Another entry from our “Things I Wish I’d Thought Of” department:

“Voorhees a jolly good fellow, Voorhees a jolly good fellow, Voorhees a jolly good ACK!  Aauggh!  Run! Save yourselves!!”

Dang.

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Guns don’t kill people, people kill people

To hear some people talk, if the government doesn’t guarantee access to “free” birth control, it amounts to a ban on birth control.  This is no more than statism thinly disguised [as usual] as compassion.  Because we count on the government to take care of us.

Also [beside my point] go read those links and be treated to an astounding display of ignorance about how employer-based insurance really works.  I’m going to have to assume they’re lying, just to preserve [these final pitiful shreds of] my faith in humanity.

On the other hand, you could read James Taranto’s column and get the idea that birth control is the root of all of society’s ills.  You might even wish it had never been invented.  This is not statism, necessarily; few people support illegalization, after all.  [And that’s totally a word.]

The widespread availability of birth control technology did coincide with a number of serious cultural changes in this country.  But to claim that birth control made them happen is just confusing co-incidence with causality.  [Good discussion here.]  It occurs to me that my birth also coincided with the beginnings of some of these cultural shifts [close, anyway]; maybe Taranto would like to blame me.  Bring it on, Jimmy, I could use the traffic.

Getting right down to it, birth control presented a set of options to women, and to men, that was different than the set of options available before.  That’s all.  Saying that birth control is itself responsible for declining marriage rates, increasing divorce rates, single-parent households, et cetera, is exactly like saying that outlawing guns will reduce crime.  It’s saying that fast food causes obesity, that credit cards cause debt, that television causes illiteracy.  It’s saying that human agency is inadequate; that people can’t be trusted to make their own choices.

Which, frankly, is not that far removed from saying that the government has to take care of them.

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A complete economic or political collapse in the United States is a possible thing, these days

Instapundit said so:

“State representatives on Friday advanced legislation to launch a study into what Wyoming should do in the event of a complete economic or political collapse in the United States.
House Bill 85 passed on first reading by a voice vote. It would create a state-run government continuity task force, which would study and prepare Wyoming for potential catastrophes, from disruptions in food and energy supplies to a complete meltdown of the federal government.
The task force would look at the feasibility of: Wyoming issuing its own alternative currency, if needed. And House members approved an amendment Friday by state Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.”

Instapundit: no particular comment of his own.
Althouse: “Frankly, I think all the states should have made plans like this a long time ago.”
An Instapundit reader: “When SHTF states matter more than the federal government.”
Mister Pterodactyl: What the fuck does Wyoming need with an aircraft carrier?

Cue Village People montage now

I’m glad to see someone thinking in what-if mode, but this is why I’m so skeptical of government at any level being useful when ‘SHTF’.

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Five reasons why Star Wars is actually awesome

Yes, this is a (belated) reaction to Kathy Shaidle’s “Five Reasons Why Star Wars Actually Sucks,” from a couple weeks ago.

Shaidle admits to deliberately taking a nap during her first screening of Star Wars, and I’m guessing she never gave it another shot.  That doesn’t actually disqualify her from having an opinion, but . . . . here’s a thumbnail version of Shaidle’s five reasons:

1) Star Wars was influenced by classic movies and cultural ideals.  Also, Joseph Campbell.
2) George Lucas is kind of a douche.
3) Star Wars fans are worthless nerds – real men don’t have time for frivolous pastimes or hobbies of any sort.
4) A link to a wikipedia page about a William Shatner vanity project is better than one to a CS Monitor piece about holograms, bionics, and lasers.
5) Finally there’s a vague complaint about the cultural effects of the popularity of Star Wars.  Vomit is involved.

To sum up, Shaidle hates Star Wars and anyone who doesn’t hate Star Wars.  And those are her reasons why.  But what’s missing from her list?

Think about it.  I’ll wait.

Did you say “She didn’t actually say anything about the movies”?  I bet you did.

Whining about the peripheral effects of a major popular-culture icon is like saying that Chris Christie’s shadow is “rotund”.  So here, for your edification and delight, is my counter-list.  Five reasons why Star Wars is actually awesome:

[I’ve got a bad feeling about this – Ed.  Shaddap.]

