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July 31, 2007

Best of Ironic1


Markk tagged me for this "Best of" Meme in which the blogger is supposed to pull out 10 or fewer posts that represent your high points so far. I decided to lift out 9 posts that:

1) were original work,
2) showed the variety of things I did on my blog, and
3) may have not received much attention the first time I published them

I didn't necessarily put up the most popular ones by hits or comments, but the ones I liked a lot.

4040.jpgForty for Forty - 40 quotes in 40 days for my 40th birthday. When people want to get to know the real me, I point them to this thread.

inigomon.jpgNext Time They Want You to Wear a Nametag - Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya...

darkroast.jpgMedium Dark Roast, Occasionally a Muffin - A story about our secret names.

00.jpg0° 0° - Humans are silly.

mowsmug.jpgHow to Mow Smugly - I bought a push lawnmower! My green cred just doubled. Aren't I cool?

intlife.jpgSigns of Intelligent Life - I decided to choose just one play out of the many I've posted.

malren.jpgFriendly Fascism - This post incorporates science fiction, politics, and religion which makes it probably my best post ever!

phantomring.jpgPhantom Ring - Some things linger.

strangerfiction.jpgFate, Life, and Art - I thought I should include one of my idiosyncratic theological movie reviews, and here it is!

Okay, meme accomplished! I hereby tag Michelle, Fuzzy, TheMolk, Laurie, and Matt.

Meme Rules:

1. Please try to limit your post to 10 items or less
2. Tag 5
3. Take your time. Do some digging in the archives and find the perfect ones - it’s to your advantage more than anything else.
4. Please if possible, link to this post for meme info, and please link to the post that you were tagged in. Memes go on for quite a long time and when trying to follow one backwards to see some of the other posts, it gets quite difficult when only the blog URL is used.. Just a request.
5. The people you tag, please let them know by email, contact form or some other efficient method.

July 29, 2007

The Gospel for Draco Malfoy

200px-Draco_Malfoy_PoA.jpgFor those of you who haven't yet read the seventh Harry Potter book, some mild spoilers follow.

For those of you who haven't read any Harry Potter books, this will still make some sense. It revolves around Draco Malfoy, a bully and sometimes antagonist to Harry. Draco spends the seven books either bullying the weak with his posse of dim-witted heavies or kissing up to those he estimates are powerful.

In the the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series, Draco, in spite of his worst intentions and best efforts to reclaim favor with Voldemort (the chief bad guy), is spared his life many times through the actions of others, often at great peril to themselves. He is often oblivious to this or, if he has some inkling of sacrifices that have been made for him, he is ungrateful.

In short, he is a sycophantic, self-centered, power-hungry brat who has an overdeveloped sense of his own entitlement. I shake my head at Draco and wonder if he has any idea what people have sacrificed for him, and yet he shows no gratitude, no remorse.

And, wondering this, I realize that I have more in common with Draco than I'd like to think. Oh, I wouldn't describe myself as a bully, but am I really aware of the sacrifices that have been made for me through the years, directly or indirectly? Am I grateful enough for the happy circumstances that surround my existence? Do I treat those around me according to the grace I have been given?

Some may be disturbed that Malfoy doesn't get more of a comeuppance at the end of Deathly Hallows, that he has received unmerited grace over and over again. And yet we live too in that grace. Over and over again we have received benefits which we do not deserve, forgiveness that we do not merit, sustenance for which we did not toil.

So I end the series with some chagrin, recognizing the Draco within, and vowing to be more grateful, more humble, and more joyful for the life I have.

July 26, 2007

Deathly Hallows Impressions

deathlyhallows.jpgWell, I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and my official review is - wow.

I just thought I'd put up a thread for my initial impressions.

I won't put any spoliers here on the front page, but "continue reading" for specifics.

To any who haven't read it yet let me say that it is a most satisfying read especially if you have read the other six books carefully because Rowling does an excellent job of wrapping up all the loose threads. I really need to go back and reread The Half-Blood Prince but she refers to all of the previous six books. Having read Deathly Hallows it is very clear that the whole series was carefully plotted out. She was not making it up as she went along.

Spoilers follow - you have been warned.

"Pius Thicknesse" may be my new favorite Rowling name ever. The fact that he becomes the new Minister of Magic is just too classic for chance. It is always a calamity when leaders rise to power, by means of others, who are pious and thick.

The scene in the forest where Harry finds Gryffindor's sword is so amazingly classic I felt goose pimples all over me as I read it. Somehow I knew Ron would return at that moment. Ron Weasley always had a bit of the Arthurian aura about him as evidenced by the names in his family. His pulling the sword from the water and saving Harry... brilliant. Worth the price of admission right there.

And speaking of Gryffindor's sword, how cool is it that Neville fulfills his destiny and strikes down Nagini?

I am glad that Snape's role in the series was explained at last and satisfactorily. And I liked the explanation. It all fit. Snape is such a fantastic literary figure. He, and Narcissa Malfoy in the end, show the weakness of those who choose to rule by fear.

