Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cumberbatch's Imitation Game

Dr Desert Flower and I went and saw The Imitation Game last night at our favorite local theater, and it was a really good movie.  I'd wanted to see the film after reading several cryptography books and novels where Alan Turing is often a central character, if not repeatedly mentioned as the father of modern computer science.  I was not disappointed.

38 year old Benedict Cumerbatch played Alan Turing extremely well, with a range of emotion and affect, delivery and neurosis, fully embracing the quirky genius.  I will be quite surprised if Cumberbatch does not win Golden Globe awards and Oscar nominations.  Whenever Cumberbatch spoke in a very low voice, slowly, recollections of Smaug inevitably entered my linguistics centric mind, but luckily the scenes were so fluid and changed so often, that the tone was never Smaug-like for more than a few seconds.  I still think Ricardo Montalban played a much better Khan than Cumberbatch did in the recent Star Trek incarnation.

Director Morten Tyldum did a wonderful job of weaving the school boy, post-Cambridge, adult, and post-WWII Turings into a beautiful mosaic that held the audience's attention.  Though we saw it on a Tuesday night, the theater was actually packed, surprisingly.

I would have liked to have seen More focus placed upon Turing and what his team did after breaking the Enigma code in 1943, and how they selected and parsed out information to MI6 so that statistically, the Nazis would not notice that the code had been broken… but the film glossed over that part and had it covered it more, there might have been a Nolan-esque 3 hour movie.

If you've not seen it, it's worth going to the theater (and not waiting for Netflix or Amazon) to see.  I think you'll like it as well (and if you don't, or you didn't like Alan Turing's work, his personality, his scientific work, or the person he was…  then, well…  you probably can't be my friend).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip

Thanks to my friend Ron for reminding me about this hilarious video:

When my friend Rick shared this link years ago, I did not realize (at that time) that the beard shown here is the same style & length as my son's…  kids now-a-days.  = )

Link here:  if the embed doesn't work for you.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas Eywa - From the Tree of Souls

If you've ever seen the James Cameron movie Avatar, you're familiar with the willow like "Tree of Souls" (known as Vitraya Ramunong) .  Back at Thanksgiving, after I painstakingly decorated our Ficus tree (thank you Anne Morse for identifying it as a Ficus!) with strands of lights, Dr. Desert Flower, drink in hand, exclaimed "it's the tree of life, from that purple people movie!".  (how sweet!)

I think James Cameron did a better job on "The Tree of Souls" than I did…  but, my work will suffice for Southern Orange County, since no one is paying admission or benefiting from secondary DVD or on-demand sales.  

My neighbor across the street, who has lived here for over 20 years told me (last year) "that tree has never looked so good!", and when we moved in, it was drooping down so low that one could not walk down the side walk without having to duck to get below the pendulous branches.  Well 10 green dumpsters later, and lots of Naprosin, I've tamed the ficus to its current state & geometric configuration. It is pleasant to look down from my home office window and see it, and the street beyond, instead of an unruly batch of dark green leaves taking over the street before our home.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hobbit 3 - The Battle Of Five Writers

This morning I wasted $7 and 2 hours of my life enduring the bastardization of a film loosely based around the Tolkien mythos, entitled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.  Eh, it really wasn't a battle of five armies.  And if you've read the book - as most Americans over 30 have - then you won't recognize most of the plot from the movie since it really doesn't have hardly anything to do with the book.  (and Jackson makes it actually 8 armies…  but I don't want to get into minutia) 

Peter Jackson did a great job in the Lord of the Ring Trilogy, sticking as close as he could to the 3 epic novels in 3 epic movies.  In the Hobbit movies, he drew out what could have been done in about 3 hours into 3 separate, painfully embellished films.  This last (thank goodness!) installment could have been wrapped up in about 30 minutes.  Instead, Jackson, and his fellow conspirators Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyen, and the increasingly annoying Guillermo del toro eviscerated J.R.R. Tolkien's beautiful little book, The Hobbit, and turned it in a misplaced love story, a personal blood feud, a father-son-angst conflict, and a mockery of the original Tolkien novel.  

To understand & appreciate how completely divergent The Battle of Five Armies was from the original Tolkien work, all one has to do is to look at the original Tolkien / Jackson ring trilogy epics, and then do a (1-X) calculation, proportionally.   So if in your perspective, Jackson got 98% right on the ring trilogy movies, in this final installment, he gets 2% right (1 - 0.98) = 0.02.  If he got 75% right in your perspective originally, then he's gotten perhaps 25% right on this last movie (1 - 0.75) = 0.25.  

There was no love story, between elves and dwarves or between anyone else, except for Smaug and his gold, in The Hobbit.  Yes, Tolkien wrote dwarves as greedy, and Thorin's grandfather as driven mad by the wealth, but Jackson and his cabal of co-conspirators created ridiculous plot devices that were not needed. 

The physics of a drawn bow, to propel an arrow through the air, are NOT purely the elasticity of the bow string, but the tension in that string and the elastic bending of the bow (as seen clearly in a simple long bow, or multiplied in a compound bow).  So when Bard (the Animated version was So Much Better!) uses his son's shoulder as the bow, that's a cute "father & son moment", but that arrow wouldn't have flown more than a few feet, much less several hundred feet, through the leathery hide of an ancient red dragon, through heart muscle, and killing one of the most vicious and formidable creatures ever to be characterized on the written page (think about it…  what other creature of mass destruction, pure evil & super intelligence have you ever read as much about in a beloved novel, and even cheered for (as I did, in the previous film, and this travesty as well)?  Jackson and his writers needed to spend less time launching water balloons with surgical tubing sling shots, and more time in Physics 101 class.

I half expected to see Paul Atreides (from Dune), riding along with the Northern Orc army - what's a matter Peter, were Wargs too hard to animate?  Or perhaps too deadly when matched against several hundred Iron Hills dwarves (who brought with them, no cavalry, but later, ram sheep conveniently appear)?  So many inane sub-plots and tangents…  I mean… it was great to see Radagast again… but the entire scene in which he appears… was not in the book.  Great to see Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) as Elrond again… but in The Hobbit he never leaves Rivendell.  

