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Airplane! In spite of its flaws, still hilarious

I was checking the sales on iTunes, and saw that they had a sale on some movies for $8 each, they were the first movies by their directors. I was pleasantly surprised to see Airplane! in the list - and somehow I'd never added it to my library. So I grabbed it and watched it. And enjoyed it thoroughly.

For those who don't know, Airplane! was a parody of disaster movies, and it really launched the genre of spoof movies. In it, Ted Striker, ex-navy pilot whose final mission ended in disaster, has just broken up with his flight-attendant girlfriend Elaine. He gets on her flight to try to win her back, a flight where the fish caused food poisoning (and the flight crew all had the fish). Ted must overcome his fears and lack of confidence and land the plane.

Actually, the story is just an excuse to hang the jokes on. Many are silly, some reference older movies like Jaws, From Here to Eternity, Saturday Night Fever, and so forth. There are running gags like "The cockpit? What is it?" "It's the small space in the front where the pilots sit but that's not important now" and "Surely you jest" "I don't jest and don't call me Shirley". And they work.

Now, it was made in 1980, and some of the jokes are a product of that time. There's a lot of casual sexism, some jokes about hitting women, some blatant racism. There's also a lot of sex jokes, a little nudity, some profanity. I did wince at some of them. Others I felt a twinge of guilt as I laughed at them. (Barbara Billingsley translating Jive is a classic.) If you're very sensitive to such things, for whatever reason in your history, you should give this movie a past.

But most of the humor is just timeless insanity. And it holds up just fine over the decades.

Posted on April 14, 2015, 12:53 pm

Donald Brown

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International #TableTopDay - fun times!

Spent yesterday playing Table Top games at two events and had a lot of fun.  If your idea of board games is Monopoly, there's a world of bigger and wilder games out there - and many don't take too long to play nor do they require great genius to understand.

Note: Yes, the links to the games here are Amazon Affiliate links. If you decide you want them, I'd appreciate it if you bought them through the links, but if you'd rather not, you can search on the game name and find options.

First, there was a small tournament of a fast and simple game called Love Letter Boxed Edition (where you are trying to knock your rivals out of the game by revealing their helpers trying to get their Love Letter to the Princess). It's a simple game to pick up, games move quickly, and lots of fun. (Nope, didn't get into the finals)

Then, an organization called Board of Games (that hold lots of weekly gaming meetups in southern california), played a game called Concordia Game(the picture above is from the game). It's a step up in complexity, you're colonizing ancient europe from Rome, setting up a trading empire. You have cards that give you choices of what actions to perform, you can buy more cards that give you more choices, and scoring is based in part on the cards you have and how they interrelate with the trading houses you've built. Oddly enough, I won this game, which is unusual.

Last game (also at the Board of Games event) was Machi Koro Board Game- it's a kind of odd game, you buy companies. Everyone rolls one or two dice on their turn, and everyone can make money from the dice rolls (in some cases, they'll take money from others). It's a very interesting game and will become part of my collection when there's room in the budget for it. Player hint - owning the Tax Office can be pay off BIG.

If you're interested in learning these games, there's a great site called meetup.com where you can find local groups on various subjects of interest. I'm a big fan of meetup.com, found several interesting groups on board gaming and others. Just remember, most of the meetups were formed by individuals thinking "Hey, would be great to get some/some more people come and do this", so these aren't (usually) flashy events where you just come and be entertained, join in and help where you can.

If you're just curious, Wil Wheaton has a web series where he plays these games with various celebrities, the show is called TableTop and it's part of the Geek and Sundry group. They do a combination of the simple and the harder games.

If you liked board games as a kid, check these out. They're a lot of fun. I think I'll write more about games in the future, including ones that are good entry games.

Posted on April 12, 2015, 11:57 am

Donald Brown

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Sorry about the flurry of posts today

I'm making some changes to the back end. For those curious, I'm switching to what's called "prepared statements", makes the site a bit more bullet proof.

Here's the still pathetic logo for RSB. Really need something better. Anyone want to make one?

Posted on April 1, 2015, 7:10 pm
Last updated on April 1, 2015, 7:23 pm

Donald Brown

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I am a fat man. That's who I am and fighting it is insanity.

I am a fat man. I am not a thin man inside a fat body struggling to get out. I am not waiting to emerge into a new life as a thin person. I am a fat man. I have been so all my life, and I shall be so until I die.

Being a fat man does not mean I am weak, or stupid, or gluttonous, or greedy, or thoughtless, or any of the negative aspects that the bigots assign to me. My fat is like my brown (now graying) hair, my blue eyes (well, eye), my right-handedness, my pinkish skin, my slightly overlarge ears, or other physical descriptors of my body.

I have spent over four decades believing that fatness was something terrible that I had to fix, that nothing in my life mattered unless the focus of my life was becoming thin, that the only success of any importance and my only value to society revolved around my weight and my shape and as a fat person I was an utter failure and deserved the abuse and approbation that came with it. And so I spent those four decades on diet after diet that failed. Optimist, weight watchers, OA, and more. When each diet failed to give me the weight loss or made me so miserable I abandoned it, I hated myself more, wondering why I alone was so stupid, so weak, such an utter failure and waste of a life. It was a terrible way to live.

Several years ago, I threw all that away. 95% of everyone who tries to lose weight fails. It’s not just me, it’s everyone. Oh, weight is lost, for a while. Then after a few years, the weight comes back and more. I decided to accept myself and my body as I am. Since then, I’ve been happier and healthier than ever before.

Yes, I said healthier. Because the definition of health does NOT begin and end with “how much do you weigh.” Weight as a measurement of health or fitness is really a pretty lousy standard in many ways. My body, and yours, evolved through periods of feast and famine, and has mechanisms to help us survive through the famine time. It uses less energy, it sends urgent messages to the brain to work harder at finding it more food, and when the famine ends it stores as much as it can to prepare for the famine’s return. So when you starve your body trying to make it lose weight, your body is fighting against you, and given a chance will do the opposite of what you want because it can’t conceive of starvation by choice rather than forced by environment.

So I’m working to adopt habits that support my body, make it better as the wonderful fat body it is. I am feeding it better food, and being more active with it. This is a work in progress, bad habits built up over a lifetime of yo-yo dieting are hard to break, but I’m making progress.

My greatest regret is that I can’t give this message to my 20 year old self, accept yourself as the fat man you are and revel in it and be the best fat man you can be. Three decades less of yo-yo dieting and instead of healthy habits would have certainly given me a happier life. (And, irony of ironies, would have likely meant I’d have stayed closer to my then low 200s weight rather than my current one.)

It’s not easy, of course. Talking about this on forums has led to some significant abuse and name calling, challenging my right to make my decisions about myself when I take a stand so far out of normal belief. I suspect I’ll get plenty more when this hits twitter (along with endless spam on weight loss methods). And every message sent by the general media is that as a fat person I’m worthless, that I can’t even allowed to be shown to succeed and be a role-model to others of my side or else that’s “encouraging obesity”.

I'll be coming back to this again, I suspect. But for now, I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam - and that's wonderful.

Posted on March 24, 2015, 2:46 am

Donald Brown

Testing some internal features of RSB

You won't notice anything. To apologize for this intrusion into your feed, enoy this picture from City of Heroes closing days.

Posted on March 23, 2015, 6:00 pm

Donald Brown

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