From Zombie Madness … to Rube Goldberg machines… with a Gummy Worm snack in the middle

****  The Walking Dead  ****

   On Sunday night, Jake (big ol’ younger son) and I watched the Season 2 premiere of The Walking Dead on AMC.  I had heard great things about this series during its first season, so I picked it up when it came out on DVD … Jake and I gobbled it up like, well, like hungry zombies!  Since then we’ve been eagerly awaiting Season 2. 

   The first season begins with Rick Grimes, a Sheriff’s Deputy in Georgia, taking a serious gunshot wound while responding to a call with his partner, Shane Walsh.  He later wakes up (comes out of a coma?) in a deserted hospital after ‘the zombie apocalypse’.  He is helped by a father and son who have survived, and finds evidence suggesting that his wife and son have also survived.  This sets him on the road to Atlanta and a rumored refugee camp. 

   I won’t reveal much more except that that this series takes the typical zombie movie format and by stretching it to series length allows for a great deal of character and plot development, including the trauma of living constantly in a state of traumatic stress. 

   So far, the series features excellent writing and acting, and the production values are movie-like.  I will hope the series survives the departure of its creator, Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile).  Based on the Season 2 premiere and upcoming previews, everything looks great for a strong second season.

    Trivia:
*  The word “zombie” is never used.  They are referred to as “walkers” by the main group of characters, “geeks” by a gang in Atlanta, and “test subjects” by the CDC (Center for Disease Control).
*  I went through the entire first season without realizing that Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, is British.  He really does a great job on the Georgia accent.  Now that I know, I listen… and hear the occasional glitch in his accent, but not often.

****  Gummies!!!  ****

   I love gummy worms! 

   Not just any gummy worms. 
   Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers® gummy worms!
   My favorite are the green and orange ones… what’s yours?

 

 

****  RANDOM THINKAGE  ****

Really, y’all… I do want some input on what to name this random section…

    I’m bad enough about making up words when I’m awake, but recently I woke up from a dream with a word in my mind… nothing else about the dream, just one word… applefarians.  I immediately wondered what it meant.  Extreme vegetarians that eat only apples?   
   This morning, as I thought to blog about this, I googled the word, just to see if it was real.  It turns out that one other person has used it… some guy on Twitter was trying to come up with a word for people obsessed with Apple computer products.  He also considered maclems and iPhonistas.
   Wanna share some other made-up word stories?  I love me some wordplay.

****

    Remember Harold Camping?  He’s the radio preacher who made all the news with his end-of-the-world prediction back in May.  Yeah, that guy.  Evidently he’s fired up his Rube Goldberg Apocalypse Prediction machine and has come up with a new date… October 21, 2011… today.  Hope you didn’t have anything planned for the weekend.
    Somebody get this man one of those cube blocks of Post-It notes to jot down his future doomthoughts.  That’s about what his prophecies are worth.

****

    In that last bit, I googled “Rube Goldberg machine” to make sure I had the name right and learned that such devices have different names around the world.
* In Great Britain, the concept is exactly the same, but they are known as a
Heath Robinson contraption.
* In France, it’s called usine à gaz, or ‘gasworks’.
* In Denmark, Storm P maskiner, (Storm P machine) after a cartoonist and inventor named Robert Storm Petersen. 
* In Japan, “Pythagorean devices” or a “Pythagoras switch”. 
… and …
* In Germany, such machines are called  “Was-passiert-dann-Maschine”
(“What happens next machine”).  I particularly like that one.

 

 

 

   The “Self-Operating Napkin” is activated when soup spoon (A) is raised to mouth, pulling string (B) and thereby jerking ladle (C), which throws cracker (D) past parrot (E). Parrot jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I), which opens and lights automatic cigar lighter (J), setting off skyrocket (K) which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M) and allow pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth, thereby wiping chin.

********

That’s all for now… see you again soon!      

Nick                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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OCCUPY the Treehouse!

****  OCCUPY the Treehouse  ****

  That is, occupy the Treehouse if you’re a hard-working American who believes in the values that this country was built on.  On the other hand, if you’re one of these sign-waving knuckleheads “occupying” our cities with your list of demands for endless freebies (provided by leprechaun shops and powered by unicorn farts, no doubt)… if you’re one of those guys or girls, you can come in too… provided you’ve had a bath recently and that you’ll keep your mouth shut unless you have something intelligent to say.
  I’ve been meaning to write on this for a week, and keep having trouble knowing where to start because IT’S ALL JUST SO FREAKIN’ RIDICULOUS!!!


  Many in the media have been equating the “Occupy” movement as the liberal equivalent of the Tea Party.  Really?  Really libs, you want to claim this whiny rabble?  They’re all yours!  Congrats!

