June 30, 2005

War of the Worlds

Any aliens that make little Dakota Fanning cry like that are no friends of yours.

Spielberg has taken the original “War of the Worlds” story (well, the one I remember from the original movie, anyhow) and swapped in some new characters, a few small twists, and a lot of warlike destruction to create a very impressive spectacle.

You already know the story, so no real spoilers are possible there. Still, I’ll stick to non-spoiler details. I’m not a fan of Tom Cruise, but he does a decent job of playing not-the-best-dad-in-the-world versus the aliens-who-want-to-sterilize-and-terraform-this-world.

Dakota Fanning is just great. It’s a typical Spielberg “precocious child” but it’s Dakota Fanning, so it’s believable. ANd when she’s scared, you’re concerned. And scared. Well, maybe that’s just me as a father talking. But, dammit, I was scared for her most of the movie.

Credit where it is due on Cruise’s part. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him playing overwhelmed and shell-shocked, and he pulled that off, I think.

He had plenty of opportunity. The movie wastes little time, because the aliens don’t waste their time. They arrive, start tearing the place up and suddenly Cruise, his son and Ms. Fanning are off and running. When a critical moment comes and he must choose between letting his son go (basically to his death, by his own choice) and protecting his daughter from becoming lost to him, it is an obvious metaphorical moment of a parent coming to terms with a teen maturing into a young adult.

The special effects are just plain great. No cheesy death/heat ray here. You get to see people go “poof” in a very startling, disconcerting way. People poof into dust. The message: “We don’t have to burn you up slowly. We’re just mowing through you.”

Unlike the systematic yet primal “wall of fire” in “Independence Day,” these aliens like to get their hands dirty. A line from the trailer says “This isn’t a war. It’s an extermination.” Well, maybe so, but it’s more like pulling up weeds than spraying for bugs. The wall of fire was upsetting like a tsunami is upsetting. It’s overwhelming to see that kind of raw power ripping through the city. It’s overwhelming and disheartening. But it’s downright creepy to see the aliens in War of the Worlds going about their work.And one twist I won’t ruin makes them especially creepy.

You already know how it ends. But I still found it a bit abrupt. Like there were a few scenes missing near the end. I’m not sure what ought to have been in those scenes, because the main characters had been through an awful l to already. Maybe just a more gradual approach to the resolution.

Also, how was one guy’s camcorder the only thing immune to the EM pulse? Maybe it only affects things that are on at the time? I dunno.

But what I do know is that this movie is going to do pretty well in the box office. It will be a blockbuster. Worth seeing? Probably yes if only to check out the aliens. But the theme of this reg’lar guy dad trying to suddenly deal with the unbelievable is not half bad.

I hope this review is coherent. It’s really late!

Posted by James at 1:52 AM | Comments (1)

June 29, 2005

Morgan Spurlock

I don’t know if anyone else caught it last night, but Morgan Spurlock was on The Daily Show last night. Thanks to Julie, who gave me a timely reminder without which I would have missed it.

It wasn’t a spectacular interview - but he did mention his show “Thirty Days” which airs its third episode tonight (check your local listings). I’m interested in tonight’s episode. A Christian fellow agrees to go live in a Muslim community as a Muslim for 30 days. Great TV (reportedly) ensues.

In any case, I just wanted to say that Spurlock really strikes me as an O.K. guy. Someone it would be fun to hang out with and discuss mundane stuff with over a beer or two. He seemed a little nervous in the interview, but not more than what you’d expect for the normal person in such a situation. And I know I’d be freaking out. (Heck, it would be cool to hang out with both Spurlock and Stewart for that matter.)

I guess it’s refreshing to see people on TV who don’t seem consumed with themselves or with being fake, who are passionate about something and getting to do what they enjoy.

So, Morgan Spurlock, if you’re ever in the Fall River/New Bedford MA area, contact me for a beer at one of our local establishments.

If you missed the Daily Show last night, catch it again today around 7:00 PM 8:00 PM (check local listings). They were doing their last show in their current studios, and no new shows will be produced until they’re settled in at their new location.

Posted by James at 1:24 PM | Comments (1)

June 28, 2005

Name That Movie 42

Instructions: see the clues, one by one. Guess what movie they are from. Comment. (Or for a bigger challenge, avoid the comments) Repeat.

On the day I post the images, I post them one at a time, with a delay in between. It’s for suspense and it gives the users a chance to play along with each other in the comments. If all the clues are already posted, then play at your own pace. Look for the answer in the comments.

8 clues in all today. Here we go!

Link to Clue 2

Link to Clue 3

Link to Clue 4

Link to Clue 5

Link to Clue 6

Link to Clue 7

Link to Clue 8

That’s all of ‘em!

Posted by James at 8:42 AM | Comments (48)

June 27, 2005

Musical Meanings Monday

What’s it mean, music maniacs?

Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones (excerpt)

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes
I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black
Posted by James at 9:20 AM | Comments (11)

June 24, 2005

Blue Book Shotgun

Ezekiel saw a link.
This is the link he said he saw.
These are links that people say they are seeing now.
Are they proof that we are being visited by civilizations from other stars?
Or just what are they?
The Aces Full of Links team began an investigation of this high strangeness in a search for the truth.
What you are about to see is part of that 20 year search.

