Took my son to see WALL-E over the weekend. I really liked it. There wasn't a lot of dialogue. That made the movie that much better, because the robots had to emote and use physical expressions. It was like a silent movie for the new era. Of course my son loved it, which was the most important thing. As a bonus, I loved it too.

We also liked the opening, slap-stick filled short about a magician and his hungry rabbit. Lots of laughs compressed into six minutes. The only negative about the whole experience was the price tag. I had forgotten why I don't go to the movies anymore. $23 for tickets and snacks. Next time, I'm waiting for On-Demand of DVD.

However, the cuteness of it all, including my sons reaction to his first movie experience more than made up for it. Of course, I'll have to be on the lookout for the action figures or plushies. And I guess I need to get my son one too. :)

EDIT: Found out what kind of WALL-E toys are coming. I so want the transforming plushie!


End of an era. Ma Deuce days numbered.

From Military.com:
Probably the longest serving weapon in the U.S. military arsenal is the Browning .50-caliber M2 machine gun. Often referred to as "ma deuce" for its M2 designation, the weapon entered U.S. service at the end of World War I, being scaled up from the Browning .30-caliber M1917 machine gun. The .50-caliber weapon was initially designated M1921.

Using a round designed by Winchester, the .50-caliber machine gun was originally intended for ground troops to use against enemy troops. Subsequently, it was employed as an anti-aircraft weapon and then became the standard armament of U.S. warplanes. In 1932, the design was updated and redesignated M2.

Now, after almost 90 years of service, the U.S. Army has moved to replace Browning's remarkable machine gun. The Army recently ordered three prototypes of a lightweight .50-caliber machine gun. Produced by General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, the weapon weighs about one-half of the current .50-caliber M2HB (Heavy Barrel) machine gun, fires with less recoil and is equipped with technology to improve accuracy, according to the company.

The Army and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) will test the new guns and then apply the lessons learned to a potential production design. Low-rate initial production could begin as soon as 2011.

It would take several years for the new weapon to replace the "ma duce" in U.S. service. But even if it does so, the M1921/M2 would have been in service for a century.



From SCOTUS blog:
Answering a 127-year old constitutional question, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a gun, at least in one’s home. The Court, splitting 5-4, struck down a District of Columbia ban on handgun possession.

In District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290), the Court nullified two provisions of the city of Washington’s strict 1976 gun control law: a flat ban on possessing a gun in one’s home, and a requirement that any gun — except one kept at a business — must be unloaded and disassembled or have a trigger lock in place. The Court said it was not passing on a part of the law requiring that guns be licensed. It said that issuing a license to a handgun owner, so the weapon can be used at home, would be a sufficient remedy for the Second Amendment violatrion of denying any access to a handgun.

Best from the opinion:
The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditional lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

As Justice Scalia put it, whatever remains for “future evaluation” about the strength of the right, “it surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.”

However, all is not perfect:
Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the majority stressed that the Court was not casting doubt on long-standing bans on carrying a concealed gun or on gun possession by felons or the mentally retarded, on laws barring guns from schools or government buildings, and laws putting conditions on gun sales.


Essential Life Saving Apparatus

From Rocky Mountain News:
Stuck, lost and hobbled in the German Alps, a quick-thinking Colorado Springs woman hooked her bra to a mountain-side supply line and alerted rescuers to her whereabouts just as they were giving up the search.

"We're going to have a party for her every June 19, and give her some new bras," Elana Bruinsma, said this morning of her sister, Jessica Bruinsma, 24.

The 36-DD sports bra has become the talk of the Berchtesgaden area of Germany near the Austria border.

"It certainly beats sending up a flare," one rescue worker told Backpacker magazine. "She hadn't been wearing much when she started on her walk and she ended up with even less on."

A worker on the timber cable in the region alerted police when he found Bruinsma's bra hooked to the cable.

"She'd gone for a walk last Sunday night and didn't come back," Elana said.

"I talked to her yesterday. She said she'd kind of gotten lost that first day and then she tried to climb down something and fell 20 feet.

She noticed a supply carrier that ran down the mountain, but for two days it never moved.

It rained hard the second night she was stuck on the crag, "so she'd taken off her clothes to let them dry," Elana said. "She was going to use her bra for a sling because she'd dislocated her shoulder."

But then, the supply line began to move, and she got an idea.

"I asked her if she could have gotten in it, but she said it wasn't big enough for that."

So, Jessica attached the bra to the supply line and hoped for the best. She told rescuers she hung out on the crag, drank water and ate biscuits.

After the worker spotted it and alerted police, rescuers changed their area of focus and reached her in a matter of hours.