There's so many things incongruent with Jackson's ham-fisted, market-driven re-writes of The Hobbit that it would take dozens and dozens of pages to describe, in even the briefest detail, and frankly, I don't have that kind of time to waste.  I am just delighted that Jackson cannot rape another Tolkien film, since the Tolkien family has not signed over rights to "The Silmarillion", and I hope in my lifetime, they never will.  

In The Battle of the Five Writers, J.R.R. Tolkien is soundly defeated.  Marketers rejoice, globally, and those who have never read the book will likely remain ignorant - reading takes time, and everyone lives connected to their digital devices, with the attention span of an impatient & unrealistic corporate board, expecting immediate results, gratification, satisfaction… which just leads to stagnation and disappointment, long term.  Much better to have video games, and plastic play toys, and to try and inspire fabricated dreams of interspecies romance, than to make a movie based solidly on the original work.  Pathetic & sad.

I was considering titling this "The Desolation of Smug", or "Jackson-itis" (the disease where you get infected with so much hubris, that you band together with other writer-directors [like del toro] who also show the same symptoms, and then you create an abomination, a bastardization, a remarkably ugly and painful vehicle that movie-goers have to endure while they were expecting 'this won't be so bad…  will it?'), but when I saw Jackson had teamed up with 3 other writers, the Battle of Five Writers sounded much better.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Stellar Interstellar

Dr Desert Flower and I went to go see Interstellar last night at a local movie theater - us, and 7 or 8 other people scattered throughout had the entire theater of 300 or so seats to ourselves.  I'd intentionally not read up on the movie as I wanted to be surprised and enjoy the story telling.  Wow.  It was really a riveting tale, that Christopher Nolan told quite well.

If you've not seen Interstellar, stop reading now, and go see it soon, or just skip this posting.  If you have seen it, please help me to understand:

1) why did the worm hole appear near Saturn 43 years before Dr Brand mentioned it to Cooper?  What caused it to "spontaneously form"?  And why near Saturn?

2) if the Ranger ship that Cooper was piloting was getting torn apart after it was sucked into the black hole, and he ejected, why didn't he get torn apart also?  Space suits and human skin are not as resilient as aluminum and titanium, when being pelted with things that can tear holes in space craft skin.  Cooper would have been shredded.

3) who was sitting behind Cooper in the disintegrating Ranger saying "Eject" to him, 3 times, before he ejected?  His elementary school aged daughter?  Or was it his subconscious talking to him? (or was it "love" …  ugh)

4) why didn't anyone try to get oxygen (and nutrients) from algae?  Wheat, gone - ok, believable since a global wheat blight is not that far away with various rusts and fungi that are currently attacking homogenized corporate wheat (yea!!!  less gluten!!!).  Okra, gone, who cares?  Those in the Southeast US, ok…   Corn, going..  well..  maybe, but DDF says that would take much longer, genetically, since humans have spliced so many genes into corn over the last century that it is rather hardy today.  How about Sorghum (grown all around Phoenix)?  Soybeans (grown ubiquitously in the Midwest) that are used in everything?  Rice (grown throughout Asia, and in water, not in the dust)?

5) who would have ever designed Any ventilation route from the cabin air to Ranger's engines, to would have enabled Cooper to "spark" the Ranger's flooded engines using cabin air and cabin oxygen?  It sounds great to tell T.A.R.S. to reroute the air to do that…  but..  no one would have ever designed in a 3 way vale that could have channeled cabin oxygen into the propulsion circuit, since the possibilities of back pressure causing the propulsion system to back feed into the cabin and incinerate the crew would dictate (safety first) that these two systems remain separate.

But these 5 plot holes aside…  the physics, and theory behind Interstellar was quite sound, and DDF and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.  Nolan takes the audience for an exciting 3 hour ride.  Warning: go in with an empty bladder; you're going to be sitting still for 3 hours.

Apparently, if Matt Damon is not a main character (Interstellar, The Departed) he's often a royal asshole (DDF would say "seriously flawed character", but I would rather not dress it up in flowery language) whose despicable acts have audience members cheering when he finally meets his demise.  I know I cheered when Damon's character tried to manually over-ride the airlock safeties that T.A.R.S. had locked.

I almost named this posting "T.A.R.S. Best Supporting Actor" as the T.A.R.S ex-military robot in Interstellar was hilarious, exceptionally well written, and intrinsically useful.  By far, the best "robot buddy" to have, and this is in spite of his "twix candy" appearance near the beginning of the 3 hour movie.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Something About Peter

I was watching the Steelers / Bengals game this morning, when I noticed the Bengal's defensive coordinator, Peter Guenther on camera…  and I thought to myself "I've seen him somewhere before…  where was it?"  Then I remembered.  There was a Harry Potter movie on HBO earlier this week, and it was another graveyard scene (I've never watched a whole Harry Potter movie, but whenever I do, they're either playing quidditch or in a dark grave yard resurrecting / battling Voldemort.

So I googled "Potter Villan who lost hand while resurrecting Voldemort" and Peter Pettigrew (aka Wormtail) immediately appeared on my screen.  I think there's a strong resemblance.  Something about Peter?   I don't know.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Of Course My Blood's Still Good

Yeah, I obviously had an un-donatable arm that prevented any possibility of providing life-giving whole blood to needful recipients.  Tuesday's Laguna Hills draconian, paranoid, hysterical staff were completely wrong.

Luckily, the American Red Cross's blood mobile's Ryan (blood drive coordinator), Michelle (phlebotomist) and Rita (supervisor) were reasonable health professionals.  Reasonable, rational, practical, friendly, personable people.  My faith in humanity is somewhat restored.

Thank you SEI Local 721 for providing me the opportunity to donate my blood, and being so nice about it.  I will continue to seek out blood mobiles, and non-Laguna Hills Donation Center drives, every 56 days.

It should not be this hard to help others.  Hopefully, in the future, it won't be.

I will be going to a local food bank non-profit on Friday morning to help provide technical consulting & maintenance assistance to their under-staffed and under-funded crew. That'll help round out a positive week.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Triple Red Crossed, Laguna Hills CA

For the last 30 years, I've been donating blood.  I remember my first Highland High School blood drive, in the big circular gymnasium, and the first time I laid on a lounge chair and got a needle stuck in my arm to have my blood drawn.  I a teenager, and joked around with the phlebotomist that my friend Todd and I would carry cinder blocks and push start his manual transmission Dodge Omni after we ran a 5K race later that day.  They understood we were kidding, and we enjoyed our snacks afterwards, no one passing out.

