Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (11/24/2010)

From Too Big to Fail to Too Big for Fraud.

Oklahoma police stepped on the oxygen hose of an 86-year-old bedridden woman with a disability until she couldn’t breathe, tasered her twice, and then sent her to a psychiatric hospital for six days. (h/t: Digby).

"I’m still just shocked at the seamless transition from our friends on the right from 'If you haven’t done anything wrong you don’t have anything to hide' to 'Don’t touch my junk'."

The Decline and Fall of the American Republic.

Glenn Beck is not as bad as Father Coughlin. So he does have that going for him.

The "Snake Fight" portion of your thesis defense.

Have we found the universe that existed "before" the Big Bang?

"If I were tasked with creating a time capsule to explain our low age to our feral survivors, I would have to include a boxed set of Two and a Half Men."

The Republican War on Christmas.

High Expectations Asian Father.

Bill Amend of Fox Trot guest-draws xkcd; Best Heisenberg uncertainty principle joke ever ensues.

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30 days, 30 dinners, day 16: Pacific saury

Pacific saury with ginger and soy sauce, miso spinach, and kabocha squash


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Intake

So, I went for my "intake appointment" for counseling yesterday. It was pretty nerve-wracking going there, but I guess the actual session wasn't so bad.

Basically the whole thing was questions and answers about my life and feelings. Having a blog, of course I talk about myself all the time, but it's always things that I want to talk about. It was pretty strange spending an hour-and-a-half not just talking about myself, but talking about things about me that someone else wanted me to talk about.

It wasn't hard to answer the questions honestly, though. I think I'm pretty honest and more than usually self-aware. (Although like anyone else I must have my blind spots. It was actually finding one of those blind spots that led me to realize I need help.) The hardest part was just remembering. The counselor asked me all kinds of stuff about my "family of origin." I hadn't thought about some of that stuff for 25 years or more.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (11/22/2010)

All that groping is bringing down the morale of TSA personnel. (Poor things, they're only following orders.)

By a 79-70 vote, the United Nations no longer asks countries not to execute gay people.

While watching this video, I found myself wishing a) that there was such a high school and b) that I'd gone there. I think I could have been a BMOC.

Why can't people walk in a straight line?

Why is sex good?

Playboy centerfolds before retouching (definitely NSFW/C/P).

Another important book review by General JC Christian, Patriot.

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30 days, 30 dinners, day 14: Wonton

Wonton and tuna salad with rice


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One sentence movie review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
8/10 (but only if you're a fan)

For fans -- no one else will understand what's happening -- this is an intense and (unlike certain parts of the book) fast-paced and action-packed film.

The ratings:
10: Best ever
9: Profoundly moving
8: Deeply engaging
7: Enjoyable
6: Just OK
5: Sorry I watched it
4: Couldn't sit through it
1: An abomination of human endeavor

Ratings for the last 552 movies I've watched


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Saturday, November 20, 2010

30 days, 30 dinners, day 12: Beef, daikon, and tofu

Boiled beef, daikon radish, tofu, and peas with stir-fried cabbage


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Covers that you might not have known are covers: "Love Me Tender"

Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I'll be posting some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on Saturdays.

"Love Me Tender." This was originally a Civil War era ballad called "Aura Lee" (or "Aura Lea"), written by George R. Poulton and W. W. Fosdick. According to Wikipedia, the tune was already in the public domain when it was adapted to "Love Me Tender" with lyrics credited to Vera Matson and Elvis (but actually written mainly by Matson's husband Ken Darby).

"Love Me Tender": Elvis Presley (1956)
"Aura Lee": JIm Reeves (date unknown)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (11/18/2010)

How Republicans negotiate with Obama.

Conservative norms: It seems execution without trial is fairly popular in conservative circles.

This is probably the stupidest, most wrong-headed essay ever written about the Medal of Honor.

Actung! TSA!

What's so premature about premature ejaculation?

Relationship advice from Severus Snape.

How to talk to your kids about Star Wars.

For the Trekker who has everything...