And make sure you have the other survival bra as well...


No DC vs Heller today

From the SCOTUS Blog:
10:11 Ben Winograd - Rothgery is the last opinion of the day.

10:12 Tom Goldstein - The only opinion remaining from the March sitting is Heller. The only Justice without a majority opinion from that sitting is Justice Scalia.

10:14 Tom Goldstein - The Court has announced that it will release opinions against at 10am Wednesday. Because seven opinions remain, it will almost certainly have one additional day. Based on past practice, that day likely will be Thursday.

George Carlin Dies at 71

From NY Times Obits:
George Carlin, the Grammy-Award winning standup comedian and actor who was hailed for his irreverent social commentary, poignant observations of the absurdities of everyday life and language, and groundbreaking routines like “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” died in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sunday, according to his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He was 71.

The cause of death was heart failure. Mr. Carlin, who had a history of heart problems, went into the hospital on Sunday afternoon after complaining of heart trouble. The comedian had worked last weekend at The Orleans in Las Vegas.

Mr. Carlin began his standup comedy act in the late 1950s and made his first television solo guest appearance on “The Merv Griffin Show” in 1965. At that time, he was primarily known for his clever wordplay and reminiscences of his Irish working-class upbringing in New York.

In 1970, Mr. Carlin discarded his suit, tie, and clean-cut image as well as the relatively conventional material that had catapulted him to the top. Mr. Carlin reinvented himself, emerging with a beard, long hair, jeans and a routine that, according to one critic, was steeped in “drugs and bawdy language.” There was an immediate backlash. The Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas terminated his three-year contract, and, months later, he was advised to leave town when an angry mob threatened him at the Lake Geneva Playboy Club. Afterward, he temporarily abandoned the nightclub circuit and began appearing at coffee houses, folk clubs and colleges where he found a younger, hipper audience that was more attuned to both his new image and his material.

By the mid-’70s, like his comic predecessor Lenny Bruce and the fast-rising Richard Pryor, Mr. Carlin had emerged as a cultural renegade. In addition to his irreverent jests about religion and politics, he openly talked about the use of drugs, including acid and peyote, and said that he kicked cocaine not for moral or legal reasons but after he found “far more pain in the deal than pleasure.” But the edgier, more biting comedy he developed during this period, along with his candid admission of drug use, cemented his reputation as the “comic voice of the counterculture.”

Although some criticized parts of his later work as too contentious, Mr. Carlin defended the material, insisting that his comedy had always been driven by an intolerance for the shortcomings of humanity and society. “Scratch any cynic,” he said, “and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.”

Still, when pushed to explain the pessimism and overt spleen that had crept into his act, he quickly reaffirmed the zeal that inspired his lists of complaints and grievances. “I don’t have pet peeves,” he said, correcting the interviewer. And with a mischievous glint in his eyes, he added, “I have major, psychotic hatreds.”

For me, this is a year where I like to trot out one of Carlin's musings on elections:

DC vs Heller ruling expected today.

From DC vs Heller Wiki:
In 2003, six residents of Washington, D.C. (Shelly Parker, Tom Palmer, Gillian St. Lawrence, Tracey Ambeau, George Lyon and Dick Heller) filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging the constitutionality of provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975, a local law enacted pursuant to District of Columbia home rule. This law restricts residents from owning handguns, excluding those grandfathered in by registration prior to 1975 and those possessed by active and retired law enforcement officers. The law also requires that all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock."[3] The District Court dismissed the lawsuit.

It is an appeal from Parker v. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370 (D.C. Cir. 2007), a decision in which the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit became the first federal appeals court in the United States to rule that a firearm ban was an unconstitutional infringement of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the second to expressly interpret the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right to possess firearms for private use.[1]

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case on March 18, 2008 and a decision is expected by the end of June[2].

As soon as more is known, I'll post it. Hopefully this will be a good day for 2A!


Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle

From DailyMail:
Classic graduate Nadia Witkowski was doubtless wishing she had opted for a little more restraint after a spot of jelly wrestling ended in drunken fisticuffs and a rather unseemly scuffle with security - culminating in a police caution for common assault.

The student's humiliation came at an event organised by the Wyverns, an infamous all-male Magdalene College drinking society, and part of a bigger tradition known as Suicide Sunday.

This year there was a blazers and bikini theme (that's men in blazers, women in bikinis - and a jelly-filled inflatable paddling pool).

Miss Witkowski, 23, who says she she hopes to go into law or investment banking, was suitably attired.

She surely did not, however, have prospective employers in mind when she stripped down to her skimpy white two-piece and waded into a far from dignified face off with a scantily-clad opponent.

