Considering the way things have been going...

Published Sunday, July 24, 2016 @ 6:59 AM EDT
Jul 24 2016

Quotes about the abyss:

At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.
-Paulo Coelho

By his very success in inventing labor-saving devices, modern man has manufactured an abyss of boredom that only the privileged classes in earlier civilizations have ever fathomed.
-Lewis Mumford

Every step in human progress, from the first feeble stirrings in the abyss of time, has been opposed by the great majority of men.
-H.L. Mencken

Everything, alas, is an abyss,- actions, desires, dreams, Words!.
-Charles Baudelaire

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
-Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

I am tired of my expedition into the dim, the zero abyss of facts.
-Oscar Wilde

I will admit that an artist may be great and limited; by one word he may light up an abyss of soul; but there must be this one magical and unique word.
-George Moore

If you're at the edge of an abyss the only progressive step is backward!.
-William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

It is a stern fact of history that no nation that rushed to the abyss ever turned back. Not ever, in the long history of the world. We are now on the edge of the abyss. Can we, for the first time in history, turn back? It is up to you.
-Taylor Caldwell

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.
-Joseph Campbell

It is neither easy nor agreeable to dredge this abyss of viciousness, and yet I think it must be done, because what could be perpetrated yesterday could be attempted again tomorrow, could overwhelm us and our children.
-Primo Levi

One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.
-Joseph Campbell

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.
-Thomas Huxley

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.
-Vladimir Nabokov

The day after that wedding night I found that a distance of a thousand miles, abyss and discovery and irremediable metamorphosis, separated me from the day before.
-Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.
-Honoré de Balzac

There are people who wring their hands and call it an abyss, but do nothing to fill it; there are also those who work to widen it, as if the scientist and literary man belong to two different human subspecies, reciprocally incomprehensible, fated to ignore each other and not apt to engage in cross-fertilization.
-Primo Levi

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?.
-Thomas Merton

When you see the abyss, and we have looked into it, then what? There isn't much room at the edge- one person, another, not many. If you are there, others cannot be there. If you are there, you become a protective wall. What happens? You become part of the abyss.
-Elie Wiesel

Categories: Abyss; Quotes on a topic

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Star Trek Beyond - it's not bad and far better than the last one.

Published Saturday, July 23, 2016 @ 9:43 AM EDT
Jul 23 2016

This isn't a review. It's a sigh of relief.

Star Trek Beyond is... not bad. Coming after the abysmal Star Trek: Into Darkness, I was careful not to expect too much from this third film in the J.J. Abrams-produced reboot of the 50 year old franchise. At least this time around they acknowledged the existence of a decades-old fanbase, instead of purposely trying to alienate it.

The problem with the new movies is best described by reviewer Matt Zoller Seitz, who notes they're mostly big-budget sci-fi films "marinated in 'Star Trek' flavor packets." It's a common problem with reboots and star shifts in big franchises. The latest James Bond films have Bondian scripts, but it's difficult to buy Daniel Craig as James Bond. The Abrams-produced Trek films have the new actors marvelously portraying iconic characters, but in storylines that bear little resemblance to the original tone of the tv series or films.

Fortunately, the script for STB was co-written by Simon Pegg, a self-confessed Star Trek fan who also plays chief engineer Montgomery Scott. So while STB suffers in places from intense special effects overkill, an enemy whose motives aren't revealed until the end of the film, and various plot holes (he forgot where he parked his starship?), it has recaptured the spirit and gentle charm of the original version. Think of this movie as a fair to middling second season entry of the original show- like The Omega Glory or A Private Little War- only with a budget more than twice as large as the cost of producing all 79 episodes in the 1966-1969 run of the series.

