Thursday, June 30, 2022

Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe

Over the weekend I watched  Beavis And Butt-Head Do The Universe on Paramount+. I was looking forward to it because Beavis And Butt-Head Do America (1996) was brilliant and funny and worked as social satire.

You might remember the Beavis and Butt-Head show on MTV in the 90s. It was controversial for lots of reasons. But it was done by Mike Judge and I thought it was a brilliant satire of the nihilism of many young men in America. Beavis and Butt-Head have two things they are interested in: hard rock music and "scoring." Today, we'd call them "incels."

Beavis And Butt-Head Do The Universe starts in the 1990s but the pair of idiots is sent into the future (which takes way too long). They are dropped in 2022. Now having these two in the "woke" 2020s was an amazing idea. Unfortunately, it was not executed well. They did wander into a feminist studies course in a college where they were told they had "white privilege" and could do whatever they wanted and not worry about the police. So, they do whatever they want. And get arrested.

I was disappointed. Maybe that type of humor doesn't work anymore. Of course, I'm 26 years older. Maybe that type of humor doesn't work for me anymore. 

Oh, and I swear Bobby Hill makes a cameo appearance as an adult.

This is, by the way, my 1,200th blog post on this blog!

The above photo is being used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act: fair usage.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Obi Wan Kenobi

The last of six episodes of Obi Wan Kenobi on Disney+ was released yesterday. I made sure to watch it.

I have to say this series is the best Star Wars series yet (yes, including The Mandalorian). It is exciting and scary and fun.

Obi Wan Kenobi is executive produced and directed by Deborah Chow. I don't know anything about her, but I wish she'd been in charge of the Star Wars sequels. According to the Internet Movie Database, she has also directed Better Call Saul and The Mandalorian. Both of those are very good series. As I look at the list of things she's directed, it includes a lot of good series television.

Another great aspect of the series is Vivien Lyra Blair, who plays young Princess Leia. For a ten-year-old kid, she's an amazing actor. And it's very easy to imagine her growing into the Princess Leia of the original Star Wars movies.

The series has several writers and they each do a great job building up the suspense and surprises. And they've made Darth Vader legitimately evil and scary. 

The finale had great tension and huge frights. You knew certain people couldn't die, but  you didn't know how they were going to survive. It kept me on the edge of my recliner. 

If you haven't seen Obi Wan Kenobi, it's worth watching. It's six hours of Star Wars fun.

What do you think of Obi Wan Kenobi. Did you enjoy it as much as I did. Let me know in the comments below.

The above photo is being used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act: fair usage.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Armageddon, the Movie

Over the weekend I watched the 1998 movie, Armageddon. It has a slightly similar plot to my current Work in Progress. Slightly.

It was on commercial cable television so I don't know how much if any they cut. They did edit some bad language. It was easy to tell because all they did was mute the soundtrack.

The best part of the movie was... Liv Tyler. Seriously, she was 21 years old and beautiful. Probably still is beautiful.

But the film itself is utterly ridiculous. The science is, well, not science at all. There's a list of a lot if its science errors here. I wonder if the filmmakers even did any research.

So I tried to ignore the science (or lack thereof) and look at the characters and story. And... there's a lot of dumb characters with strong outward traits. It was co-written by J.J. Abrams (of the Star Trek Kelvin timeline movies and the Star Wars sequels) so that makes a lot of sense. The man is not a great writer. Steve Buscemi plays probably the strongest character. But he's kind of cliched: The crazy guy who makes problems for everyone else.

And, at the end, Ben Affleck cries. But he had good reason to.

When I parked my brain (like I do for Star Wars) it actually wasn't a horrible movie. It just wasn't very good.

I also watched The Sound of Music with my wife. She likes that movie.

The above photo is being used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act: fair usage.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Best Songs of the Decades

I saw on Twitter that someone was listing their 100 favorite songs on their blog. I thought that was ambitious. I have probably have a hundred favorite songs (there's over 2,000 on my iPhone) but to list them all would be hard. And to separate the favorites from the ones I merely like would be arduous. 

So I thought I'd just list my few favorite songs. But then I remembered that I already did that. Okay, it was four years ago, but still...

So I had the idea: my favorite songs of each decade I've been alive. That seemed less laborious. I was born in the sixties so we'll start then. These are the songs that make me turn up the radio...

1960s: Somebody to Love by Jefferson Airplane.  It came out in 1967 so I must have discovered it later because I was very young in '67. I love the vocals and the driving beat. 

1970s: This is harder. The '70s are my favorite decade for music. There's Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix and Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. Add in Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple (some of the best guitar work of the decade). There's 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago. And the song I've always called "my favorite": We're an American Band by Grand Funk Railroad. So I guess that has to be my favorite of the 1970s.

1980s: Music changed in the '80s. The existence of MTV didn't help the headlong slide into commercialism. But there was still some good music. This one is easier. My favorite song of the 1980s is Money for Nothing by Dire Straits. Mark Knopfler's guitar work is amazing. Unfortunately, these days it's hard to find a copy online that hasn't been bowdlerized because one verse is offensive to some. They don't understand the context of the song.

1990s. This is even easier. I pretty much stopped listening to newly released music about 1992. It all just sucked too much (and it's only gotten worse). So my favorite song of the 1990s was released in 1991: Smells like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.

2000's through 2020s: Nada. Zip. Zero. I don't know if the music changed or my tastes changed. I suspect the former. 

Do you have favorite songs from the decades listed? Disagree with my opinion of the 2000s and up? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

"Not Yet" to Electric Cars

Tesla Model S
I'm half-heartedly looking for a new car. My current vehicle will be nine years old in December so I might want to buy a new car late in 2023. But I'm debating that because my current car, despite its age, runs great, looks great, rides great, handles great, etc. Part of that is the German engineering and part is that I've taken care of it.

I only want a sedan. I'm not interested in an SUV or-- gag--a crossover. I considered briefly a certain station wagon but decided to not go that way. I've narrowed it down to two cars: an Audi and a BMW. I was surprised to learn the BMW had more horsepower and was cheaper. And came with three years free maintenance.

But before I looked at internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, I looked at electrics. My criteria for an electric was 300 miles of realistic range and/or the ability to recharge in ten minutes.

When it comes to electric cars, there is something called the "EPA Range." This is like EPA mileage number for an ICE vehicle: not realistic in real-world driving. For example, the Tesla Model S Long Range has an EPA range of 375 miles. But Car and Driver magazine got only 281 miles diving the car at 75 miles per hour. And if the weather is hot, or cold, or you go up hill too much or you run the heat or the air conditioner, you can lower the range a lot. Car and Driver found with a Model 3 from Tesla, in cold weather the range was nearly cut in half.

Lucid Motors (which has yet to put a car on the road) claims an EPA range of 520 miles for its Air Dream Edition. But it's MSRP is $169,000 and that is rumored to be going up due to high demand. And that's a bit more than I want to spend on a car.

I was talking to a man who owns an electric car. He says if he wants to drive out of town, he rents an ICE car. Also, sometimes you come to a charger and someone is already charging so you have to wait. That adds to the "refuel" time.

I keep reading about coming amazing batteries that can go 1,000 miles and refill in 9 seconds. But who knows how long it'll be before those become reality. If ever.

For now, I'll stick with an ICE car. Even with gas prices being ridiculous.

UPDATE: Lucid has delivered 300 cars about to customers.