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Showing posts from July, 2017

Be Woke, Kids: Cognitive Privilege Is Neither A Problem Or A Thing

I try and browse through a wide spectrum of news sites and blogs for information and I'm pretty non-discriminatory when it comes to which side of the political equation they land on. Sometimes I go to the right, sometimes I go to the left, I think the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle on most things and it's a practice that has worked well for me thus far.
But whenever the University of Iowa, Iowa City or (in this case) The Daily Iowan start popping up on the right side of the blogosphere, I usually brace myself for an onslaught of stupid and happily, the Daily Iowan is always ready to provide.
Yes, "cognitive privilege" is now a thing. 
Look, I'm no neckbeard who gets all '"Durrrrr, Liberal, Commie Pinko, SJW snowflake" about these things. White privilege, to me, is just a fancy way of saying: "don't judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes." I've never been pulled over because of the color of my skin. …

Netflix & Chill #22: Rogue One

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Watched On: Netflix
Released: 2016
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Pick: Mine

I wanted to try and get to see this movie in the theaters last year, but never got around to it- so I was very excited indeed when it showed up on Netflix and watched it pretty much as soon as I could find a minute or two and wow, did this one live up to the hype and then some.

Set just before Episode IV: A New Hope, Rogue One is essentially the story of the plot to find and steal the plans to the Death Star, which, as all the world knows by now is what triggers the events of the original film trilogy. The movie opens with Imperial Weapons Developer Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) finding research scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) who has been in hiding with his family on the planet Lah'mu. Krennic wants Erso and his family to come back to Imperial service to help him finish building the Death Sta…

This Week In Vexillology #222

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We're wrapping up our trio of Gold Cup Doubleheaders this week with a country that was in the Gold Cup and another that's a CONCACAF member that didn't actually qualify, Suriname. First up, Honduras- which broke out of the group stage of the Gold Cup before running into Mexico in the quarterfinals where they lost 1-0. (Mexico, in their turn lost to Jamaica in the semi-finals to set up a Jamaica-USA Final.)

Here's Honduras:
The blue and white combo is pretty similar to El Salvador- but we're also getting further away from Guatemala and their vertical tricolor as well. It was adopted on March 7th, 1866 for national and civil usage. It was (no surprise here) based on the flag of the Federal Republic of Central America. The flag was amended and the five stars in the center were placed their to represent the five original Central American provinces. The two blue stripes stand for the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and the 'X' pattern the stars are arranged …

Boozehound Unfiltered: A.D. Laws Four Grain

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I don't know when we'll get back to Colorado, but when we do, a visit to Laws Whiskey House is going to be high on my list of 'things to do.' (Plus: with any luck, the kiddos will all be a little older so they might actually dig it a little more.) But while we didn't get to the Whiskey House itself, I did manage to score a bottle of this lovely, delicious stuff:
(Some background on this: after years of lurking, I finally hopped on Reddit for real (I'm at u/litcityblues if you're a fellow Redditor reading this) and I kid you not, about a week, week and a half before we were set to head out for vacation, there's a post that I find about a haul of Colorado whiskey. So tentatively, not really knowing what I'm doing, I hop on there and ask what the r/Whiskey Hive Mind would recommend from the Centennial State that you can't really find anywhere else. I can get Stranahan's 'round here, so I wanted something local. The r/Whiskey Hive Mind spoke…

The Bookshot Bucket List #2: Colorado

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We went to Colorado last month on vacation (if you didn't already know that by now) and after hitting up the Museum of Science and Nature in Denver, we hit up The Tattered Cover Bookstore before heading back to Tacos, Tequila and Whiskey for some of the best tacos I think I've ever had.
What surprised me first about The Tattered Cover was the size of it. It was positively palatial, with a downstairs, a main floor and a 'stage' area with a reading room/news stand toward the front of the store. It's the kind of place that you could easily get lost in and/or spend a lot of money in, but the thing that I liked most about it was the different 'areas.' It gives the impression that you could travel to different places while you were in the same store. I really dig that.

I'm not really sure how to describe where its located. The Colfax District/neighborhood is nice enough- very artsy/hipstery and interesting enough, but there's kind of a pedestrian mall/sho…

Today Kind of Sucks

I've written about this now and again on Tumblr over the past few months, but I've never really taken to this blog to talk about it, so, long story short for those that don't already know:

Thanksgiving of last year, we got a call about the Elder Spawn having a half brother, Tiny Man. Tiny Man and Elder Spawn shared the same mom, who had gotten pregnant and kicked out of prison right at 36 weeks pregnant. (Whether this was because she had actually done enough time/good behavior or because DOC was looking for an excuse to kick her out before she delivered, we don't know, but Tiny Man could have had a very entry into the world had they waited three weeks.) Mom OD's on heroin once. Then twice. And at that point, they got Tiny Man out of there. Mom's rights were terminated and a warrant was issued for her arrest. She went radio silent for about a day and a half, two days and then turned up, tragically, dead- of an overdose.

