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Needful Things

The Return of the Automat?

I’m going to make a prediction here, starting either this year or next, you will start to see self-checkout systems at fast food joints. Now I wasn’t alive when these were big, but many decades ago they used to have these places called Automats, where one picked an item plunked down some change in a machine and you got a fresh meal. Think sorta like a room with vending machines and tables and a microwave today, only back then it was a hot meal already made.

An automat from 1904

I think you could start to see that again where one goes into a Burger King (for example), play with a touch screen and up comes your food. This isn’t a slam on raising the minimum wage, but you have to consider the laws of economics (especially with incentives and cost substitution). As would a consumer pick a viable substitute item if their first choice was beyond their budget, so would a business owner seek to do the same if there was a viable labor substitute.

Why God shouldn’t be on our money or in our pledges

They use God as a cheap political ploy, which if you think about on a theological level, goes against I think 2 Commandments. Now whether you believe in God or not, shoving some deity’s name in our faces all the time just isn’t right on so many levels. For those that believe in such, it is a slap in their face because first I think it cheapens their deity and secondly such affirmations are insincere at best.

For the rest of us, it is a weird phenomenon in a secular society that a segment in society within a political class is trying to prove something that everyone else knows that they aren’t exactly holding truth to. Simply ask yourself this one question, if you are a believer of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim God, given what US currency and oaths have gone to be used for, would such a deity approve that his name be used for such?


So Ben Afleck is the new Batman

Who knows, maybe Afleck will make a great Batman or a shitty Batman. I’ll give the guy a chance. I remember back in 1988 when they first announced Michael Keaton was going to play Bruce Wayne, everyone had a collective “WTF?” as the actor last known as “Beetlejuice” and “Johnny Dangerously” was about to play the Dark Knight (I remember there also being some “nerd concerns” about Nicholson playing the Joker as well). Then the movie came out in 1989 and everyone thought it was awesome.


Maybe Afleck will make a good Batman.


One of my favorite forms of music that most of my friends don’t know (which I guess reading this they will now) has been Opera. When I was younger I never understood it. Opera is traditionally sung mainly in Italian or Germany or even French; though there are now also many in languages such as Russian and even English! I could never get into it because of the language barrier and trying to figure out what was going on in the story, as mentioned the libretto was mainly in a foreign language. Still I wanted to get into it, as I loved classical music, why not this? Eventually, the philistine in me learned to appreciate the art that is opera.

Below is a production of Tosca, originally by Giacomo Puccini. The story takes place in Rome over the span of a day (actually starting in the afternoon then through the evening and into the next morning). The plot is actually something one would see perhaps in a Quentin Tarantino movie or one of those soap operas one sees on television, as it has murder, suicide, betrayal centering around the love of Tosca to a painter, all in the background of the defeat of Napoleon.

Now the version below has English subtitles, as I would like you to understand what they are saying as you are enjoying the wonderful singing and music. The video is 2 hours long, but is well put together, you may want to find a relaxing position. Enjoy!


Pinball MachinesRip Steve Kordek, the guy gave us more cooler ways in playing the game. Now back in the day, well by me at l least, when Pac-Man and Space Invaders were all the rage, the arcade by me believe it or not (Aladdin’s Castle to all you local Chicagoans for that HIP reference) only had a few and it was mostly pinball. Sure your video arcade game had your flashy ass graphics, but there was also something about pinball as well.

The designs got more complex, but the game was still the same. And there was something almost zen like, with a combination of adrenaline, to the overall simplicity of behind the game. Get the ball into one of those little holes to score some points and pray to God your flippers keep that little metal bastard from falling into that pit at the bottom!

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