Wisely, no references are made to its predecessor, so we're spared inanities like interplanetary beaming and tribble resurrection. Instead, Pegg pays homage to the original series with scores of subtle references. The original aeolian harp-like transporter sound effect is used. There's a Chekov 'invented-in-Russia gag'. An obscure and odd-sounding but totally accurate call-out to the original series episode Who Mourns for Adonais? where 'a giant green hand' is offered as a sound, rational explanation for ship disappearances. And two Enterprise crewman on the receiving end of the villain's wrath are, of course, wearing red shirts. A few scenes are reminiscent of Galaxy Quest and Guardians of the Galaxy, but in clever and non-obstrusive ways.

There are still annoyances like humans having somehow developed the ability to fall 50-100 feet without injury. But this seems to be common to all films after the parkour opening of 2006's Casino Royale Bond reboot. Chris Pine's Kirk continues to get the crap beaten out of him on a regular basis, which makes me wonder if perhaps Shatner is slipping a few bucks under the table to the new production team.

Pegg's script seems to try to atone for the Trek-specific absurdities, like starships spouting flame from manuevering thrusters and flying in planetary atmospheres. "There's a reason they're called starships, you know," Scotty complains at one point. In another scene, Scotty points out that "Starfleet isn't a miliary organization," something that might not be obvious given the militaristic bent of the first two movies. But, alas, they've forgotten creator Gene Roddenberry's admonishment to starship desiger Matt Jeffries: "no flames, no fins, no rockets." Propulsion in this movie seems more 20th than 23rd century.

Director Justin Lin does a good job with lighting and framing- the bridge no longer looks like an Apple store on opening day and, thank goodness, less lens flare. The Fast and Furious director delivers several wild and wooly fight scenes and cgi set pieces that were hard to follow, which I attribute mainly to my age and unfamiliarity with the ouevre. I thought the space battles in Star Trek II were impressive, and that was just two optically printed motion control models and some cell animation. The thousands of cgi-rendered craft that swarm through STB were a bit overwhelming. Those cgi guys must get paid by the pixel. And there were times when I wanted to yell "just keep the goddamned camera still!" as it dollied and tilted through scenes not requiring such embellishment.

But that's nit-picking. As was the case with the original series, it's the relationships between the main characters and humor that really keep the movie afloat. Karl Urban's Dr. McCoy, in particular, is spot-on. And McCoy continues to get all the funny lines.

The movie notes the passing of Leonard Nimoy, "Spock Prime" in the new movies. There's also a "cameo" of the original crew via a photograph from the last film featuring all of the original cast, 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which is in Spock Prime's personal effects.

Anyway, if you're an old Trek fan, go see it. You'll walk out of the theater feeling like you've actually watched a Star Trek movie, something I hadn't done in 25 years.

Categories: KGB Opinion; Star Trek

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Luxury indeed

Published Friday, July 22, 2016 @ 9:55 AM EDT
Jul 22 2016

Well, we're going to take the plunge and see Star Trek Beyond at the discount matinee today.

Even mediocre movies (of which I sincerely hope this one isn't) are tolerable at Century Square Luxury Cinemas in West Mifflin. At the location of Carmike's old $1 discount movie house, this place is impressive. It features electric reclining leather seats, reserved ticketing for every seat, ticketing kiosks, Dolby 7.1 sound, a full bar (if the movie's really bad), and an "expanded" concession lineup.

You can select and purchase your seats online via the web or with their app for iPhone or Android. When you arrive at the theater, all you have to do is show your phone's screen to the usher, find the theater, and take your seat.

The presentation quality is superb. The digital projection is bright and in-focus, and the sound is balanced and takes full advantage of the enhanced Dolby 7.1 soundfield. Speakers are well-placed, and despite what's noisily bouncing around in the format's four surround zones, dialogue is always clear and easy to hear.

One caveat: at most local movie houses, the picture usually starts about a half-hour after the published showtime, due to commercials and trailers for upcoming features. At least for our last two visits, there were no ads and just a few trailers. (UPDATE: They do have the continuous ad reel playing before the start time of the movie. But at exactly 1:15, the house lifghts dimmed, and just three trailers were screened. The film started at about 1:20.)

