On Movie Remakes

I’ve started seeing ads for the upcoming movie Ghostbusters. Anyone who’s been paying attention will know that there’s been quite a stir over it, with complaints ranging from the unnecessary remaking of a “classic” to the deliberate choice by the moviemakers to have the cast be all female this time around. I’m not going to wade into that debate, other than to note that some of the humor in the original is dated, a good number of the people complaining weren’t alive when the original came out, and that I think they might have been better served if instead of an outright remake, they did a sort of “spinoff” and had the movie be about a “branch office”/franchise of the Ghostbusters ™ working in another old city (Philadelphia or Boston, perhaps).

Hollywood remakes movies all the time. It seems that with every announcement of a remake, certain film buffs/purists get all up in arms over the lack of originality or the “desecration of a classic”. Except when it comes to a “reboot” of a superhero movie, of course. The fanboys never complain about those… But there are valid reasons to remake a movie.

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Respecting Baseball

So there’s been a lot of talk during Spring Training this year about “showing respect for the game” – whatever that means. Usually, it’s the Old School Traditionalists decrying the number of bat flips and fist pumps, insisting that showing a little emotion during a game is an offense to the other team, the fans, and everyone who ever had anything whatsoever to do with professional baseball. Naturally, a lot of younger players disagree, saying that they should be allowed to have fun on the job. Baseball is too stuffy and old-fashioned to attract many new fans….

Now I don’t like the showboating that’s far too common in football and basketball, but there’s no reason that baseball players have to be soulless robots.

Just keep in mind a few rules when celebrating….

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The Trouble with Google Maps

I’m pretty good at reading maps. I’ve never needed a GPS (well, except for that one time I took a rental car to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and even then I missed a turn and got lost). These days, when I’m traveling, I like to go online and print out a map of my route and the local area where I will be.

But often it’s not easy to do. It’s not that the online maps use color shadings that are worse than useless on a printout. It’s a matter of orientation and scale.
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The Name of the Movie is “STAR WARS”

Another May 4th has come and gone, and geeks everywhere display their true geekdom by referring to it as “Star Wars Day”. Seems that “May the fourth” is a lisping version of part of the famous (and overused to the point of tedium) quotation, “May the Force be with you.” The attempted joke was funny once… for a few seconds… but by now it’s just annoying. It’s as funny as the phrase “chicken butt”. Let it die in peace already.

Of course, Star Wars fans are all atwitter about the next movie in the series, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, set to come out this December. With the previous movie (Revenge of the Sith) some ten years old, a lot of young new fans want to catch up on the series by watching all the previous movies.

I’m seeing a lot of stuff online about the correct order to watch them in. I strongly recommend watching them in the order in which they were made and released – Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.

Actually, you can probably ignore the three “prequels”. They have offensive characterizations, overuse of green screens and computer graphics, tedious scenes filled with talking, the reduction of The Force into some sort of scientific gobbledeygook…

Worse, you already know how the story is going to end. You know Anankin will join the Dark Side and become Darth Vader. You know which characters must survive. There’s no real tension in any of them.

And it could have been so much better….

By the way…. The name of the movie is Star Wars. Not “Star Wars: A New Hope”, Not “Star Wars: Episode IV”, just Star Wars. Thanks to the Internet, you can go back to 1977 and see the opening crawl from the movie’s original theatrical release:

Notice anything missing? That’s right! There’s no “Episode IV: A New Hope” nonsense! Nowhere in the movie, in any of the reviews, or in any of the advertising and promotional materials was it mentioned that this was going to be part of a series, and therefore needed a number / subtitle. It wasn’t until Lucas was working on The Empire Strikes Back that he thought of making the movies a series. The “Episode IV: A New Hope” bit first appeared in the opening crawl of the movie in its 1981 theatrical re-release. Which, actually, was a year AFTER “Empire” came out.

So there.

You Are Being Watched

A few weeks ago, I discovered that my RF Modulator had given up the ghost. That’s the little box that connects both a DVD player and the antenna to a TV. Seems that the little power indicator LED doesn’t come on anymore. That should give you some idea of how little TV I watch that I have no clue how long it’s been out. At work the next day, I went online to get some prices on a replacement.

Even though that was just a few minutes of searching, and it was several weeks ago, I am still seeing banner ads offering me deals on RF Modulators.
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The NRA vs. The CDC

While strolling through the local library on my lunch break today, I couldn’t help but see the cover story on the New York Daily News. “Killed by the NRA”, it screamed. In their typical sensational tabloid fashion, this referred to the fact that while the Centers for Disease Control spend millions of dollars annually studying how to reduce deaths from things like Lyme disease (22,000 deaths in 2012, CDC budget for prevention programs: $10.6M), they are forbidden by law to spend any significant amount of money studying anything that could even remotely be connected to “gun control”.

Back in 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study led by Arthur Kellerman and funded by the CDC that found a strong link between having a gun in the home and an increased risk of homicide. The NRA, through its lobbyists, screamed bloody murder. They wanted to completely wipe out the division of the CDC that funded the study, but instead wound up having an amendment inserted into a 1997 budget package which stated that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” While it didn’t specifically ban research on gun control, the intent was made very clear when that same budget took the exact amount that the CDC spent on firearm safety research the previous year and earmarked it specifically for brain trauma research.

With the writing on the wall, the CDC has not funded any real gun safety research since then.

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I HATE Tissues

Right now, my immune system is mopping up after a short but intense battle against the forces of the Evil Common Cold. The bodies of the invaders are being swept up and expelled, but it’s taking some time to clear them all out.

While my head is clear, and there are no more aches and pains, my nose is still running a marathon. You could end a drought with the fluid coming out of my nose. Of course, it’s not polite to snort it all back in to be swallowed (or otherwise dealt with internally), so I have to blow my nose every fifteen minutes or so.

This presents a problem for me. There’s a LOT of goo to be dealt with, and the standard tissues are just too small. If I use one layer of tissue, I blow right through it. If I fold it in half and use a double layer, it’s too small to contain the spray. If I take two tissues and double up, by the time I’ve arranged them properly, I’ve dripped into my lap. And one tissue (or pair of tissues, for that matter) is simply not enough to handle the two or three blows (and the final wipe) that you need to do to clear out my nasal passages. Tissues are great for the occasional wipe or skin care issue, but for dealing with massive amounts of nasal drip, forget it!

My usual solution is to have a couple of wads of toilet paper in my pockets. Pull off about six feet from the roll, and fold it up twice, so I’ve got a four-layer strip. Thick enough to hold up to the most powerful sneeze, enough paper for the follow up blows, and still some left for the final wipe.

The only problem is that the paper isn’t designed for such a use, and I wind up irritating the heck out of the skin around my nose.

What I really need is tissues the size of paper towels.

Anybody want to make them?