I am apparently being “Ridiculous”

“I don’t mean people are packages, so let’s not be ridiculous,” the New Jersey governor told an interviewer on Fox News Sunday who pointed out that foreigners do not have labels on their wrists.

“This is once again a situation where the private sector laps us in the government with the use of technology,” Christie said. “We should bring in the folks from FedEx to use the technology to be able to do it. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

I’m not entirely sure how he intends to “use the technology” without something that seems very much like barcoding visitors. Maybe mandatory checkins with local authorities?

In Closing: this might be worth watching, but nobody better get in my way on the 21st. Got that??

“Did you see that ludicrous display last night?”

Wouldn’t it be nice if the networks would set their science fiction shows in the near future, so it’s obvious the science is made up?

Ok, I confess I watched the premiere of CSI Cyber last night. I also confess that I was expecting to watch for the heckling value.




About the only things I’m willing to believe about the show are a) the FBI has (or should have) a cyber crimes division b) it’s possible to develop a code analysis tool that puts the bad stuff in red. Oh, and a Toyota Camry can’t float. Please note that although they lamented the fact that “it would take too long to brute force that long password (so obviously we feds just have to be able to bypass things things, you know, for the children),” they had a team member who used logic to figure it out. Also note that the existence of a back door in another system is what allowed the original crime to happen.

Also, ask yourself why you need your babycam (among other things) to be on the internet.

In Closing: most kids aren’t whisked away by strangers, no matter what you might see on TV; guess how many terrorists the NSA “collect all the calls” program has caught? ZERO.

A Revisit

Back in September I did a little item on a few TV shows. I thought it would be a good idea to follow up.

Madam Secretary: Sorry, stopped watching after the first episode. It’s opposite Brooklyn 99, which is actually entertaining.

Gotham: Still watching, still loving it. They’ve backed off on Jim Gordon’s partner, who is now Harvey Bullock. Harvey Dent arrives in tomorrow’s episode. Penguin is wonderfully sociopathic. Ed Nygma is developing a backstory. The girl with the green goggles? That’s Selena “Cat” Kyle. And it turns out that Alfred is a badass.

Scorpion: Oh my [deity] this show is hilariously awful. The premise of one episode was “terrorists are trying to blow up the internet.” Last week, they were unraveling a plot to kill people to keep secret the fact that a number of top hit songs were in fact written by a sure-fire hit-writing computer program. Hello, welcome to twenty years ago. Computers are very good at writing music. Just listen to what this guy can make a computer do!

This show is allegedly based on a true story. Grimm’s Fairy Tales are more realistic.

In Closing: Pope Francis continues to do good things; violence; poverty; kill the postman.

3 Premieres and a Re-Run

I’m not much of a TV or entertainment blogger, but thought I would share my thoughts anyway. Here goes.

Madam Secretary: I wanted to like this one right until I started hearing the radio ads describing it as a “new hit series.” Um yeah, think we can just maybe wait until the first episode airs before we start calling it a hit, hmm? I did watch it anyway. Quick synopsis: the Secretary of State is killed in a Freak Plane Accident, so the President calls someone he thinks he can trust — an ex-CIA analyst turned college professor who somehow or another can afford horse property. I think she’s meant to be a more likable Elizabeth Warren. Fast forward past Senate confirmation hearings that have a whole sentence devoted to them later in the episode to a small townhome in DC. In my opinion, the best moment was a scene in which the Secretary hijacks a news cycle, humorously showing how easily our shallow media is manipulated and pointing out the different standards to which a woman in politics is held. There’s unfortunately a plot arc about a shadowy behind the scenes potentially dangerous plot afoot. I guess they think they need a serial killer or something to keep people tuning in. Yawn. I think I may have liked it better than Comrade Misfit did. Solid B, if they turn in a bibliography they might pull it up to a B+.

Gotham: I confess, I like Batman. I’ve liked Batman since I was 5. So of course I had to watch Gotham, it wasn’t optional. Just in case you don’t pay any damn attention to those little letters they put at the beginnings of shows these days, this show is not for kids. Of course, you can’t do a Batman origin story without starting the terrible night that Bruce Wayne witnesses the murder of his parents. And who happens to be the first cop on the scene? Why, it’s none other than newly minted detective Jim Gordon. Oh right, he prefers James now. The 80s vintage Dodge Diplomat unmarked squad driven by Detectives Gordon and Dent (yeah, Harvey Dent) suggests that Gotham’s time line runs pretty close to that of New York City. It’s a gritty place: organized crime, disorganized crime, and a generally corrupt police force that Jim Gordon wants to change from the inside. By the way, implying that this takes place in the 80s would make Bruce around 40 today. I’m not an expert on the Bat-iverse, but I counted no fewer than 4 characters who would evolve into future Batman villains, three of them substantially older than Bruce — but this is James Gordon’s show. I’ll hold my judgement on Barbara and the mysterious girl with the green goggles while the show finds its footing. Solid A- here.

Quick, change channels!