The "luxury" comes with ticket prices significantly higher than non-luxury competitors. Standard 2-D matinee adult admission is $8 and regular admission (after 6 p.m.) is $11 on weekdays and $12 on weekends. 3-D pictures have a $3 surcharge. I feel the price is justified, given the extra convenience and comfort of the facility. No more waiting for 20-30 minutes at a Carmike theater to purchase tickets at the snack bar because they did away with the ticket kiosk (box office) to save money. There's no risk of getting non-adjacent seats in the first row or, worse, discovering the show's sold out.

The downside of those extra-comfy seats... if the action on the screen starts becoming a bit tedious, you can find yourself nodding off. But at least you'll be doing it in style.

Categories: Century Square Luxury Cinemas; Movies

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Published Thursday, July 21, 2016 @ 7:01 AM EDT
Jul 21 2016

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Photo)

Not only did the Republicans nominate Trump for President, a red-bellied piranha was caught in North Park Lake. Ok, 2016, you win. Please stop.


My son referenced a political thread in which he was engaged, and somehow the conversation turned into quotes from from the 1984 cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.

My son noted, "Lectroid involvement would explain a lot about the Trump campaign."

Laugh while you can, monkey boys...


Pixie, our small, insane, alien dog-like creature who resembes a Shih Tzu, behaved quite well for Dr. Joanna Rubin and her staff at Bridgeville Animal Hospital for her pre-spay exam. The thought of her reproducing is too terrifying to consider. (Pixie, not Joanna.)


"Every word that comes out of Mike Pence's mouth reminds me that somewhere in rural Indiana, probably near Elkhart, a Quizno's is missing its assistant manager."
-Ed. Gin & Tacos (on Facebook)


Today is Get to Know Your Customer Day, Invite an Alien to Live with You Day, Legal Drinking Age Day, National Junk Food Day, National Tug- Of-War Tournament Day, and Take a Monkey to Lunch Day.


Watching the Republican National Convention, I keep expecting them to break out into "Springtime for Hitler."


ACA out of detent. Mode control, both auto. Descent engine command override, off.
-Buzz Aldrin
(The actual first words spoken by a human from the surface of the Moon, July 20, 1969.)


On The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Braddock mayor John Fetterman observed that since outrageous claims, lies and statements seem to have no effect on Trump and his ilk, we are now living in a "post=factual" age.


According to a story in The New York Times Magazine, this past May Donald Trump's son, Donald Jr.,contacted a senior adviser to Ohio governer and failed Republican Presidential candidate John Kasich, and asked him if the governor had any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history. Here's where it gets weird:

When Kasich's adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father's vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

“Making America great again” was the casual reply.

I've maintained since he entered the race that while Trump wants to win the Presidency, he really doesn't want to be President. Too much work, too much discipline and- let's face it- The White House is a step down from the decor of his multiple, gilded homes which appear to have been furnished by Saddam Hussein's interior designer.

He has the nomination. The question is now, how can he get out of it if he wins the election? Medical? Personal problems? (Hey, he's on wife number three). Stay tuned.


I don't know if it's an accomplishment or not, but thanks to the Republicans in general and Trump in particular, I have now blocked more people on Facebook than I have as friends. Every once in a while I encounter one of them in real life, where I'm tempted to grab them by the shoulders and shake them, while screaming "Are you insane? We grew up together in the sixties! What the hell happened to you?"


So, at least we now have the answer to the question "How could the German people allow Hitler to rise to power?"


Someon stole my Bernie Sanders yard sign the other week. It was after he had suspended his campaign, but stil... I wanted to save it, to show there were some same people about in 2016.

You may have noticed on the right sidebar that I've replaced the Sanders plug with one for Hillary Clinton. At least she's not Trump...

Categories: 2016; Adolf Hitler; Bernie Sanders; Bridgeville Animal Hospital; Buckaroo Banzai; Buzz Aldrin; Candidates; Dogs; Donald Trump; Facebook; Gin and Tacos; Hillary Clinton; John Fetterman; John Kasich; Mike Pence; Politics; The Nightly Show

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The morning after

Published Wednesday, July 20, 2016 @ 3:30 AM EDT
Jul 20 2016


47 years ago, we put Americans on the moon. Now we no longer have manned spaceflight capability and Donald Trump is the GOP presidential candidate. The future sure ain't what it used to be.