So, then DHS is calling, because poor Tiny…

Netflix & Chill #21: Jodorowsky's Dune

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Watched On: Hulu
Released: 2014
Starring: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Michel Seydoux, HR Giger, Chris Foss, Nicolas Winding Refn, Amanda Lear, Richard Stanley
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Pick: Mine

I've been keeping an eye out for this documentary for awhile, so I was excited beyond belief when a r/documentaries over at Reddit threw up a link that took me to Hulu and this amazing documentary. For those that don't know: before David Lynch made Dune, which I think more or less everyone agree was less than good- though I'll totally cop to sitting down and watching it for a bit whenever I find it on television, a guy by the name of Alejandro Jodorowsky had this massive, crazy idea to do a film adaptation of Dune. It would have been either a. amazing or b. batshit lunacy but it's a movie that I would have loved to have seen, despite the liberties it took with the book.

Jodorowsky hailed from Mexico and got his start in independent, avant garde film. I'm not an expert in that particular …

This Week In Vexillology #221

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It's time for our second Gold Cup Doubleheader-- this time, featuring a team that's not actually in the Gold Cup, Guatemala (they were actually suspended from the competition.) and El Salvador, who faced the United States in the Gold Cup quarterfinal and lost. Let's get to it, shall we?

First up, Guatemala:
I've always actually really liked the flag of Guatemala and thinking about it, I think it's the quetzal bird that does it for me- the long tail that runs the length of the central emblem is just about perfect- but the other aspects of the flag work as well. The blue stripes are meant to represent the two oceans that the country lies between- the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean as well as the sky above the country. The white stands for peace and purity. The overall blue and white color combination should be familiar- especially if you're all about Central America and it's early history as it recalls the flag of the Federal Republic of Central America.

The…

Bookshot #98: Pride and Prejudice

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Well, I've done it. I finally sat down and read a Jane Austen novel. I suppose in literary circles this officially classifies me as either 'woke' or 'woefully behind the times and why haven't you read Emma and Sense and Sensibility yet because Jane Austen is awesome.' But it's done. I read it. And... hoo boy. My initial reaction: "man, dating was complicated back in the day."

The first half of this book was probably the hardest to read. Austen isn't big on a lot of direct dialogue and there were reams upon reams of exposition in the early going that made this kind of a tough road to hoe. Mr. Bennett was probably my favorite character of the early going. Lizzy just seemed like a real pain in the ass- but in a good way, you know? She wanted to be picky, she was protective of her sisters and when Bingley and Jane hit it off only to be sort of broken up by Darcy it seemed like a 19th Century definition of a 'dick move.'

Lizzy then fends of…

"Oh, Those Russians..."

I think I made up new swears pic.twitter.com/oFbrM8zvzw — Swear Trek (@swear_trek) July 9, 2017 God bless this GIF. It sums up so much of our interminable existence as our nation reels from one supposed crisis/scandal to the next. Donald Trump Jr. has finally forced me off the fence. I feel compelled, nay driven, to take a position on this whole Russia Fiasco and after some deep thought and consideration, I've decided upon the following:

I don't care.

(I could use stronger language here: "I don't give a shit." "I don't give a fuck." But I went with simple, clean and easy- because I don't care.)

That's not say that I don't care about the integrity of our elections- I do, but the media's not talking about the integrity of our elections- their talking about collusion- real or imagined with Russia. Is that troubling? Sure. But actual proof thus far is sketchy at best- the documents leaked by NSA Contractor Reality Winner probably have b…

The New Doctor Who Hullabaloo

The regeneration cycle of Who fandom has begun. New Doctors usually lead to something akin to the five stages of grief:

1. Denial: "I can't believe they replaced [Beloved Former Doctor] with [New Doctor]. [Beloved Former Doctor] will always be the one, true Doctor Who to me!

2. Anger: "[New Doctor] is going to ruin the show! The show is dead to me! I'm going to stop watching right after [Beloved Former Doctor's] last episode!"