Red Cross in Indiana.  Carolina-George Blood bank in South Carolina.  United Blood Services in Arizona.  I've never, in more than 7 gallons, been refused as a donor.  I feel it is part of my civic duty as an eligible donor to give, and to give as often as possible.  Many of my friends and relatives with medical conditions or who take certain medications cannot donate blood, so I always try to donate when I can.   I've got easy to find veins, my organically non-GMO fed beef & organic spinach nutrient rich blood always has enough iron, and it's a great way to keep track of my blood pressure & pulse in a 30 year longitudinal study, since they write it on the back of the card after each donation.
Taken by iPhone 5S, in my car, at 2pm 2Dec2014
So today, I go in to give my double red (ALYX they call it, at the Red Cross) donation…  but let me back up…

Back in July (of 2014), I go in to donate blood, at the same Laguna Hills Red Cross donation center (22971 Mill Creek Dr, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 ) and an untrained, over-reactive, histrionic, overly conservative phlebotomist screener tells me I 'have a rash' on my arms, I won't be able to donate.  I tell her I just cut the grass earlier that day, it's a normal skin color for me, and she doubles down on her rejection.   I tell her "look, I've donated for 7 gallons over 30 years, I am fine."  "It's about patient safety" she retorts.  "Get the director" I instruct her.  The director looks at my arms…   they're fine…   and I am allowed to donate (it was a Saturday morning)…  but paranoid phlebotomist got so flustered that she has screwed up the paper work so I can only donate a single unit, not a double unit.  Fine, just take my damn blood, please.  Now I'll have to come back in 56 days instead of 112 days; thank you for the inconvenience as  try to help you.

I then set up an appointment to give in San Clemente to avoid they histrionics of the Laguna Hills site.  At the last minute, the San Clemente blood drive is cancelled…  and they call me to ask me if I can please donate in Laguna Hills.  I tell them of the hassles I had there, and the Red Cross assures me it won't happen again.  I stupidly and gullibly trusted the Red Cross phone solicitor who gets commissions and incentive pay based upon how many appointments they make, not upon how many lies they tell or promises they break.  My 2nd attempt in Laguna Hills at the end of September 2014, where I am scheduled for a double red appointment, have a confirmation email that tells me I have a double red appointment, and I scheduled it on a week day afternoon to avoid being out-of-energy-and-drained-all-weekend after a double red appointment, turns out to be double booked!  Some other guy waltzed in, just before me, without an appointment, and they put him in the only ALYX double red machine they had.  "Can you come back in 3 hours? That's the next open appointment…" they asked me.  I told them my appointment was Now, and no, 3 hours from now I'll be eating dinner and getting ready to go to bed.  Let's make it a single, Again, due to Laguna Hills Red Cross's incompetence and disorganization. Fine.

60 some days later, I make an appointment online with the Red Cross, to donate double red, this afternoon.  "Are you sure it is not double booked?" I ask them on the phone. "Yes, we'll even have the center call you to make sure their machine is available ahead of time."  "Great".   I Was called an hour in advance, told them I would be there on time.  Arrived 10 minutes early (as I am prone to do), signed in, read my donor packet, and began the pre-screening with a new, poorly trained, overly reactionary phlebotomist.  "You've got a rash on your arm".  "No, that's normal, there's no rash" (see the above picture). "I DO have lots of track marks, from the Seven Gallons Of Blood I've been donating, here…….  here…  here…. " (as I point to all the track marks on the insides of my elbows that Red Cross, Carolina-Georgia, and United Blood Centers have left on my skin). "We have a protocol to follow" she tells me.  "Yes, and humans are allowed to operate within protocols and apply rational, sound judgement in situations.  Please get your director."  The young phlebotomist lumbers off and leaves me in the room, unattended for 5 or 6 minutes.  A 2nd phlebotomist comes in, a little bit older lady in her 30s who speaks English with a heavy Spanish accent.  "You ready?"  I tell her… "I am ready, but, the first phlebotomist thinks I have a rash, so she's gone to get the Director" and I show the 2nd phlebotomist my arms.  "You are fine, no rash where we take out the blood, just little red farder away. Is fine." she tells me with a smile.   "Thank you, please tell your director that."  I tell her, returning her smile.

The director comes in, a Dr Susan B, who has a look on her face like 'dealing with a donor is the LAST thing she wanted' to do today.  She looks at my inner elbows for 1 second, and says "do you have allergies?".  "Yes, to my cat" I tell her.  "You have a rash, you can't donate today."  I tell her, does she really realize what a mistake she is making, to turn down a loyal 7 gallon donor, who has no reason to be rejected, other than her very reactionary & poorly trained first phlebotomist's fears, even when a 2nd phlebotomist said I was fine?  And she blandly replies "we can't take the risk."  Well…  you've not only lost this loyal donor, but I spent 45 minutes with the National Red Cross on the phone, where "Kyle" a very patient Red Cross customer service manager at the national call center wrote up an incident report on the Laguna Hills facility.  I've then spent another 30 minutes composing this blog post.  And it really is a shame, since so many truly needful people require blood donations to stay alive.  I want to help those people.  But poor training and total paranoia on the phlebotomist's and the disgruntled director's parts are preventing that from happening.  If I had something physically wrong or my safety as a patient was being compromised, OK, refuse my donation…   but I am fine.  Dr Desert Flower even looked at the pic I sent to her via text, and confirmed I am fine.  It's sad that bureaucrats afraid of California law suits who guide poorly trained phlebotomists can't see that as well.

I've already made another donation appointment, 10 miles further away, later this week, at a small company blood drive.  I will still try my best to donate my nutrient rich, low cholesterol, healthy blood so that needful patients can benefit from it, despite the Red Cross's bureaucracy trying to prevent them from ever getting it.  I hope I get a rational, well trained phlebotomist this time.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful to Not Be Marc or Jay

This Thanksgiving, I am very happy & thankful to not be Marc Trestman or Jay Cutler.