  I’ve seen some of their “demands”.  Granted, none of these demands are official, since this movement is supposedly leaderless.  But, still…  Wow… here are some examples:

  1.  A living wage, to be attained by raising the minimum wage to $20 per hour.  Clearly they have no understanding of economics and the rampant inflation that would follow this.  And if the guy flippin’ burgers gets $20/hr, what do you pay the kid standing behind him making sure he’s doing it right?  And get ready for that burger to cost $17.
  2.  Single-payer 100% government run healthcare.  Didn’t we reject this not too long ago?  But we’re just getting started on bankrupting the country…
  3.  Guaranteed living wage regardless of employment.    Please… read that again, in the context of #1.  A guaranteed living wage (of $20/hr, right?) REGARDLESS OF EMPLOYMENT?!?  $20/hr is over $41,000 per year.  And someone really believes every person should be entitled to $41K whether they work or not? 
  4.  Free college education.  Sure, why not?  And while we’re being so magnanimous, it would be terribly unfair to put any limits on that.  You know, grades, attendance, switching majors, etc… Skippy could stay in school FOREVER if that’s his dream.  And who are you to tread on Skippy’s dream, you meanie?

  They go on and on… one trillion dollars spent immediately on infrastructure… one trillion dollars to spend converting from fossil fuels to solar and wind power… another trillion spent planting trees and restoring wetlands.  These “Occupiers” sure are generous with those trillions of dollars from taxpayers who are too busy WORKING to join in their silly little movement.

  Another thing they want:  Immediate across-the-board debt forgiveness, from international debt to your mortgage, car, and credit card debt.  Yeah, that would be sweet… so would a Beautiful Weather Law… ain’t gonna happen.

  Some of these yahoos are even calling for an end to money and a return to the barter system.  Please, kid… attend a Renaissance Faire, feel medieval for a few days, crap in the woods (instead of on a police car) and then come to grips with the realization that it wouldn’t work in the modern world.
  Feel free to disagree with me, but the problem with way too many young people these days is that they think they’re too special for a crappy job.  They’re unwilling to start at the bottom and work their way up.  They expect to start at the middle (or higher) and rise quickly to the stratosphere.

  There’s something deeply ironic – starting with their failure to see the irony – about these kids with their iPhones and iPads protesting capitalism and corporations.

  May I have your attention, kid? … No, you can play
Angry Birds in a minute. …
Listen carefully… it takes a corporation to make your iPad.  The village blacksmith can’t do it.  That’s a free lesson on The Industrial Age from your Uncle Nick.

  I could just keep going and going and going on this like the Energizer bunny, but seriously, kids… you’re making the hippie protesters of the 60s look like rocket scientists.  Go home until you have a clue what you’re talking about.


 

****  WHAT I’M STILL READING … AND WHAT ELSE I’M READING ****

  I’m now reading the third and final book in the Millenium trilogy, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”.  There’s a slightly unusual set-up with this trilogy: 
  The first book in the series, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” pretty much stands by itself.  The plot does carry over into the next two books, but the story does stand alone, without reading the others.  With the second and third book though, it’s a two part story.  “The Girl Who Played With Fire” leads directly into “Hornet’s Nest”.  I haven’t finished it yet, so I’ll save a final review until the end, but there’s definitely a reason these books have sold millions of copies around the world.

OK, now… Something You Didn’t Know About Me… I’m usually reading more than one book at a time.  I TRY to limit it to two – one fiction and one nonfiction – although I find myself breaking that rule every now and then.  And I must confess, I’m notoriously slow about reading the nonfiction books.  I enjoy them, and I learn things from them, but all things being equal, I tend to pick up the good novel I’m reading more often.  In other words, I’m eating dessert or junk food before eating my meat and veggies!

  Now that you know a little more about my reading habits, I’ll tell you that I’m also reading “Decision Points” by George W. Bush.  And because of the slowness factor I mentioned above, I’ve been reading it forever.  (I’m almost to the end, really!)  But it has been worth reading.  You get a real feel for his perspective from the decisions a President must make and the consequences of those decisions.

  The book also contains a lot more information on events that the media largely ignored during the Bush years, notably the really impressive gains that were made in slowing the spread of AIDS in Africa.

  It’s interesting to note that despite the really negative tone and personal attacks that were a political constant throughout his presidency, in my opinion, W only gets really negative in his remembrances of two people in this book.
   

  The first is Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana at the time of Hurricane Katrina.  Bush has taken a lot of criticism on the federal handling of the disaster response, but the book details how Blanco repeatedly refused federal assistance.  Ultimately, Bush had to send in military personnel without law enforcement authority as a means to get around Governor Blanco’s refusal of assistance.

  The other person who merits an intensely negative description is Jacques Chirac, then President of France.  Bush’s problem with Chirac could be summed up as Chirac being the epitome of the stereotypical snotty anti-American Frenchman. I’m probably over-simplifying that, but that’s about how Chirac comes across.


  Anyhow… good read so far.

********

  

  OK, y’all… adios for now.  I will try not to take 9-10 days between posts in the future. 

Nick

 P.S.  If there’s anything I write about that you’d like to hear more on, just let me know in the comments.  Likewise, if there’s anything you’d like less of, same thing.
Feedback is always very welcome.

 

Sophomore Jinx? …. Let’s hope not.

