Elen sila lumenn omentielvo!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Answers, the third!

So, continuing to play catch-up with questions asked two months ago, reader Josh asks this:

What are your thoughts on the Star Wars Clone Wars CGI TV series? Do you think they improved the Prequels?

I really hate this question, but not because it’s a bad question. I hate it because it forces me to make an embarrassing admission: I’ve only watched three episodes of The Clone Wars thus far. And that’s just stupid, because (a) I’m a Star Wars fan; (b) I’ve heard all kinds of good things about the series; and (c) the individual episodes are only twenty-two minutes apiece, so it’s not like I don’t have time. I just end up doing other stuff, be it reading or writing or whatever.

I know, this answer is terrible. I’ve been impressed by the three episodes that I have seen; even that small number gives an idea of big places that show wanted to go, and I do intend to start watching them more faithfully. Sometimes I’m just not that good at being a geek.

Next up, Roger starts asking stuff. Let’s go!

Are you Charlie Hebdo? 

Yes. The notion of violently attacking, by any means, anyone at all for voicing dissenting views even in an offensive way is staggeringly appalling.

And I think it very much worth noting that one of the police officers on the scene, and killed for his trouble, was a French Muslim of Arabic descent.

Thinking about Mario Cuomo: rank the governors of New York State in your lifetime, and a little about why. Heck, if you want to add the governors BEFORE your lifetime (the Clintons, the Roosevelts), feel free!

My lifetime? That goes back to 1971, and we didn’t move to New York State until 1981. I’ll only rank the ones whose administrations I have any functional knowledge of, and in all honesty...I’m not really in love with any of these guys, Mario Cuomo included. Cuomo the Elder was a brilliant speaker, but he was a wonderfully eloquent voice for liberalism at a time when liberalism was at its lowest ebb since the 20s, and the political nature of New York State is such that he really couldn’t push those policies quite as well as I might have liked. Not one of these Governors has thus far been able to put the brakes on New York's decades-long outflow of population, for one thing, which I think exists mainly because Albany policy tends to be deeply skewed toward New York City and thus often creates a less-than-hospitable business climate to the places that are not New York City. Aside from that, there’s always been a sort of built-in dysfunction in Albany that does not show any signs of going away soon, even if they've at least figured out how to get the friggin' state budget done on time. (Seriously, for years it was an annual thing that the New York State budget was always late.) Ultimately, I honestly can't say I've ever really, really admired one of the governors during my life here.

Here’s how I’d rank these guys (and seriously, isn't New York, one of the bluest states and supposedly a stronghold of liberalism, about due to elect a woman to this office?!):

1. Mario Cuomo

2. Andrew Cuomo (And I am not a huge fan of Cuomo the Younger. His education policy is a tire fire, his actions in dealing with New York's legendary corruption are deeply disquieting, and even in matters of policy on which I agree with him -- guns being a good example -- there's just always something smarmy about the guy.)

3. George Pataki (We had twelve years of this guy? Really? Nobody better? You couldn’t come up with a blander flavor of Meh if you tried. He kept a sure and steady hand on the wheel, that's for sure. Never mind that the ship was anchored in port the entire time.)

4. David Paterson (I never had a feel for this guy. But I’m not sure he did, either. Every vibe I got from him screamed, “GAHHH get me out of this job!” I wonder why the hell he ever wanted to be the LG in the first place. It's a thankless, crappy job.)

5. Eliot Spitzer (So much promise, which he tossed aside for the stupidest of reasons. Ugh. I do, though, sometimes wish the same rules that apply to Republicans when they have sex scandals also applied to Democrats.)

ISIS had beheaded several of its captives, and immolated one. The videos can be found. Have you watched one (or more)? Why or why not?

I haven’t watched any ISIS videos, and I don’t intend to. I did watch one of the beheading videos from the post-Iraq invasion turmoil, years ago, and...well, one of those is enough. It wasn’t gory, really; you couldn’t really tell what was going on as these masked guys clustered around the poor victim. Lots of shouting and some screaming. Utterly horrific, obviously. And it’s a particularly cowardly evil, isn’t it? If you’re that certain in your religious fervor that what you’re doing has the backing of God himself, then why would you need to wear a mask while doing it?

It seems clear to me that the methods of execution are being selected for their shock factor and their ability to get attention. Just shooting the victim in the back of the head has little to no shock value, but beheading with a machete does. So does locking a person in a cage and setting it on fire. So does leading blindfolded victims onto the roof of a building and pushing them off.
I don’t want to end on so depressing a note, so one more:

What's the first rock/pop concert you ever attended?

This may sound bad, but...in reality, I suppose it would have to be the Trans Siberian Orchestra four or five years ago. Seriously. I’ve never been to an actual rock concert of any type, nor even a pop concert, really. I’m not sure why, to be honest; there are a lot of bands and artists that I would have liked (and would still like) to see in live performance. I suppose it’s mainly an issue of expense, ultimately; because of ticket prices, I’ve never much seen live music as a huge priority, except for Buffalo Philharmonic concerts. I did want to go see Neil Diamond when he was in town a couple weeks ago, but we weren't free that night, alas.

More to come!

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