I'm starting to think that this is the last season of America and the writers are just going nuts.
-Jake Flores

Categories: Donald Trump

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The glorious return of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert

Published Tuesday, July 19, 2016 @ 3:58 AM EDT
Jul 19 2016

This already abysmal election season has been made even more intolerable by the absemce of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert the character, not to be confused with the Stephen Colbert who took over The Late Show from David Letterman.

But last night on CBS, we were given a bit of a reprieve as Colbert pulled out all the stops:

Categories: Jon Stewart; Republicans; Stephen Colbert

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He doesn't like Mexicans, immigrants, and...

Published Monday, July 18, 2016 @ 1:31 AM EDT
Jul 18 2016

Categories: Donald Trump

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This about sums it up

Published Sunday, July 17, 2016 @ 12:01 PM EDT
Jul 17 2016

Categories: Bernie Sanders; Democrats; Hillary Clinton; Politics

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The more...

Published Saturday, July 16, 2016 @ 11:28 AM EDT
Jul 16 2016

The more a man cultivates the arts, the less randy he becomes.
Charles Baudelaire

The more a man dreams, the less he believes.
H.L. Mencken

The more alike men are, the weaker each feels in the face of all.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The more articulate one is, the more dangerous words become.
May Sarton

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.
Rachel Carson

The more complex the world situation becomes, the more scientific and rational analysis you have to have, the less you can do with simple good will and sentiment.
Reinhold Neibuhr

The more complicated and powerful the job, the more rudimentary the preparation for it.
William F. Buckley, Jr.

The more control, the more that requires control. This is the road to chaos.
Frank Herbert

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.

The more data banks record about us, the less we exist.
Marshall McLuhan

The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.
Thornton Wilder

The more defects a man may have, the older he is, the less lovable, the more resounding his success.
Marquis de Sade

The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.
Joseph Priestly

The more enormous our wealth, the more extensive our fears, all our possessions are paled up with new edicts every day, and hung round with gibbets to scare every invader.
Oliver Goldsmith

The more exquisite any good is, of which a small specimen is afforded us, the sharper is the evil, allied to it; and few exceptions are found to this uniform law of nature.
David Hume

The more extensive a man's knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do.
Isaac Disraeli

The more gold a man wears around his neck, the more worthless he thinks himself to be.
Michael O'Donoghue

The more horrifying this world becomes, the more art becomes abstract.
Ellen Key

The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.
Freeman Dyson

The more I learn about the universe, the less convinced I am that there's any sort of benevolent force that has anything to do with it, at all.
Neil deGrasse Tyson

The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

The more I practice the luckier I get.
Arnold Palmer

The more I see of men, the more I admire dogs.
Madame Roland

The more I see of the monied classes, the more I understand the guillotine.
George Bernard Shaw

The more I think about it, the more I agree with the bees: worship the Queen and kill the unemployed.
Arthur Lotti

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.
Richard Bach

The more lies are told, the more important it becomes for the liars to justify themselves by deep moral commitments to high-sounding objectives that mask the pursuit of money and power.
Bertram Gross

The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture.
Thomas Paine

The more money an American accumulates, the less interesting he becomes.
Gore Vidal

The more necessary a thing is for living beings, the more easily it is found and the cheaper it is; the less necessary it is, the rarer and dearer it is.

