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Showing posts from June, 2017

Summer Hiatus!

We're at the mid-point of the year, so I'm hanging it up for a couple of weeks to go on vacation with the fam and have a rest, relaxation and review of this crazy thing I've got going here to see if I can come up with ways to make it better.

Our regularly scheduled programming will resume July 1st!

The Bookshot Bucket List #1: Iowa

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I have a dream. Not a goal- because goals are dreams that you write down and actually do. But a dream. An idle dream that kicks around my brains now and again and sounds positively delightful. Someday, maybe, I'd like to open a bookstore.

But immediately reality kicks in. Half of all new businesses fail. Books are either a dying medium or doing just fine, depending on who you talk to. Plus, what the hell do I know about running a business? (Not much.) I'd need a space. I'd want to make it look good. I'd need to get books for my space. It's an idle dream, but I don't even know if it's possible or not.

About a month ago, I saw this Buzzfeed listicle float by me. Then, I saw this list go by me as well. And then it sort of all connected in my brain- what better way to figure out what's possible or what's not than by visiting the best independent bookstores in America? I've already started a semi tradition of buying at least one book from my excellen…

This Week In Vexillology #217: Flag Day Special!

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It's Flag Day and you know what that means? Time for our salute to state flags to continue. We're dipping back into the Lost Archives a bit to put together a trifecta of flags that were lost in the mists of cyberspace. First up, we've got Tennessee!
 Adopted on April 17th, 1905 and designed by Colonel LeRoy Reeves, the flag of Tennessee really isn't all that bad when you look at it. It's not a 'Seal On A Bedsheet', it avoids the cardinal sign of being too busy and too cluttered and it is blessedly free of any obvious Confederate symbolism that seems to haunt the flags of the South. NAVA's 2001 survey ranks Tennessee 14th out of 72 flags they surveyed, which seems about right to me. It's not as iconic as Arizona, Texas, Colorado or New Mexico (the big four that always spring to minds) but it's solid, it's recognizable and it's kind of cool, to be honest.

The three stars in the center of the flag represent the three Grand Divisions of the …

Psephology Rocks: "And That's Why You Never Call A Snap Election..."

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Before we start, a moment of schaudenfreude: hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Okay, now that's out of the way, let's get down to Brass Tacks. As I'm sure you and the rest of the world have already realized, the election that Prime Minister Theresa May was under no obligation whatsoever to call and yet inexplicably did in an attempt to "strengthen her mandate" ahead of Brexit negotiations didn't go the way she wanted too, like, at all. Instead of increasing her majority- she lost her majority and is having to cuddle up to the British equivalent of the Republican Party of [Insert State South of the Mason-Dixon Line Here] just to cling, by the skin of her teeth to power.

Snap elections and minority governments have this tendency not to really work all that well, if at all. I'd be banking on another election- maybe this year, more likely next year- but soon. It really d…

Netflix & Chill #16: War Machine

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Watched On: Netflix
Released: 2017
Starring: Brad Pitt, Topher Grace, Anthony Michael Hall, Alan Ruck, Tilda Swinton, Ben Kingsley
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Pick: Mine

I had been seeing previews for this movie here and there for awhile, so when it dropped on Netflix I decided to give it a whirl and was pleasantly surprised and somewhat sobered at the result. Based on The Operators, by Michael Hastings, War Machine is the story of General Glen McMahon (who is based on General Stanley McChrystal) who is brought in to bring a resolution to the conflict in Afghanistan, With him, comes a motley crew of aide-de-camps and deputies ranging from a civil media adviser (Topher Grace), to the Director of Intelligence, loosely based on Mike Flynn (Anthony Michael Hall) and a few others.

They arrive in Afghanistan and immediately realize that they're stuck in a stalemate. The General soon casts his eyes on Helmand Province as a target for a surge of counterinsurgency operations designed to drive out the…

This Week In Vexillology #216

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I'm getting tired of filling in my Lost Weekends In Vexillology (plus, I did Argentina and Uruguay and few weeks back and totally forgot about this important debate going on in Argentina between sky blue and ultramarine) so I had to do some thinking, before it finally hit me! It's Pride Month! So, whipped out my Wikipedia and discovered that not only does the original Pride Flag have some solid symbolism behind it, but holy cow does the LGBTQ community have a lot of flags! So, in honor or Pride Month, let's take it from the top:
Surprise! The original Rainbow Flag was designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978 and it had eight stripes and not the usual six that's been popular since 1979. Hot pink was removed due to fabric unavailability at the time (which knocked it back down to seven stripes) and then Indigo and turquoise were combined and changed to royal blue, which is what gets us down to the six color version seen most often today. (Vertical hanging also played a role in d…