Should she want to be reminded, photographs capture the slippery bout in all its glory.

Miss Witkowski's ire was raised after coming off better in the fight, only to hear hundreds of students who had been watching booing her and cheering her opponent - whose top also managed to fall off during the bout.

Storming away, still covered in jelly, the student punched a girl dressed as a butterfly in the face, leaving her with a bloody nose.
She then grabbed a bottle of Lambrini and made for the exit but was stopped by two burly bouncers.

When they tried to confiscate the bottle of cheap perry, she punched one and headbutted the other, forcing them to call for reinforcements.

That's my kind of wrasslin! Check the link for some of the bikini shots too.


Why things are done right to left.

From TheSun:

This embarrassing blunder left passers-by red-faced in London's Leicester Square moments before the Hancock premiere last night.

Scaffolders appeared to spell the name of the superhero film backwards, erecting the last four letters before the first three were mounted.

This meant that just as it was time for a fag break, the only letters in place rudely spelt out c**k providing plenty of giggles for the labourers.

Woman sues over thong injury.

From The Smoking Gun:
As she was attempting to put on a Victoria's Secret thong, a Los Angeles woman claims that a decorative metallic piece flew off the garment and struck her in the eye, causing injuries and a new product liability lawsuit against the underwear giant.

Macrida Patterson, 52, alleges that she was hurt last May by a defective "low-rise v-string" from the Victoria's Secret "Sexy Little Thing" line, according to a lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court. A copy of her June 9 complaint, which does not specify monetary damages, can be found below. Patterson's lawyer, Jason Buccat, told TSG that a "design problem" caused the decorative piece to come loose and strike Patterson in the eye, causing damage to her cornea.

He added that the eye injury, which caused Patterson to miss a few days of work, will be "affecting her the rest of her life." Patterson is a traffic officer with L.A.'s Department of Transportation. Prior to the lawsuit's filing, Victoria's Secret officials asked to examine the garment and the decorative piece, but that request was rejected by Patterson's counsel.

For those unfamiliar with "v-strings," the undergarment is the Victoria's Secret variant on the "g-string," which has long been favored in the battle against visible panty lines.

Personally, I think it was a stress fracture. :)


Stan Winston: 1946-2008

Stan Winston, the Oscar-winning special-effects maestro responsible for bringing the dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park" and other iconic movie creatures to life, has died. He was 62.

Winston died at his home in Malibu on Sunday evening after a seven-year struggle with multiple myeloma, according to a representative from Stan Winston Studio.

Working with such directors as Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Tim Burton in a career spanning four decades, Winston created some of the most memorable visual effects in cinematic history. He helped bring the dinosaurs from "Jurassic Park," the extraterrestrials from "Aliens, the robots from "Terminator" and even "Edward Scissorhands" to the big screen, and was a pioneer in merging real-world effects with computer imaging.

Winston won visual effects Oscars for 1986's "Aliens," 1992's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and 1993's "Jurassic Park." He also won a makeup Oscar for 1992's "Batman Returns."

He last worked with director Jon Favreau on "Iron Man."

As a child growing up in Virginia, Winston enjoyed drawing, puppetry and classic horror films. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville in 1968, Winston moved to Southern California to become an actor but instead worked behind the scenes and completed a three-year makeup apprenticeship program at Walt Disney Studios in 1972.


Man Who Beat Infant to Death Fatally Shot by Cop

From News10.net:
A Modesto police officer shot and killed a man after a Stanislaus County sheriff's helicopter crew spotted the man beating a baby boy in the middle of an intersection in rural Stanislaus County on Saturday, Modesto police said.

The helicopter responded to 911 calls around 10:15 p.m. Saturday from residents near the intersection of Bradbury and Blaker roads reporting a man was assaulting an infant. "(He) was beating an infant in the middle of the road - beating it for no apparent reason," said Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy Raj Singh.

The crew decided to make an emergency landing in a cow pasture near the roadway, but were blocked from reaching the man by an electrified, barbed-wire fence. A Modesto police officer serving as a tactical flight officer aboard the helicopter then shot the attacker. "According to Singh, the officer, "Pulled out his service weapon, pointed it at the suspect and told him to step away from the baby. So in an attempt to try to save the baby's life, the officer fired, hitting the suspect, which resulted in his death." The man was later pronounced dead at the scene. Emergency crews rushed the child to Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, where the infant died shortly after arrival.

Singh said an elderly couple made the first 911 call to police after spotting the suspect's stopped pickup facing the wrong direction. They said a young man was brutally beating a child behind his truck and throwing the toddler on the ground. "They could see him being beaten and people were trying to intervene, but it was having little or no effect," said Singh, adding that one man who tried to stop the violence was repeatedly thrown to the ground by the suspect.

