Ruminations, etc..

Musings, rantings, and pie.

Archive for July 2010

Harry Potter and the Flogging of a Dead Horse

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Before we get into the meat of this post, let me start by assuring everyone that I really do like the Harry Potter books.  Like most people who start reading Rowling’s books and are over the age of 15, I found them to be surprisingly well-written and well thought out.  In fact, I thought Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has one of the tightest plots I’ve ever read.  It could even be said the plot was Chandleresque!

If Harry knew what was waiting for him in adulthood, he probably would've stayed dead at the end of Deathly Hallows

However, I thought the ending of Deathly Hallows was disappointing.  It literally ends with Harry saying, “Whew — I’m glad that’s over!”  That’s not a great ending (a point I’ll be expanding on in a future Ruminations, etc., post. I know, you can’t wait…).  Furthermore, Rowling was abandoning her character right when things start getting interesting.  Childhood and adolescence, while magical, has nothing on the challenges awaiting Harry during his adulthood. Sure, they might not be as interesting or fun as being chased by Death Eaters over the skies of London, but after that, what is exciting? A topic that will be explored in the very first book in my Adult Harry Potter series.

Ruminations, Etc., is Proud to Present the Next Books in the Harry Potter Saga!

After graduating Hogwarts, things just aren’t as fun as they were in Harry’s youth.  Life seems bland and boring; not at all what is was like when Harry and his friends faced certain death every school year.  What will Harry do now? Will Harry triumph over his latest challenge in Harry Potter and the Perils of Peaking in Your Adolescence.

Moving on from Hogwarts to become an auror is no easy task for Harry.  He relocates to London and needs to find a roommate, so he places an ad on Craigslist. A tall and lean young man named Troy answers the ad and comes to Harry’s rescue.  Finally, Harry can pay the rent and the bills and Harry is at peace. But after a few months, Harry starts noticing that his roommate is a rather strange young man. Troy likes techno music, tight undershirts and the Logo television network.  Is there something wrong with him? And why is Harry uncomfortably drawn to him? Harry Potter finds out in Harry Potter and the Roommate with the Ambiguous Sexuality.

Harry leaves Troy in London and marries his Hogwarts sweetheart, Ginny Weasley. After a few raucous years of exploring Harry and Ginny’s sexuality, they have two kids and life begins to settle down.  A lot.  Nothing is new anymore.  The boredom and routine is killing their relationship. Ginny and Harry start quarrelling and things seem bleak until Ginny reads a story in Cosmo and comes up with an intriguing solution. Join Ginny and Harry as they try to reignite that youthful spark in Harry Potter and the Open Marriage.

Of course, that idea ends badly. Ginny and Harry find out that no magic can mend a broken heart. Now, journey with Harry as he faces a foe that makes Voldemort look like a drunken kitten in Harry Potter and the Divorce Lawyer of Malakadu.

Now, Harry and Ginny do love each other and they reconcile, but, the trouble doesn’t end there.  Harry faces the ultimate test in Harry Potter and the Unfulfilling Career.

Having decided at the end of the last book a change is necessary, Harry must move to the next step of his life.  Harry is making a comfortable salary, but it isn’t enough to raise two kids, keep his wife happy and save up enough to move out of the Burrow.   What will he do?  Find out in Harry Potter and the Grad School Dilemma.  See Harry try to slay the Great Minotaur Alla Turnell, the Grim Reaper Endicott, and the diabolical wizard Larry Sellers Anthony Tremaine! But first, he must find solve the mystery of Hogwarts’s transcript policy!

Is the strain of going back to school with a family getting to Harry? Perhaps!  We’ll see in Harry Potter and the Dysfunction that has Never, Ever, Happened Before…He Swears!

After graduating with an MBA, Harry goes to work in a rubber band manufacturing concern, and is learning all about quarterly reports, office politics, and omnipresent fear of getting laid-off and losing everything.  Amidst all this upheaval, Harry is once again challenged by a new foe.  Read all about it in Harry Potter and the Crushing Ennui of Adulthood.

In his lifetime, Harry has faced ultimate evil, the perils of love, and challenges of actually working for a living, but nothing has prepared him for his final and toughest enemies ever. Will he prevail? Find out in final book of the Harry Potter saga, titled Harry Potter and the No Good Children that Just Won’t Listen!