Scorpion: Here we go, the other overhyped new series! It’s supposedly based on a true story. However, it must be very, very loosely based on a true story, perhaps a story told during a night of drinking. Ok, it was exciting! It was entertaining! It got me to laugh a couple times! However, there were plot holes you could drive a hot-wired Ferrari through at top speed. Please note the Boeing colors on the 767; did no airline want to be associated with this? I’m not the only one who found some of the characterizations to be insulting. I’ll give it a C for entertainment, but next time they’d better get a proofreader and a fact checker on board if they want a better grade.

And an old old story: It turns out that many Christians don’t know much about their own religion. Come on guys, all you had to do was read one book! It’s all there! Ok, it’s a long book, but it’s broken down pretty well into mini-books and nice short chapters.

In Closing: my local paper has a knack for the obvious; on our ever growing police state, complete with spying on citizens and no punishment for abusing (or killing) them; Chinese chicken salad; things are tough all over; if sports are so damn profitable, they can damn well pay taxes; dreaming is great, but doing is more important.

Harvest Time is Upon Us!

And apparently, nothing says “autumn” to my local store than pumpkins and lots of boxed wine!


Or perhaps you’d prefer the hard stuff?


Drink that much Jack, and you’ll need the tombstone!

As the nice lady sang, “Cheers to the freakin weekend! I’ll drink to that.”

In Closing: personality test; Carlin; what could possibly go wrong?; Dave on taxes; die with a t on the end; “Armory? Armory? School districts have armories? Hell, we don’t have enough money for textbooks but we have armories?”; Russian Space Sex Geckos!; Uh, “number 2” is actually #4 by my reckoning (nobody would have recognized 6); not good; and you have got to watch this — a splash mob!

Ides of March

Pi Day is over. Today is the anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC.  To the best of my knowledge, Caesars Palace is not planning any memorial events. A friend has suggested not celebrating with a salad.

In Closing: three political cartoons (render unto Caesar, eh?); oops, turns out the samples from Lake Vostok were contaminated; Yay! Vegas is not number one!; on the interpretation of study data; grumble; double a small number is still pretty small; wow; comfortable workers work harder (attention, Yahoo); hard to save anything when there’s nothing left; totally bombed; cord cutting; when there is no market, market forces don’t act.


Music Monday: Life Pro Tip


If you ever find yourself asking “Should I Drink Another Drink,” the answer is almost certainly NO! At least this song is conscious of that fact.

In Closing: sigh our “liberal” administration that is “lax on terror” sure loves them some warrantless surveillance (and how many arrests have there been as a result? Yeah that’s what I thought); maybe if you paid enough that somebody could take the job?; Missouri shows me the common sense; the fiscal cliff and you; Penny Marshall; “Sure, increase the number of chickens you have to inspect in a minute by a factor of 5! What could possibly happen?”; because every kid who scores less than 3 out of 5 is a waste of $80 (yes, I see what the pressure cooker does to kids that actually belong in those classes); where does “work ethic” meet “unrealistic job expectations”? Are workers entitled to a life?; zingers; private equity; on polling bias; Pediatric concern trolls strike again; no wonder they never get ahead.

Yin and Yang of Healthy Living, Part 2

You will never get in shape through diet, and you will never control your weight through exercise.

Yesterday, we talked about diet. Today we talk about exercise. Together they work like two halves of a fitness and health puzzle that fit together perfectly.

To clarify my initial statement, exercise makes a great part of a weight loss strategy. However, if all you do is add a few workouts to a crappy diet, you won’t get good results. It would be more accurate and less pithy to say that you will never control your weight through exercise alone.

Visualize with me, if you will, a table with 3 legs. It will look a lot like this one from Amazon:

A Table With Three Legs

Now, imagine that we label these legs strength, cardio, and flexibility. Each of these is an important part of fitness. Strength, briefly, is your ability to lift and move things. That includes moving your own body. Cardio is shorthand for cardiovascular or cardio-resperatory fitness, your ability to provide oxygenated blood to your muscles while you move. Flexibility is the ability to move your joints through a complete range of motion — for example, moving your arm around in a big circle or lifting your leg up in front of you and putting it back down again.

At this point, some people violently disagree with me. “What about endurance? Agility? Speed? Coordination? Balance? Accuracy? Sports performance? You idiot!” Here’s my answer: all those are abilities you put on top of the table, like you’d put books or a vase on a real-life table. They’ll slide off if you don’t already have 3 legs to support it!

Let’s say you have to go to the grocery store to buy a 20 pound bag of something: cat food, rice, water softener salt, bag of ice, whatever, it doesn’t matter. You will still need to be able to walk through the store, because these things are invariably near the back. You’ll have to kneel down to pick it up, because it’s on the bottom shelf (wouldn’t want it falling on someone). You’ll have to lift it and carry it to the cashier, then out to your car. To do those things, you need cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility. If you don’t have that, it doesn’t matter how fast you can do it, how long you can carry the bag, how precisely you can lay it down on the cashier’s conveyor belt, or anything else.

So, not surprisingly, an exercise regimen for a beginner must focus on becoming more strong, getting a healthier heart through cardio training, and becoming more flexible through activities like stretching or yoga. An exercise regimen for someone more advanced can certainly include training for such qualities as endurance, speed, and agility.

In Closing: on a related note; the important part; she’s right; stalagmites and climate change; don’t forget; and Death Valley Volcano.