I am not one of the 3% of brainwashed (irrationally devoted?) fans who think that Jay Cutler should be the "All Iron Thanksgiving MVP" … but then again, I've not suffered as many traumatic brain injuries as others have perhaps.
And I am also Thankful to not be a Minnesota Vikings fan, who are the only ones doing worse than the Bears in the NFC Central.  Of course, a 4-7 record in the Southern Division (aka the Atlanta Falcons) would still have you at the top of your division - pretty sad.  Next Sunday's match between Green Bay & New England will be the 2015 SuperBowl preview, and none of the rest of the games really matter.

As I said earlier this season (and last year, link here), I am no fan of Cutler, and with a 2 year losing record, not a fan of Trestman either.  He should go back to managing hedgefunds - at least that way the losses he manages in the world would not affect so many other people.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

луна пирог (Moon Pie) aka Mogwai

I began DVR-ing PBS's Border Blasters that is like "International MTV" from 1985, with videos from various bands from other countries.   This week, they played a band called луна пирог, aka "Moon Pie" in English.  It was instrumental, and moody…  and I really liked it when it was called Mogwai.
Here's an example of луна пирог, with their song "What a Time to Be Alive"
(link here:
and if you think I am exaggerating about sounding like Mogwai, here's "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" (link here)

One is Russian, one is Scottish… one has a Massive English speaking fan base, and the other is virtually unknown in the US…  but they are cooking from the same cookbook, using the same ingredients.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

No, No Egrets

Just before Halloween, I went down to San Onofre State Park, and walked a good 4 miles up and down the beach in the afternoon, and just before sunset.  It's a lovely park, but at $15 per car entry fee, and a 35+ minute drive away, I think I'll stick with my Dana Point beaches.

I pay $50 for a yearly permit, go to the beach 4 or 5 times a week, so it comes out to about 25 cents a visit to park at Salt Creek, and Strand Beach's parking is free (at least so far).  Granted, the wildlife at San Onofre is more diverse, but the beach is harder to access and the incline of the sand from water line to dry berm is much steeper, making a long traverse less symmetrical and more one-sided.  Plus, it takes me less than 20 minutes to get to Salt Creek or Strand, and that's a big selling point as well.

There's no where at San Onofre to really be able to do yoga, and there's no steps to do an aerobic work out either.

Special Holiday Specials

I can't wait for Robot Chicken's new holiday special.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November Movie Reviews

On November 8th, I flew from Bangalore to Paris, taking off from Bengaluru airport at 2:45am, after working most of the week  in Bangalore and part of it in Dubai.  I should have been extremely tired, but due to the fact that a Delta Airlines frequent flyer card Does NOT allow you to pick your seat on an Air France (Flying Blue) flight, even though they are both "Skyteam", I was stuck in an aisle seat, 23G on an Air France 777-200.  The aisle seat afforded me frequent bumping by the service cart, crying from the 1 year old sitting one row behind me, and inconsiderate brushes and bumping by any passenger headed to the rest room.  Over the Arabian Sea, I took off the futile sleep mask I'd donned, requested a double cognac, and began watching movies on the little screen embedded in the back of the headrest in row 22G, figuring I'd pass out from exhaustion and get at least a few hours of sleep.  Slumber never arrived.

First, I watched Lucy with Scarlett Johansson (link here).  It was pretty good, but not awesome.  The premise was interesting, the special effects were good, and it's always a pleasure to watch Johansson on-screen.  Morgan Freeman was subdued, while Amr Waked played a fine role.  Pilou Asbæk - who reminds me of Ewan McGregor's older & creepier brother played an intense and abbreviated role at the beginning of the film (enough said).  There were too many meaningless car chases…  too much gratuitious violence that could have been better wrapped up / better executed with less strings left hanging… and the ending was a little bit "silly" for my analytical mind.  But all-in-all, I'd give Lucy a thumb's up and recommend it if you're bored, or stuck, sleepless on a plane.

Next, before reaching Iranian Airspace, I watched Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and the lovely Emily Blunt link here).  I can't recommend this film, and I have no idea why it has 4 out of 5 stars on IMDB.  Tom Cruise played himself.  Emily Blunt plays a jaded, angry, cynical warrior who hacks up aliens… and who comes to understand Tom Cruise's character.  What I did not like most about this
film, was the ridiculousness of the plot where Cruise keeps going back - like Groundhog Day - to have the day reset, and then learning from those mistakes he made that day in the next regeneration, only to then run into yet another road block.  The Groundhog Day theme MIGHT be plausible when they throw in the alien explanation… ok…  I could take a leap of faith on that and suspend disbelief for a while.  But, the stupid combat simulator that keeps mortally injuring Cruise as he learns to fight, is meaningless and non-representative of what he faces on the battle field later.  After he's mortally injured, he is Frequently shot in the head by Blunt, so much so that almost 1/4 of the scenes end with her cocking a .38 and pointing it at Cruise's head.  Wouldn't a sergeant be courtmartialed for summarily executing another wounded soldier in training?  And if the alien "Omega" can see into the future and reset time to an earlier date to learn from its failures, why couldn't it see that Cruise and Blunt were about to kill it when they find it under a (cliché) pyramid, and roll back the clock to before Cruise tries to kill it?  If you're going to present a premise in a science fiction movie, then be consistent and stick with it.  Paradox time loops, flash-backs, hallucinations, military legal code, physics…  these things need to be obeyed.  One thumb's down.

Crossing over Iran, still wide away, I watched Grand Budapest Hotel. (link here)  Dr Desert Flower had rented this on Netflix some time back in September when we were flying to my little brother's wedding in Chicago, and watched it on her iPad.  My beloved 1/2 deaf wife offered to give me one ear phone so I could watch it too, crammed into the middle seat beside her in a SouthWest Airlines coach seat [she always wants the aisle, I detest the aisle, and really just want a window seat that affords a bulkhead upon which I can lean against and sleep (see earlier postings this month here)].  I declined, tucked in my elbows, and read Voltaire's "Treatise on Tolerance".  Sleepless over pre-dawn Iran, and still disgusted by the Doug Liman hackery I just endured, I watched Wes Anderson's romp through Eastern Europe Vague-a-stan with multi-cameo appearances by many many many actors - The Society of the Crossed Keys, Ha!  It was a somewhat heart warming story, but rather silly, and again, with meaningless chase scenes and needless violence (sleds? shoot outs? beheadings? really…   necessary?) Over-all, it was not unenjoyable, and I did snicker a few times.  Can't say I loved it, but it was not bad.