Written by B. Michael Krol

July 27, 2010 at 11:47 am

I Hope He was Thinking of Buffy While He Did it…

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I just found this on thesuperficial.net.  Apparently David Boreanaz is just a classy guy…

Don’t believe me? Check it out here…

Thesuperficial.net is one of my favorite websites, incidentally.  Consistently funny writing, instead of the hit-and-miss, scatter shot approach we here.

Written by B. Michael Krol

July 22, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Random Detritus

Nutz to That…

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Here at Ruminations, etc we take on the hot topics of the day.  We examine the pressing issues of today and tomorrow.   Nothing important escapes our analytical eye.

Which brings us to today’s topic: Truck Nutz and car decorations in general. For those of you not among the cultural elite, Truck Nutz are a reproduction of a man’s scrotal sack that hangs off the back of a truck.  So yeah, Truck Nutz isn’t just a clever name.

Pictured: Truck Nutz. Not Pictured: A Mensa Candidate

Many people find Truck Nutz absolutely stupid and vile.  I’m not one of them.  Nope.  I actually find Truck Nutz very useful and I hope their use becomes even more widespread.  See, like a McCain/Palin sticker, seeing a set of Truck Nutz hanging off the back of a truck tells me this person’s a complete a-hole and should be avoided at all costs.  That kind of information is vitally important to me.   Too often, precious moments of my life are taken up by complete  douchebags.  Moments that I will never get back.  So anything we can do to identify jackasses ahead of time is fine by me.  We might even want to tag and track them like an endangered species.  Unfortunately, d-bags like this are not endangered enough, and the ACLU will probably get pissed off if we start tagging them. Oh well — another good idea gone to seed.

Seriously, who in the hell would buy these things?  Who’s sitting at home, thinking to themselves, “You know what I need?  I need a big set of testicles hanging off my truck! Then my life will come together!”  These are the same dopes that put bullet hole stickers on their cars and decorated their bumpers with “How do you like my driving? Call 1-800-EAT-SHIT!” stickers in the 90s.  If this was 30 years earlier, I’m sure these tools would have an “Ayatollah Assahola!” shirt in their closet.

Car decorations are just dumb anyway. For instance, in the barren wasteland where I grew up, a lot of people have a sticker of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes on the back window of their cars. What’s wrong with that, you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you: the sticker shows Calvin peeing on something. Usually something the owner of the car doesn’t like or some kind of brilliant social commentary, like Calvin peeing on the Lakers or Obama. I think the stickers started with Calvin peeing on either Ford or Chevy (depending on which brand of truck you had, unless you were a truck owner with a developed inferiority complex and had Calvin peeing on your brand), but, as the sticker became more common, the target changed.  My favorite one of all time is Calvin peeing on La Migra. Only in AZ…

Despite being an incredibly stupid idea, I’ve always wanted a Calvin peeing sticker.  But I wanted Calvin to pee on something that would confuse and agitate other drivers, like Calvin peeing on Sartre (because Calvin would obviously reject existentialism), or Calvin peeing on Hobbes, or just Calvin peeing on Calvin peeing on Calvin, etc, in an endless loop that gets smaller.

There's only one word this: classy.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and tell someone how I liked their driving…what was that number again?

Written by B. Michael Krol

July 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Holy Crap!

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I guess there's a lot of buffets in Paradise City

When the hell did Axl Rose turn into Hank Williams Jr.?  “Welcome to the Jungle…Are you ready for some football!”

Written by B. Michael Krol

July 21, 2010 at 11:06 am

Things that Annoy Me, Pt. 129308

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Has anyone ever said to you (or, have you ever said to anyone), “Don’t take life so seriously…no one gets out alive, anyway!”

Ugh.

What a stupid platitude.  That doesn’t make any sense at all.  Why does the fact that you die mean you shouldn’t take life seriously? If anything, with those kind of stakes, you should be taking life even MORE seriously.  This isn’t like you’re leaving a party that you can come back to.  When you die, that’s it, Twyla, it’s over.  No more. Fini!