1) If it wasn’t for the success and popularity of Star Wars, would we have gotten Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek TNG (and later incarnations), Babylon 5, Farscape, Firefly?  maybe, maybe not.  Not to mention The Matrix, the current fad for superhero movies, and insert your example here.
2) The special effects arms race.  Before Star Wars, we had mechanical sharks and guys in rubber dinosaur suits.  Now we get hobbits, terminators, and Na’vi.  All because Star Wars made Hollywood realize that green screens are the color of money.  And if Hollywood has gotten a little too fond of trilogies, summer blockbusters, and advertising tie-ins, it’s really a small price to pay.
3) Diversity!  Remember the Mos Eisley bar scene?  Of course you do.  Bilateral symmetry is apparently quite common in that part of the galaxy, but otherwise no two patrons of that establishment were alike.  Excepting the show’s protagonists, of course.  Same for Jabba’s throneroom and the Jedi Council (almost).  All speaking their own languages, too.  In fact other than Admiral Ackbar, various Jedi masters, and that two-headed thing doing play-by-play for the podrace, every nonhuman spoke a language other than English.  And everybody understood each other all the time.
4) Do, or do not.  There is no try.
5) The Star Wars movies are endlessly fun to nitpick.  Why can’t the Stormtroopers hit anything with those blasters?  Was the Obi-wan/Darth Vader lightsaber duel shot in slow motion?  Was the Death Star garbage smasher monster part of the crew, or what?  EWOKS??  Does Jabba realize he’s that fat?  Why don’t Jedi carry a spare lightsaber, since they seem to lose them so often?  Why couldn’t Kenobi just force-push those buzzdroids off his ship?  And for that matter how come he seemed so surprised when Anakin jumped back into the elevator car?  Et cetera.
And was Jar-Jar really the most annoying thing about Phantom Menace?

No. No he was not.

Bottom line, if I want a movie with intelligent dialogue, three-dimensional characters, no space battles, and thoughtful well paced plotting, I can go see one.  They’re out there, though they rarely inspire Lego sets.
6) [Did I say five?  Well I have altered the deal.  Pray I don’t alter…oh, forget it.]  Vader’s breathing, Yoda’s syntax, the sound of lightsabers being swung, C3PO’s whining, and dozens of other little things have become instantly recognizable metaphors for every occasion.  And speaking of little things, Leia’s bikini has taken on a life of it’s own at this point.

Shaidle is undoubtedly not alone in her distaste for the movies and their long, long shadow.  But when something is so widely loved, you might as well admit that there might be something to love, there.  This notion has helped me to accept the existence of karaoke machines, Survivor, and sparkly-vampire movies, it can do the same for Shaidle and her ilk.  Because fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to ill-considered, poorly reasoned rants that live forever on the internet.

I will give her this, though: George Lucas is kind of a douche.

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The 25 Least Influential People Alive

Here’s the list.  And you know who isn’t on it?  YOU.

I suppose it’s not all that surprising.  GQ’s been on the cutting edge of the public consciousness since, well, never.  And that article was obviously written by a committee made up of syphilitic hobos, mutant squirrels, and a single five-year-old who’s late for his nap.  Still, take a moment to bask in the knowledge that someone, somewhere, thinks there are at least twenty-five people out there who count even less than you do.

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So the Green Bay Packers finish the 2011 regular season 15-1

By beating the Detroit Lions.  Again.

In doing so, the Packers became the first team to complete a sweep of the NFC North division (which has only existed since 2002), and extended their Lambeau Field Lions-humiliation streak to 21 straight games.  The last time the Lions won a game at Lambeau was December 15th, 1991, when Don Majkowski was the quarterback.  It was Brett Favre’s rookie year (he was with the Falcons) and Tony Mandarich’s third and final year in Green Bay.  Remember him?

Matt Flynn, who was 6 years old on 12-15-1991, did an OK job filling in for the resting Aaron Rodgers.  Flynn played the entire game, completing 70% of his passes for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns. The latter two numbers are both Packers franchise records.

Matt is in the final year of his contract, making him a free agent at the end of this season.  I would like to be the first to congratulate whichever team signs him.

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Th-th-th-that’s all folks!

Kim Jong Il is no longer ill (that joke works better spoken aloud).  Nork dictator #2 buys the farm rice paddy gulag.

About damn time.  I wonder who gets his glasses.  Better keep an eye on Ebay, just in case.

The new boss is Kim Jong Eun.  He’s that pudgy fellow in the black outfit.  Let’s see how long he lasts.  Smart money’s on “not very.”

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