Crossing from Iran to Turkey, and avoiding Syrian, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Afghani, and Chechnyan airspace, I still was strangely awake - albeit glad to not be shot down by any surface to air missiles.  I saw that Divergent (link here) was on the movie list, so I queued it up, request another double cognac, and settled into 139 minutes of teenage pablum.  Maybe if I was a 12 or 13 year old girl I would have liked it much better, but I didn't care about the characters, the hole-filled-plot, or the "filmed on a tiny budget indoors" cinematography.  I didn't think anyone was "dreamy" or any of the acting believable.  Massive thumbs down.  Ew.  2 hours of my life I will never get back.

When Divergent ended, we were transitioning from Hungary to Austria, and then breakfast was served over Germany.  Air France "Premier Economy" was not 1/2 as nice as I remembered it being in 2012 when I last flew on AIr France, and instead of "bolting on" Premier Economy to the back side of Business Class and treating it like business class, Air France has changed their model, and now treats Premier Economy like it is "slightly bigger coach", with no seat reclining, no business class food, and much-more-absentee service than I recall from 2 years ago.  It was very slightly better than coach in that the arm rest was wider than 2 inches, and there was a tiny metallic foot rest that folded down from the row in front of you… but I would not say it was truly worth a 40% higher air fare than economy  / coach (thigh still less than the 4X multiplier difference from coach to business class).

After we landed in Paris, I got a lobster wrap and a 1/2 bottle of wine, and slept well from Paris to Newfoundland, before waking up to do some email, eat lunch, and get ready to land.  Atlanta to OC, I got a nice window seat (here).

On the way TO Dubai and India, I couldn't sleep so well in the aforementioned uncomfortable Premier Economy Air France seat, so I watched Guardians of the Galaxy (link here) upon Jon Stewart's recommendation.  It was OK.  Not great, not that enjoyable.  Very not believable.  Very hoaky.  Perhaps I would have enjoyed it if I was taking a small child or a grand kid to the movies to see it…  I dunno.  I had No Idea that both Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper were in it as a walking tree and a raccoon - a stretch for both pretty boys to pull off successfully.  I still have no idea why SO Many People LOVE Chris Pratt - he's a goof, and he played himself in Guardians.   Sadly predictable that they're going to make a Guardians 2 sequel.  Ugh.

Last weekend, Dr Desert Flower agreed to go see Fury with me (link here).  She told em she wanted to go.  She said she wanted to see it.  I took her.  She hated it.  We were not even home and she was IM-ing people telling them how she hated it.  I should have followed my retired neighbor Bob's advice and gone to see it in the afternoon while she was at work.  Graphically violent, with a very-unbelievable ending (as in "cannot be believed", not "unbelievably awesome!")… I would have enjoyed the film more had I gone to see it by myself (or seen it on a plane, over Iran).  I still think that the older Brad Pitt gets, the more he begins to resemble my younger brother…  or at least, in the make-up for Fury, they made him look like my little brother.  

The next night, we went to see Rosewater (link here) at the same theater - nice leather seats with arm
rests, a wine bar, and table service in the theater if you really want it (they were delivering pizzas and entrées to movie goers who ordered before the credits.  Rosewater was good.  I wanted it to be great.  Parts of it were heart-moving, wrenching, inspiring.  Parts of it were silly, and very Jersey-esque.  Filmed in Jordan while Jon Stewart took a sabbatical from "The Daily Show", it was very believable.  I recommend anyone who geopolitically aware, go to see this movie, regardless of your politics - right, left, green, centrist, it doesn't matter… it has a message for everyone.  And it is amazing that cinema can take a Dane interrogating a Mexican in a Jordanian room, and make you think they're all Iranians in an Iranian prison.  The Iranian women in the film were actually Iranian actresses, refreshingly.  And DDF liked it much more than Fury, of course.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

ALEC - Associate Producer of Creating Horrifying Things

If you are unfamiliar with the pervasive, universal, insidious evil that ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council) does, just watch the HBO John Oliver "Last Week Tonight" episode from last week.

I had thought that I'd mentioned the corrosive molecular acid that ALEC uses for their life blood, here on JustJoeP in the past, but a google search and a blog search turned up nothing.  So I'm laying down a place marker here.

Embed video here:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Clean Windows Make A Difference

I figured out last night that my home's windows Lift Up and Out to be cleaned.  They're nice windows - the former owners installed them 5 or so years before they sold us the house - and they get dirty after it rains.  It rained on Thursday night, and yep, my windows got water-spotted and dirty.  So I lifted out my windows,
cleaned them, and put them back in, so that I could take pictures of the vociferous Rufous who believes he owns my poolside plumeria like this:
Clean windows make clear picture taking much more easy to do.  And this particular Rufous is pretty spectacular in how distinct his colors appear, depending upon which angle from which he is viewed.  This constant variation keeps me quite interested.

There's More Important Things On Which To Focus

I recently got a postcard from COSTCO that warned me that the 30 pack of Mars candy for Halloween I had purchased back in September MIGHT have had the wrong number or wrongly labelled types of candy inside.  And honestly, it took me aback.
First, who gives a damn?
Secondly, it's just candy.  Who found it so abhorrent & unacceptable that they had to complain to COSTCO to the point that they needed to send out postcards to members to "warn" them?
We bought the 30 pack of full sized candy bars.  We had only 6 (six) trick or treaters, and honestly, we were very disappointed to have only 6.  We asked the trick or treating children if they preferred Snickers or M&Ms, and gave them the large, full sized candy bar they asked for.  Dr Desert Flower took the rest of the left over 24 candy bars to her work, where her colleagues and direct reports kept asking if the candy was 'for some fund raiser?'

If the candy we bought from COSTCO had been contaminated with E-Coli as organic spinach that Southern California COSTCOs had in the past, ok, warn me.  If the candy had some serious defect, yes, I want to know.  But there might have been an "incorrect number" or a "slightly different mix"?  Who cares??  And what indignant COSTCO member thought it necessary to complain enough that COSTCO legal thought they Needed to send out warning post cards to cover their asses?

No apology necessary.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's Never About The Copper Sink

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has AMAZING writers, and last Sunday's episode included a Nick Offerman Home Depot Commercial that is incredibly hilarious.  You can watch it here:
or...  if it embeds...  below here:

After watching this, Dr Desert Flower and I actually did go shopping at Home Depot for a narrow rake so I could gather the fallen plumeria leaves beside our pool...   and we made it out of the store without getting into an argument.