You know what I don’t take seriously?  Stuff that has no consequence or things that I can back and redo, like first drafts.   I don’t take  first draft of anything seriously because I know that I can go back and fix things to make it better.  Life isn’t like that.  Life is one and done, partner.  So maybe you should start taking your choices a little more seriously.

What’s even worse about this stupid and annoying little bromide is its inherent nihilism.  So, if I’m understanding you correctly Professor Positive, since we all die there’s no meaning in anything.  We go through our hellish, meaningless existence and eventually the only reward we have is a deep, cold hole in the ground.  That’s it.  So cheer up — quit taking everything so seriously!

Can you believe that bullshit?  See pal, I take things seriously because death is coming, because we only get one shot.  I want to make sure my life has some kind of meaning — even if it’s an arbitrary self-imposed one — because this is the only chance I have to make my mark.

I know, I know, I’m thinking about this too deeply. Really, why am I getting so tripped up about this?  Why take life so seriously?  No one gets out alive, right?

Grrr….

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Written by B. Michael Krol

July 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Random Detritus

Tagged with

The Decision

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Charles Barkley, my all-time favorite basketball player, checked in on Lebron James’ s free-agency decision.   He said what I was thinking, specifically that Lebron can go play for whomever he wants, but the manner he handled his decision was “stupid.”

I watched the first 20  minutes or so of his show before I turned it off in favor of Time Bandits.  It was as awful as I suspected.  To his credit, Lebron didn’t come off as a complete ego-maniac.  That said, I think he should have notified Cleveland of his decision prior to the telecast.  And, by-the-way, Mr. James, it’s complete bullshit that your move to Miami wasn’t planned.  That’s what you wanted all along, so don’t go spewing this nonsense that you never thought it was possible.  What do you think would happen when it came to the attention of NBA executives that you wanted to be on a team with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh?  It’s the result you wanted and you got it.  Good luck — we’ll see what happens with Miami next year.  Hopefully depth won’t be an issue, or the lack of a traditional center…Though Shaq is available.

Chuck’s comments can be found here.

Written by B. Michael Krol

July 15, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Simple Solutions to Movie Problems: Predator Edition

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Welcome to the latest in my Simple Solutions feature.  This one discusses Predator, a movie whose plot I should not have to recap.  However, I will, since the plot is simple: a bunch of commandos go in the jungle to kick ass and flex their muscles, and while doing so, run into an alien creature who is in the jungle to kick ass an flex its muscles.   Only one of them has time to bleed.  I’ll let you guess which one.

They don't have time to bleed

Odd trivia time: Predator features two Governors, one weirdo Libertarian, and a pretty awesome screenwriter.   Pretty cool cast, huh!

Before we get into my solution for this movie, let me say something about the alien species in these flicks.  There is no way that their entire culture revolves around hunting and killing. Think about it: they have advanced technology and are capable of interstellar travel. That kind of technology requires a lot of resources to achieve, and if everyone was out killing their to their heart’s content, they wouldn’t have the time or the desire to create it.

Now, I have no doubt that the culture is really, really into hunting and violence, and that the desire to be violent may even drive the technological achievements the aliens utilize in their hunting trips (like in our culture, where many technological achievements are driven by military research). However, I doubt very much that all these guys do is run around hunting things for “sport.”  I mean, wouldn’t that get boring after awhile? Especially since the movies indicate they’re not really interested in a fair fight. Think about it, most intelligent species require a challenge to avoid boredom. For example, I like playing Grand Theft Auto too, but after awhile the non-stop slaughter gets old and I want to do something else.  Like work on my books for children.

He might have time to bleed...

No, these guys are not the ultimate bad-asses.  They’re more like dentists who go on big game safaris.  Or like those manly men in Pennsylvania who wear Ghillie suits and use laser scopes on their rifles in order to kill a docile creature whose brain stopped evolving thousands of years ago.  (In comparison to the hunters themselves, whose brains stopped evolving when Ted Nugent released Wango Tango).

Now — on to the fun!

At the end of Predator, the future Governor of California, a Guerrilla Grrl, and the dude that got fired from the War of the Worlds series, are running towards a rescue helicopter.  The Predator is coming after them, but stops to bump off Sonny Landham.  Something most people would approve of, since the guy’s a goddamn lunatic.