  • Terminator - The Greatest Action Story Ever Told (video, fun, funny, humor, parody)
    • What if the Terminator were sent back to biblical times? A Mad TV skit. (in WMV format)
  • Sveers (fun, games)
    • It's Simon on steroids, mixed with Breakout.
  • Katie Holmes' Missing Days (funny, news, weird, celebrities)
    • Funny theory about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise: She was kidnapped for 16 days and brainwashed to marry Tom Cruise and become a Scientologist. Yeah it's FOX news, but it made me laugh.
  • PeanutButterWiki (diy, wiki, free)
    • Want a wiki? They'll create one for you in seconds and host it for free. It will be a pbWiki. I like hosting my own, but this might be fun for playing around.
  • … All Your Base Rhapsody (animation, funny, parody, webtainment)
    • Queen's classic mashed up with Zero Wing. You have no chance to survive, make your time.
  • Tom Cruise Kills Oprah (funny, video, starwars)
    • Who knew that Tom Cruise had the power of Force Lightning. Awesome.
  • REJECTED 'LOVE IS..' COMICS (cartoon, funny, humor, weird, parody)
    • Remember those "Love Is…" comics from the 60's and 70's? Someone takes aim at them and scores with some rude and crude parodies.
  • Heli Attack 2 - Miniclip.com (flash, games, fun)
    • This is the second game in the heliAttack series. It's my favorite, but I haven't really played 3 much yet.
  • Heli Attack 3 - Miniclip.com (flash, fun, game)
    • The third version of heliAttack. Personally, heliAttack 2 is my favorite.
  • heliAttack (games, fun, flash)
    • The original heliAttack. After posting a link to heliAttack 2 a long while ago, you wouldn't believe how many hits I get from people loopking for this - the original. I know because I also get emails.
  • Hold Your Drink ( flash, game, fun)
    • Help this guy not to spill his drink
  • Smell of Grapefruit Helps Women Look Younger (news, science, sex)
    • That's right. Grapefruit scents make men subtract 6 years from your perceived age. According to this, anyhow.
  • FileFront (backup, free, hosting)
    • Need to upload some files where other people can get them, butr you don't have a server of your own? Let Filefront host your files for free.
  • Overcoming Procrastination Through the Pull Method (gtd, organization, productivity, reading)
    • Interesting, but not all that detailed or comprehensive. What I like about this is the first idea: that procrastination is not about being lazy. That approach has never seemed to help me with my procrastination. Rather, it's about a number of other things
  • www.3wish.com (flash, funny, game, animation)
    • Funny flash click-around adventure. Escape from the clutches of abducting aliens!
  • CommonTunes - a community directory of freely available music (free, mp3, music)
    • A place to download music legally, because it's all free music!
  • Surprising Expiration Dates (tips, drink, food)
    • Did you know bleach really only is good for 3-6 months? I didn't. Here are some surprising expiraiton dates on household items.
  • How to Lose Friends and Alienate People With Email - Pt. 1 (email, articles, productivity, writing)
    • As if we all don't know how to do this already. But here's help at it!
  • www.threadbared.com (humor, blog, funny)
    • Bad sewing patterns and crafts from the days of yore.
  • Homemade Baby Wipes (diy, tricks, parenting)
    • Why pay through the nose when you can make these yourself? I want to know how to make them smell lemony.
Posted by James at 7:49 AM | Comments (10)

June 21, 2005

What's Cooler?

This bottle opener shaped like a key?

or

A paperweight containing kangaroo poo.

Compare and contrast.

Posted by James at 8:10 PM | Comments (18)

Tax Cut Dinner

Bob McC writes:

Found this explanation of tax cuts today. Im boggled at how off it is, but I cant explain it. Anyone?

You can see the full tax cut analogy on his site.

My summary of the parable is this: A group of men go out to dinner. They come up with a plan for dividing up the bill. The richest man will pay the largest share of the bill. The poorest man will pay the least. Later, the owner of the restaurant decides to give them a discount. They have to decide how to pay the new, lower bill. Naturally, if they reapply the same principle, the richest man will get the largest share of the discount, because he paid the most. It closes with a slam against people who criticise tax cuts.

I’m not an economics expert, but I know a thing or two about criticising bad analogies. And since that’s what Bob asked for, I’ll oblige with some observations.

What Discount?

First of all, the government is not a business owner who decides on a whim to give us a discount. The government is all of us, and it is funded by all of us. The government can only adjust how it collects taxes, but it still has its own bills to pay, which means we have those bills to pay.

Instead of a restaurant owner, a better analogy might be the head of a family. Let’s say a bunch of people are living in a house and paying money to maintain the house. One person is put in charge of the finances, but all contribute. It’s silly to imagine that this person can give the others a “discount.” The bills still need to be paid. There is no discount.

Debt

Returning to the silly restaurant analogy, let’s say what is happening is that the men don’t divvy up the bill. Instead, they have been contributing to a kitty to pay all restaurant bills. The kitty is running a sizeable surplus. Rich guy says - “Wow - a surplus. I want some of that money” so he suggests they start contributing a lot less. Especially him. However, at the same time he starts ordering more expensive Middle Eastern delicacies off the menu. Suddenly, not only is the kitty empty, but he’s roped them into a loan.

The debt will be passed on to their children, should they fail to pay it off. And the interest is daunting. And, oddly, rich fellow’s children will never have much trouble paying off their share of the debt. You find out Rich Fellow and his friends are supplying the restaurant with the ingredients for the very expensive meals that you weren’t really sure you needed to order.

Bad Analogies Are Fun

Perhaps economics experts could argue that my analogies are also flawed. I’m sure they are. But an analogy such as the restaurant parable is not an accurate model of the situation. Rather it is a simplistic attempt to express an opinion, or a viewpoint. This it does, but at the expense of ignoring that tax cuts live in a larger universe.

And it just makes the person feel good about their opinion.

Responsibility

Tax paying is a responsibility we share in this country. It can be said that the rich are benefiting disproportionately in this system, and so their greater share of the tax burden is only natural. However we’d like to feel that the government should but out, they are not making that money despite the government. They are making their money because of the entire stable system that has been erected, and part of that system is the government.

A tax break, viewed cynically, is an attempt to shirk some of that responsibility. Of course, it would be very difficult to just give a tax cut to the more rich and powerful. So you have to toss the middle class something to keep most of them quiet. That way you can make silly arguments like “If you don’t like the tax cut, send it back! Hardy-hardy-har!”

Meanwhile, the government is spending like a drunken mathematician and suddenly the debt is huge again. But the rich are still comfy as the government is forced to cut services to take care of the debt. Does it cut services that have an impact on the system that allows the rich to benefit disproportionately?

Of course not. The poorer folks are not taking congressmen to lunch. What goes are the services that benefit them.

What do we have to do to get people to see taxes as a responsibility? Start the jingoistic meme that “people who complain about their taxes love the terrorists?”

Posted by James at 7:25 PM | Comments (6)

Crucifiction as Usual

A monk and four nuns go into an exorcism. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A Romanian Orthodox monk has been indicted in the death of a 23-year-old nun in an apparent exorcism in which she was allegedly bound to a cross, had a towel stuffed into her mouth and left without food for three days.

Too bizarre not to blog.

Posted by James at 11:12 AM

Bully to You!