League of SI Superheroes

The League of SI Superheroes premiered last month at the NIST, and I meant to blog about it here
earlier, but got bogged down in other matters.  Matters? Yes...   the League can measure matter:
- Monsieur Kilogram
- Meter Man
- The Mole
- Professor Second
- Ms. Ampere
- Dr. Kelvin
- Candela (Don’t let her small size fool you. Candela’s power over light helps to brighten the whole world.)
They had their debut episode Desperate Measures in which you can watch at the NIST site here:  

Anything that gets kids more interested in science, facts and problem solving, instead of sports, religion, and video games, is awesome in my perspective.  (sure, sports, religion, and video games may be fine in small portions...  but too many people place Far Too Much time and energy into them, instead of figuring out how to make the world a better place.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

One Of The Saddest Sunsets

As frequent visitors to JustJoeP in the past would know, one of my friends and frequent commenters was Jason Corneveaux (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).  Jason's photography was stunning.  His scientific work was ground breaking.  His insights were forward thinking & technology embracing.  But Dr Desert Flower and I learned today of his untimely death, and the world is a sadder place because of it.  Our hearts go out to his wife and infant son who is now father-less.

Our home is full of Corneveaux photography, adorning our walls, which Dr Desert Flower purchased from her former lab mate & former colleague.  Jason was the first person to teach me how to use Google Maps to chart off-road hikes with way-points.  And he was one of the most interesting persons I've known.  We mourn his unexpected and untimely passing.

Whoop Whoop! New Pressure Regulator

As an engineer, I've designed, installed, and changed out pneumatic pressure regulators, hydraulic pressure regulators, and variable digital regulators, as well as check valves, flow dividers, flow regulators, gate valves, needle valves, ball valves, sweated fittings, threaded fittings, and welded fittings.  I had never before changed out a residential home's main pressure regulator.

A residential home is supposed to run from 30 to 70 psi for incoming water pressure.  Over 70 psi there could be more leaks, possible ruptures, and other problems inside of a home.  About a month ago, our house began going "Whoooop!" every time the water was turned off.  Flush a toilet, and after the tank filled, "Whoooop!".  Turn off the sink, "Whooop".  Everytime the dish washer or washing machine filled, "Whoooop!".  So when we got our kitchen sink replaced recently with a nice Hansgrohe I asked the plumber to check the incoming pressure.  It was 90 psi, creeping up to 100 psi.

I needed a 70XL pressure regulator, which Home Depot had for $70.  It fit beautifully into place as a retro fit for the existing failing regulator.  All I needed was a pair of ginormous (larger than 1.5 inches) channel locks, and 20 minutes.  You can do it too.  Read the label on the failing regulator, and get yourself a replacement in-kind.  Don't re-use the old seals, and buy an unmolested package that has not been opened-and-returned, so it has all the required replacement hardware.

John Hancock Weather Alterations

The John Hancock building makes its own weather.  Dr Desert Flower and I stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Chicago River back in September for my little brother's wedding.  Our room had a spectacular eastern facing view of the John Hancock building and other lake-front-adjacent sky scrapers.  We noticed that as he sun was setting on a Thursday night, that the John Hancock building created its own weather as the dew point dropped and cool moisture laden air coursed over the HVAC units on the top of the building.  There'd be very little clouds (or very thin clouds) until they reached the Hancock, and then they'd grow large enough and thick enough to obscure the top of the building.

Really weird.

If Your Patio Umbrella Breaks...

If the string that lifts your patio umbrella breaks, sure you can spend $100 or $200 or even $300 to get a new umbrella.  But if you've bought a good one (as we did out 4th year in Phoenix, after the brutal Sonoran sun disintegrated our old South Carolina umbrella), and the material is still good, then it is easy to fix.

1 - conduit clamp, $1.50, Home Depot
1 - thumb screw, Ace Hardware, $3.50
1- wing nut, Ace Hardware, 15 cents

For $5.15 I saved our umbrella.  Sure, it doesn't have a "handy crank mechanism" to open and close it, and it requires 5 or 6 lbs of upwardly thrust force to push it up, but it works just fine.  I recycled the existing white plastic sleeve bushing that used to be inside the crank driven lower housing that used to raise and lower the umbrella before the internal string broke, and it makes for a nice friction surface.

Just gotta watch out for the spiders (or bats, as in my friend Ryan's case back in Snellville GA) that may have made the collapsed umbrella their home before opening... but that is the case regardless of if there's a working crank to open it or not.

Just Let Me Get Some Gas

When I pull into a gas station, I want to get some gasoline, unmolested.  I don't want ANY push marketing blasted at me in audio or video at the pump.  I don't need any complicated & inefficient vapor capturing device that is so sensitive that it shuts off the pump automatically before my tank is filled.  I don't want beggars coming up to me and indignantly demanding change or "just a dollar" as they do at the PCH Chevron in Dana  Point near Gelson's market.
I don't go to Shell stations ANYMORE, as every Shell station I've visited in OC (three of them) have blasting, unwanted video marketing blaring from the pump on a tiny video screen.  The Exxon-Mobile stations have a blaring loud speaker over the pumps pushing ads.  The Costco gas station is of dubious quality, and there's always long lines (I know, OC problems).  Atlantic Richfield (in San Clemente) charges an extra dollar and a 1/2 at the end if you pay by credit card (insert rolling eye emoticon here).  And there's really not many Unocal stations.  So it is Chevron on La Paz, or on Crown Valley Parkway (CVP) for me.

But even my homey, local Chevron station has started replacing its pumps, one-by-one, converting them from efficient, working "CV" pumps to "O-C" pumps with a a spiral logo.  The "O-C" pumps are  overly sensitive and annoying as hell.

Just let me get some gas, please.  Until Dr Desert Flower buys the hybrid she wants, and then I'll be buying much less gas.

