin your day... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now (even if it will have to be posted later)...
• Borked! Not only is my blog completely fucked today for unknown reasons, I see that now my heavy purple X's at the beginning of each entry are now regular-old black crosses?
Absolutely no clue what that is about. But it seems to happen on every browser I try and the code for them to be heavy and purple is still there... so one more thing to worry about, I guess.
• Found! One of my top-five favorite television shows of all time, The Finder, is streaming on Disney+...
The show has some things that did not age well (there is a Romani character which is referred to as "The G-Word" among other things) but the stories, characters, and concept are all fantastic. If you have Disney+, I urge you to give it a shot. If, for no other reason, to see the incomparable Michael Clarke Duncan in one of his final roles. HELPFUL HINT: The series was originally broadcast (and is still streaming) out of order. To watch it in an order where the plot threads all make sense, do so like this... Episode 01, 09, 03, 04, 02, 10, 05, 08, 06, 07, 12, 11, 13.
• Prequel Hunt! And speaking of streaming... I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but the Predator prequel, Prey (streaming on Hulu), is fantastic. It not only stays faithful to the original concept in a way that other "Predator" movies haven't, in some ways it's actually superior to the original. This time the action takes place on the Great Plains in the 1700's sometime. This time it's a Comanche girl who takes on an earlier concept Predator who hasn't gotten the same advanced weaponry we see in the other films...
Now, there's been some serious shit-talk online about the fact that a Comanche girl was able to battle a Predator without being immediately slaughtered, but if you actually pay attention to the film, it is well explained exactly how she could do this. Multiple times! I dearly loved this movie, and hope we not only see more Predators throughout history (somebody mentioned Predators in feudal Japan, and I got goosebumps)... but I hope we see a lot more of the movie's star... Amber Midthunder. So incredibly captivating and talented.
• Puppers! After you watch Prey on Hulu... treat yourself to this story about the other star of the movie!
• Sad! I don't get too excited for non-Marvel Studios movies lately... but this? This looks really interesting!
If nothing else, it looks like something that will be new and unique, so there's that!
• NEWS! This just in from the "No Shit, Sherlock" department... The More Money You Earn The Happier You Are, Large Study Finds.
• Denmark! This dipshit actually thought she did a thing...
All she actually did was show how utterly brainwashed Americans are by politicians and the wealthy corporations that own them.
No idea when I will have a chance to figure out what is wrong with my blog this time. I'm traveling this coming week, so maybe never! So see you next week... maybe.
Posted on August 7th, 2022
World War III is back on the table thanks to politician idiocy, but don't let that harsh your mellow... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Wedding! To my fellow Hallmark movie nerds... Wedding Season on Netflix. The concept has been done to death, but this one is way too cute to miss...
I love how Netflix gives a good budget to their movies like this. It makes all the difference in diferentiating them from Hallmark.
• Star Wars Summer! The LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation Special has a gem of a Weird Al song attached to it, and the video is right here...
Whether you're a Star Wars fan or a LEGO Star Wars fan or both... the special is worth a look! Find it on Disney+.
• Eternally Again! Patton Oswalt leaked that they are working on another Eternals movie. Good. Now leave powerless, annoying Sprite the fuck out of it (or kill her to start off the film). Leave Ajak dead. Leave Ikarus dead. And as much as I loved Gilgamesh, leave him dead. Then kill off Druig (or turn him into the full-on villain he is). Focus on Sersi, Thena, Kingo, Phastos, and Starfox. FIVE characters instead of however the fuck too many were in the first film. Marvel needs to get over themselves that Eternals was an epic masterpiece and come to terms with the fact that they created a bloated, scattered, mess of a film. Avengers Endgame had DOZENS of characters and felt more focused. Don't get me wrong... I enjoyed Eternals and didn't think it was as awful as many people did... but it could have been SO much better. I do hope that Chloé Zhao comes back to direct because her work is so beautiful... but don't force her to cram so much shit in her film that it gets so very sloppy.
• Vacation! This is so accurate as to sting a bit (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
Just make sure you reply to your emails 👍♬ original sound - Shane Duffy 😮💨
I haven't had a vacation in three years. Sure I have the hours... but I'm always too busy to actually use them.
• Trash! I will keep saying it... Nancy Pelosi is garbage. Everything wrong with government is right here (And here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
Like most of our politicians, she doesn't give a FUCK how many people she hurts so long as she keeps grabbing that money and power! And she doesn't care if she starts World War III or tanks our stock market to get it.