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30 days, 30 dinners, day 10: Udon

Shoyu udon with teriyaki chicken, tofu, eggs, spinach, green onions, kabocha squash,
mushrooms, and bean sprouts



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Musical interlude: Girls Against Boys, "Kill the Sexplayer"



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No penis jokes please, we're Mormons

When one joins a new group or organization, one has to learn its norms and culture. This is especially true when one joins an organization like the Mormon Church that plays an all-encompassing role in its members' lives.

Not long after I joined the church, I was in a group conversation with five or six Mormon men. One of them, who was an even newer convert than I was, told the following joke:

"What do Japanese men do when they have an erection?
They vote!"

I didn't laugh at the joke because a) it's kind of vaguely racist, b) it's about a million years old and I'd already heard it about a million times, and c) it's pretty cheesy anyway. I was prepared to chuckle politely if everyone else laughed, however.

But I'd never heard anyone tell a dick joke to a group of Mormons before, so I was curious to see how my new Mormon friends would react. What would they do? Would they laugh? Chuckle politely? Tell him he was "inappropriate"? Command him to repent?

Well, what happened was... nothing. No one laughed. No one said anything. Everyone just looked at him.

It seemed like they stared at him for a really long time while the expectant smile faded from his face as it dawned on him that he'd committed a faux pas. I suppose this actually only took a couple of seconds (though I'm sure it seemed even longer to him than it did to me). Then the conversation just moved on as if he'd never said anything "inappropriate."

So I think he and I both learned something that day: Don't tell dick jokes to Mormons.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One sentence movie review: The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid (2010)
7/10

Although never as memorable as the original -- there's certainly nothing in this version as cheesily iconic as "Wax on, wax off" or "Sweep the leg" -- this remake is an engaging family film if taken on its own terms.

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30 days, 30 dinners, day 9: Red snapper

Breaded red snapper, coleslaw, rice, and miso soup


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The Adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor (#42)

"Well, I wouldn't call it my final fantasy..."

Follow the adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor, as he explores the far reaches of space (and my house... and my backyard... and my kids' toy boxes) with his friends Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Only at ToTryANewSword.com.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (11/16/2010)

How to argue. (Also, read his books. They're pretty darn good.)

Pterosaurs were to big to fly, you say? I think not. Not if they could pole vault!

Ezra Taft Benson, Dwight Eisenhower, and J. Edgar Hoover (h/t: Wheat and Tares).

What happened when a guy objected to the TSA's "porno-scan or grope" policy.

Of course there's been a lot of commentary all over the internet about the TSA. Here are a couple that caught my attention.

UN torture expert urges full investigation into Bush Administration torture. Yeah, that's gonna happen.

The life of a guy who writes students' papers for pay.

It's hard out there for a Mormon missionary.

Gonna make this my new theme song. By Tombstone Da Deadman (lyrics NSFW/C/P):



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30 days, 30 dinners, day 8: Pizza

Pepperoni pizza (Little Caesar's)


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Musical interlude: Yoshihisa Hirano and Hideki Taniuchi, "孤独 (Isolation)"



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Monday, November 15, 2010

30 days, 30 dinners, day 7: Beef stew

Beef stew with rolls 


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Spot the fake smiles

"Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles."

I'm surprisingly good at it. I got 18 out of 20 correct on this BBC quiz.

If that result seems incongruous in someone with even mild Asperger's syndrome, I think this might have something to do with why:

"One possible explanation for this [inability to spot fake smiles] is that it may be easier for people to get along if they don't always know what others are really feeling."

I don't get along easily, of course. Maybe an over-sensitivity to faking is part of that. I don't know if this is common in Aspergians at all, but I've noticed that a lot of phonies (e.g., politicians, preachers, salespeople, etc.) can't fool me at all. I often see right through fakers, especially when they try to emote (like Glenn Beck, for example). And I don't mean that I kind of wonder about them, I mean that their phoniness seems glaringly (and sometimes even comically) obvious to me. I find it a little hard to believe sometimes that people can actually believe they're sincere.