In the realm of romance, being the hopeless romantic that I am, I am so glad that Ginny didn't die. I really feared she would. I could have read a lot more about her.

Ron and Hermione, well, what more can be said? The long awaited kiss was well worth the wait. Can someone come up with a more perfectly paired literary couple? I can't think of any at the moment.

I am also so glad that Beatrix had her come uppance at the hand of Molly Weasley. Word to the wise, mess with the Weasleys, you answer to Molly.

I had feared that either Fred or George would die. That one hit me harder than any of the others.

Percy came back! I knew he would! Good on you, Perce!

I loved the amount of backstory included in this installment. The stories, legends, histories were great. Rowling's imagination is amazingly rich.

Draco Malfoy... have you learned anything? Has your grace been too cheap? Can you appreciate how much you have been loved without earning it? I ask the same questions of myself sometimes.

Feel free to add your own impressions or respond to mine. What were your favorite moments or overall impressions?

July 25, 2007

The Gypsy Kiss

Peacock51-255x419.jpgWandering around the blogoverse you encounter the most interesting vagabonds. Meet Amy, for example - bellydancer, ren fair enthusiast, and entrepreneur.

She just opened The Gypsy Kiss about a week ago dealing in "oddities, imports, finery, and fripery." Looking through her site is like visiting a virtual bazaar. On her cart you'll find jewelry, some of which she made herself, skirts, tops, and whatnot.

All this for the laudable purpose of quitting her dayjob and charting her own course.

And why, you may well ask, this shameless plug?

Gypsy magic, I say.

July 24, 2007

Tired of those stale, store-bought films?

free_range_annie_small.jpgThose corporate, factory farm films are often filled with preservatives and pesticides and very little nutritional value. Sure, they look good on the shelf with their bright colors, but will they really fill you up?

Well, don't despair! Go to the Free Range Film Festival where the films aren't made on those big, corporate plantations, but raised organically by local producers. Sure, they might not be as flashy, but taste the goodness!

The Fourth Annual Free Range Film Festival is being held this weekend in Wrenshall, Minnesota (near Duluth) in an old barn on an organic farm. The two day festival features almost 40 films many of which are 10 minutes long or less.

Dance, Pipecleaner Man, Dance!

I found this on davidbessler.com. Use the big buttons to select a tune to dance to and then mouseover the little buttons to strike different poses. You can also use your keyboard to make him dance.

Full Screen Version

My favorite dance moves? Soundtrack F with dance moves FGH in random order throwing in some JK. Try it.

July 21, 2007

An Open Letter to Subway

Courtesy of Left Handed Toons by Right Handed People where right handed people draw cartoons... with their left hands.

July 20, 2007

If I were you...

if-i-were-you-label.jpgA couple years ago I was giving Simon some fatherly advice which started "If I were you..."

He listened patiently and informed me that I was incorrect because, "if you were me then you would think like I do and act like I do."

Can't argue with that logic.

Similarly I realized the other day that in any conditional (if A then B) if the antecedant (A) is false then the consequent (B) may or may not be true.

Therefore, when someone begins a sentence with the patently false antecedant "If I were you" you can pretty much ignore anything they say because there is no truth value to it.

Now there's logic you can use.

Good Grief!

Charlie Brown gone manga? There's a genre-bender for you. Found this on a gallery by the artist, gNAW. What would Charles Schultz think?

July 17, 2007

Keeping it Surreal in Duluth

MrNice_300px.jpgMr. Nice is running for mayor of Duluth, Minnesota. At least, he wants to. City officials are denying him access to the ballot because they say he's not a person, he's a piece of art. As if we've never elected a puppet to office! At least with Mr. Nice we know what we're getting!

Here is his announcement of candidacy courtesy of Starfire.

His platform includes:

  • Open the Duluth tunnel system for strolling
  • Refinance the health care crisis by defaulting on the loan
  • Turn the Aquarium into a revenue-generating sport-fishing arena and Navy SEAL training facility
  • A secret plan for both ending and continuing the war in Iraq
  • Legalize gangsterism in order to fund more police to keep our communities safer
  • Sell fighter jet parts from the air base to Iran to offset the retiree healthcare crisis

His struggle is the subject of this Duluth News Tribune article and there is a poll on the main page asking "Would you vote for a puppet?" Feel free to flood the poll.

There is a rally protesting his exclusion from the ballot today at 4:20pm on the commons outside the Duluth City Hall.

July 14, 2007

The Only Winning Move

I just watched WarGames with my kids for probably the first time since I saw it back when I was a teenager in the early 80s. I distinctly remember watching it over and over again at our local cinema in my hometown.

While I had to explain some of the Cold War references in the film the three of us were amazed at how well the film stood up 24 years later. The message is still timely.

Emma wasn't mortally offended by the fashions, though she thought the computers in the war room looked more like washing machines. Simon guffawed at the floppy disks but he was excited to see someone actually playing the arcade version of Galaga in the same way a car enthusiast gets giddy over seeing Model T Ford in working condition.