(by the way...   if you make your wife get her own gas, instead of refilling her car for her every chance you get, your father didn't raise you right, and you're setting a bad example for your sons. Yes, women CAN get their own gas, but they should never have to, if their husbands or significant others are doing their jobs proactively and looking out for them.  I've gotten one manicure in my life [and I will not get another], change my own oil, handle chlorine tablets bare-handed and do my own yard work.  Getting a little bit of gas on my hands from time to time is not a big deal.  The same cannot be said for the more delicate, feminine hand of an educated woman with a capable husband)

Morning Yoga Studio

This is my morning yoga studio, over-looking Dana Point harbor.
It was an over-cast morning, in the mid 60s, but my yoga instructor worked us so hard I had to shed my sweats and finish the class in shorts (and bare feet, of course).  This is by far, head and shoulders above doing yoga in any hotel room, be it in Atlanta, Chicago, Bangalore, Belfort France, Schenectady, or anywhere else.  Hummingbirds and crows were heard nearby.  Pelicans, terns, cormorants, and sea gulls flew past.  Fishermen made their living in their boats off-shore.  And my abs & core are a little sore...  as my yoga instructor pushes us harder than I typically push myself when I practice alone at Sea Terrace Park in the afternoons.

Where do you practice yoga?

Circulation Makes a Difference

Years ago, I used to be a frequent flyer from an enormous amount of business travel.  I was platinum on Northwest and Delta (when they were separate companies), gold on US Air, and gold on United.  Back  in the late 90s and early 2000s most of the planes had individual lights and vents for each passenger, and I appreciated being able to adjust the air flow from my vent to help regulate the temperature in the general area of my seat.

You see, I've always been a warm blooded creature.  My older brother was often known as "Sweaty Eddie".  In humid climates, I sweated a great deal, and after hurrying through airports, dragging heavy luggage behind me to make my connecting flight in time, I'd plop down into my seat and turn on the air vent FULL BLAST.  On a trans-Atlantic United flight I even had a passenger behind me complain to the flight attendants that there was "too much air" blowing down upon her as my seat was reclined somewhere over Iceland.  Korean Air back in 1999 and 2000 often had no vents, and the passenger cabin was unbearable hot.  I actively avoided flying Korean Air.

Last Saturday, as I was flying back from Bangalore on Air France in 777-200 equipment, there were no individual vents.  Air France kept the cabin unpleasantly warm, and I was very hot and uncomfortable from Bangalore to Paris, and then from Paris to Atlanta.  But then, in Atlanta, I got on a 757 with traditional American air vents, one for each passenger.  I was able to flood my seat with cool air, lean against a cool bulkhead, and not stay so bloody hot.

Circulation makes a significant difference in passenger comfort, temperature regulation, and in determining the pleasantness of a voyage.  Give me a window seat, and a personal air vent, and I am a happy passenger.

Croix de Marsan is Back

Costco is once again carrying Croix de Marsan.

Thanks to Russel Adams for alerting us to this last weekend.  I found a big pallet of it at the Laguna Niguel Costco off of Pacific Park.  Still $30 a 1/2 case.

Opened a bottle of it last night...  and it had notes of radish... yeah, actual radish scent...  which is kind of strange, but not entirely unpleasant.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

We are ISIS. We Milk The Goat Even If It's Male.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for alerting us to this hilarious video:

Iraqi comedians who are mocking ISIS in Kurdish.  Dish link here.

Youtube link here:
(for some reason Google Blogger keeps preventing the embed video from appearing)

Dailymail link to the story:

Daily Beast link to the story:

I find it not only funny, but a very catchy tune.  Listening to it once, it is inside my head, and I am sure I'll be humming "Daesh...  Daesh...." all day.  [Note:  "Daesh", the Arabic acronym for "ISIS" also means "A bigot who imposes their views on others".]

From now on, I am going to try and use "Daesh" and not "ISIS".

“We are bearded, dirty and filthy."
"We are brainless with nothing in our heads.”
"We kill the dove in the sky and bring history to the present"
“We are [Daesh] ISIS. We are [Daesh] ISIS,”
“We milk the goat even if it is male.”
“Our music is without rhythm. And our leader is called Qaqa,”
 "Our music is without rhythm, and we hate the smell of mint"
“Our pockets are full of Qatari money. Our language is bullets and cutting.”
“Our pockets are full of Qatari money, and peace poses a danger to us."
"From Chechnya and the Hijaz, we came smelling of garlic and onion"
"From Chechnya and the Hijaz,we came with a flock of geese"
"We strive for Jihad and sex, we are comfortable and happy to see blood"
"We strive for Jihad and sex, we are the sons of Al-Hajjaj and Al-Saffah"
“We are [Daesh] ISIS. We are [Daesh] ISIS,”
“We milk the goat even if it is male.”
"We have no knowledge in our brains, we attacked the town of Sinjar
"We have no knowledge in our brains,we scare women and children"
"Our Caliph is bearded and our brains are upside-down"
"Our hope is to kill, that's why we have no future"
“We are [Daesh] ISIS. We are [Daesh] ISIS,”
“We milk the goat even if it is male.”

Friday, October 31, 2014

Twas a Beautiful October

We moved to Laguna Hills in October of 2013, and the move had consumed much of the oxygen and energy to the point where I couldn't really enjoy owning/renting, sunsets, the warmer-than-Laguna-Niguel climate, or the nice backyard.  This October, the first full month of October we've lived in the house, I took advantage of ample opportunities to enjoy beautiful sunsets, a backyard full of hummingbirds, clear blue skies, and never-again-repeated cloud formations.
Taken from the "breakfast / drinking nook", living room adjacent, chez nous, from 3 feet away

Louie Gohmert is Ferengi

Stephen Colbert (I am going to miss him after December 18th) revealed this week, that anachronism Louie Gohmert (Texas's First District congressman) is actually Ferengi.  So insightful!  Why had I not seen it earlier?

Last October Friday Off

Today's an unusually cloudy day here in Southern California, as 300+ days a year in Orange County are sunny or mostly sunny.  While the sky threatens to rain from a gray pall that hides the sun, not a drop has fallen yet today in my neighborhood.  But I've got the day off anyway...  as I have every Friday until the end of the year this year, burning up accumulated vacation days before the end of the year.

