September Electoral Math

Punditry aside, Obama is still winning the election, given current polls. Taking toss-ups out of the picture, Obama slips into office, not by a large margin, but by a reasonable one, 273-265, or roughly by Iowa or Colorado. (Colorado, having filled up with California refugees over the past ten years or so, is going to get more and more solidly “blue” over time, and even more dominated by its urban enclaves. The beginnings of this are beginning to be seen in Montana as well (and for the same reasons), but isn’t yet translating into a political sea-change.

The states in play are, generally speaking, the typical ones:  Iowa has Obama up 9 points, but has a tendency to really swing wildly during the last few days, so RCP marks it as “leaning.”  Pennsylvania has Obama up by 4… why they count this state as a tossup is a mystery, given the well-known tendency of the Philly machine to discover as many necromantic votes as is necessary to win.

The Palin ticket has definitely sparked some enthusiasm in the Republican base — good thing for them, too, or else McCain would be toast.  But any triumphalism currently being seen on the right is very, very poorly placed.

Seuss Lives

If I can’t sit on the laptop…

Grocery stores in the sky

Okay, Popular Science got me.  I wants it.  There are LOTs of things in favor of this, and only a tiny few against, almost all of them engineering problems.

Facehuggers: They got to our Sharks, man!

AVP Requiem: Surprisingly Unsucky

Here’s one where I let the critics psych me out.  I should have plunked down the 8 bucks while this was on the big screens… and am finding that I’m thoroughly unimpressed with the Rotten Tomatoes crew’s general assessment of this sucker.

Now, given that all of these are fundamentally B movies, I think that this got panned for the same reason the first one got trashed.  Yes, some of the acting is serious cardboard.  But, so what?  It’s a B movie.  That’s not what bothers people.

The first AVP got in trouble because the audience was expecting an Aliens movie, when in fact, what they got was a Predator movie — much less serious, much more cheesy, much more emphasis on cool fight scenes.  The directors clearly wanted to even up that score this time around, and it showed throughout.  Just like in the Predator movies, people you like get killed — in fact, that’s one of the true strengths of the franchise.  BUT, If you went into this expecting a Predator movie… well, you’ll have your scenes here and there, but, guess what?  You’re in the wrong flick.

The movie takes a much darker tone and if you’re a fan of the franchises, you’re warned right from the very beginning.  Even before they finish opening up the credits, one quietly hears the sound effect of the motion detector from Aliens.  Slowly that moves into the ballistic tracer sound effect of the Predator.  But whereas in a Predator movie, the emphasis is on the conflict between the Predator and the Alien(s), in this, like the Alien movies, the emphasis is on the threat posed to humanity — a threat which goes up to and including what happens when Predators take down a hospital maternity ward.  It’s easy to understand why the protagonists are pissed off that the Army nuked Gunnison… but at the same time, it’s really hard to argue that they shouldn’t have.  And the ending is so solidly within the facehugger genre that it almost hurts… seamlessly tying the two crossovers to Alien.

Needless to say, the maternity-ward scene was enough to knock my wife, just getting out of her first trimester, right out of the action.  Don’t show this (more than once?) to folks with a high Squeam quotient.  But it’s good enough that I’ll re-watch it if there’s time (and my wife’s safely asleep).  Does it measure up to Alien or Aliens?  No.  But it’s clearly a far, far step above the total suckage that was Alien 3, and is easily on a level with any of the Predator flicks.

Went to the zoo

The lemurs leemed, which was good.
The gorilla was more of a sit-rilla, though.

Three of the otters were otting, two were, well, boom-chicka-wow-wow.

Dallas Zoo is small, and nowhere near as nice as Fort Worth’s, but it was still a nice couple hours’ stroll.

Tigers, by the way, remain scary animals.

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