July 12, 2007

Harry Potter and the Wicked Hot Summer

harry-potter-phoenix.jpgI went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with my kids this afternoon. It was a good film and a very decent adaptation of the book with several stand out performances and a jolly good fight scene to cap it off in the end.

That said something happens in the opening scene that could make my blood boil, or nearly so. The opening shot is of suburbia not too far from Number 4 Privet Lane and a voiceover of a British announcer with the weather, letting the audience know it's a hot hot summer with temperatures in the 90s and may even hit 100. Really? In Britain? 100 degrees is way past hot, it's boiling... literally. The British, as well as nearly the rest of the world, has been using Celsius for temperature readings for over 30 years. So why is this opening voiceover using Fahrenheit? It would be like Harry going into a shop and pulling dollar bills out of his pocket instead of pounds.

I expect the answer is that this is the U.S. version of the film and that people in the States are, apparently, too dumb to understand that the rest of the world uses Celsius, or at least the film industry thinks so. This kind of pandering is just infuriating to me. It perpetuates the idea that the world will conform to our point of view and simultaneously dumbs down the American audience by refusing to rock their boat.

Frankly, our boat needs rocking.

Okay, end rant.

July 10, 2007

Music Everywhere

Musica para 6 baterias y 1 apartamento - ZappInternet

I don't really want to turn my blog into a clip joint, but I've been coming across so many I want to share of late. This is the latest and it comes from my favorite school of art - the "hey I could do that" school of art. I love art which makes you look at your world anew with wonder and possibility. While this video is a bit long at almost 10 minutes, it's definitely worth the ride.

July 9, 2007

New York Travel Tips

Mark Erickson of Infinite Solutions shows you how to pinch pennies in the Big Apple.

And if you believe him you are the most gullible person I know.

Pause on the "original manuscript" for Othello. It's hilarious.

July 8, 2007

Spam Trek

It's not often I get to indulge two geeky pleasures at once. I found this on the Monty Python Video Wall, a treasure in itself.

Saving the World one sandwich at a time

pbj.jpgSo, what are you having for lunch?

Doesn't sound like an earth shattering question, but the people at the PB&J Campaign think differently. They are encouraging people to eat more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to help slow global warming, save water, and save land from deforestation, overgrazing, and pesticides. This is over other lunch alternatives such as burgers or ham sandwiches or even cheese sandwiches. This is all based on eating lower on the food chain and, thus, having a smaller environmental impact. They run the numbers and it's pretty astounding. And, if you are sick of peanut butter and jelly, they suggest some tasty alternatives.

Also, I have to say, their website layout and design is very tasteful and fun.

So, what are you having for lunch?

5000 Years of Religion in 90 Seconds

View Full Screen

Related Post: 5000 Years of Middle East History in 90 Seconds

Thanks to Monastic Musings for pointing this map out to me.

It's an interesting take, however I'm not sure how accurate it is to have Judaism completely disappear and then reappear only with the establisment of the state of Israel in the 20th century. And how about all of the other world religions such as Shintoism, Confucianism, Taoism, and so on? Here are a couple interesting related images from the Wikipedia entry on World Religions.

Here's another fun interactive map that does something similar from the BBC.

July 6, 2007

The Enterprise faces a new deadly enemy!

The Enterprise has survived the Borg, Cardassians, and Romulans, but will they survive the Blue Screen of Death?


Lip Dub - Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger from amandalynferri and Vimeo.

These people clearly have too much time on their hands. Cheers to that!

This is done in the offices of Connected Ventures in New York which runs Vimeo so I guess this could be considered work.

July 3, 2007

Become a Card Carrying Republican!

get_out_of_jail_free_card_small.jpgHere's what all good, loyal Republicans are carrying in their wallets and purses! Get your own! All you have to do is:

  • out undercover CIA opperatives
  • lie about it under oath
  • and protect your bosses like a good little lackey
Come on, everybody's doing it. Ethics? Schmethics!

Learn more!

July 1, 2007

This Christless Country

I love how Duluth has been the butt of jokes for years in the movies. Truth is, it's a beautiful city and I've lived in far worse places and we know how to laugh at ourselves.

And speaking of laughing at ourselves, check out this "trailer."

"When people say they don't believe in dreams you tell them about... Duluth!"


All Those Moments

Blade Runner was released 25 years ago this week. I thank On the Media for reminding me of that.

I remember first seeing this film while attending a summer session at Harvard and was floored by it as a teenager. I think I need to see it again.

What lingers with me are the cityscapes and the music by Vangelis. I remember the mishmash of humanity where cultures collide and merge in a way that seems startling familiar. Of course, the whole philosophical question of "What does it mean to be human?" is at the core of the movie, and it gives no easy answers. Does Roy truly die? Did he live? Does he feel or have simply a simulation of feeling? Is there a difference?

So much to ponder. So much to relish.


I just found WikiWorld, a creative commons licensed comic by Greg Williams based on Wikipedia entries. He seems to share many of my interests based on what he's chosen to draw about so far. Click on the pictures to see the larger versions or see them all here.