Friday, October 30, 2009

Fun: Television Tropes & Idioms

This is a very nice resource: Television Tropes & Idioms. An example, some of the tropes in the awesome Evil Dead (e.g. Army of Darkness) movie series (just the 'A's):
  • Animate Dead: Subverted when Ash accidentally summons the titular Army of Darkness when he mispronounces a spell.
  • Apocalyptic Log
  • Arm Cannon
  • Arrow Cam
  • Artificial Limbs: When his hand is chopped off, Ash replaces it with a chainsaw. Later, he replaces that with a clockwork gauntlet.
    • And in the extended media beyond the films, he'll frequently swap out his gauntlet with the saw.
  • Ax Crazy: How Ash copes with the events of the first two movies. By the third, he's turned it into Crazy Awesome.
A further explanation, using the last entry, the difference between Ax Crazy and Crazy Awesome:
[Pic of Jack Nicholson's character in the Shining] An "ax crazy" character is someone who is psychologically unstable and presents a clear danger to others. Ax crazies are capable of extreme violence, whether carried out with a Slasher Smile, a Creepy Monotone, or out and out murderous rage, and they're not too picky about their victims, which makes them extremely frightening to deal with. This mainly differentiates them from other eccentric characters who may themselves be obsessive, weird or seemingly crazy, but use this condition hand in hand with doing good, or at least not being in the way. However, some formerly established heroes can go through an episode of ax-craziness and still retain their heroic mantle.
Someone who is Crazy Awesome is someone who's nucking futs, in an amusing way, and is effective at what he does because of that craziness. In real life he'd get fired from whatever job he has/would have, or even arrested — at the very least, the things he does just plain wouldn't work. But somehow, he manages to be both effective and a character that the audience likes or even loves.
Like any good internet resource (especially those made by My GenX Brethren), each entry is hyperlinked to a bunch of other concepts. I declare this website, fun.

Pic from the website. Backpost finished 2009-12-02.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Eisenhower and the Shoah

An interesting source (and website); this is a letter from General D. Eisenhower, "
Letters of Note: The things I saw beggar description."

A description of the letter from the website:
The concentration camp in Ohrdruf was the first to be liberated by U.S. forces during World War II, and just a week later, General Dwight D. Eisenhower paid a visit in order to survey the scene. The following letter, in which Eisenhower describes said experience, was written by the future President three days later and sent to General George C. Marshall in Washington. Although the entire letter is interesting and worth reading, the now famous description by Eisenhower can be seen in the image below and found in the transcript's 6th paragraph.
h/t Sullivan; pic from the website; backpost - finished on 11-20-2009.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wexler Stepping Down

Robert Wexler is (one of?) the only Orthodox Jews in the House of Representatives and he just announced that he's stepping down to join a Middle East Think Tank. This is very disturbing.

I have tenedentious contacts with Wexler; he's a member of my parent's shul in Maryland and he's my aunt's (father's sister) rep down in Florida. When I was trying to contact the Obama campaign last year - to volunteer as a speechwriter - Wexler was the guy I was trying to use (it came to naught; long story). I had great hopes for him in the Obama administration since he was an early supporter and was important in convincing the mad Florida Jews to think of Obama as a viable Democrat (and president).

Why is he leaving? I sure hope it's not a scandal. I really want him to have a future.

Pic from his new job's website; backpost finished on 2009-11-20.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lobbying Mashiach: Thank You Cards

When Mashiach finally arrives (any moment now, or so I believe with complete faith), he will convene a court in order to (1) determine who is a Jew/Cohen and from which tribe, (2) who owes exculpatory sacrifices, and (3) undo the crazy crazy chumras (this is my addition, but it's a logical extension of his salvation powers). There are many chumras that need undoing; one thing you learn in rabbi school is just how much of halakha is comprised of guesswork and fences to make up for everything we've forgotten and muddled as a result of the exile. Damn Romans. So mashiach will be there to tell us, finally and unequivocally, that we need to only wait a few minutes between meat and milk, that chicken isn't fleishix, that women can learn Torah, science is OK, and there's only one day of Yuntif.

Recently, I've begun imagining other, extra-halakhic, things that Mashiach is going to do when he convenes the court. So the first item that I will lobby for, when there's a lull in the chumra-smashing, is: eliminate thank you cards.

I'm not sure why, in 2009, we still require these. They are a paper-ink-snailmail contrivance in an era when most people use email exclusively (saving snailmail for items that have been purchased online) and almost nothing normal is done in real paper and ink. Case in point: newspapers. They're "dying" - but only their physical being. If the paper-ink version were to die, and the online version stays, only geezer troglodytes will notice or care.

I detest thank you notes. It is expensive to own the stationary, expensive in time spent writing by hand the stupid things, expensive to mail, and - here's the kicker - THEY ARE IMMEDIATELY THROWN AWAY. What is the effing point?!

I have a blanket rule for anyone who receives a gift from me: you are allowed to email or call me to say thanks. Seriously. You *do* have to say thank you - otherwise you're an ungrateful leech - but what is wrong with using email in the 21st Century? Show some respect for the earthly resources, and I'll show respect for your time and money. I'm sure mashiach, if he's what I think he'll be, would manifestly agree.

First pic from here, and you really should check out the link, hee hee. Second pic was homemade via this site.

Onion's Silent Mockery

It's disturbing how the Onion can write an article that silently mocks my secret dreams: Tow-Truck Driver Has Great Idea For Tow-Truck Movie; except, naturally, my movie idea involves a vampire-hunting rabbi. Just like my real life.

Pic from this amazon mini-book - an even more disturbing development for my movie idea...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Fun - Starship Dimensions

This is a fun link, for you sci-fi geekers: Jeff Russell's Starship Dimensions. Ya gotta see it to understand the coolness.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

More Videos

My search for the Swayze obit video uncovered these two great, hall of fame, skits from SNL - (1) The debut of Chris Farley's "Matt Foley", (2) the commercial for "Bad Idea Jeans" (look how young, and/or alive, those guys were! [tear]):

Backpost finished on 2009-11-20.

Patrick Swayze a'h

Patrick Swayze died over the chagim and I didn't hear about it til now. He seemed like a nice fellow. And he showed that you could be a tough ballet dancer. In any case, here's a tribute video from his one and only SNL hosting gig, a stone-cold classic with the heilige Chris Farley.

Backpost. Finally written on Nov 9, 2009