You might know Rui Campos, a UMass Dartmouth alum and sometime commenter on this blog.

You might not know that Rui works for Rockstar — the folks who make a number of today’s most popular games, including the Grand Theft Auto series. Rui is on the Vancouver development team, and they’ve released their first product:

Bully

Here’s an additional article about “Bully” at IGN.com. The game focuses on the fortunes and misfortunes of a student at the fictional “Bulworth Academy.” You take on the persona of this trouble-causing schoolkid as he is forced to deal with the hazards of the schoolyard. It osunds like a real kick.

I’m sure that, as excited as I am for him, he must be ecstatic to see the product of his recent efforts hitting the shelves.

I hope I get a chance to see this game soon (my game-playing time has been way down in recent months because of other projects… like blogs and work) and I’d love to hear from anyone who checks it out for his or herself.

Congratulations, Rui! This is the first of many successes, I’m sure.

Posted by James at 7:33 AM | Comments (3)

Name That Movie 41

Instructions: see the clues, one by one. Guess what movie they are from. Comment. (Or for a bigger challenge, avoid the comments) Repeat.

On the day I post the images, I post them one at a time, with a delay in between. It’s for suspense and it gives the users a chance to play along with each other in the comments. If all the clues are already posted, then play at your own pace. Look for the answer in the comments.

8 clues in all today. Here we go!

Link to Clue 2

Link to Clue 3

Link to Clue 4

Link to Clue 5

Link to Clue 6

Link to Clue 7

Link to Clue 8

Link to Clue 8

That’s all of ‘em!

Posted by James at 12:44 AM | Comments (28)

June 20, 2005

Gun Trouble

Thing of Ugly is still chugging along.

I’ve contributed today with an ironic story about BB guns, courtesy of Jim C.

Sons of a Gun

Posted by James at 7:57 AM

June 17, 2005

News Roundup

At lunch, I got a chance to browse the online news. Passing these stories on to you is value added!

Posted by James at 3:43 PM | Comments (12)

Blogger Code Shotgun

B9 d++ t+ k s- u- f i o+ x- e l c-

  • Original Star Wars Origami (diy, fun, origami)
    • Just what it sounds like. This guy has designed Star Wars-themed origami projects.
  • fun_game2.swf (flash, game, fun)
    • A fin little brick-based flash gape. Match the bricks!
  • the blogger code (blogging, geek, social)
    • Answer the questions, figure out your code. Then, display your code proudly. Let the world know what sort of blogger you are.
  • mp3act - Streaming MP3 Jukebox AJAX Web Application (audio, blog, mp3, p2p)
    • It’s a web application for serving streaming MP3 files from a central location — listen to your music anywhere and share with your friends without allowing them to download. So — which one of us is going to set one of these up?
  • Dearest Industry (music, politics, tech, law)
    • A polemic against the music industry, from one of its previous “apologists.” : “I will buy 100 records once I figure out which ones they are, so why are you trying to make it harder and more expensive for me to get through the first dozen I have to elimin
  • Ductster PDA (gtd, howto, diy, crafts, lifehacks)
    • Make a special wallet/carrying case for your hipster PDA cards… out of duct tape.
  • The D*I*Y Planner: Hipster PDA Edition (gtd, productivity, organization, lifehacks)
    • Turn your hipster PDA into a planner!
  • D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition (gtd, productivity, tools, organization)
    • Home of the actual D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition
  • John Norris’ Hipster PDA Templates (gtd, lifehacks, organization, productivity)
    • Yet more templates for the hipster PDA
    Sox_Rule (by Sara) (photos, funny, sports, redsox)
    • Sara took this picture. Just a normal day in Red Sox Nation
  • Periodic Table (art, funny, humor, religion, science)
    • What would the periodic table of elements look like if creationists thought it contradicted the Bible?
  • EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers (activism, blogging, howto, reference)
    • A slew of information about the legal aspects of blogging. A must in today’s world! Well, for bloggers anyhow.
  • Hapland (flash, fun, game)
    • Click around and try to get the people to fulfill the objective. I have limited patience for these kinds of games, but they’re always worth some diversion.
  • G.W. & Crew - Flip Flop (humor, funny, politics, bush)
    • A catalog of Bush flip-flops
  • BJU ~ Webcam (webcam)
    • Now you can watch the Bob Jones University Campus 24/7. Keep an eye out for the second coming.
  • Shatner Does Seven (funny, humor, movies)
    • I didn’t see this when it first came out. I still haven’t gotten sick of parodies of this film. (hat tip to Mike)
Posted by James at 7:49 AM | Comments (13)

June 16, 2005

Batman Begins (Review)

Last night, the office crew saddled up after work and off we went for dinner at No Problemo for some pre-film chow. Then on to Flagship Cinema.1

We’d bought our tickets in advance, but it wasn’t necessary. Opening night is still just “Wednesday night” in New Bedford, and when the nine of us arrived reasonably early, the theater was absolutely empty.

There was the usual making-fun-of-the-pre-film slide-show ads, but Flagship refreshingly does not show a bunch of actual commercials during the coming attractions. We got what seemed like 20 minutes of solid trailers.

On to the movie.

Batman Begins.

The Batman I like is, at his heart, a regular guy. A regular guy who just happens to be rich, sure. And driven by the vision of his parents being murdered in front of him… yes. But he has no super powers. He only has his will. And his friends, like Alfred.

This film focuses on Bruce Wayne’s struggle rather than throwing up ridiculous villains like the previous big-screen outings (and the campy TV show we all grew up loving). These villains are noticeably understated for a Batman film.

Other Batmen

I admit to having enjoyed Tim Burton’s first take on Batman back in ‘89. I had a lot of complaints, but it was a fun movie. The franchise only went downhill from there. Tim Burton turned it into Edward Batmanhands. We’ll, he had already Tim Burtonized it, which seemed to be OK for one film, but for two it seemed to be trying to supplant my own memories of Batman too much. And the films which followed were so bad I couldn’t remember if there were two of them or only one. So bad that I could barely remember watching “Batman and Robin” until I read a synopsis which reminded me of the absolutely horrible way it trashed your ability to suspend disbelief.2

Forgive and forget, they say. Well, Warner Brothers, all is forgiven.

