Monday Morning Cute: Cuteness Triumphant

I’ve been quite neglectful in posting my weekly cuteness updates, so to get the ball rolling again, I present my dog, Zeta, panting in a sunbeam like a f—ing boss.

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Remember the Alamo

History turns to legend, and legends inevitably leave pieces of the truth behind.

Everyone who grew up in Texas, especially those like me who grew up in San Antonio, knows what happened at the Alamo 180 years ago today.

The Battle of the Alamo shaped our identity as Texans and helped to make this state, for both good and ill, what it is today. So remember the Alamo today, but also remember that history is more art than science—a human endeavor subject to our faulty memories and romanticized notions of the past.

Theodore Gentilz (Texas State Library) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Continue reading

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Fixing a Few Memes

I came across some memes and other images in the past day or so that looked like they needed some fixing. I just thought I’d share.

First, we have a meme from a Facebook page called “The Advocates for Self-Government” (h/t Jason):

"Up until 1913 Americans kept all of their earnings. Despite this, America still had schools, roads, colleges, vast railroads, subways, and an army & navy. Tell me again why people need to be extorted?"

It shows a scene from a New York City street, circa 1913*. The text offers a pretty standard revisionist history of the United States prior to the Sixteenth Amendment, suggesting that the U.S. was doing just fine without federal income tax. Then, of course, it throws in the “taxation = theft” bit, which I’m not even going to bother refuting here because the people who make that argument are incapable of feeling intellectual shame. Continue reading

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January 28, 1986

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
“Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.

“High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Every generation has at least one event during their formative years—childhood, young adulthood, & such—where they remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. It’s something of a cliché, really, but it’s still a moment frozen in time for each of us.

For my parents’ generation, it was the Kennedy assassination, November 22, 1963. For many, many people, myself included, it was September 11, 2001. For me, and many people around my age, it was also January 28, 1986, the day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff. Continue reading

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That was…..unexpected

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The internet loves its plot twists (via bandersna7ch on Imgur).

And no, I have no idea what SpongeBob and Patrick are doing there.

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Animated Extinctions

I saw this animation posted to Imgur by user Waffurur, showing the five biggest mass extinction events in Earth’s history (as far as we know, really):

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Most people are familiar with the Cretacious-Tertiary mass extinction about 65 million years ago, which killed off the last of the dinosaurs. Well, except for birds, which are totally still dinosaurs.

Some people know about the Permian mass extinction, which left only about four percent of species alive. That’s also the one that finished off the trilobites, which is a bummer because they seem pretty cool.

"Kainops invius lateral and ventral" by Moussa Direct Ltd. (Moussa Direct Ltd. image archive) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

On the other hand, it also brought an end to the eurypterids—a/k/a sea scorpions that reached eight feet or more in length (but were generally harmless)… Continue reading

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Stay on target…

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will never be as good as it is in this moment, as I sit in the IMAX theater at the Bob Bullock State History Museum waiting for the movie to start.

Right now, the movie is pure anticipation.

Soon, it will be real. Whether it’s good, bad, or Phantom Menace, this moment will be lost forever.

Savor moments like this, my friends.

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Existential Threats

[The following is slightly adapted from a comment written for a Facebook post, based on this article about President Obama’s December 6, 2015 speech, which for some reason Facebook would not allow me to post. Possibly because, at nearly 3,500 words, it’s too long. What can I say? I felt inspired. The comment that inspired me basically expressed doubt that Obama has put as much thought into “ISIS and the implications of radical Islam” as the article’s author thinks. I have adjusted some formatting and added some links.]

You may be right about Obama not thinking through the full implications of radical Islam, but the exact same can be said for people on the right who posit radical Islam as a threat to “Western civilization” (a fluid and undefined term if ever there was one) on a par with German fascism or Soviet communism. Lest this seem like a tu quoque argument, I’ll even concede that Obama might underestimate the short-term threat posed by radical Islamism, but only because I believe the proponents of the radical-Islamism-as-mortal-threat viewpoint drastically overstate its dangers—furthermore, by arguing for such an aggressive stance against it, they paradoxically serve its aims. Continue reading

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Dear Hollywood: The Top Gun Sequel Must Include this Scene

After such a long, long, wait—during which time many of us didn’t even realize we were waiting for anything—it looks as though the Top Gun sequel might really be a thing, except maybe not. The latest news is that Val Kilmer is officially attached to the project, except that he’s not officially attached to the project. Maybe this is the vagaries of the movie biz, or maybe a bunch of old people are having some fun trolling the kiddos on the internet.

Regardless, I have a request/demand for whomever ultimately makes what is sure to do for Pete “Maverick” Mitchell what two recent sequels did for John McClane. (I find it unlikely that any Top Gun sequel would be as surprisingly good as another late franchise entry, 2006’s Rocky Balboa. At least there hasn’t been an Indiana Jones movie since 1989…..nope, no movies at all….)

Anyway, should a new Top Gun get made, I simply must insist that it include the following scene:

Download (PDF, 4KB)

Additionally, the following dialogue should take place at some point:

ICEMAN

What happened to you, Mitchell? You used to be dangerous.

MAVERICK

That’s right! Ice……man….. I was dangerous.

Via thatmomentin.com

Via thatmomentin.com

Finally, for no particular reason, here’s a Top Gun demotivator:

Via imggood.com

Via imggood.com

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The Hitler Number

Three things I learned recently:

  1. Adolph Hitler has an IMDB page (h/t William)
  2. I am only four degrees away from Adolph Hitler in terms of film appearances.
  3. Adolph Hitler and I are connected (in terms of film appearances) through the guy that played Lumbergh.

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