And while I thought I'd be relaxing and kicking back today... there's far too many other things to do / be done.
- 5:15am take DDF to the train station (I-5 was closed due to a crane collapse last night that blocked the whole interstate in San Clemente, forcing a convoluted train commute)
- 7:00am pick guava to take to yoga class
- 9:00am yoga in Chapparosa Park, in a class with my old neighborhood's neighbors (don't forget to take guava bags!) [it was partly cloudy in Laguna Niguel, and a crisp 65F for outdoor yoga]
- 10:30am doctor appointment check up (all is well)
- 11am parkour the Dana Point Strand Beach rocks, twice, and run the steps 5 times.
- 1pm pool maintenance, filter cleaning, chemical balancing
- 1:30pm clean up messy street-side sidewalk covered in smashed ficus fruits before Trick Or Treaters track it up to front door.
- 2pm blog about extreme right wing OC Tea Party inadvertently helping rational voters to fill out their ballots based upon criteria other than ideology
- 2:30pm clean up garage which has become a jumbled mess
- before dusk, prepare for Trick or Treaters' arrival
- watch DVR'ed Walking Dead & Dr. Who before DDF gets home (she despises Walking Dead)

Next Friday, I'll be actively fighting jet lag and avoiding curry dishes, but then after that... the rest of 2014 Fridays should be smooth sailing.

Converting Guano Into Something Useful

I voted last Monday via absentee ballot, as I will not be in town next Tuesday to cast my vote locally.  Even though our democracy is extremely flawed, and special interests have bought and sold most politicians and the leadership of both the Democrats and the Republicans, I still feel that if a citizen doesn't vote, then they also need to 'sit down and shut up' if they disagree with anything that their government does, locally, in their state, or in their country.  If they've voted, then they have a voice - even if it is a very quiet one, muffled by millions of dollars of Super-PAC funds and billionaire robber barons who are manipulating the media and the electoral system for their own personal gain or promoting their brand of ideology.

Here in California, there's all sorts of online resources for sample ballots (like this one, here), and how to find out where to vote in your precinct.  Since it's a well funded Blue State (for the most part everywhere except Orange County, apparently) that gives more to the Federal government than it takes from the Feds, and it has a remarkably educated citizenry who are also motivated to try and show that government can do work that promotes the greater good, things tend to "work better here" than they did in Arizona, South Carolina, or Indiana, where Dr Desert Flower and I lived previously over the last 30 years.

But when it comes to the lesser known, "non partisan" races, for school boards, commissions, and judgeships, it is somewhat harder to discern what a candidate stands for, how they might vote, and to whom they owe their allegiances, their moral and political alignment.  Sure, one can individually Google every candidate and thoroughly research each race, but that takes time.

Luckily, one group of very angry, mostly white, mostly very old (retired), highly motivated and very vocal Tea Party affiliated Orange County California residents set up a website that helped guide me as to who I Do Not want to vote for: everyone they've recommended.  (link here) or the long link form, here:

It was very handy to see broad generalizations and Made-for-Fox-News hyperbole right there, in black and white, published for all of those devotees who consider guano as one of the 4 basic food groups.  Here are some actual text excerpts from the idealogical (and illogical) page:

*Neel Kashkari (R) vs. Jerry Brown (D)
RECOMMENDATION: Skip this portion of the ballot! I vehemently recommend that folks skip this portion of their ballots! Leaving the Governor’s portion on your ballots blank this year, will send a very loud and clear message to the CA GOP that you’ve had enough of them pushing RINO candidates on us, especially for such crucial offices! Had the GOP and their progressive donor allies not steamrolled over the authentic conservative in the primary Tim Donnelly, this race to challenge Jerry Brown would have likely been much more competitive and Brown would’ve been forced to defend his atrocious record!"

Yes, Jerry Brown has an atrocious record.  He's brought the state out of the massively deep fiscal hole Schwarzenegger and the Republicans dug (just like Obama had to with Bush), and successfully launched an expanded California Cares medical website without hiccups (better than the Affordable Care Act did).  He's being a moderate & successful governor....   how atrocious!   Earlier this week, the OC Tea Party website actually called Kashkari a "Liberal Republican candidate" but they've since taken that wording down.  Now they are just urging voters to NOT vote.  Fools.

For Lt Governor, Treasurer, and State Attorney General, same thing:  "No Recommendation" - they hate both the candidates because they are not bat sh*t crazy enough to warrant a Tea Party endorsement.

Then...  for State Controller, they list this gem:

*Ashley Swearengin (R) vs. Betty Yee (D) (OPEN SEAT)
NO RECOMMENDATION Ashley Swearengin is said to be the new rising star of the state GOP, but she’s certainly not the rising star of conservatives! As the Mayor of Fresno, this woman is an ardent supporter of Jerry Brown’s bullet train and she refuses to rule out the possibility that she might even vote for Brown this November!"
WHAT!?!?!?!  She might compromise, seeking a middle ground, and work across the aisle to get the business of governing done, instead of pouting in her own sand box if she doesn't get her way 100%?  Unimaginable!!!!!

And then, on judges, this bat sh*t site was very useful.  One such example is here:

You may be surprised to know this, but Goodwin Liu was nominated by Obama in early 2010 and again in 2011 to serve on the ninth circuit court of appeals! He is a former UC Berkley Law Professor, who was so incredibly liberal, that even some Senate Democrats joined Republicans in blocking attempts to end their filibuster of him! Obama had to withdrawal his nomination, not once but twice! Even the liberal former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had reservations about nominating him because of his extreme views! Liu is a radical pro-abortion supporter, who also believes in an “evolving” Constitution! After a 16 month battle to keep Liu from the ninth circuit, Obama finally dropped his nomination. Shortly after that, Jerry Brown appointed him to our state’s highest court! I’ve pasted tons of info about Liu below! I strongly encourage you to vote NO on him!! This guy has no business serving on the bench! Vote NO on Goodwin Liu for re-election to the Supreme Court!"

Don't pay any attention to his legal record, his rulings, jurist prudence, or judgement... none of those things obviously matter if he has all that Obama all over him!!!  Focus only on ideology, and ideology only.  We get our way, or we don't vote!  Or maybe...  we take up those "2nd amendment remedies".  Guano.  Absolutely bat sh*t crazy.

But you know...   I should not be so hard on the OC Tea Party.  I can relate.  When I lived in South Carolina and Arizona, I knew I was always throwing my vote away when I checked the boxes for reasonable candidates who were opposed to Methuselah (McCain) or running against total Flakes, Brewers of terrible beverages, or total anachronisms who soon will be extinct as their telomeres continually shorten.  It's just a matter of time before the OC dinosaurs die out as well.