While they’re running, Arnie figures out the Predator will only kill you if you’re holding a weapon.  He kicks the gun out the Guerilla Grrl’s hand and starts firing at the invisible Predator.  He gets hit and yells to the Guerilla Grrl to “Get to tha choppa!” She does.  Arnie sticks around to go mano a mano with an alien creature that possesses superior strength and weapons. Smart.

Eventually, using his bare fists, Arnie defeats the alien and makes the choppa, where he is flown out of the Predator movies for ever.

Here’s what he should have done.  Ready?

Drop. The. Damn. Gun.

All three of them. When they were running in the forest to get to the choppa.  If you know some alien is hunting you, but only wants to kill you when you’re carrying a gun, drop the damn gun and survive.  Easy, right?

I know, I know, the point of the movie is to see Arnie kick the crap out of the alien like he does to California Democrats (ZING!), but, in reality, it makes more sense to drop the gun, get the cannolis, and get to the choppa.

In closing, I’d like to point out that the alien uses my preferred method of solving movie problems.  When he’s defeated at the end, he just blows everything the fuck up.  Awesome.

Written by B. Michael Krol

July 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Frum’s Jobs Plan

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I tend to stay away from politics on this blog, but I read something today that is forcing me to break my silence.  David Frum, former Bush administration speech writer, came out today with an article in the Financial Times that suggests some ideas for a GOP Jobs platform.  Most of it is fairly standard stuff by the GOP standards, like deregulation and tax cuts, because, you know, THAT’S never been tried before.  But this one excerpt stuck out at me:

“Yet there are policy improvements that Republicans could deliver – and which would help lift the country out of the worst recession since 1945. The first is a payroll tax holiday. Mr Obama added $787bn to the national debt with a poorly designed “fiscal stimulus” that did little to create jobs. Now is the time for a Republican alternative. The US collects about $40bn a month from the payroll tax that funds Social Security and Medicare. A one-year holiday from such payments would put money in workers’ pockets and encourage employers to hire, at only a little more than half the cost of the Obama stimulus. The holiday would have been a great idea in January 2009. It still is now.”

Dave, I think you need to take a stress pill and think this over...

This is a fairly useless strategy. First, the Obama administration stimulus plan was half-tax cuts, including a payroll tax cut.  If cutting payroll taxes didn’t encourage hiring then, why would eliminating them cause companies to hire now? Yeah, that would make hiring new employees cheaper and lower labor costs, but what are those new employees going to do?  Demand has fallen off a cliff and productivity is still high.  In this economic climate, how would lowering labor costs increase hiring? My guess is the companies would say, “Awesome. Thanks for the tax cut!” and not invest in additional capital.

Second, depriving Medicare and Social Security funds would add to the deficit problem and hurt those two programs.  Shouldn’t we be shoring up Medicare and Social Security up?  Isn’t that what this drive to privatize Social Security all about?  “Saving” it? (I know,I know,  it’s not about saving it at all, but let’s take their rhetoric at face value.)

Until demand increases, there will be no increase of hiring.  Tax holidays and cuts are great, but they do not stimulate the economy.  But if you don’t believe me, ask David Frum.  In the same column, he attacks the Bush 2001 tax cuts as ineffective.

The entire column can be found here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/36cb3dcc-8eb1-11df-8a67-00144feab49a.html.

Written by B. Michael Krol

July 14, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Record Number of Hits Yesterday

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So yesterday I got a record number of hits on my blog.  I won’t tell you the exact number, except that the number is north of the entire population of Bean’s Purchase, New Hampshire.  Woo-hoo!  Go me.

In other news, before I start getting all excited and stuff, I found a bunch of embarrassing typos in my big post yesterday.  This blog really needs some quality control.  So the moral of this story is I’m excited that so many people stopped by yesterday, but when they came over to my place, I had beer cans everywhere and my fly was down.  Oops.

This is how I feel now...

Written by B. Michael Krol

July 14, 2010 at 10:35 am

Posted in Excuses

Comments

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The best part about blogging (particularly for the insecure and narcissistic) is the comments.  I’ve gotten reports that visitors are unable to leave them, so if you can, please post a comment under this, or really, any of the last few posts.  Just so I know they work.

Thanks,

The Management

Written by B. Michael Krol

July 13, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Posted in Random Stuff