• PAID! I'd like to leave this Bullet Sunday on a good note... I paid off my blue iMac, Lemon, this week!
And in two months my MacBook Pro will also be paid off. Which will be very nice. The money not used for making payment can go towards groceries, gas, and everything else that's insanely expensive now-a-days.
TTFN, Bullet fans...
Posted on July 12th, 2022
NASA released four images from the WEBB Space Telescope, and lo did the people of earth lose their minds. And well they should, because the images are absolutely jaw-droopingly stunning.
The best we could really do prior to this was the images that came out of the Hubble Space Telescope. And, amazing though they were, technology has come a very long way since Hubble was launched in 1990.
A guy released a tool for comparing Hubble to WEBB, and it's impossible to overstate what a drastic difference it is...
But that's just the beginning.
Not only can we see more stuff better, we can see further back in time. 4.6 billion years and counting.
This astounding shot of Stephan's Quintet is mind-boggling. Each of these four massive nebulas contain millions of stars. But each of those little dots scattered around them? Galaxies with hundreds of thousands of millions of stars each. There's billions upon billions upon billions of stars in this image. And many of those could have planets. Many of those could have planets with life. Odds are very good that we are not alone...
The photos we're going to see from WEBB will most certainly continue to astonish for decades to come. And the amount of learning opportunities for all of humanity are likely staggering.
I dunno about you, but I like the idea of tax dollars going to occasional programs like this instead of exclusively fueling a war machine that's already bigger than most other countries on the planet combined. WEBB cost $10 billion. That's a massively-huge amount of money, no doubt. But considering an aircraft carrier costs $14 billion... and the jets that are onboard cost a cool $80 million each... well, if there's money for that, there's money for this.
Posted on July 6th, 2022
This morning I started getting hit with attacks to my blog. Hard.
I was receiving hundreds of emails from my blog security software informing me that unauthorized people were trying to login, resulting in their IP address getting banned. I didn't really pay them any mind. Even if they get my username which, let's face it, WordPress makes easy... they have to manage to guess a rather complicated password (so complicated that I have zero hope of remembering it and have to rely on my password manager)... plus I have two levels of two-factor authentication enabled.
This makes it a bit tough to break through, but there's all kinds of WordPress vulnerabilities that get exploited, so it's bound to happen eventually.
There are attempts to break into my blog daily. But I have not had such a huge series of attempts like this in a very long time.
Maybe my previous entry had something to do with it? No idea.
Posted on July 5th, 2022
How fucked up is our bought-and-paid-for government that one of the old white men running this shitshow can cause essential legislation to become "endangered" because so many members of the Senate are fucking owned by the big internet providers? Pretty fucked up... and yet here we are. Some old Democrat dude breaks a hip so an FCC nominee can't get confirmed... or whatever... and now net-neutrality (something that the majority of Americans agree is a good and necessary thing) may not be passed if it can't get done by mid-terms.
First of all... Fuck Joe Biden and the fucking Democrats for not getting this shit done immediately when he got into office. Just one of many, many things that they should have rammed through in 2020 (like codifying Roe v. Wade) that they decided to sit on and do fuck-all about because it can be used to get progressives running to the poles at elections. Fuck them sideways for putting their personal re-election campaigns above the American people. We're told to "support net-neutrality" and "protect a woman's right to choose" by voting for Democrats, then have absolutely fucking NOTHING to show for it on these issues (and many others).
I swear, the only thing that enrages me more than Republicans accepting cash to roll over on the American people so that wealthy people can continue to fuck us over... is the fucking Democrats who just sit by and let it happen when they have a chance to actually do something. Happened with President Obama. Happening again with fucking President Biden.
Everybody who knows me knows that I hate career politicians, hate our lobbyist-owned political "representatives," hate Democrats, really hate Republicans, and am sick to fucking death of the way that politics continues to erode our freedoms and put us even deeper into this bullshit. But I hold my nose and the polls and vote for the least-worst candidate anyways, hoping against hope that somebody actually does something... only to get disappointed every time.
And then people tell me I should be happy because "Well, at least they didn't make things worse!"
Fuck that. And fuck Joe Biden.
I'll be dead inside of 40 years, thank God. I just hope that I live long enough to see our failed two-party system go down in fucking flames when people trapped into voting for a nonstop parade of shitty politicians get sick of it all.
Assuming they ever do.
I am having more doubts about that every fucking day.
Some old guy in Vermont breaking a hip could be enough to skuttle net neutrality, so do you blame me?