Star Power

Perhaps it is the great acting they pulled in for this film. Michael Caine, Liam Neeson (who can act when Lucas isn’t directing him), Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman… No one is mugging. No one is trying to be over the top. Also excellent: Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, creepy Cillian Murphy, and Tom Wilkinson.

Katie Holmes was the best Batman female lead ever (sorry Michelle Pheiffer) because she doesn’t do much and she’s not Batman’s girlfriend. Thank you, Chris Nolan.

Fans of the “Batman: Year One” comic book will recognize a good portion of the story, but Nolan has squeezed a good deal of other Batman mythology into the nearly 2.5 hours of this film. Not to spoil anything, this film is about Wayne’s struggle and how he becomes Batman (evidence by the title). We’ve done away with any previous movie canon and are sticking to the comic books here. Joe Chill killed the Waynes, not any flamboyant super villain. M’kay?

I feel like everything else follows from this correction of Batman history. It was just some street thug. Most of the evils Batman wants to fight are everyday ones. But the theme here is trying to get back to the pulpy roots of why Batman is so great. He’s the inheritor of the legacies of The Shadow and Doc Savage, not some prancing guy who just likes to wear tights. This is the Batman movie I wished I could have watched with Manny back in ‘89 or Mike in ‘97. It;s Batman done right.

The Look of Batman

The cinematography follows suit. Yes, Gotham city has its stylized elements. But instead of the gothic over-designed cityscape, we see more of what a real city looks like, especially in the bad parts of town. Of course, most of it is in darkness, for effect. Bats are nocturnal, and all.

And just as you would expect from the theme of “fear” which runs through the Batman origin story, Batman in this film is shown like you would see the monster in most films. That is, they hide him from view more often than not. Batman is a creature of the shadows. You don’t seem him standing around in his armor all the time, and the armor doesn’t have nipples this time, thank the comic book gods.

An unfortunate side effect of the cinematography there is that the fight scenes are almost all in close and very mysterious. A sense of motion is there, but little context, as we are never given the wide shot. I’m sure this is intentional and it does increase the suspense, but I really don’t like shot after shot of blurry, confusing motion. This is my only real complaint of the film, and it was one shared by both Maggie and Sharon as we discussed it on the drive back to the office.

Popular Verdict

As far as I could tell, the nine of us all enjoyed the film. Some more than others. Ryan wanted to return to the theater immediately to see it again. On the other hand, Jake thought that Bale borrowed from the “Keanu Reeves school of acting” and felt he had too much of a lisp. Bale does have an odd voice, but I thought it added to the realism of Wayne. And his “Batman voice” was quite forceful.

So that I don’t ramble on any further, I’ll sum up here and say, I loved this film. I’d see it again if it were convenient, and will be showing up at Newbury Comics or wherever to buy a copy as soon as the DVD is released.

If you have ever liked Batman, and particularly the comic book versions in Batman Year one, Killing Joke, The Dark Knight Returns or any of those other gritty volumes, you will like this film.

1 Flagship Cinema is one of two cinemas close to the university. The other is the North Dartmouth Mall cinema. “Cinema 140” is the long gone New Bedford cinema that old-timers may remember. It closed in 2000. If you look at the timing, Cinema 140 was basically sunk by the opening of Flagship on the night Phantom Menace premiered.

2 I saw “Batman and Robin” at the now closed Cinnema 140. Not only was the movie bad, but Cinema 140 was boasting a new sound system, which is what drew us there. The sound malfunctioned while Mike and I were watching and they kept losing everything but the center channel. Horrendous. Absolutely horrendous. If I hadn’t had Mike there with me for support, I think I might have tried to end my suffering by crushing my own skull in the folding seat.

Posted by James at 8:29 AM | Comments (6)

June 15, 2005

Losing Patience

I’m losing patience with people who seem to think that arguing about minutia contributes to the development process when in reality, it helps people not to be productive.

When a project makes its bed, it has to lie in it. So, if you adopt a very loose method of defining requirements, there comes a point when you have to produce something and then the interpretation of requirements is in the hands of the developers and testers. I know “producing something” is a very loose phrase. I don’t mean “produce anything” I mean “produce what you have told your developers (through whatever requirements process you use) that you want them to build.”

But, even aside from that, what is beginning to annoy me in an ongoing situation, is someone who can turn anything into a hellish downward spiral email time-sink Land of the Lost.

For some people, control is a huge issue. They spend inordinate amounts of time trying to exert control over others. And when those others turn out to be unproductive because they have lapsed into despair or get bogged down in useless detail and email hell, they complain about a lack of productivity.

Worse, when there is productivity they switch into a mode of “Uh-oh, this situation is a runaway train! I must not be exerting enough control.” This shows personal psychological problems. Not happy when people are nonproductive and not happy when people are productive. When are you happy? You’re happy when people follow every little thing you say to the letter, no matter how trivial. You’re happy when smart people act like stupid robots.

Good managers realize that when you hire smart people and drop them in a challenging situation, they will pleasantly surprise you with minimum constraints and a lot of leash. Your concern as a manager, at that point, should be whether they are productive. More specifically, you have a responsibility:

  1. To make sure they have everything they need to be productive
  2. To give them leeway in their methods if they can show you they will be productive
  3. To get out of the way and let them work
  4. To see if the accomplishments are not just false productivity, but are bringing the project sufficiently closer to a successful resolution
  5. To provide workers with access to the bigger picture when needed, not as a hammer, but as a reference for how what they’re doing today fits into that bigger picture and how the next thing they are assigned fits in as well. For context and motivation.

What you need to not provide as a manager are:

  1. Distractions
  2. Bullshit that has nothing to do with the job or being productive
    1. I don’t mean doing away with social stuff. I mean unwelcome harassing stuff and your own personal baggage that you should have left behind years ago.
  3. Obstacles
  4. Micro management
    1. If it really doesn’t matter at this stage of the game whether something is red or green, don’t bother the developer with endless discussions where you insist it needs to be green when he’s already made it red. Don’t insist on this just because it makes you feel like you’re productive if you enforce your will on someone else. This is part of the idea of producing something. Red vs. green is definitely one of those things that can be discussed AFTER you’ve produced something.

I could go on. Maybe later.

But I have to finish some stuff here and then go see Batman Begins with a bunch of people.

