URLs du Jour

2009-03-14

  • After yesterday's linkfest, I thought I was done with stem cells for awhile. But here's one more, for two good reasons: (1) it's P. J. O'Rourke; (2) he's as pissed as any serious thinker must be. In response to Obama's claim that he's against "a false choice between sound science and moral values", P. J, points out:
    A false choice means there's no choosing. The president of the United States tells us that sound science and moral values are united, in bed together. As many a coed has been assured, "Let's just get naked under the covers, we don't have to make love." Or, as the president puts it, "Many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose this research. And I understand their concerns, and I believe that we must respect their point of view."

    Mr. President, sir, if this is your respect, I'd rather have your contempt or your waistline or something other than what you're giving me here.

  • The past couple days Pun Salad has pointed out (here and here) the Obama Administration's continued overuse of scornful references to the "(past|last) eight years", contrasted with Obama's phony inaugural disdain for "recriminations".

    It turns out Pun Salad was slightly ahead of the curve; today, the Washington Post quotes the inaugural rhetoric and notes: "It hasn't taken long for the recriminations to return." They miss the "eight years" thing, but instead concentrate on the various Administration whines about what they "inherited."

  • Genius Harvard Econ Prof Greg Mankiw is "too embarrassed" to reveal his score on this spelling quiz. As Mrs. Salad points out occasionally, I'm tough to embarrass; my score: 78%. Math is hard, but spelling's harder. Give it a go.

Closing the Ring

[1.5
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Every so often, domestic peace requires that a Chick Flick be shown at Pun Salad Manor; rest assured, this is one of the Chickiest. People with a different Y-chromosome count should discount my opinion totally.

Quoting the back of the DVD.

From Academy Award-winning director Richard Attenborough (Gandhi) comes this sweeping romance starring Shirley MacLaine (Terms of Endearment), Christopher Plummer (A Beautiful Mind), Mischa Barton (TV's The O.C.), and Neve Campbell (The Company). Moving seemlessly through time, this lush epic follows a beautiful 1940's Michigan girl (Barton) secretly married to a WWII pilot who crashes in the hills near Belfast, Ireland. 50 years later his wedding ring resurfaces -- along with the smoldering secrets that have kept the widow (MacLaine), her estranged daughter (Campbell) and devoted friend (Plummer) each from finding true love.
You might read that and think, "Oooh, sounds romantic!". Congratulations, you are a woman.

If, on the other hand, your thoughts run more to "Sounds like maybe the cast could have been improved by the inclusion of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson," then …

As near as I can tell, the movie did negligible box-office business.

It is not totally without guy-merit, however: the folks at "Mr. Skin" named Mischa Barton's efforts here the number one Celebrity Nude Scene of 2008. So at least one other guy watched the movie besides me.

(You can read the entire top-20 list here, although don't ask me how I know that.)


Last Modified 2012-10-08 1:03 PM EDT

Happy π Day

It's the 21st Annual Celebration. Maintaining our geeky tradition from last year, this post should show up on 3/14 at 1:59:27pm EDT. Here's a simple yet profound animated GIF from the Pi article at Wikipedia for you to contemplate:

[Pi Unrolled]

(Click for the big version and a whole bunch of WikiLegalese.)

  • Last year's post on this was pretty good (if I do say so myself); since π's a constant, it still holds up pretty well.

  • What's new this year: House Resolution 224 "Supporting the designation of Pi Day, and for other purposes" (which passed in a squeaker: 391-10). Betsy Newmark rolls her eyes at the recent Politico article describing the legislative process. She notes a typical bit of Congressional egomania:
    "It makes you realize how consequential you really are," Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) said with a smile.
    Betsy comments:
    Yup, that's how consequential you Congress critters are. You can pat yourself on your collective backs for recognizing something that people have been doing on their own for 20 years.
    Good point. But as one of Betsy's commenters notes: wouldn't it be great if Congress could limit itself to harmless stunts like this?

  • If you haven't made your celebratory plans yet, there's a wikiHow article you can mine for ideas. Number seven is intriguing:
    Progressive rock musician Kate Bush performed a song titled π on her 2005 album Aerial. Bush sings pi to its 137th decimal place, but omits the 79th through 100th decimal places of pi for currently unknown reasons. Playing π on Pi Day, therefore, is left to the discretion of the celebrant. Just watch out for party-crashers playing Zero by Smashing Pumpkins.
    And that's not the worst idea! An MP3 of Kate's song can be had for a mere 99 cents at Amazon.

Last Modified 2012-10-08 1:23 PM EDT