Just to end the day, here are a couple of things that made me say, “coooooo-uhllll,” like Bart Simpson when I saw them:
First, courtesy of Andrew Sullivan (who occasionally takes a break from politi-blogging for cooooo-uhlll stuff), it’s Jet-Man, a crazy Swede Swiss guy who likes to bail out of airplanes with a small, jet-powered wing attached to his back. Jet-Man’s website compares him to Batman, but this guy reminds me more of The Rocketeer.
If you’ll recall, in the Rocketeer movie starring Billy Campbell, Howard Hughes himself asks our hero, “What was it like strapping that thing to your back and flying like a bat out of hell?” Good old YouTube provides us with something of answer:
If flying like a bat out of hell doesn’t appeal to you, how about taking a ride on a futuristic superboat that’s powered by biodiesel and pierces through waves instead of riding up over the top of them? The boat is called Earthrace, and its crew is currently trying to circumnavigate the world in record-breaking time using only renewable fuels. It’s a cool cause (i.e., trying to draw attention to the possibilities of biodiesel) and a really wicked-looking machine, too (hi-res photo here). Not surprisingly, given my obsessions, it reminds me of Amidala’s personal chromemobile from Attack of the Clones. I’ll be following this one with great interest…
The Digital Bits is reporting that the rumored 30th Anniversary Ultimate Star Wars Saga box set that was supposed to come out this year may get pushed back because the suits at Lucasfilm were disappointed by the poor sales of last year’s original trilogy release. You know, the one whose only real selling point was the inclusion of the unaltered theatrical cuts, which, to no one’s surprise, turned out to be of less-than-stellar quality. Hey, Uncle George, here’s a tip: those who are interested in owning your revisionist CGI’d Special Edition versions already do, probably two or three times over. You want to make a few more bucks off your fan base? Then reconsider your attitude about those theatrical cuts and give us what we really want: the unf***ed-with editions in clean, anamorphic transfers that will look good on our new-fangled HDTVs. It really is that easy. Just give us these movies the way they were when we fell in love with them. Don’t worry about impressing today’s FX-jaded kids; don’t worry about trying to make them match up with the prequel trilogy. Just give a little gift to those of us who’ve been there for you since the beginning. We’ll be happy to open our wallets again for a product we actually want.
Hmmmm… this is unexpected: according to the Belief-o-Matic™ over at BeliefNet, the religion that most closely matches my personal beliefs (at least as interpreted by an online multiple-choice-style quiz) is Unitarian Universalism, with Liberal Quakerism and secular humanism tied for second place. Mormonism, the dominant faith of my home state and the one with which I have the most personal experience and knowledge of, came in at number 24 out of 27 possible matches. That’s lower than Islam, Hinduism, and even Scientology.
I usually self-identify as an agnostic — I’m not comfortable flat-out denying the possibility of the divine, but I have a lot of doubts, and religion simply doesn’t play any role in my day-to-day existence, except for those moments when living in Utah inevitably demands one to deal with it — so I expected this thing to tell me I was a big ol’ secular humanist. The Unitarian and Quaker results genuinely surprised me. And to be honest, it also surprised me that Mormonism ranked so low. After all, I was raised here, immersed in that faith, even if I wasn’t practicing it; most of my family and friends are LDS, and I really don’t think of myself as hostile to Mormonism, at least no more so than I am to any other religion. (By which I mean that I object to those of any faith who would tell me how to live my life or that I’m not a moral person because I don’t do all the things they do, but I really don’t care what people do or do not believe themselves.) You’d think that a lot of Mormon ideas would be present in my belief system simply by default.
I’m probably making too much of this — after all, Internet quizzes have also told me that I’m Arthur C. Clarke and Spider-Man, and I should know to take them all with an iceberg-sized grain of salt. Still, it’s food for thought, isn’t it?
If you’re interested, the complete breakdown of my results is below the fold:
Via Boing Boing, evidence that we have become a hopelessly decadent society:
…a restaurant in Atlantic City has come up with a $1,000 brownie… Brûlee’s “Brownie Extradordinaire with Saint Louis” is a chocolate brownie made with Italian hazelnuts, dusted with edible gold powder and served with a very rare port. After each bite, the dessert captain squirts a mist of the vintage port on your tongue with a $750 atomizer, which incidentally is yours to keep.
The online menu for this place can be found here, if you want to see how the better one percent lives.
I can’t begin to describe how offensively vulgar I find this. I am utterly disgusted by the thought of rich, spoiled bastards with more money than sense ($1K is equal to four payments on my Mustang!) eating a precious-metal-encrusted brownie while a lackey (no doubt dressed in velvets with a powdered wig, just like they did in the good old days before the guillotine spoiled the party) silently stands by to squirt wine into their lazy mouths because they can’t be troubled to soil their fingers by lifting a frakking glass. I wonder if the restaurant also offers to complete the whole experience by sending a perfumed peasant home with the diner to wipe their tushy with a napkin of fine Egyptian linen? I imagine the gold powder does improve the aesthetics of the inevitable conclusion, at least.