   Welcome back!  I’m glad to see you came back to the Treehouse.  I want to thank everyone for reading and for commenting.  And now to the meat & taters…

    ****  POLITICAL PUZZLING  ****   

   The Republican nominee for President…
who’s it gonna be?  Two weeks ago, I’d have said it was absolutely going to be Rick Perry.  Now he seems to be fading back into the pack.  If I was guessing now, I’d say Mitt Romney will avoid saying or doing anything too controversial and will eventually be the nominee.  This seems even more likely now, since in the last few days both Chris Christie and Sarah Palin have said “Nope… not this time.”  My thoughts on this crew:

 

Romney:  Probably the safest bet.  Looks presidential… for whatever that’s worth.  Many in the GOP still seem to be looking for someone else.  Why?  Probably over concerns that he’s a RINO (Republican In Name Only for y’all who might not be as immersed in politics as your faithful blogger).  I was concerned over whether he’d be too cautious and unwilling to attack Obama on issues where he’s vulnerable.  I’m a little less worried after some comments he made in the last debate.  The Mormon issue doesn’t bother me.  Just try to be a little less… mannequin-like… OK, Mittster?

Perry:  Still the guy I like the best.  I think Obama is very vulnerable, but we need a candidate to go on the offensive and not be afraid of the media or of being accused of racism at every turn.  Perry and Obama seem to genuinely detest each other.  Perry would play hardball, and that’s what is needed.  I also love his stance on the 10th Amendment (more on that in a future blog, friends).  And he goes jogging locked and loaded… a true Texan! 

Herman Cain:  I like him, but I don’t know enough about him yet.  Many of us seem to like the idea of someone who is not a politician getting in there… but then we worry about whether an amateur can handle a modern presidential campaign.

Michelle Bachmann:  Unelectable, in my opinion.  There are things about her that the media would have a field day with.  Also has a tendency to verbally shoot from the hip with little or no regard for actual facts.

Ron Paul:  Has great ideas on a few things… but then he says things that make you think, “Get Grandpa back to the home and on his meds!”  
However, he has the “tin foil hat” vote locked up.

Newt Gingrich:  Unelectable.  Too many negatives.  Too unlikeable.  Too… “newty”.

Rick Santorum:  Zzzzzzzzz… Primarily a one-issue guy when he was in the Senate.

Gary Johnson:  Who?  Exactly.  He did have the funniest line in the debate I watched: “My dog has created more ‘shovel-ready’ jobs than this president.”

… anyone I’ve forgotten?… oh, yeah…

Jon Huntsman:  RINO.  Seriously… RINO.  Seems to be the Republican candidate for Republicans who don’t like Republicans.  Did I say RINO?   

 

 

****  AND NOW TO COMPLETELY MESS WITH YOUR HEADS ****

 

*** PIGSKIN PONDERING ***

OH NO, ROMO!    I still don’t know what to say.  But since I’m blogging about it, I have to try.  Against the 49ers and Redskins, Romo was brave and brilliant.  Against the Lions, great… for about 2 1/2 quarters.  Then… what th’ heck!?!?!? 
Cowboys, my Cowboys… you have got to learn to put games away. 

Jason Garrett?  I think you’re going to make a great head coach, but when you have a lead, run the ball!  Kill the clock!  That’s Football 101.
And back to you, Tony Romo… I’ve supported you more than most…
but THINK, Dude!  Stay focused for 60 minutes!  Please!

BIZARRO SEASON so far… Honestly, Cowboys… you’ve won the games you were supposed to win and lost the games you were supposed to lose.  But you’ve done it in the craziest fashion!  You had to come from behind in the games you were expected to win, and gave away the games you were expected to lose. 
No more ROLLER COASTER! OK?!? I’ve had enough!

And just because I’m a nice guy and not a sore loser…
a King-o’-the-Jungle CONGRATS to the Detroit Lions for an amazing comeback!

 

BECAUSE THE LAST FUNNY PIC REFERENCED
STAR WARS, HARRY POTTER, & LORD OF THE RINGS
(You got that, didn’t you?)
BUT NOTHING FOR THE TREKKIES… I GIVE YOU THIS:

 

 ****  RANDOM THUNKS  ****

[This is going to be a little section for short random thoughts of whatever.  Still not settled on the name for this part.  Options considered have included Random Thunks, Tidbits, and To-Go Menu.  Like those or got any of your own?  Let me know… maybe we’ll vote on it.]

  • I have this Barcode Scanner app for my phone.   Is it just me,
    or does it look like a barcode wearing a thin pair of red panties?
    Probably just me…  maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned it.  

 

  •  “Dolphin Tale” is the No. 1 movie in the country. It just goes to show what dolphins can do if they don’t play football.   ~ Jay Leno   

 

 

  • Jake and I have been watching “Terra Nova” on Fox
    and we’re really liking it.  Also, since we got into “The Walking Dead”
    via the Season 1 DVD, we’re really looking forward to Season 2
    starting soon on AMC.

  

 

That’s all for now.  See you again soon!
Thanks for all the advice & encouragement!
~ Nick