Netflix (il)Logic

Because of my interest in Firefly: The Complete Series, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape, Netflix recommended the TV show Top Gear (U.K.) to me.

Really?

The first three are science fiction television programs, two American and one Australian, while Top Gear is a British program hosted by car enthusiasts which focuses primarily on supercars. As far as I know, none of the actors in the sci-fi shows ever appeared on Top Gear as guests and they certainly aren’t regulars. Likewise, none of the hosts of Top Gear was ever in any episode of any of the sci-fi shows. The only connections I can make for Netflix’s recommendation is that they are all TV shows and that Farscape and Top Gear are foreign. In fact, I think Top Gear (U.K.) is a fantastic show, though I was watching it long before I subscribed to Netflix so zero points for the suggestion.

Now, because of my interest in Top Gear, Netflix is recommending Linda Linda Linda, a Japanese movie about three schoolgirls looking to replace their lead singer just days before the school’s talent show and their only candidate is a Korean girl who can barely speak Japanese.

And now the connections are reduced to one: they are both foreign. Obviously I’m missing something. If that were the only connection, there’s no reason for Netflix not to recommend every foreign TV show and movie in its library.

Although now that I think about it, it does seem like it is doing just that. ★

A Drop in the Bucket

On March 17, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure aimed at defunding National Public Radio (NPR). In a strongly partisan vote—most Republicans voted for it while every Democrat voted against it—the government withdrew $3.2 million of support for NPR.

According to Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), “With the national debt over $13 trillion, the government simply can’t afford to fund non-essential services. NPR can survive on its own.”

Indeed, it would seem laudable to trim wasteful spending whenever and wherever possible regardless of the economic climate. And if NPR can survive without government support, perhaps it would be better off for it. It would no longer need to worry about biting the hand that feeds it or, probably more appropriate in this case, occasionally touching the hand that, every once in a while, drops a crumb on its plate.

NPR receives only about 2% of its funding from government grants.

That said, and with such praiseworthy Republican efforts to trim government spending, why is the GOP unwilling to touch oil industry subsidies?

Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) and Sarah Palin (R-HasBeen,NeverWasActually) are calling the $4 billion that would be saved annually by eliminating these subsidies “a drop in the bucket” and “not even a drop in the bucket.” Meanwhile, it is projected that ending nine subsidies specific to the oil industry will save the U.S. $45 billion over the next ten years.

Perhaps, unlike NPR, the oil industry cannot survive on its own so they need these subsidies just to break even. If only years of record profits didn’t say otherwise.

I’m no math major, but by my calculations FOUR BILLION DOLLARS is one big ass “drop.” Still, we would have to find and get rid of 3,500 boondoggles of equal value to eliminate today’s almost $14 trillion debt.

Then again, perhaps the Republican Party has found 4,375,000 instances of non-essentially funded programs worth $3.2 million. That’s how many it would take under their excellent tutelage to eliminate the debt. (If any Republicans are reading this, “excellent tutelage” was sarcasm and I apologize for the lack of pictures. Now, break out that dictionary and look up “tutelage” and “sarcasm.”)

Allow me to summarize from the GOP’s on-the-record point of view:

  1. $3.2 million? Get rid of it. We can’t afford it.
  2. $4 billion? Don’t touch it. Not even a drop in the bucket.

And while I’m doing ordered lists…

Possible reasons why the Republican Party doesn’t understand its loss of credibility:

  1. No members intelligent enough to understand the answer.
  2. No members intelligent enough to understand the question.
  3. All members have their hands over their ears and saying, “La-la-la-la.”

Please repost!

“Will you be in the 1% that has the courage to repost this?”

“My real friends will repost this. Are you a real friend?”

“I’ll bet none of you will repost this…” 

And on it goes: feeble-minded attempts by our Facebook “friends” to guilt or goad us into reposting a status they posted or, more likely, reposted from someone else.

Seriously, why?

It doesn’t matter if the status is against painting kittens to look like tigers or leukemia in children, it doesn’t make one whit of difference. Only conspiracy theorists could believe that someone is tallying Facebook status messages to decide what worthwhile goal should receive more attention than another.

