When did?

The public library stop being a place of solitude and quiet, a welcome retreat into the recesses of ones mind, uninterrupted by woeful distractions, such as obnoxious young kids galavanting around, and even elderly people having loud and very uninteresting chats in the aisles? I can hear a TV at least 75 feet behind me (Teen Age Mutant Ninja Turtles). I can hear multiple conversations between who knows who about who knows what. There was someone a few minutes ago right behind me, sounded like they were hacking up a damn hairball. 

I remember, perhaps a long time ago, when the library was a venue of respect. Respect for those who might be pondering life’s important questions, Maybe doing research on a topic for school. Maybe researching something that just caught your fancy. Maybe just a place to hang out and read a book you had been thinking about. And you could expect to do so in relative peace and quiet.

One thing is certain, this library is no longer such a haven for quiet thought. This place has apparently become a baby sitter for some peoples kids, and a place where striking up long winded and loud conversations is commonplace. There are a lot of things I miss these days. Sub dollar gas, a thriving economy, good sense in our elected officials, appreciation of all things scientific by the public at large, and a damned quiet library among many.

I guess it only gets worse as we move on down the line, watching time drift by like a raft on the river. Things we used to take for granted becoming obsolete or non existent. Disappearing forever into the void of time. Forgotten. Some of us see these things fading away, some never notice. Some see what has become lost, and some of us hate to see them go…

Advertisements

Sharknado, SYFY’s Chumbucket

Slow TV night. I had read other takes on this SYFY movie, that it was horrible, terrible to the point of being ridiculous, and it is. This is one of those movies that if you made a drinking game up to take a shot for every stupid action in the movie, you would be passed out drunk after the first few minutes. The only winner being the maker of your preferred alcoholic beverage. 

The stupid comes at you hard and fast. There is so much of it, it would take hours to document. All I can say really, is my 12 year old son could do a better, more realistic job at producing and directing a movie. SYFY should take a long hard look at their “movie” department, and clean house appropriately. Heads should roll. 

Did I mention it was a slow TV night? Directly after the “S” word movie that shall not be named, they premiered Blast Vegas. Another lousy not even “B” movie. At least this one while poorly done, with the usual lousy graphics and even more lousy acting, had a plot that was mildly interesting. This one follows the tried and true “unlikely hero that gets the girl” formula that you can see coming from a mile away. But it managed to hold itself together amid the unrealistic scenarios and bad decisions by the next soon to be dead people, ala the redshirts of Star Trek. For the most part though it features the cheezy-ness and and sure signs of a low budget flick that SYFY is becoming famous for. Famous in a bad way. Still way better than the “S” movie that that shall not be named, which isn’t saying much.

When did TV movies become a synonym for check your IQ at the door? Is the public at large really so shallow minded and unable to distinguish between a well thought out plot with sincere acting and a stinking pile of crap that has no visible merit except some fake blood, terrible renditions of computer graphics, maybe some leg showing, and some boobies bouncing around? (Wait…don’t answer that. I sometimes have to go to town and interact with the public at large. I think I instinctively have a strong hunch, I just don’t want to know I know.) The next logical step would be to ask the executives at SYFY the same questions and see what floats to the surface…I wonder who they answer to? Do they approach this from the “any attention is good attention angle”? Do they keep churning out these flimsy excuses for TV movies just because advertisers will pay for the commercial slots? If I was an advertising agency, Id think twice about associating myself with dreck like this, but logic tends to run in short supply where it is needed most. 

We can only hope that SYFY steps up and does a better job at the Saturday evening movie thing they are doing (well it used be a Sat night thing). I have very sincere doubts that this will happen, given the direction and the steepness of the downhill slide they are heading in. Indeed all of TV seems to be heading towards the same cesspool of blissful ignorance with no signs of intelligent thought. I fear for our grandchildren. 

Can we get back to baseball please? I know they are grossly overpaid and over idolized, and they have to do that damned disgusting Glob Bless Amerika song (gotta love the mute button), but the game is real. I long for REAL. Give me something real that doesn’t stink of shallow stupidity or manufactured drama…and cake, I like cake.