Posted by James at 4:40 PM | Comments (4)

Liberal Club

No, this isn't a political post. It's a restaurant "review."

Last night, My brother-in-law and I took my Dad to the "Liberal Club" in Fall River for Dinner. It's one of my Dad's favorite places to eat in the area. Here's my review.

Arrival

We got there at 6:10, a little late on a Tuesday night, considering we found out that the kitchen closes at 7. They hurried us in the ordering (understandable) but there was no problem with our order and they were intent on accommodating us.

The atmosphere is that of an extended bar, basically. There is a bar section and then two large rooms with banquet-style tables and folding chairs. There are at least 3 TVs around the bar and in the room we were in (I didn't see inside the large second dining room).

It was $6 and change for a pitcher of cheap beer on tap - Bud. I wasn't feeling picky, and the three of us shared the pitcher. And it isn't the type of place to get picky in.

The wait staff was very friendly and efficient. The bar tab is separate from dinner, so we were served by a lady who took drink orders first.

Appetizer

We quickly ordered an appetizer and three meals. Bread and butter was served just before the appetizer arrived: fried calamari.

I have to admit, this was some of the best Portuguese-style fried squid I've had. It was covered in pickled yellow peppers, as per usual for this area. However, the perfectly fried rings were also covered with a buttery oil and a practical excess of chopped garlic. The garlic was redolent but savory rather than sharp. It combined with the oil to make the calamari especially flavorful and warm. I don't know if there was actual butter in the oil or if it was the richness of the garlic coming through.

My father told me he's had dinner there with a fellow who ordered the calamari appetizer and chased it with the calamari dinner, which is essentially the same dish. I can believce it, it's that good.

Dinners

Our dinners came. Mine was the Fisherman's Platter -- fried white fish, scallops, shrimp, whole clams and french fries. It was a large portion, and I could not finish it. Well, I could have but I didn't think it wise. Mostly, I skipped the french fries.

The Liberal Club uses a thin batter, which does not get in the way of enjoying the fish. None of it was noticeably greasy, meaning to me it had been cooked for the perfect period of time with good oil. There's not much you can go into detail about with fried food, so I'll just say that this was definitely near the top of the spectrum in quality. Perhaps the best I've had in Fall River, just as my father claims.

My Father had a blackened swordfish. That dinner (and most of the others outside of the Fisherman's Platter) come with a soup-or-salad, and a veggie. I tasted the swordfish and it was delicious. Well-cooked, but not over-cooked , the blackening spices were hot but well balanced. My father claimed that it is usually a thinner piece of fish and usually the spices are more aggressive. But I thought this arrangement was perfect.

My brother-in-law snagged a surf and turf combo. The prime rib (the "turf") he declared as delicious. He'd gotten the smaller of the two choices of portions and he felt it was ample. The surf portion was shrimp, and I think he thought he might have liked more shrimp, but admitted that he would have had to force them down.

Relaxing

We watched the Sox game while we sat in this extremely casual atmosphere, and it was a good time. It strikes me as a place you could go with a bunch of people and not worry about spending too much or how much time you spent there.

The Liberal Club is located in Fall River near the Tiverton line. 20 Star Street, Fall River, MA.

The kitchen closes early on Mon, Tue and Wed, and I will also mention that they're closed for a week or two this year starting July 2nd. So, if you plan to go this summer, plan to go before July starts, or sometime after the second week.

Prices were about what you'd expect. Reasonable, but not crazy-cheap. Dad says it used to be quite a bit cheaper. I'd definitely recommend the place for a casual meal when you're in Fall River. It's no-smoking (even the bar) so no worries there. Don't expect fancy atmosphere, but the people are nice and the food good.

Posted by James at 3:18 PM

June 14, 2005

Goodbye Sub Club

Read it and weep, sub-club members. Subway is doing away with the free sub promotion because of some wanker counterfeiters.

Subway is ending its long-running Sub Club promotion due to the prevalence of counterfeit stamps.

Details at Snopes.

I don't know if our local store has stopped it yet, but I have quite a few cards to use. Now, apparently, I will have to catch up using them.

I remember when Jim C. left his job here, he passed on his Sub Club cards to me. I've seen Sub Club cards in geocaches. It is going to be missed.

Posted by James at 5:11 PM | Comments (1)

Name That Movie 40

Instructions: see the clues, one by one. Guess what movie they are from. Comment. (Or for a bigger challenge, avoid the comments) Repeat.

On the day I post the images, I post them one at a time, with a delay in between. It’s for suspense and it gives the users a chance to play along with each other in the comments. If all the clues are already posted, then play at your own pace. Look for the answer in the comments.

7 clues in all today. Here we go!

Link to Clue 2

Link to Clue 3

Link to Clue 4

Link to Clue 5

Link to Clue 6

Link to Clue 7

That’s all of ‘em!

Posted by James at 10:01 AM | Comments (32)

June 13, 2005

American History Coke

So, I was talking about my Coke Zero post with Ryan and Sara. Ryan hadn’t read it yet.

I was telling them about the formulation of Coke vs. New Coke. Basically rehashing what I wrote on the blog. I mentioned something like “you know what happened to New Coke” and I’m getting blank stared from him and Sara.

“What’s New Coke?”

My jaw drops.

Considering that the whole New Coke thing happened around the time of my first year of college, it’s well into the “things everyone alive knows about” portion of my brain. But, of course, Ryan and Sara were, what, about 4 years old when that happened. And Coke reversed its fiasco relatively quickly, erasing the embarrassment from the shelves.

I actually had to explain New Coke to somebody.

It’s enough to drive a man to drink.

Posted by James at 11:06 AM | Comments (40)

Musical Meanings Monday

Today we have Stairway To Heaven. Details below the fold.

Stairway To Heaven - Page/Plant

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven
And when she gets there she knows if the stores are closed
With a word she can get what she came for

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven

There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
And you know sometimes words have two meanings
In the tree by the brook there’s a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven

There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven

And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forest will echo with laughter

And it makes me wonder

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow
Don’t be alarmed now
It’s just a spring clean for the May Queen

Yes there are two paths you can go by
but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on

Your head is humming and it won’t go because you don’t know
The piper’s calling you to join him
Dear lady can’t you hear the wind blow and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our souls
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll
Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven
And when she gets there she knows if the stores are closed
With a word she can get what she came for

And she’s buying a stairway to heaven, uh uh uh.