Albums2010 #90: The Joshua Tree, Revisited

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Believe it or not, this whole project of mine began two blogs ago on the 1st of June with none other than The Joshua Tree, so it seems only appropriate to revisit the album that started it all, albeit with a slightly different experience this time around. Way way back in January, U2 announced they were launching a 30th Anniversary Tour for The Joshua Tree it seemed like destiny. I had stood in line for tickets with my mom for the first tour and now finally, I might have a chance to see them live. The time to fulfill my rock n'roll destiny was at hand, so the Missus and I snagged some tickets and made a plan for June. The Grandparents (her Mom and both of my parentals) helped wrangle the kiddos and my parentals (very generously) sprung for the hotel and away we went for a weekend in Chicago, culminating with U2, live at Soldier Field.
First: Soldier Field... I hadn't actually been back to Soldier Field since before it was all renovated and modernized and it was something of a …

Did The GOP Pick The Wrong CEO?

This question rattled through my brain yesterday and the more I think about it, the more I have to wonder if there's something to it. Don't get me wrong: I've long been rolling my eyes about the Conservative dream of 'running the government like a business.' I don't get it. Business is not government and government is not business. One of the biggest problems in the country today is that the boundary lines between government and business and business and government have become way too blurred for either effective regulation of business by the government or a marketplace free of burdensome regulations for business.*

In short, the notion seems laughable to me. But, for the sake of our thought exercise, let's play with the idea a little bit and accept the notion: "The government would work so much better if it ran like a business."

If that's the case, then why on Earth did the GOP rally behind Donald Trump?

In terms of business folks who have sou…

Heads In The Sand

In general, my personal environmental policy can be summed up in a single sentence: "We have one planet and we should take care of it." It a reasonable sentence and one that covers all manner of sins and policies and everything in between, but in general, I tend to shy away from the almost religious fervor that seems to consume the climate debate, because the debate- at least as it's portrayed in the media and culture- doesn't feel scientific, it feels dogmatic. And as a sort of kind of lapsed Catholic, I have an inherent distrust of dogma of any and all kinds.
That's not to say that I don't believe human beings are impacting the climate. The data alone suggests otherwise. We all drive cars. We all fly planes. We all consume consume consume plastics and thanks to our Iowa caucuses have a love affair with ethanol that only contributes to the use of fossil fuels and increases the problem. It's pretty obvious that at some point- if not for Mother Earth, then…

Netflix & Chill #15: The Bonds of Roger Moore, Part 1

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Watched On: Blu-Ray, courtesy of the Parentals
Released: 1983 (Octopussy), 1973 (Live and Let Die), 1974 (The Man With The Golden Gun)
Starring: Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Eckland, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Kabir Bedi
Rotten Tomatoes: Octopussy- 42%, The Man With The Golden Gun- 45%, Live and Let Die- 66%
Picks: Mine

The passing of Roger Moore, who I've long considered to be one of the best James Bond- or at least the one that made the greatest impression on me when I first watched the franchise, got me thinking about how long it had been since I had actually seen any of his Bond movies. One quick trip to the Parentals later and I had their blu-ray set of all the Bond flicks and I was off and running.

I could have (and arguably, maybe should have) done this in chronological order, but for whatever reason I didn't. Instead, I started with one of my favorite Bond movies, full stop and probably the most underrated film of the fr…

This Week In Vexillology #215

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Originally, I was going backtrack to the 'Lost Archives' to take a look at the flag of the Republic of Georgia, but then I thought that yet another 'Lost Weekend In Vexillology' just sounded way too boring. But then, as I was googling 'flag of Georgia' to find the flag I was looking for, it hit me: why not double the amount of Georgia and do both Republic and State? (Since people can legit get them confused I guess.)

So- double shot of Georgia it is! Let's get the obvious one out of the way first- the state of Georgia:
This current version of the flag of Georgia is actually relatively new- it was adopted on May 8th, 2003 and yet still bears the unfortunate name of the 'Georgia Stars and Bars.' Yes, you guessed it: the Confederate States of America still has an unfortunate legacy that's found in the flag of Georgia. (Along with the flag of Mississippi and to some degree, the flag of Alabama.) But, despite that: this is actually a step in the righ…

Squawk Box: Trekfried

Star Trek: Enterprise

I'm ambivalent about Season 3. Let's start with the Xindi Weapon attack on Earth- totally okay with the idea of a massive attack on Earth and sending Enterprise out to find the people responsible. That's all fine and dandy- but a fucking laser beam slicing across the Eastern Seaboard? I'm assuming if they have ships like Enterprise, they have better communications technology than we do now- so you're telling me, they a. didn't notice where it was coming from, b. couldn't extrapolate a trajectory and c. warn people to get out of the way? A massive bomb/asteroid attack like we saw in 'Shockwave' would have been more effective and had more emotional heft- especially when it comes to the death of Trip's sister. If someone drops an asteroid on her, there's absolutely nothing that he could have done. But a gigantic ass laser beam? She didn't see the wall of fire, get in her car and run like hell?

The whole quest for the X…