Quote of the Month

You know, you see people claiming that this country was founded on x-ian principles a LOT these days. As if an oft repeated lie will make it true. Sorry, repeating what your authority figure says as fact, without any investigation into the matter, is just plain ole laziness. These lies spread like a plague among those who want to hold their preconceptions dear and these false claims are used as a buffer zone to solidify their beliefs, and sadly in some cases to try to influence the laws of this country. 

A little bit of digging however will reveal that the claims made by these supposed authority figures are usually quote mines, or outright lies. The sheep that believe these misconceptions do so without ever questioning the validity of the claim, and that is what the priests, reverends, or elected officials are counting on. With this in mind, I decided to do a “Quote of the Month” feature, presenting actual quotes from our nations founders. 

The site I am referencing is here: http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html   you can go there and see for yourself, if you are so inclined. Anywho, if anyone wants to know who I am at heart, I am one of these guys. You might recognize the names: Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Adams, Paine, and even Washington and Lincoln. Without further ado, the first in the Quote of the Month series…

James Madison: “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise”   – letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774

…yep, sounds like x-ain principles….NOT

 

I Cant Say I’m Surprised….

The Texas overlords managed to push their anti abortion legislation through, despite the protests of many who opposed the bill. This effectively kills accessible abortion (5 clinics of an existing 42 can meet the new standards, Texas is a BIG state) in Texas, making it all but impossible for all but a very few clinics to live up up the limitations set forth.

This basically strips many women of what should be an autonomous right to make decisions based on the knowledge of their personal circumstances, whatever that may be. Instead of doing what the Rethugs claim, which is to “protect life” this will effectively force desperate women with no place to turn, to seek very dangerous alternatives. When you consider the fact that these are religiously motivated Republicans, it is no wonder they cannot see the trees for the forest, and common sense isn’t. An all too true circumstance of those infected with religion…

This is a sad day for Texas women. A sad day for women all over this country. There is only one way to fix situations like this, and that is to do your best to clean out every R house and senate chair every time there is an election, continue to protest this kind of nonsense every time it is forced upon us, and failing these scenarios… beat them in court. I am sure there will be a court battle over this eventually. I do hope that good sense prevails over what I perceive as the totalitarian dictators that are otherwise known as the Texas Republicans.

Today, I spit in the general direction of Texas.

http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/texas-passes-strict-abortion-law/storynew?id=19651778#.UeIAFY1OM4c

 

Stellarium

I am probably the last guy in this county to get a cell phone. I live so far out in the stix that the sunlight we get is already a day old. I’m that guy that will be late for his own funeral.

I only very recently acquired a laptop when most kids these days have every electronic gadget known to man. So I am probably very late in discovering a fantastic astronomy program that is available as a FREE download. It’s name is Stellarium. 

If you are a backyard astronomer, or just enjoy looking at the night sky, this is a must have program. I have tried a few other well known free astro programs that are also very good, and quite usable, with lots of neat stuff, but Stellarium is just so smooth. What I mean, is when you want the sky to scroll around to another area, the motion isn’t laggy or jumpy, or feels like it is uncoordinated. It is smooooth. The sky is very realistic as well, sharp even, with  a very natural feeling color. You can adjust every setting you can think of, to suit your depth of sky knowledge. You can use a plug in to enter your eyepiece and telescope stats, that will show you a field of view that will be just like what your telescope or binoculars will see when you look at an object. This feature alone is an incredible resource for anyone looking for a certain faint object, or identifying something you did not know existed when you are panning around. 

I simply cannot imagine another observing session without having Stellarium by my side. Even though I am pretty much a minimalist, which means I try to get everything I need out the door, in 2 trips with no exceptions. This will be worth the 3rd trip, and running an extension cord. And that is about as high a praise I can think of. 

Get it, FREE, here: http://www.stellarium.org/    Across the top of the page are links for your system, just click the one that is right for you, and open up a new window into the night sky. Your download will begin. It is only around 80 MB. Don’t even think about it, click the link!

It is Awesome with a capital “A”, and you can’t beat the price.