January 15, 2018
We've Come Admirably Far From Where we Started, But Strayed So Far From The Path That I fear We May Be Lost.
Embed comes via Cdr Salamander, who also makes a very important point about primary sources, one that we've touched on here before.
January 14, 2018
An Honest Trailer This film is exactly what is promised.
Thor Ragnarok is not a particularly profound film, but it is a remarkably fun one. It is also, in writing and art direction, a love letter to the late Jack Kirby, his creations and his fans.
Justice League In stark contrast to a certain other recent tent-pole film, this latest installment in Time Warner's answer to Disney's Marvel franchise is a surprisingly thoughtful yet enjoyable romp that fills in rather than creates plot holes and has considerable respect for the source material.
A direct sequel to Batman VS Superman the film takes place less than a month after the events in that film and is a direct continuation of that story and it both reinforces the good elements of that film and fills in some gaps.
The film is a superhero flick so there is much fighting, biologically improbable displays of prowess, dubious physics, spectacular fight choreography and exquisite pyrotechnics. It also has a damned good story and has some unexpectedly insightful things to say about leadership and command. This film also develops the characters quite well. Ben Affleck's Batman for instance is not particularly likable but what makes the character work is that he is aware of this fact and trying to correct for it. Gale Gadot as Wonder Woman is awesome in a way that defies my ability to describe in words. Aquaman, redneck prince of Atlantis is a completely off the wall take on the character that works surprisingly well and The Flash is just perfect. Odd man out is Cyborg, who is not really given an opportunity to shine character-wise in the same way ( and who is from a different book anyway). Nevertheless he does develop during the course of the film and there is a perfectly valid reason plot-wise that his bionics are so far beyond the state of the art.
The film, although it is fantasy, it is quite consistent with and follows its internal logic and rules...unlike some movies we've seen recently.
Justice League got some negative buzz and had a dissapointing box office, so I was surprised at how good it turned out to be. If it has a weakness, it is it's prequel, Batman vs Superman. That is, the two films are really one story, much more tightly integrated than is usually the case with sequels. The events and plot devices of the first film are so important to the second, that, having seen both movies, I'm unsure if the exposition is adequate to explain some of the plot elements if one has not seen the first film. The two films are more like two chapters in an old serial in that regard.
Anyway, if you have a chance I strongly suggest you go see the film before it finally vanishes.
Crying Wolf As everyone in the world knows, Hawaii was not hit with an ICBM yesterday. This appears to have been a similar screw up to what happened in Guam last year, but much more widely noticed.
A few things to takeaway from this....
Despite its position as a major strategic target from which there is no escape, Hawaii doesn't seem to have much of a public fallout shelter system online. (There are reports that they're working on this though)We don't here either, but that is due to geology (and a water table 4 feet below the grass).
The press seemed to focus on people screaming, but there seem to have been examples of people doing the absolute best in the circumstances and making the most of their warnings.
"Duck and Cover" will actually increase the chances of survival, especially in a limited attack. Note that even if duck and cover only increased ones survival odds by one percent, in a nation of 320 million that's 3.2 million more people who would survive than would otherwise.
Enough of these false alarms will assure that if/when the actual attack comes innocent fatalities will be maximized.
January 13, 2018
A Week Not For the Weak
Is this thing still on?
Probably not, it's been 10 days.
Be advised that banality lurks below the fold. Here as partial atonement is something pleasant, tangentially related and literate by Fuji Choko.
January 04, 2018
The View From My Window Just a Few Hours Ago
For us here in the south it was remarkably novel to have winds approaching hurricane force with...snow. And almost as novel to have so much snow.
Don seems less unimpressed with the weather than one might expect from a Wichitanerainian, though the results of his web searches may be contributing factors.
On the other hand, Pixy, despite dodging the snow bullet completely, has nevertheless encountered a perfect storm of his own....
We may be offline intermittently.
January 03, 2018
Oh Dear. We all knew this was coming eventually...but it hurts to see it come to pass nonetheless.
Regardless of context, this is unfortunate.
No. It's real. They just could have worded it better.
January 01, 2018
December 31, 2017
2017 Damned if this wasn't really the year of the cock. I guess the Chinese zodiac got one right.
A quick perusal through astronomical texts consisting mainly of the paper placemats found in Chinese restaurants reveals that the the incoming year will be that of the dog.
As is usual with astrology and divinations in general this prediction leaves considerable leeway for its deciphering.
While it is looking very likely that 2018 is going to be a real bitch, we here art Brickmuppet Blog are holding out hope for that to end up being less unpleasant than is generally supposed.
Stay warm everybody!
December 26, 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
When the all male hen party that is the men's rights movement has their most paranoid notions validated by one's art, one is probably doing it wrong.
This is a spectacularly beautiful film, which has several interesting aspects. It even goes as far as asking some hard questions about the nature of valor and when a victory comes at too high a cost. However, all of those are tossed in favor of a Mary Sue fanfic with a budget and a message:
History, culture and wisdom can teach us nothing. Burn all the olds.
A brief synopsis:
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, space was riven asunder by a visually spectacular slap fight between tactically inept emo Space NAZIs and incompetent Red Guards in Space, either of whom could have ended the film two hours early if they'd had a junior high school chess player advising them on tactics.
There is an important Aesop in the film though.
Parking regulations are serious business.