3. Bargaining: "I wonder if they'll bring [Fan's Doctor of Choice] after [New Doctor] flames out after a season or two. That would be okay."

4. Depression: "Man, [New Doctor] is going to suck. [Beloved Former Doctor] and his predecessors were so much better."

5. Acceptance: "I can't wait to see the new Christmas special!"

The regeneration cycle is a little bumpier than usual this time around because the Beeb has taken the leap and made British Actress Jodie Whittaker the 13th Doctor. I guess te…

Netflix & Chill #20: Beauty and The Beast

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Watched On: The In-Laws Television
Released: 2017
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Pick: The In-Laws (Redbox Night on Vacay)

We made it across Colorado and Nebraska on the last Friday of vacation before coming to a merciful halt for the night at the In-Laws place in Omaha. Both the Elder and Younger Spawn got to play with their cousins for a bit and then we settled in for a Redbox movie night featuring Disney latest live action conversion, Beauty and The Beast.

I remain somewhat conflicted and puzzled by Disney's latest move at converting every excellent animated movie they ever made into a live action feature. Conflicted, because some of these animated movies were very very very good indeed and if they were that good, well then, why bother with a live action remake that runs the risk of being less good than the original. Puzzled because…

This Week In Vexillology #220

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The CONCACAF Gold Cup is underway and on various sports channels right now so as I was scratching my head, pondering what to do next, I figured it out: I'll combine my love of soccer with my love of flags and break down some of the nations involved in the tournament. We've got three doubleheaders lined up to round out the month of July and first up, we're starting right in the middle with the Central American neighbors of Costa Rica and Panama!

Costa Rica is sitting on top of Group A right now, following a win over Honduras and a draw against Canada and a solid thumping of French Guiana. Here's what their flag looks like:
Adopted November 27, 1906 for national and civil usage, it was designed by Pacifica Fernandez who was in turn inspired by the 1848 Revolution in France and the creation of the French Second Republic. The blue-white-red combination is taken directly from the French tricolor. (It's similar to the flag of Thailand and the flag of North Korea as well-…

Is Biotin Bullshit?

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Most people already know this about yours truly, but for those that don't, I've been growing my beard out. Like hardcore. I don't think I really had any driving motivation to do so- it's not like I'm aiming for The Beard Olympics or something (though I could) it's just that I didn't want to shave anymore. So, beard.
But I figured if I was going to beard, I might as well do some research about it. I got the brush to get in there and keep my beard fresh and relatively free of dead skin cells and the like. I got a comb to keep it less wild and bushy. I got special shampoo to keep it soft and conditioned. I got beard balm to make it smell night and keep the natural oils in the hair all happy.
In short I went all in on beard- and that included grabbing some biotin and taking it as part of my increasingly old mannish sized spectrum of supplements and vitamins. (It's getting a little ridiculous actually- currently: Zinc, Folic Acid, CoQ10, Quecertin, Allergy Pi…

The Basement Purge Chronicles

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Operation: Purge is underway in our house and things are moving at a delightful speed. We got a bunch of stuff out of Mom and Dad's basement and we sorted that out and we cleaned out all the boxes in the basement, I got a bunch of books purged and in general, there's less clutter and right now that feels good. It's going to be nice to streamline and simplify things and both The Missus and I are excited to get this massive project underway. Less toys. Less crap. Less boxes. Less stuff over all. It's a good feeling.

It's also lead to the discovery of some interesting treasures:
(There's a lava lamp in an 'as yet to be opened' tote that I'm looking forward to unpacking.) But the real prize was the collection of binders that apparently contained everything that I've ever written dating all the way back to 5th Grade. Yes, you read that right. I found a bound collection of Myths that we all wrote back in the 5th Grade. I found anthologies from a varie…

Albums2010 #91: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

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Sgt. Pepper turned 50 this year, so naturally, we had to include it on the list at some point. While I like The Beatles and went through a period early in my undergraduate years where I listened to a ton of their stuff. (I think it was a combination of the release of Anthology in the mid-90s and the hoopla around that and then '1' dropped my freshman year of college.) I'm pretty sure that I saw A Hard Day's Night and I know Mom had Rubber Soul in her stack of CDs... but other than that (oh and maybe listening to Abbey Road and The White Album at least once a piece) I wasn't really all that much into The Beatles. (Except this paragraph makes it seem like I totally was.)