Yes, we’re all familiar with the song. What the heck does it mean to you?

Posted by James at 9:44 AM | Comments (16)

June 12, 2005

Coke Nemesis: Coca-Cola Zero

C0So here’s yet another post in which I sound like a shill for the Coca Cola company. Can I help it that I am a recovering Coke Classic addict?

There is a new Coca Cola in town. Julie and Maggie brought some back from the market this weekend. None of us had heard of the stuff. It’s called Coke Zero and it is billed as “the taste of Coke, with zero calories.”

It’s Not Diet Coke

I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t that already Diet Coke?” Actually, no.

I didn’t realize this until recently, but Diet Coke isn’t a no-calorie version of good old Coke. It’s a different formula altogether. It seems obvious now, but it didn’t occur to me before. I always assumed that it tasted different because of the sweetener.

When Diet Coke was first created, it became a huge hit. At the same time, Pepsi was gaining on Coke sales and beating it in blind taste tests. The only thing happening to Coke customers was that some were switching to Diet Coke. The Coca-Cola company responded with New Coke, otherwise known as the sugar version of the wildly popular Diet Coke (sweeter, tasted more like Pepsi and won in all the taste tests). The move made good business sense.

But you know how that story ends1.

Today, the Diet Coke cans still have the same logo that New Coke had (instead of the script Coca-Cola font). And the same flavor as New Coke (instead of the Classic formula).

Coke Evil (i.e. C2) was the first (as far as I can tell) reduced-calorie soda with the flavor of Coca-Cola Classic. Which explains why I liked it so much.

And now, about a year or so after Coke Evil debuted, we now have a no calorie version of C2 - that is, we finally have a the Coke Classic formulation with absolutely no sugar.

Taste

How the heck does it taste?

The first thing I noticed about Coke Zero is that it smells like Coca-Cola Classic. The second thing I noticed is that it tastes a heck of a lot like Coke Evil.So much so that I had to check the ingredients again to verify that it was claiming no sugars in the formula. It has strong flavors of nutmeg and vanilla, as opposed to Diet Coke’s sweet overtones and citrusy undertones.

It gets my “thumbs up.” According to Julie, it’s better than C2.

What Is It?

What makes it taste so good? As far as I can tell - it’s the formula.

The sweeteners are the same ones that have been in other drinks: aspartame and acesulfame K. These sweeteners work together, apparently, to mask their own aftertastes.

So I’m guessing that the sweeteners aren’t the breakthrough so much as they’ve finally really decided to make a Diet Coke Classic.

Musings

The soft drink business must love numbers. We’ve got “Coke Zero,” “Pepsi One” and “C2.” Oh - and New Coke was renamed “Coke II” when it was on its way out.

What’s going to happen to all these different Coke sub-brands? Is C2 superfluous now, or is the presence of sugar a selling point that differentiates it? Coke Zero seems to be a nemesis to all the different diet sodas already in the Coke line.

Even more confusing: recently, Diet Coke changed its formulation. It now tastes better than before with the introduction of Splenda. I was issued a checkout coupon for Diet Coke with Splenda the other day while buying some Pepsi One (with Splenda). The coupon reads “Taste the newest member of the family” which confuses the hell out of me because Diet Coke has had Splenda for at least a week, and this weekend is the first I’ve seen of Coke Zero. I’m afraid that implies (to me) that like C2 last year, Coke Zero is not yet accepted into the family.

When C2 was introduced, it was first only available in 20 oz. bottles. Then cans only. Finally, in 2 liter bottles. Right now Coke Zero is only in the local stores in 20 oz. size. It was on sale at Stop and Shop so, of course, I went back there and bought a bunch.

I like it better than the too-sweet Diet Coke. So, of course, I expect them to stop making it eventually, once I am good and attached to it.

Do you think Coke is crazy for releasing all these sub brands? Are they going to let the market decide? Do you not care at all, perhaps? Have you tried Coke Zero? Let me know what you think, in comparison to C2 and Diet Coke.

I tell you, if I can drink Coke Zero when I go to lunch or a movie, this diet thing is going to be easier than I thought.

(P.S. Fresca is still better with pretzels, though)

1 For those of you too young to remember, New Coke bombed, even though it taste-tested better. There was a huge backlash against it because the Coca-Cola company stopped making old Coke. (The thinking being that two Cokes would split the market share and allow Pepsi to claim it was more popular than Coke). People were furious, until they finally brought back old Coke as “Coca-Cola Classic.” Eventually, New Coke became “Coke II” and then disappeared entirely, because people were embarrassed to like it. Now you can only get its flavor in (still wildly popular) Diet Coke.

Posted by James at 10:26 PM | Comments (36)

June 10, 2005

Caloric Shotgun

Friday already? I haven’t had much time to websurf, but here’s some stuff I found along the way. Enjoy, if you dare!!!!

  • Pirate's Life: Video (funny, pirate, video)
    • Look out! It's the office pirate! (Check out the videos)
  • TOM CRUISE'S MEDICAL FORUM (blog, article, humor)
    • An interview with Dr. Tom Cruise
  • How to Make a Million Dollars, by Marshall Brain (article, howto, lifehacks, finance)
    • I was talking about a cash cow earlier. Well, here we have it. Just learn how to make a million dollars.
  • 7 Signs You’re Obsessed with Dieting (food, health, diet, article)
    • Dieting should just be the way you eat, not your obsession. Eat right and don't let your lifestyle drive you insane.
  • 6 Tips to Reset Your “Fat Thermostat” (diet, food, health, exercise)
    • Your body is designed to store fat, and dieting can (paradoxically) trigger the fat-storing mechanism. Here are 6 tips to help you avoid that.
  • 10 Weight-Loss Myths: Don't Be Fooled! (diet, health)
    • Myths busted by MSN Health & Fitness. I agree with all of them. One point: Diet drinks do not help you lose weight UNLESS you are using them to replace more caloric eating. In the long run, though, that effect fades.
  • FitDay - Free Weight Loss and Diet Manager (diet, food, health)
    • A website that helps you keep track of what you eat and how you burn it off. No more trips to Burger King, eh?
  • Find Your Spot (fun, geography, quiz)
    • Take the quiz and discover: "…the Best Cities & Small Towns for You!" (at least, according to them)
  • Dress Steve Jobs (fun, flash, comics)
    • Sick oif Steve Job's wardrobe (hmmm, his mode of dress is very familiar). Now you can dress him yourself! "I'm ready for my keynote!"
  • Don't Call Me Crazy On The 4th Of July (video, history, society)
    • Maybe some crazy people didn't get there on their own…
  • b z z z p e e k (audio, language)
    • Beep, cluck, moo and meow in a number of foreign languages.
  • Rapid afterimage (animation, illusion, psychology, weird)
    • Great visual illusion involving your eye's afterimage behavior.
  • Yahoo! Next (computers, tech)
    • This is Yahoo's showcase of what they're brewing over at their labs. Looks like one area they've got that Google doesn't is music. Geek out!
  • AAA Fuel Price Finder (shopping, auto, gas)
    • A search engine for cheap gas prices. Run by AAA and based on credit card transactions, this should help you save a few bucks on gas every week.
  • The Weirdest Book I Ever Got: Cartoon History of Noah's Ark (wtf, religion)
    • Did you know that Noah's flood killed the dinosaurs? See, learning can make you stupid.
Posted by James at 8:30 AM | Comments (14)