December 25, 2017
Meanwhile... In Aleppo...
After enduring unspeakable horrors at the hands of ISIS, this was the first time in 5 years that those in that long suffering city have been able to celebrate Christmas.
It's Over My thoughts on this past Christmas season are hard to put into words.
Fortunately, Onsoku Tassha is not so handicapped and nails it. Even more fortunately, Pixy has provided us with these handy dandy tags!
But enough of such things.
May your KFC be fresh, your wine well aged and your cake free of small animals.
Merry Christmas everybody!
December 23, 2017
Meanwhile, Over Disneyland
As one can imagine this caused some consternation in certain quarters...
"Oh Crap! Not THAT thing!"
Fortunately it was not a giant, ghostly, soul-eating sky whale, but another launch from Space-X, carrying 10 Irridium 4 Satellites.
Here's the video from the launch pad.
December 21, 2017
Something Happened It's unclear WHAT happened, and there is little to go on from our vantage point here in Virginia but given that this site is hosted from Niue and Australia, our best guess is that there was a dramatic altercation between a Bunyip and a Yowie that ended up smashing a transformer station, 3 markalites and the Sydney Mee.nu office.
Now that that's resolved, here is a bit of seasonal cheer from Zenn.
UPDATE: Well, it appears that the comments sidebar is busted, but otherwise everything works fine.
UPDATE 2: It appears that the glitch was actually due to 72,867 websites migrating...much like like wildebeests across the Serengeti.
Update to the Update to the Update: Pixy has a play by play up of what actually happened. No mention is made of Bunyips or Yowies, most likely due to liability issues.
All kidding aside, it appears that there was a perfect convergence of unforeseeable glitches (except for the part where I failed to note that the server migration was announced well in advance).
December 20, 2017
Don't Call Him Mr. App Via Instapundit comes word that Uber recently suffered a setback when an EU court for some reason ruled that the taxi service is actually a taxi service and not a social media app.
This is of limited interest to us except for the fact that it provides a tenuous rationale to visually celebrate the season...
...(and in Teto's case, to celebrate spirit gum)
December 17, 2017
Oh What the HELL Is This?
You know what always makes everything better?
You know what's hard to screw up?
But do you know what year this is?
Yes, it's 2017. So get ready for the inevitable dissappointment that comes from this insidiously tantalizing headline.
New!? I didn't think they were even making dinosaurs anymore!
Oh wait what's this?
Hmmm...I guess they aren't making them any more.
It looks like they just grabbed some random non-dinosaur parts from the reject bin and kitbashed to their hearts content.
I may not be a paleontologist, but I KNOW what dinosaurs looked like 'cause I had a Lewis Marx playset and that thing up there was NOT INNIT!
That ain't no dinosaur!
These here are dinosaurs!
The BEST kind of dinosaurs.
Public domain dinosaurs.
Now get off my lawn!
Old 'Splodies, Newly Released Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories has released another dump of declassified films of above ground nuclear tests. While none are as visually spectacular as some of the ones in the previous release, they're nevertheless interesting and this batch seems to focus mostly on very small (including sub-kiloton) blasts and some of the big multi-megaton tests at the Pacific test range.
Regarding the latter, I do wonder if the great distances these high yield tests were filmed from in comparison to the first is related to the debacle that was Castle Bravo.
One thing about these films only fully registered with me recently. There are several sequences that attempt to film the actual physics as it is happening, and push the 1950s filmmaking state of the art to the limit. Remember, this was captured with film...there was no such thing as a digital camera then... this is a fission/fusion explosion...just really...sloooooowwwwwww.
December 09, 2017
Still Surfing the Cardboard Tsunami So...
A short time ago Amazon, unhappy that they couldn't convince delivery companies to deliver their parcels at a loss, decided that they were never going to use UPS (or that other company) again and they were going to burry the delivery industry with their new delivery service.
As I understand it, Amazon was QUITE emphatic and eloquent in conveying the message to the shipping companies that such services would not be required this year. Thus management adjusted staffing accordingly.
Imagine our shock when Amazon packages started arriving right after Thanksgiving...en masse. It seems that delivering packages is hard and the stress and vexation of this realization is causing Amazon's newly minted employees to meet the challenge...poorly. Some have responded by going mad, or bad, or worse and some have simply cried desperately for help.
Anyway...it's been an exciting couple of weeks (and weekends too, because "OMG!"). I've worked here 25 years, and there have been some rough Christmas seasons, but this one has been a perfect storm of surprises and discoveries such as "Oh...so THAT'S the structural failure point for that type of platform."
But enough childish whining about actually being employed and getting paid lots of sweet overtime, here are some virtual ladies who manage to evoke the spirit of the season in a rather minimalist sort of way, even as they dance to lyrics that...don't.
December 07, 2017
76 Years On Soon all who actually remember it will be gone. What future generations know will be second and then third hand. In a decade of so, after the last have passed and their children are too old to relevantly object, "Interesting and insightful interpretations" will, no doubt, become all the rage in history departments to an even greater extent than they are now.
If present trends continue, we may be among the last people to learn anything approaching what happened during those desperate, crucial years and what we, the grandchildren and great grandchildren of those who were there know is distorted by time, wartime secrecy, human fallibility and the fog of war.
Study what you can. Remember it well, and pass it on to those that care.
December 05, 2017
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