February 28, 2018

NOW you have my attention, Marvel

When Ta-Nehisi Coates announced he'd be writing a new series of Black Panther comics, I thought, "That's cool. Makes sense. Might be a good comic."

But this has me really, really intrigued.

February 23, 2018

Some friendly life advice

Driving to work today I listened to a little discussion about this guy Gates.  Apparently he has a young family, money is short, I felt a twinge of sympathy.  And then I reflected briefly...there is a good life tip in there:  when you have a young family, and money is a little short, don't lie to the FBI.

I know it seems simplistic, but I think this rule will give good service,


February 17, 2018

Black Panther

Marvel’s Black Panther earned a whopping $75.8 million on its first day, including $25.2m in Thursday previews. That’s the fourth-biggest superhero opening day in history, behind The Avengers ($80m), Batman v Superman ($81m) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($84m). It’s the second-biggest pre-summer launch behind Batman v Superman ($81m), the top single day gross for a solo superhero movie and the biggest single day for a movie not directed by a white male, the eighth-biggest opening day ever and the very biggest single day ever for a non-sequel movie.


We saw the film tonight in Redwood City with some folks from my extended family.  A few observations:
  • They ran about 30 screenings of it today, looks like they'll run another 30 tomorrow.  
  • When I bought our tickets at noon, the theater was empty (maybe they'd just put on another show), tonight the theater was full.
  • No one left the theater during the show.  The audience applauded at the end.
  • Disney had this budgeted as a single hero tentpole flick (about $200 mm, similar to Iron Man's $186 mm, but a bit above the $130-140 mm for the first Ant Man and Captain America films.  It looks like they could break even...this weekend.
  • If this is really a $200 mm+ weekend, Black Panther will be right there with the biggest Marvel movies ever made, Avengers and Age of Ultron, both of which ultimately had revenues of $1.4-$1.5 bn.   
As for the movie, damn...!

The last time I saw a movie that so fully realized and immersed me in an utterly new an alien world was...a long time ago, in a galaxy far away. The visual imagination and special effects of Black Panther are wildly beyond the normal high standard of the modern superhero movie.

All this, and relevance too.  Black Panther raises - even more effectively than The Winter Soldier - questions about loyalty to leader or country (how do you choose), and how a nation can wield power responsibly in a world where many will not.  And it asks, quite reasonably, if you let the monsters grow outside your borders, how long until they come to your door?

Finally, Black Panther has a wonderful villain.  One of our party quite reasonably asked:  "hey...is that Nick Young?"

Killmonger (courtesy of The Ringer)


Just sayin'...

February 15, 2018

From the Annals of Ill-Advised Coaching Ploys

Taylor just owned the Eagles.

From The New York Times:

Two Eagles quarterbacks – Ron Jaworski and Randall Cunningham – share the distinction of being Lawrence Taylor’s most frequent sack victims, each of them succumbing 12.5 times.

But it was the sacks of Jaworski, a sitting duck of a pocket passer, that most closely resembled the LT ideal articulated in his 1987 autobiography, “LT: Living on the Edge.”

“He doesn’t see you coming and you drive your helmet into his back so hard, he blows a little snot bubble,” LT wrote. 


February 14, 2018

Fuck it, we're going with kittens

February 12, 2018

Making little dots go away

Basically, take a satellite image of an airfield (or a town) and pick out the 80 things you want to make into a crater. Then load the coordinates of those things onto the jet and weapons and fly the mission. With the GBU-38’s accuracy rate just a few points off 100 percent, there is a very good chance a well trained B-2 crew and targeteers will make those targets selected in the photo disappear.



February 11, 2018

It seemed like a good idea at the time

February 10, 2018

The best prison movie of 2017, or... You'll Believe a Bear Can Cry

I went to this movie with a mindset of pure hate, intending to mock it relentlessly here, demonstrating my sophistication and dark, wry, humor.  But I'm afraid that will be impossible.  This is a very fine movie, fully deserving its 100% rating (184 reviews) on Rotten Tomatoes.  It's Metacritic score of 88 is, if anything, a bit stingy.

Key points:
  • This is a nice movie for nice people.  It pitches the idea that there is a little good in all of us, and keeps pitching it, and then pitches it some more.  I mean, they just will not shut up about it.
  • It is beautiful throughout, with visual interludes so dynamic and creative they took my breath away.  Cinematographer Erik Wilson crushed this.  I will be on the lookout for other films filmed by Erik Wilson.
  • Hugh Grant, whom I've hated in everything I've seen him in, plays an evil washed-up actor and completely redeems himself.
  • Several fine dance numbers.
  • Celebrates diversity.
  • Makes you miss London.  Make you wonder why the world can't be a tolerant loving family place like London.  Makes you wonder why we can't all find just a little more love in our hearts and have the whole world be more like London.
  • Double plus good prison scenes, including the best escape scene since Papillon. 
  • Encourages us to be kind to immigrants.
  • Best train fight scene since Skyfall.
  • Knuckles McGinty:

Full TVTropes assessment here.

February 08, 2018

Notes on "Messner" (2012)

Atop Nanga Parbat in 1978

Well nobody's perfect.

Nanga Parbat is the SEMI-final boss

It's bigger

And still breathing

The moment I wake up I'm already there 
  'cause I am obsessed by my vision 
  And if I would try one hundred thousand times 
  I'll still have to roll up that stone 
  Gravity grabs you by the hand and smiles 
  but who can contain your ambition? 
  and like a gambler's gamblin' all the time 
  you'll still have to roll up that stone 
  are you mother's favorite son? 
  Once you cross the borderline 
  the point of no return 
  you'll see the world through watchmen's eyes 
  you'll face the world as one 
  the borderline till kingdom come 
  should I stay or turn back home? 
  And still you'll keep rollin' that stone 
  are you mother's favorite son? 

The moment I wake up I'm already there
  and I will complete my mission
  and if I would try one hundred thousand times
  I'll still have to roll up that stone
  Once you cross that borderline
  the point of no return
  you'll see the world through watchmen's eyes
  you'll face the world as one
  and when it ends you'll have to burn
  and then you'll reach the sun
  And the kids, they'll be jugglin' your bones
  while your soul will travel on alone
  you'll ride that beam of light home
  With your mother and your brother
  and your father and your sister
  and the son of your daughter
  will call you mister mister
  with your brother and your sister
  and the cousin of your father
  and the neighbor of your uncle
  and the babies they will bother
  with the pink pony ridin' on the sky to the fountain
  of a big big mountain that they call big big mama
  Still you keep rollin' that stone
  rollin' that stone all alone
  rollin' that stone all alone
  still you keep rollin' that stone


All is well...!!!

Vix by the hour since Monday, w/ 8-hour moving average

More info on the final scene of Trading Places here.

February 06, 2018

Huh... Didn't think I'd like it. Was wrong. (YMMV)

It's true you know

Now we are safe

"The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France," said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. "This is being worked at the highest levels of the military."


February 04, 2018

Dude at 0:55 gets it

February 02, 2018

Family Crisis

Big gala coming up, 70's theme.  My wife is all we have to do this:

And I'm all like no this:

Anyway, I'm going dressed as a Pan-Am pilot who has just returned...from Funkistan.

When I read this headline...

Jeff Bezos’ master plan is to have no plan (link)

...I thought of:

Farewell to my favorite Temptation

The estimable Dennis Edwards passes on, The Ringer's Rembert Browne discusses here.

February 01, 2018

There's *another* one...!