June 9, 2005

Factory Conditioned

Official White House policy documents on climate change were altered by a former oil-industry lobbyist to play down the link between greenhouse gases and global warming, it emerged yesterday.

Philip Cooney, the chief of staff for the White House council on environmental quality, altered several draft reports in 2002 and 2003, after they had been approved by government scientists, despite having no scientific background himself. Much of his editing made it into final versions of reports.

But:

Bush administration officials said yesterday that revisions to reports on climate change made by Philip A. Cooney, a former oil-industry lobbyist now working at the White House, were part of the normal review before publishing projects that involved many agencies.

It is normal in the Bush administration to have industry advocates with no science background alter scientific reports. Do not be alarmed. If you have any concerns, please report to a dosage adjustment center.

Open letter to Philip Cooney:

Please send me some central-freaking-air conditioning for my house, so I can watch the climate change in style and comfort, like the president.

Thank you.

Posted by James at 8:33 AM | Comments (5)

June 7, 2005

Name That Movie 39

Instructions: see the clues, one by one. Guess what movie they are from. Comment. (Or for a bigger challenge, avoid the comments) Repeat.

On the day I post the images, I post them one at a time, with a delay in between. It’s for suspense and it gives the users a chance to play along with each other in the comments. If all the clues are already posted, then play at your own pace. Look for the answer in the comments.

8 clues in all today. Here we go!

Link to Clue 2

Link to Clue 3

Link to Clue 4

Link to Clue 5

Link to Clue 6

Link to Clue 7

Link to Clue 8

That’s all of ‘em!

Posted by James at 8:14 AM | Comments (44)

June 6, 2005

Are you From MA?

Townie!
Wicked cool! You scored 26!
Wicked awesome! You’re a true Masshole with the know-how to prove it.
Book it to your nearest Friendly’s and have a frappe.



My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 33% on wickedpoints
Link: The Are you from Massachusetts? Test written by rachel_321 on Ok Cupid

(hat tip)

Posted by James at 3:28 PM | Comments (12)

Tickly Name

Have you ever heard a name that either stuck in your head, or you simply had a particular liking for?

Lately, I’ve been watching a number of Dario Argento classic Italian horror films, and his partner/the mother of his daughter is featured in a number of them. Her name is Daria Nicolodi and I find the surname “Nicolodi” to be nifty. And I guess her name struck me funny, because it got stuck in my head. I suppose you could say that the name tickled my mind’s ear. I have no idea why. I never found the word “Nickelodeon” very compelling, and it has a similar cadence (and, I assume, at least passing similar pronunciation). I just don’t know why, but it sticks in my head. Daria Nicolodi.

Have any of you (my loyal readers) encountered a name that stuck in your head, or tickled your ear?

Posted by James at 8:11 AM | Comments (8)

Musical Meanings Monday

Ok. Today we delve into the meaning of a song by a popular group “The Killers.”

What’s going on with this song? You decide.

Somebody Told Me (excerpt) - The Killers
Breaking my back just to know your name
Seventeen tracks and I’ve had it with this game
I’m breaking my back just to know your name
But heaven ain’t close in a place like this
Anything goes but don’t blink, you might miss
‘Cause heaven ain’t close in a place like this
I said heaven ain’t close in a place like this
Bring it back down, bring it back down tonight
Never thought I’d let a rumour ruin my moonlight
Posted by James at 7:57 AM | Comments (11)

June 3, 2005

Automated Shotgun

This is my first Shotgun post generated by a script given to me by Mike. Thanks, Mike, for making this a lot easier!

Hat tip to Bob McC for at least a couple of the links below.

