Licensable BearTM, season 2

The second season of my monthly Licensable BearTM video series “Products Which Should’ve Licensed Me!” has launched. Enjoy – and spread the word!

Published in: on June 30, 2008 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ever the looser

I sense a small change in language acceptability on the way. Lately, I’ve seen “loose” being used for “lose” ever more in blog posts and the like. I just chalked it up to sloppy usage — but at some point, slop enters the proper language. Seeing a headline on CNN TV today that they’re “loosing the fight” against the flood (and I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean they’re unleashing the combatants) suggests that the tipping point may be near, if I haven’t missed it already.

Published in: on June 29, 2008 at 11:32 am  Leave a Comment  

add-on update cards for Starcrossed game players

I hope my regular readers will forgive me posting this.

There’s this game, Starcrossed: Hollywood’s Movie Game. Basically, it’s a commercial version of the six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon concept; you pull out two cards featuring movie stars and try to connect them via movies they were in with other stars who were in movies with other stars who were in… well, you get the drift. Or you pull two cards with movies, and try to connect them via the stars. There’s a game board, bonus rounds, and so forth. It’s a game, and it’s the favorite at our weekly game nights.

Problem is, the game is from 1996, which means that all of the movies referenced are from then or earlier. It was a small irritant in normal playing, and one member of our crew always insisted that there must be an update, updated cards with new movies and new stars. But there wasn’t. (The original set was not only the only Starcrossed thing issued, it appears to be the only game published by “Dunaway Partners, Inc.”, two brokers and a graphic designer.) And it became a real issue when a teenager wanted to join us in play. So I spent a surprisingly long time yesterday and put together a set of 10  movie cards and 10 star cards, which should be compatible with movie connections playing. Here, in PDF form, are the front and the back of the cards.

The trick is to print them on those sheets of print-your-own-business-cards stock available at any office supply store. Cut each card in half, and they’ll be the right size to fit correctly into your card boxes.

If any Starcrossed board game fan out there does card sets of their own, let me know; I’d like to have more cards without taking the time to work them up myself. Oh, and let me share with you our own favorite house rule: if you land on the final Take Two on the board, treat it like a Take Three. If someone can name three films with both of the listed stars, they’re allowed to move three spaces and thus get into the final round. For most Take Two cards, it isn’t possible, but its a way to keep that hope alive in the final stretch.

And now, we return you to our normal blog. With luck, the search engines will index this page, and the two or three people out there who would be interested will find this.

Published in: on June 28, 2008 at 7:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Predicting the spin

The San Francisco Chronicle has “estimated that 751 of the 1,004 [marriage] licenses filed [in SF during the past week…] were by same-sex couples”.

How long before we see the blogoverse and maybe other media reports spinning this as “3/4s of all California marriages are now gay marriages!” and explaining how this will obviously cause hideous destruction in our state, and the end of our population? I’m betting that it’s already started…

Published in: on June 27, 2008 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  

One for the Mythbustees

A new pseudo-Mythbusters series launches tonight. Rock & Roll Acid Test is focused on music-related myths. I don’t get that network, but I thought a few of you that do might want a heads-up.

Published in: on June 17, 2008 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Put John McWhorter out of a job!

My old classmate John McWhorter says that Obama’s current position:

“proves that while there still is some racism in the United States, there is not enough to matter in any serious manner. This is a watershed moment. Obama is probably more to the left than I would prefer on a lot of issues, but this issue of getting past race for real is such a wedge issue for me. And he is so intelligent, and I think he would be a perfectly competent president, that I’m for him. I want him to get in because, in a way, it will put me out of a job.”

So there’s a reason to vote for Obama – put John out of a job!

(I’m kidding, of course. For one, I think John overstates – in a direction comfortable with his generally voiced leanings and positions – that racism is not at a level to seriously matter in this country. I think that if the voters were to awaken tomorrow and find it was voting day, and the only two choices they saw on the ballot were listed as “a black guy” and “a white guy” with no other details, white guy would win in a landslide. But we have reached a point where this black guy could, and quite possibly will, beat that white guy, where race is a factor but not inherently the factor. And that is a great watershed, and momentum is with us overall. Certainly in my life time, even an idealized version of Obama would still be beaten by “a white guy”, and not long before that, by any white guy; put some white guy on the ballot in ’56 with no experience, no education, and a prison record, and he still would’ve beaten Obama.

And secondly, even if John loses his current gig, he’s still got a pretty darn powerful set of academic credentials in linguistics; he won’t be out of work for long. So don’t let concern about adding to the unemployment rolls stop you from voting for Obama. I won’t let it stop me!

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 10:54 am  Leave a Comment  

When 110% is not enough…

The CHP’s Mission is to keep you safe. It is our sworn duty to go above and beyond the call of duty to prevent loss of life,injuries, and property damage.

Their sworn duty is to go beyond the call of duty? Oh no, recursive loop. Infinite expansion. Computer will explode.

