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Thursday, 2014 November 6, 01:35 — cinema

The Curious Case of the Catchy but Inappropriate Title

In Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner (1997), Joe, for a genius, is a bit stupid:

Jimmy tells Joe to “bring the Process” to their meeting in the park. Joe never mentioned that word to Jimmy. Though Joe is already suspicious of Jimmy, he does not notice.

The fake FBI agents tell Joe that Jimmy is working a classic Spanish Prisoner scam, though Jimmy has done almost nothing to set up such a story. If he says the “princess” is in trouble, will Joe hand over the Process to help her? Hardly. So why doesn’t Joe remark that it doesn’t fit?

When the police ask for something with Jimmy’s fingerprints, the plot requires Joe to take a day or so to remember the switched book.

Susan is the obvious suspect for the theft of Joe’s knife; this does not occur to Joe.

Saturday, 2014 November 1, 12:20 — arts

theories of magic

Tailsteak writes:

All comics have to have a setting. Very often, almost all of that setting can be implied, especially if the comic is set in the quote-unquote “real world”. If you’re using magic or hypertechnology to drive your plots, however, it’s important to define how that magic or that hypertechnology works.

Much as some of us would like it to be important, no, it isn’t. Think of fairy tales; think of Tolkien, who never expounded a theory of magic and probably never thought of needing one. The scientific approach to magic was, I think, invented by such writers as Fletcher Pratt and Randall Garrett; it is the novel feature of their works.

Saturday, 2014 October 11, 21:43 — neep-neep

Mavwrecks

I’ve noticed some changes in jumping from MacOS 10.6.x to 10.9:

The keystroke Command Option Eject no longer puts the computer to sleep.

On the Dock, the active app indicator is much less visible.

Scroll bars no longer have arrow buttons, so I can’t click to scroll slowly.

When I charge my telephone on USB, it’s no longer recognized as a volume.

Wednesday, 2014 September 17, 12:30 — politics

Of course! Why didn’t we think of that?

The second-weirdest argument for statism that I’ve heard is: “We are social animals!” … implying, I guess, that if not for the constant threat of force we would not behave according to our nature.

The weirdest (which I’ve only heard twice) is: “There are always some people who will seek to dominate others, and there needs to be a structure to facilitate that ambition.”

Sunday, 2014 August 24, 11:45 — race, security theater

privilege, my foot

A Mother’s White Privilege

To admit white privilege is to admit a stake, however small, in ongoing injustice. It’s to see a world different than your previous perception. Acknowledging that your own group enjoys social and economic benefits of systemic racism is frightening and uncomfortable.

She lists a bunch of ugly things that are unlikely to happen to her sons, as well as some offensive things not said to her by the ignorant, thanks to their blondness.

What’s missing from the piece is any description of “benefits” — any reason to believe that we as Whites would be any worse off if, for example, the Blue Gang were to stop abusing Blacks.

Not being murdered by cops is not a “privilege”. Nobody ever said, “Let’s organize and arm a gang of bullies so that they can spend their days not murdering our kind of people.” Absence of SWAT raids is the state of nature, not an artificial benefit.

Friday, 2014 July 18, 20:58 — cinema

cinema 2012

This week I watched two movies that coincidentally opened in the same week in 2012. Neither delighted me.

In Looper, the terrible threat to be averted is a gangster bent on — gasp — wiping out a group of retired killers. I should care? The targets aren’t even interesting: they’re not so much hitmen, which would suggest some need for cleverness in their métier, as overpaid slaughterhouse workers.
In the end, why does Joe’s “change” (it’s a time travel story) erase Sara’s death but not Cid’s wound?

Seven Psychopaths is self-consciously ironic, “transgressive” and self-referential; nothing here that hasn’t been done better.

Monday, 2014 June 9, 11:01 — general

get off my lawn

Saturday I missed a birthday party because I’m not on Facebook. So it goes.

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