  • Kitchen Myths (food, reference, science)
    • Debunking kitchen myths. I agree, for the most part. Although the fridge does smell better when you've got baking soda in there. Even though charcoal is better.
  • POOM! (flash, fun, game)
    • It's a flash game of bouncing balls and platforms with holes. Try it, it;'s annoying as hell.
  • Pint Lock (funny, gadgets, wtf)
    • Ben and Jerry's offers this combination lock. For your pint of ice cream. I kid you not.
  • Quick Verbal Tactics (howto, language, writing, social)
    • Sometimes the key to better relationships is better communication. You can view it as a tactic, or just good people skills.
  • Overcoming workflow paralysis (gtd, lifehacks, productivity)
    • I need to learn how to do this.
  • Rhode Island Novelty (shopping, toys, fun)
    • "Your Home For Novelties, Jokes, Party Supplies and Toys" Source of cheap stuff for party favors or just goofing around. And they're local! No shipping needed.
  • Lucy in the Sky with Shatner (fun, funny, music, video)
    • Take a psychedelic journey to nowhere in particular in this haunting animation featuring the stoned vocal stylings of William Shatner. Some animator breathes new life into a classic.
  • FACEANALYZER (fun, graphics)
    • An automated online tool that (supposedly) analyzes a picture of your face and tells you… something about yourself.
  • The Sith Sense (fun, flash, games, movies, starwars)
    • Darth Vader challenges you to a game of 20 Questions.
  • Vicki Cobb's Home Page (science, education, kids, fun)
    • Ms. Cobb wrote a book about optical and other illusions, which i never read, but the idea of the book fascinated me when I saw it in the bookstore. Now she has a website.
  • Visible Human Browser (science, java, health)
    • Amazing set of cryogenic slices served up to you by Java applet. Look inside the human body, slice by slice.
  • Ignoranus, Foreploy, Caterpallor and Osteoprnosis (words, humor, funny, blog/entry)
    • Neologisms ostensibly from the "Washington Post's Mensa Invitational"
  • Seven Minutes In Deadwood (funny, language, tv, mp3, wtf)
    • If you take out all the clean language in an episode of Deadwood, you're left with 7 minutes of profanity. These are those 7 minutes, distilled out. From the first season episode which features Mr. Wu. NSFW!
  • Hymn-Project (audio, music, utilities)
    • The hymn project provides software to allow you to use your iTunes-purchased music outside of iTunes without loss of quality.
  • MyCatHatesYou dot com (funny, photos, animals)
    • Pictures of cats. And they're all dissing you.
  • Top 75 Network Security Tools (computers, free, security, software)
    • Big honkin' list of software that can help you secure your computers.
  • Catapult Watch (weird, gadgets, shopping)
    • It's the watch you can use to alarm OTHER people.
  • The Brain Freeze (food, science, funny)
    • It's a site dedicated to explaining brain freeze (specifically the Slurpee variety). Know the dangers of summer, and be prepared! Watch the amusing video.
Posted by James at 12:35 AM | Comments (1)

June 2, 2005

Pirate Stash Venom

I have 2 new geocaching-related items to announce.

Tracker Jim’s Pirate Stash

A couple of days ago, my second geocache hide was approved. It’s GCP4BM - Tracker Jim’s Pirate Stash.

This geocache is a 3-stage multi-cache, meaning that the coordinates do not lead you directly to the cache. You must find each of the stages. Each leads you to the next stage. The third stage is an ammo box containing the logbook and trade items.

Tonight someone was the first to log a find on the multi-cache. Since multi-caches take a little more work to find than regular caches, they can sometimes be a little less active. However, that suits me fine as my favorite caches take you to locations that the cache hider wants you to see. And this cache is in what I think is a really fun little location, worth a visit.

Fashion Victim Venom

My other item to announce is that travel bug TBH8M2 - Fashion Victim Venom has been released into the wild! FVV travels with this mission affixed to his hideously-clad body:

Fashion Victim Venom is trying to get to the San Diego, CA area. If possible, he’d like to find a nice cache in Escondito, CA. He’s travelling from the east coast to the west coast, hoping to find his way into the hands of an old friend who has moved out that way. In the process, I hope that Brian (my friend who has moved to Escondito) will find out when Venom makes it to the sunny shores of California and be motivated to become one of us… a geocacher!

That’s right. He’s headed for sunny California. Well, that’s the plan anyhow. I handed him off to Team SimCalc (Ryan and Sara) who placed him in a new cache at UMass Dartmouth. Problem is, no one has found that cache for almost 2 weeks. It’s another multi with a high difficulty rating, so that probably has something to do with it. Such is the way with travel bugs! I am tempted to go grab him out of that cache tomorrow and move him along. We’ll see…

Posted by James at 9:31 PM | Comments (1)

The Morning After

I’m deleting a bunch of the emails that are clogging my inbox, and I find I am coming upon many notifications from websites I have signed up for. You know — little “what’s new” newsletters and things. One or two are cute. A hundred can clog an inbox in the same way a 16 oz prime rib clogs up a vegan’s colon.

How does this happen?

You see some fun-looking web service, bulletin board, online deal or whatever. Looks attractive. Everyone’s enjoying themselves with it and you’re in the moment. You’re intrigued, your defenses are down and you just want to have a good time like everybody else. Perhaps there is alcohol involved. Before you know it, you find you self blushingly handing over your email address. You promised yourself you would respect your email address a little more in the future, but what the hell, this is just a bit of fun.

The next morning you roll over and bang in the harsh dawn light you see an inbox full of “Welcome To…” and “Here are the offers you requested” and “Get your friends to sign up!”

Damn! What was I thinking? I should know better.

Lessons learned? I can only hope.

Posted by James at 1:14 PM | Comments (1)

So Many

I’m sure I have plenty of idiosyncrasies that drive other people crazy. But since this is my blog, I get to post about my language peeves.

I heard this on the radio the other day:

There’s so many dollars out there.

Ignoring, for a moment, that this person is pairing “is” with the plural “dollars” you can’t really tell what this means outside of its context.

It sounds like the person is saying “There are a lot of dollars out there. There are so many of them.”

In reality, this person means: “There is a limited amount of money to be had.” Also “There are a limited number of dollars.”

I expect this phrase has come into existence (I have heard it on more than one occasion in the Fall River/New Bedford area) because people had been saying “there are only so many…” whatever. And now they’ve dropped the “only” which makes it sound like you mean the exact opposite of what you’re saying.

Another “exact opposite” language peeve I have is when people around here say:

I could care less what you think about the way I speak!

Excuse me? You could care less? So… I guess you care a lot if you could care less but you don’t.

Of course, the person meant to say “I couldn’t care less.” But, for an inexplicable reason, they have rendered their sentence practically meaningless. It’s unintelligible unless you take it as an idiom. But it doesn’t even work as sarcasm, because “I could care less” hardly means “I care a lot.”

Posted by James at 11:09 AM | Comments (21)

June 1, 2005

Your Harrowing Tale of the Day

a straggling shopper in a pink sweater was running toward the down escalator. she didn’t pay attention to the woman with the knife and kind of skipped onto the elevator, ahead of her. thinking she was safe, she began folding her jacket. the woman with the knife stepped onto the escalator behind her.

Holy moley. I can almost imagine seeing this at the mall.

Once, we were at the Providence Place Mall and someone dropped something from one of the escalators. Maggie and I had just turned different directions, and we had the girls with us. Whatever fell from he escalator exploded nearby with a loud report that had out ears ringing for a while afterward. It unsettled the children quite a bit, but I never did see exactly what happened.

Obviously, this is much worse. But there is a random element at work when you are out among a crowd of people.

Posted by James at 1:59 AM | Comments (6)