Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Geisel Library

Did you know that Dr. Suess (aka Theodor Suess Geisel) has a library named after him?  He does, at UCSD, and it looks pretty darn strange:

I bet at night it probably looks more like an alien spacecraft than it does a building.  It was designed by William Pereira in the brutalist style of architecture.  (If you don't recognize Pereira's name, you might now him better as the guy who designed the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, and one of the guys who worked on the Theme Building at LAX.)

The funny thing is, I've seen the Geisel Library probably hundreds of times before without even realizing it.  A closeup of the library is actually the very first thing you see in the opening credits for Simon & Simon.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Twelfth Doctor

I haven't really followed Doctor Who since they got rid of Christopher Eccleston, and even when I did watch it I didn't watch it religiously.  I may have to give it another try now that Peter Capaldi will be replacing Matt Smith:

I'm interested to see what Peter Capaldi can do with the role.  I've really enjoyed his work on The Musketeers so far.  I'd like to see a Doctor that isn't quite so silly all the time and making puppy dog eyes at everyone.  I think this time we'll see a more menacing Doctor with a much dryer sense of humor.  (I'm also hopeful that all the chatter about how perfect Charles Dance would be to play the Master turns out to be more than just chatter.)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tweets of the Week (8/10/14 - 8/16/14)

A few thoughts on Ferguson...

I know all the facts aren't in yet on the shooting of Mike Brown, but after everything I've seen over the past few days, especially today, I wanted to jot some things down while they were still fresh in my mind.

Whether the shooting was justified or not, we just don't know, but we do know that Mike Brown wasn't the perfect angel we were told he was.  Mike Brown committed a robbery at a convenience store not long before he was shot.  There is some confusion as to whether the cop who shot him was aware of that robbery or not, but Mike Brown certainly knew about the crime he had just committed; is it so hard to believe that Brown might have been less than cooperative, thinking he had just been caught red-handed?  ( I also heard that there are photos of Brown supposedly flashing gang signs, but once I saw how hard Pat Dollard was pushing that angle of the story, I sort of stopped caring about it. )

Knowing that Mike Brown was a criminal helps to give some context, but there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.  Did Darren Wilson have any injuries that would indicate a struggle?  Is there gunshot residue all over the inside of Darren Wilson's police car and enough residue on Mike Brown to indicate that Brown was likely shot while reaching into the car?  The bullet wounds should also indicate how far away Brown was when he was shot, and whether he was standing or kneeling when it happened.  But I have a feeling that a lot of people won't accept the outcome of any investigation that doesn't put all the blame for what happened squarely on Darren Wilson.  Too many people have an emotional attachment to the idea that the police are always the enemy and that Mike Brown has to be an innocent victim, regardless of what the evidence actually says.  And too many people are just looking for any lame excuse to riot, burn shit, steal whatever they can, and threaten to murder every cop they see, just because it feels good and they don't think the rules should apply to them.

Some people are calling on President Obama to get involved to try to calm things down.  I don't know that we should expect Obama to weigh in on this anymore than he already has.  I think in his mind he's already checked that box and doesn't want to deal with it anymore.  On the one hand, he's spent most of his political career worrying about whether he was black enough, too black, or exactly the right amount of black, which is why he attended Jeremiah Wright's church for as long as he did and then dumped that church as soon as it stopped being politically useful.  On the other hand, he loves it when crazy people are yelling crazy things at him because it makes him seem more reasonable, and the leader of the New Black Panther Party is all kinds of crazy.  But honestly, I don't really want Obama inserting himself into this, because all he can do is make it worse, just like he does with every single other thing he touches.

Update:  Wait, the DOJ tried to stop the Ferguson PD from releasing the video of the robbery?  Maybe I gave Obama too much credit.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Why is Obama so reluctant to bomb ISIL?

For some reason it seems like getting President Obama to go after ISIL is like pulling teeth.  He just bombed them for once, finally, but why isn't this a daily occurrence?  I realize that Obama is loathe to put boots on the ground anywhere, especially where he just pulled them out of, but there are plenty of things that can be done to ISIL that don't require boots on the ground.

Seeing all those Yazidis trapped in the mountains is heartbreaking, and I'm thankful that something is finally being done to help them.  I just wonder what the hell took so long and why we aren't doing more.  Obama seems shockingly fine with watching ISIL perpetrate a holocaust against Christians so long as those Christians are given the option to convert to Islam or agree to pay a completely arbitrary tax in order to avoid being executed.  The Yazidis aren't being given those options--ISIL just wants them all dead.  That shouldn't make the Christians being persecuted any less sympathetic though, should it?  Agreeing to live with someone's boot on your neck for the rest of your life doesn't seem like a much better option than death.  Maybe you need to be a law professor to see that distinction.

I have to ask, is Obama a Christian?  I know he calls himself one, but is he really?  I'm not asking to be a dick, or a Puritan, or whatever.  I'm actually agnostic, myself.  But I have to ask how a Christian could sit there and watch what's been happening to his fellow Christians in the Middle East lately and not want to do something about it.  How does a Christian watch an 1,800-year-old church being burned to the ground and do nothing?  The same group doing all these horrific things has been pretty open about wanting to hurt the United States however they can, yet Obama kept looking the other way.  I'm glad to see that Obama was finally dragged kicking and screaming into the White House Situation Room, but why would it take the plight of the Yazidis to do it?  (Yes, the strikes were meant to protect the consulate in Erbil, but Obama specifically mentions the Yazidi situation as an additional reason for them while neglecting to mention any of the horrors being inflicted upon Christians.  Why?  And will the Yazidi ultimately be left twisting in the wind anyway once Obama decides that Erbil is secure?)