The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one's appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.
Amelia Earhart

The more one forgets himself- by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love- the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself.
Viktor Frankl

The more one is absorbed in fighting evil, the less one is tempted to place the good in question.
Jean-Paul Sartre

The more one judges, the less one loves.
Honoré de Balzac

The more one learns, the more he understands his ignorance.
Louis L'Amour

The more one listens to ordinary conversations the more apparent it becomes that the reasoning faculties of the brain take little part in the direction of the vocal organs.
Edgar Rice Burroughs

The more one produces, the less one gets.
Norman Augustine

The more one suffers, the more, I believe, one has a sense of the comic. It is only by the deepest suffering that one acquires the authority in the art of the comic.
Søren Kierkegaard

The more one talks, the less the words mean.
Jean-Luc Godard

The more opinions you have, the less you see.
Wim Wenders

The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterward.
Arthur Koestler

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
Aldous Huxley

The more precise the measurement of position, the more imprecise the measurement of momentum, and vice versa. ('The Uncertainty Principle' of quantum mechanics).
Werner Heisenberg

The more reason we have to pay attention to life, the less we have to pay attention to death.
B.F. Skinner

The more refined one is, the more unhappy.
Anton Chekhov

The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.
Jean-Paul Sartre

The more simple we are, the more complete we become.
Auguste Rodin

The more sophisticated we get, the more advanced our buildings and vehicles become, the more vulnerable we are.
Stephen Ambrose

The more that learn to read the less learn how to make a living. That's one thing about a little education. It spoils you for actual work. The more you know the more you think somebody owes you a living.
Will Rogers

The more that people understand about the secret machinery of the universe, the less likely it is that they will be duped and victimized by television and politicians.
Rudy Rucker

The more they know, the more they'll understand. The more they understand, the more they'll care. Once they care, there's no stopping them.
Sam Walton

The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.
George Bernard Shaw

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Alphonse Karr

The more underdeveloped the country, the more overdeveloped the women.
John Kenneth Galbraith

The more useless the application, the better the graphics.
Variously attributed

The more virtuous a man is himself, the less does he suspect baseness in others.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

The more wants a man has, the less freedom.
Taylor Caldwell

The more we count the blessings we have, the less we crave the luxuries we haven't.
William Arthur Ward

The more we desire for that which is superfluous, the more we meet with difficulties; our strength and possessions are spent in unnecessary things, and are wanting when required for that which is necessary.

The more we do, the more we can do; the more busy we are, the more leisure we have.
William Hazlitt

The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.
J.B. Priestley

The more we find to love, the more we add to the measure of our hearts.
Lloyd Alexander

The more we live by our intellect, the less we understand the meaning of life.
Leo Tolstoy

The more we love our friends, the less we flatter them;

It is by excusing nothing that pure love shows itself.
Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin)

The more we refuse to buy into our inner critics- and our external ones too- the easier it will get to have confidence in our choices, and to feel comfortable with who we are- as women and as mothers.
Arianna Huffington

The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be.
Arthur C. Clarke

The more you approach infinity, the deeper you penetrate terror.
Gustave Flaubert

The more you are talked about the less powerful you are.
Benjamin Disraeli

The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.
Noam Chomsky

The more you know, the harder it is to take decisive action. Once you become informed, you start seeing complexities and shades of gray. You realize that nothing is as clear and simple as it first appears. Ultimately, knowledge is paralyzing.
Bill Watterson

The more you know, the sadder you get.
Stephen Colbert

The more you learn about the dignity of the gorilla, the more you want to avoid people.
Dian Fossey

The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.
Norman Vincent Peale

The more you make people alike, the more competition you have. Competition is based on the principle of conformity.
Marshall McLuhan

The more you put in your brain, the more it will hold- if you have one.
Rex Stout

The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that's out always looks the best.
Will Rogers

The more you say, the less people remember. The fewer the words, the greater the profit.
Francois Fenelon

The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.
George S. Patton

The more you try to pin a word down, the more you realize that it has its own cape, sword and little hat.
Roy Blount, Jr.

Categories: Quotes of the day; Quotes on a topic; The more...

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This is going too far...

Published Friday, July 15, 2016 @ 12:01 PM EDT
Jul 15 2016

The president of Israel posted on Twitter a photo of a pokemon in the presidential residence, with the caption (in Hebrew) "call security".

Categories: Pokemon Go

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