But Sgt. Pepper was one that I hadn't sat down for in awhile, so I dug it up on Spotify and gave it a whirl. The first thing that stands out is the running time. This is a relatively quick album- coming in at 39:52 but the other thing that stands out is how seamlessly it all fits together. I'…

Netflix & Chill #19: The Bonds of Roger Moore, Part 2

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Watched On: Blu-Ray, courtesy of the Parentals
Released: 1981 (For Your Eyes Only), 1985 (A View To A Kill), 1979 (Moonraker), 1977 (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Starring: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Julian Glover, Topol, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones, Patrick Macnee, Christopher Walken, Richard Kiel, Barbara Bach, Curt Jurgens
Rotten Tomatoes: For Your Eyes Only- 74%, A View To A Kill- 36%, Moonraker- 60%, The Spy Who Loved Me- 79%
Picks: Mine

(Apparently the addition of a fourth movie to my tally created some formatting problems, so if this post looks a little awkward, I apologize.)

Last month, before we headed out on vacation, I spent some time building a fort out of newspapers and watching the rest of the Bonds of Roger Moore- so without further ado, here's Part 2 or, as I like to call it, "The Best of the Rest."

First up, was For Your Eyes Only. Any movie that has Topol in it is going to be a good movie- and if you throw in Julian Glover to boot, you move up a peg or two in my e…

This Week In Vexillology #219

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This was supposed to be the 'July 4th Special' for this year but it didn't quite fall on the holiday, so we're going to do it the Saturday after and just say it counts. We went to Colorado on vacation this year, so it should come as no surprise that This Week In Vexillology, we're going to feature the flag of Colorado!
While I didn't succeed in my goal of finding a flag of Colorado while we were in Colorado, I did get a super cool Colorado flag thermos that I plan on drinking coffee and other hot beverages out of as soon as I get the opportunity. (Hey, flag swag is just as good as an actual flag, right?) 
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the flag of the Centennial State though, we gotta talk about that infamous 2001 NAVA Survey. Colorado ranked 16th. I'm sorry, but that is way too freakin' low. I mean, don't get me wrong- it's not bad. It's not a total miscarriage of justice, but it's still, way too freakin' low. The NAVA Surve…

Break The Spectrum: Use Your Y-Axis for Once

If you think the Democratic Party is in a bit of trouble these days, you're probably one of the few people paying attention to facts on the ground instead of whatever noxious swill cable news is trying to force down our throats, gavage style instead. Happily, the New York Times ran an op-ed yesterday that has the solution you've been looking for: do what Bill Clinton did and move back to the center!

On the face of it, it's not a horrible idea, except in the many ways that it is. Part of the problems that I had with Mrs. Clinton's two candidacies was that both resembled a Reunion Tour for aging political operatives in ways that were damaging to both the Democratic Party and her chances in the election*. You can't run like it's 1992 in 2008 and yet in '08 all the old Clinton faithful were back in the saddle again. You also can't like it's 2008 in 2016 and try and glue together what appears to be a once-in-a-generation coalition put together by Preside…

Squawk Box: The Grab Bag

13 Reasons Why: In terms of a starting point for discussions on suicide, depression and overall mental health for teens, I think 13 Reasons Why is a good show. I think these are important conversations to have (and you can add the importance of consent, sexual assault, slut-shaming- a whole host of things, really) for young adults and if this show can change some minds and spark some discussions for kids and teens, excellent.

As a show, however... oh boy. Where to begin? Hannah, Clay and Tony aside (though I did want to hit Clay over the head a few times) with the exception of the surly barista, Skye (who is my favorite character on this show) all the other kids on this show are fucking awful. Plus, the premise of the show itself gets stretched almost beyond credibility: you mean to tell me that they keep the box of tapes secret for longer than a day? No way that happens in real life. Kids talk too damn much. Her suicide plan is also way too elaborate for my taste: she goes through al…

The Idiocies of Legalized Fireworks

Look, what did you think was going to happen? You legalize fireworks and of course the number of fireworks that got purchased and used is going to increase- exponentially for the first year (hopefully it will level out and diminish in coming years.) Making fireworks illegal has never once stopped people from purchasing them and using them. And if they're going to be legal and purchased, they might as well be legal and purchased in Iowa, right? Makes sense.

And yet, Iowa City (and many other cities) in its wisdom has made the sale and purchase of fireworks legal yet expects it's residents not to actually use them. So, as the P-C reported the ICPD responded to 1 fireworks complaint last month and they're already at 57 for the month as of July 1st.*

In general, I've reconciled myself to the provincial narrow mindedness that can rear it's ugly head from time to time living in this town. The same townies that spent my youth bemoaning the out of control bar culture and t…