URLs du Jour


Happy New Year! (As always, Pun Salad bravely defies the secularists who insist on using non-Gregorian calendars. Down with the war on New Year's!)

  • Pretty neat to see how those digits rolled over from '12/31/2009 23:59:59' to '01/01/2010 00:00:00'. Just like they do every year.

    But, as John Tierney notes, there's an even rarer event coming up tomorrow, and you'll want to be prepared: Tomorrow's date is palindromic: if you write it in mmddyyyy format ('01022010'), it reads the same backwards and forwards.

    If you want to celebrate, I suggest you spend the entire day speaking only in palindromes. You can say 'yay' when something nice happens, 'poop' when things go poorly, 'wow' when you're amazed. Greet mom, dad, and sis. Insult folks by calling them a boob or a kook. Drive a racecar, helm a kayak, read sagas. When you're asked for your dining preferences: "Go hang a salami; I'm a lasagna hog."

  • Okay, so the Transportation Security Administration might not be doing a good job of keeping explosives off planes, but they're ruthlessly efficient at taking down bloggers:
    At 7:00 p.m. on December 29, armed TSA agents banged on the door of photojournalist and KLM Airlines blogger Steven Frischling’s Connecticut home. “They threatened me with a criminal search warrant and suggested they’d call up my clients and say I was a security risk if I didn’t turn over my computer to them. They said ‘we could make this difficult for you,’” Frischling told me in a telephone interview the following afternoon. By then, TSA had removed Frischling’s computer from his home, made a copy of his hard drive, and returned the computer to him.
    Frischling's transgression was posting a TSA security directive detailing new stupid restrictions on airline passengers. ("Passenger access to carry-on baggage is prohibited beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.") Frischling observed that the memo was circulated to thousands of airline personnel all over the world.

    Yesterday, Frischling was told, in effect: "Uh, never mind." Instapundit has more on that anticlimax, with a suggestion that the bullying lawyers involved be hit with ethics charges.

  • In other your-money-down-a-rathole news, GMAC got another $3.8 billion from Your Federal Government.

  • The lovely and talented Victoria Jackson plays Molly Far, a 1773 American colonist plagued by her visions of a terrifying future:

Last Modified 2012-10-05 5:13 AM EDT


stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

As I type, Avatar is #26 on IMDB's list of the top 250 movies of all time. I don't know about that, but it's pretty amazing, although the amazing stuff is joined with a lot of stupid stuff.

Unless you've been in a cave, you probably know the story. Our hero, Jake, is a paralyzed vet, who gets to inhabit the body of a alien humanoid, the better to interface with the Na'Vi, ostensibly the most intelligent species on the planet Pandora. The idea is to induce the Na'Vi to relocate away from a vast deposit of the valued mineral "unobtanium", conveniently located right under one of the Na'Vi holy places. Jake's loyalty is tested when the humans in charge of the operation reveal themselves to be genocidal psychotics, and just about everyone else is content to meekly follow their lead.

The good things about this movie are very good indeed: writer/director/guru James Cameron has created an amazing visual feast of a world, and some scenes are simply jaw-dropping. And I love Sigourney Weaver. Unfortunately, I'm in agreement with fellow right-wing lunatics John Podhoretz and Ross Douthat: all the fantastic world-building is married to a "blitheringly stupid" and clichéd plot.

However, I'm more inclined to be charitable to the filmmakers: there are only so many plots, after all. Conflict is a necessary ingredient to slam-bang action, and if you're not gonna make the aliens be the bad guys, it pretty much means the humans have to be. Sorry.

So: go see it, switch off your brain, suspend disbelief, have fun.

Consumer alert: Pun Son and I saw Avatar in 3D, and I must admit I got a little nauseous around the 2-hour mark. I previously saw Up and Monsters Vs. Aliens in 3D with no problem; I may have been sitting too close to the screen for Avatar. But you may want to pop some dramamine before entering the theatre.

Last Modified 2014-11-30 2:01 PM EDT