Published in: on June 15, 2008 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

If I was a lawyer…

…I’d be putting together a class action suit against the dolts running El Camino High School in Oceanside, California, as well as the police. These ethically-impaired powerwielders decided to try to teach how bad drunk driving is not by, y’know, teaching, but setting up a big prank where highway patrolmen were to lie to the students and tell them that dozens of their fellow students had just been killed in a drunk driving accident. The truth (there was no accident, everyone was fine) was meant to be revealed hours later, after the students had had time to suffer over the loss.

I’m not a lawyer, but if anything looks like a clear case of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, it’s one in which one of the perpetrators has announced “They were traumatized, but we wanted them to be traumatized.”

Heck, the example of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress given in Wikipedia is “sending a letter to an individual falsely informing the person that a close family member had been killed in an accident.” Sounds close enough to me. Multiply that by the hundreds of underage victims that these folks entrusted with their welfare set out to traumatize… should be the makings of a good lawsuit. At least good enough to keep these people from being put in such a position of power again, and to make anyone else considering such systematic outrageous conduct to think again.

Published in: on June 12, 2008 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Swinging back and forth

Fiction – particularly serial fiction – inherently trends toward the conservative. Fiction tends to be driven by people doing something interesting, and that interesting thing causes complications and consequences. Even if you set up a new TV show wanting to show the good side of the unusual aspect – of becoming a detective in your spare time, of having two dads, of your mother being a car – ultimately, the need for plots will come around to the situation being destructive.

So when serial drama television takes on a topic like the swinging lifestyle, which goes enough against traditional morality that it gets few visible vocal supporters. In fiction, or at least that which isn’t overdubbed with bad needle-drop jazz riffs, it’ll be shown as an ultimately destructive path for those who are desperate and empty (see The Ice Storm, Eyes Wide Shut). And when, as in the new series Swingtown, you throw it into a decade for which the talking points are “shallow, empty, and destructive,” it’s clearly inviting a specific portrait.

But playing just to the negative would be a mistake, making things purely predictable and depressing. Swingtown is at least smarter than that. The series is built around a confident if shallow swinging couple, who have a life and a relationship that seem to work for them. Two more couples are introduced into their world, one couple with a healthy relationship, one less so. The pilot is all set-up, but at least at the beginning, coming in range of the swinging couple seems to work out well for the already-healthy couple. The presumption is that this series will be about their slow destruction, but that’s just presuming from the general pattern of fiction.

If I seem to be responding more to what the series is than to how good it is, well, the pilot was largely set-up. They do a good job keeping some things separate (there are drugs involved in the swinging seen, but no one drug is shown as an inherent part of it), less so at other things (“open marriage” seems to be equated with “involved in big pile-on orgies”.) I can’t help but see this as the equivalent of a location of gay acceptance having been written by an outsider.

Besides, I couldn’t watch the pilot quite properly. Every once in a while, our ReplayTV has a real problem with a show; I don’t know if it’s a problematic signal coming in, or a bad space on the disc, but the image will stop, will break up, will go all digitally. And in this case, I was reminded of the old days of cable, trying to watch the shaky, un-synched discolored feed of the pay channel we didn’t subscribe to, hoping for that moment of coincidental clarity that would show the nudity I knew I was missing. (Of course, most of the time the image cleared, I’d discovered that I’d been strainging my eyes at something that turned out to be not the least salacious.)

The show does spend a lot of effort Setting Its Era. Lots of polyester, references to America’s bicentennial, a lingering shot of someone opening a can of tab by pulling the pull tab off. They don’t have anyone coming out and saying “boy, it’s good living in the era between the development of the pill and the discovery of AIDS”, and as a middle-age fogey, I wonder if they young’uns will appreciate that context.

As for appreciating the show… I’ll need another, less-scrambled sample to be sure.

(Just in case the tone of some of this item leaves anyone who doesn’t actually know me wondering: no, me and the missuz are not a couple of swingers. We’re much more boring than that.)

Published in: on June 6, 2008 at 11:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

A plain sight

The new USA network series In Plain Sight is about a federal marshal who works on the witness protection program… which means that it’s inherently about failure. If the system is shown as working, if giving federal witnesses new identities protects them, there won’ t be much for the show to be about.

The show is also very girly, in a very calculated way. The lead is a female, pretty, strong, but faced with emotional friction with her mother and sister. Her partner is a man with better knowledge and skills, but she’s the one who will solve things because of her instincts and emotional awareness. The ongoing men in the series are either trying to figure her out enough to buy her a present, or are revealing that they want a relationship deeper than the sexual one they have. And yes, the sex partner is hunky. We learn she smells pretty, despite not wearing perfume. I’m half expecting to learn that her eyes change color to match her emotions.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a women’s power fantasy show. Well, not that there is anything inherently wrong with a women’s power fantasy show; there are things wrong with this show, and not just that it’s built around failure. There is a clunkiness in the storytelling; things are either too obvious (particularly some expository dialogue) or needlessly complicated. The mystery on the first episode seemed to throw in suspects just because that’s what makes it a mystery, and solves it not via logic nor adventure, but merely through revelation.

So, judging from the one extended episode, this is a show where I’m not the target audience, and is not good enough to overcome that fact. I might watch a couple more, because, well, it’s the summer season and there’s not much else on. But it’s not something I can plug.

Published in: on June 2, 2008 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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