The names of the man and infant, who was between 12 and 24 months old, were not released and there was no immediate word on the relationship between the two. Singh said the toddler was so badly beaten it will have to be identified through blood or DNA testing.

Good shoot.


Congresswoman introduces bill to limit TV commercial volume.

From Congress:
H.R.6209: To require the Federal Communications Commission to prescribe a standard to preclude commercials from being broadcast at louder volumes than the program material they accompany.

Finally, "The Billy Mays Act" may stop destroying my sound equipment.

Ashamed of your gaming habit?

From Gamespot UK:
Portland psychiatrist Dr. Jerald Block specialises in treating those who have a massively multiplayer online game problem.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Block added to the argument that he put forward in an editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry that 'Internet Addiction' should be a recognised term.

The good doctor believes that his clients are more ashamed of playing World of Warcraft than looking at pornographic images. He said, "Some people come in for trouble with Internet porn. But the computer gamers tend to be harder to treat. People feel a lot of shame around computer games. Whereas, it's socially acceptable to have a porn problem."

Regular Joes and many psychiatrists just don't understand the complex world of games or the jargon that goes with them, says Block. The struggle to reach level 70 is not understood, nor is being a member of a guild, or the mundanity of grinding.

He gave the example of a client who was a regular player of massively multiplayer online game EVE Online, and who after playing for years, had built up around $17,000 of virtual assets. Then another player took out a virtual contract on his life, and his character and assets were lost. Block said, "How does he describe that experience and have any of his friends understand it? It's so bizarre and otherworldly. In fact, it's so bizarre that many therapists don't want to go there."

So, excatly who is ashamed of looking at porn?


Sex in the city

More than one fourth of adult New Yorkers are infected with the virus the causes genital herpes, the Department of Health announced today.

Twenty-six percent of New Yorkers have genital herpes, while the national average is 19 percent, according to the DOH. Among New Yorkers, women have a higher instance of genital herpes infection, 36 percent, as compared with men, 19 percent.

According to the report, the herpes infection rate is 49 percent among black New Yorkers and 14 percent among white New Yorkers. Genital herpes is also more common among men who have sex with other men, 32 percent, than among those who do not, 18 percent.

One piece of good news among the grim statistics, Schillinger said, is that nationally herpes infections have been trending downward from a decade ago. So that while New York is higher compared with the national average, the trend might also be declining over time.

But she said that most importantly, people need to practice safe sex to prevent the disease from spreading.

"Condoms used correctly and consistently are the best answer to this problem," Schillinger said. "We all know the role condoms play in curbing the spread of HIV. Herpes is another critical reason to use condoms."

I can't stress the importance of using the proper protection. Don't mind the monkies, though.



From the AP:
Warren G has been arrested on a drug charge after police pulled over the car he was riding in.

Police say the 35-year-old rapper was arrested early Sunday after being pulled over for a red light violation. Officer Karen Smith says marijuana was found in the vehicle.

The rapper's real name is Warren Griffin III. Both he and the driver, Ryan Butler, were booked for investigation of possession of a controlled substance. They each posted $20,000 bail and were released.

Attempts to reach Griffin or a representative Sunday night were unsuccessful.

Warren G was nominated for a Grammy in 1995. He was arrested in 1996 for carrying a loaded assault weapon in his truck.


Ohio set to get Castle Doctrine

From The Toledo Blade:
Potential victims who harm or kill apparent intruders in their homes or vehicles would get the legal benefit of the doubt under a just-passed bill destined to get Gov. Ted Strickland's signature.

Sponsored by state Sen. Stephen Buehrer (R., Delta) and pushed by the National Rifle Association, the measure served as a magnet for changes to Ohio's 4-year-old law allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns.

The bill would take effect 90 days after Mr. Strickland signs it.

"He believes the legislation provides law-abiding gun owners with appropriate and reasonable protections, and he's looking forward to signing the bill," said Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey.

Commonly called the "Castle Doctrine," the bill shifts the burden away from the apparent victim to prosecutors and police to prove that an individual did not act in self-defense. The bill specifies that the legal resident does not have a duty to retreat when someone is illegally entering or attempting to enter his home or car.

"A lot of people believe that's the current law, that you have the ability to protect you and your family in your house," Mr. Buehrer said. "They are shocked to find out that's not the case. The general law in Ohio is if you're attacked, you have a duty to retreat. The courts have recognized that if you're in your home, you don't have a duty to retreat, but we're only one prosecutor or one judge away from losing that right in case law in Ohio."

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