I think this might be because I'm bad at reading social cues given through facial expressions and body language. Maybe the things that these phonies do to make themselves look sincere and fool neurotypical people go right by me. So maybe I end up missing most of the cues they want people to see and seeing too many of the ones that they want to hide. That's my theory, anyway.

Maybe that carried over to this specific quiz. Almost all the fake smiles seemed really fake to me. I felt much more strongly about most of them than I did about the genuine smiles.

Anyway, I'm interested to see how well other people do. Take the quiz and let me know how you did.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

30 days, 30 dinners, day 6: Tacos

Chicken tacos (corn tortillas with chicken, refried beans, onions, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, with hot sauce and lemon)


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Saturday, November 13, 2010

30 days, 30 dinners, day 5: Spaghetti

Spaghetti with meat sauce, zucchini, and garlic bread 


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Covers that you might not have known are covers: "Tainted Love"

Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I'll be posting some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on Saturdays.

"Tainted Love." The original version was a Motown-influenced soul song.

Familiar version: Soft Cell (1981)
Original version: Gloria Jones (1964)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (11/10/2010)

Bush's book reviewed by Matthew Norman (ouch!), Jesus' General, and Stephen Colbert.

The Right's strategy: the Big Lie.

Case in point: Glenn Beck on George Soros.

Maggots are covered with eyes!

The best underwater photographs of 2010. (So far. I mean, what if someone takes an even better one in November or December?)

Can early signs of schizophrenia be distinguished from normal adolescent weirdness?

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30 days, 30 dinners, day 2: Sandwich

Roast beef, turkey breast, and lettuce sandwich on toasted pita bread


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The Adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor (#41)

"I believe they are attempting to frighten us, Captain."

Follow the adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor, as he explores the far reaches of space (and my house... and my backyard... and my kids' toy boxes) with his friends Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Only at ToTryANewSword.com.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (11/9/2010)

Still catching up edition.

Where at least he knows he's free...

Where was the outrage before health care reform?

Still dreaming of a codpiece.

People unclear on the concept: LDS church building closed to storm refugees in Haiti.

Common sense may yet prevail: US government opposes gene patenting.

European plagues including the Black Death came from China (h/t: WEIT).

In Event of Moon Disaster: The Nixon Administration was ready with a statement if the Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the Moon.

Niche magazine steals an author's article off the intertubes and refuses to make things right; viral outrage ensues.

"It's also typical of George Bush that implication that he's a racist is worse then the implication that he sent thousands of people to their deaths on a lie."

Bat disease may cause ecological catastrophe.

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30 days, 30 dinners: day 1: Steamed pork buns

In an effort to make this blog even more random and unfocused eclectic, I'm going to post pictures of whatever I've had for dinner for 30 straight days. Why? Why the heck not?

Steamed pork buns


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Monday, November 08, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (11/8/2010)

Catching up a little edition.

Some positive news, finally, for the West Memphis 3 (who were convicted of murder basically because they wore black and listened to heavy metal).

The US Becoming More Like Japan: Controlled Press Edition.

The cops we deserve.

Who's dying in Iraq, in pixels (h/t: Sociological Images).

Myths about grief versus evidence-based findings.

Unfilmable novels (h/t: Roger Ebert).

The Nile Delta at night from space.

When you're dying of a brain tumor, and your control over speech and writing is dying faster.

Ozzie Osbourne is a genetic mutant.

WTF has Obama done so far?

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The greatest band you never heard of because they broke up before they got famous and they're Canadian anyway

The greatest band you never heard of because they broke up before they got famous and they're Canadian anyway is the Sessions.

They sounded a lot like New Order and the Killers. They broke up a couple years ago, but you can still find their music on iTunes (I think) and MySpace.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor (#40)

A Klingon? What happened to his head?

Follow the adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor, as he explores the far reaches of space (and my house... and my backyard... and my kids' toy boxes) with his friends Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Only at ToTryANewSword.com.

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Video favorites (November 2010)

Time for more video favorites:

Benny Hill is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Italian Spiderman, You Always Hurt the One You Love, Vagina Bubbles from Hell, that sound you hear is a Gummy Bear screaming, Girl after Dentist, and Star Trek: The Sexed Generation all after the jump.