These types of status messages are the new spam. They’re replacing the hoax e-mails of yesteryear with sincere, heartstring-tugging status messages that implore you to repost them to raise people’s awareness of something or another. An action which accomplishes nothing, but it must give the original poster a kick to see how many people repost his or her status and how long it hangs around.

The World Wide Web is replete with sites reporting news, politics, health and medical advancements, commentary, opinion, et cetera, ad nauseam. If you fall into the group of people who need a Facebook status to raise your awareness about something, then you need one of these sincere, heartstring-tugging statuses posted in your honor. This is also true if you still forward e-mails forwarded to you without checking the facts.

If you’re a Facebook status spammer or e-mail forwarding spammer, this is what will help most of all: Draw a nice, hot bath…make it a bubble bath and it’ll be our secret…draw a nice, hot, bubble bath and drop your computers right into it. ‘Cause, damn, you’re stupid.

25 Random Things About Me

1. My dad kept his pistol in its holster, hanging on a hook in the bedroom closet.  When I was in high school, it accidentally discharged while I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth.  The bullet went through the common closet/bathroom wall and between my legs, missing my sperm factories by less than an inch.

2. I love science fiction…

3. …chicken fried steak…

4. …”Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who…

5. …and the color orange.

6. If I had to choose between the Bugatti Veyron or the Aston Martin V12 Vantage I think my brain would seize.  It would be like trying to decide which of your two perfect children is your favorite without being able to pick them both.

7. I once dyed my hair black because I was bored with the natural brown color.  (I was told bleaching it white like I wanted would turn it a yellowish straw color instead.)  I looked kinda weird with all black hair, but when the brown had grown out more so it was half brown and half black, it looked awesome.

8. My favorite number is 8.  It’s like infinity, sideways.

9. Three favorite authors: Isaac Asimov demonstrated how truly epic science fiction could be.  Douglas Adams taught me that it could also be humorous, but Peter F. Hamilton makes it feel real.

10. I like to snow ski slowly, as if taking a stroll, and I like to ski alone.  Speaking of snow…

11. I love the way the ground is brighter than the sky on cloudy days after a snowfall.

12. Once on a car trip around Crete, a friend and I drove north over the Diktean Mountains to reach the Lasithi Plateau.  In doing so we drove up into the clouds to cross over, then down out of them, to the plateau.  It felt like an episode of The Twilight Zone.

13. I enjoy the beauty of Arabic script.  It can be simple, as in a newspaper, or woven into a complex pattern like a tapestry.  The most beautifully executed script I have ever seen was by a photographer named Hussain who made his name into a sailboat, waves and a sand dune with birds flying in front of a sun.

14. I must chew gum when I fly.  If I don’t I won’t be able to hear out of my left ear for at least a week.  (The Valsalva Maneuver doesn’t work for me.  Never has.)

15. My earliest memory is of playing next to my younger sister beside a lake.  I was three.

16. I once walked streets paved 4000 years ago while visiting Akrotiri, Santorini (Thera), Greece.

17. With a slight alteration to a statement made by Christopher Hutchens, I believe that which is asserted without proof should be dismissed without proof.

18. I think “reality television” is one of the biggest misnomers in history.  Inserting disparate groups of people into contrived situations isn’t reality.  It’s surreality.  (Okay, this wasn’t really about me, but I don’t like “reality television” so now it is.)

19. I prefer driving a vehicle with a manual transmission.

20. I like surprising people who underestimate or misjudge me.  I love it if they also happen to be hypocrites.

21. I don’t know if this is uncommon or not, but in this era of the mouse, keyboard, and touch-screen, I have a permanent indentation on the left side of my right middle finger where my pencil rests when I write.

22. I can touch type, but when I enter numbers longer than four digits I use the number pad.  (Although, I also used it when I numbered these random facts so, hmmm…)

23. If I could travel anywhere in the world and stay for a couple of months, I would visit Paris. Why Paris? I would literally be following my dreams.  (Technically, it was one dream, but it was a very good dream.)

24. Key Lime Pie and Pecan Pie are my favorite two desserts.

25. Mac or PC?  Mac!

26. Bazinga!