Pick my braaaaaain.

Whatever you do, please don’t send me an e-mail first thing on a Monday morning with this line:

Anyone up for the challenge of making a sophisticated Zombie short? Nancy, any new plots occur to you?

This is from the director of our 48-hour film-challenge short. And here I thought I’d get some work done today. Suggestions, anyone? So far I have a zombie “Mamma Mia!” and a zombie “Recount” (“McCaaaaain has no braaaaaain…”), but that’s it. I may need a bike ride for this one.

My sense of Biden as an underwhelming choice passed quickly. I only had to think: The man whom he will replace is Dick Cheney. That made it all better, somehow. Foreign policy expertise = a plus, particularly given the wreckage the current model is in. Remember, folks — look beyond the fence.

As you can see, folks, it’s Monday and I got nuthin’. Spent the weekend trying to put the house in order and mostly failing. The start of the school year — mandated by law to be after Labor Day — seems as though it will never arrive, and yet, I don’t really want it to. It’s been a good summer, and I’ve enjoyed having my little kitten around. Alan had a far more interesting weekend, having seen the following on his afternoon kayak trip yesterday: A 300-pound woman and “a guy who looked like Napoleon Dynamite” sharing a tiny inflatable boat, cruising slowly around the mouth of our marina, and she? Was topless. “She had a tube-top thing, pushed down below all the folds,” Alan reports. “I wonder if maybe they were putting on a show for me.” If so, he…well, “enjoyed” isn’t the word. “Noted the effort,” maybe.

See why I don’t want summer to end?

So let’s skip to some good ol’ bloggage, eh?

From Sunday’s NYT, a long read that’s worth your time, about the struggles of a Florida science teacher to not just teach evolution, but to really get his students engaged with it. It’s an endeavor that is nothing short of heroic — David Campbell seems to be one of those teachers people remember on their deathbed — and equally frustrating:

“Can anybody think of a question science can’t answer?”

“Is there a God?” shot back a boy near the window.

“Good,” said Mr. Campbell, an Anglican who attends church most Sundays. “Can’t test it. Can’t prove it, can’t disprove it. It’s not a question for science.”

Bryce raised his hand.

“But there is scientific proof that there is a God,” he said. “Over in Turkey there’s a piece of wood from Noah’s ark that came out of a glacier.”

Mr. Campbell chose his words carefully.

“If I could prove, tomorrow, that that chunk of wood is not from the ark, is not even 500 years old and not even from the right kind of tree — would that damage your religious faith at all?”

Bryce thought for a moment.

“No,” he said.

The room was unusually quiet.

“Faith is not based on science,” Mr. Campbell said. “And science is not based on faith. I don’t expect you to ‘believe’ the scientific explanation of evolution that we’re going to talk about over the next few weeks.”

“But I do,” he added, “expect you to understand it.”

Jon Carroll dissed rude cyclists a few weeks ago, and has been hearing about it since. Today, a cyclist puts into words what underlies my policy of judicious stop-sign running:

Another, somewhat calmer letter on the entire matter from Gene Eplett: “Think motivation. Think momentum. Cars and pedestrians pay nothing, or nearly nothing, for their momentum. For cars it is simply a matter of which pedal to push, brake or gas. For pedestrians, it is a matter of speed, or lack of it. A turtle doesn’t mind stopping frequently either, because momentum simply is not an issue.

“Bicyclists, on the other hand, expend a lot of effort getting up to speed. Cranking up the momentum every single block, and then giving it all up at every single stop sign, gets old really fast. So, whenever there is any question whether to stop or not, such as when there is little oppositional traffic at stop signs, or anywhere else for that matter, (s)he, understandably, doesn’t stop – doesn’t give up his or her hard-won momentum, that is to say. After a while, if one bikes all the time, a pattern (or habit?) gets established. That’s what you and the complainers are witnessing.”

Zombies on bicycles! It could work!

Back in a bit.

Posted at 11:49 am in Current events, Movies, Popculch |

27 responses to “Pick my braaaaaain.”

  1. Dexter said on August 25, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Here’s some theme music for the new film…it starts 4 minutes into this video, this is the best recording of this Roky Erickson classic on YouYube. Maybe edit “rode” for “walked” , but that would take forever!

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  2. Dexter said on August 25, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    …and running stop signs is fine as long as you don’t get caught , and after fifty-two years of riding I know I won’t stop now!
    I was in New York City a while ago and noticed a phenomenon that may be common, but I had never noticed it before…a male cyclist was stopped at a light in Midtown, and had a great sense of balance…totally stopped and balancing , feet on pedals, waiting for the light to change. This was good…the bike had narrow tires. When I got home I tried it with a mountain bike with wide tires…I lasted three seconds, tops. Some people…how do they do that stuff?

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  3. Dorothy said on August 25, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Experience, Dexter. Lots of it.

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  4. LAMary said on August 25, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I guess having an 11 (12?) girl hanging around the house for the summer is a lot different from having a 14 year old boy around. The eighteen year old is out a lot of the time but the 14 year old seems to have spent his summer eating, playing X Box until 1 AM, making plans with friends that never happen but go through stages of needing me to supply rides/money/time. At least he’s not like one of his cronies who promises his parents will do pretty much anything, and then they actually do it. Drive two cars filled with 14 year olds to the Vans Warped Tour in a stadium 30 miles away, then wait for them and drive them all home? No problem. Impromptu sleepovers for six? Movie tickets for everyone?
    I can’t or won’t do most of these things. Maybe I’m a mean mom.

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  5. Peter said on August 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Nancy, Biden’s a good choice because he’s better than Cheney? Aren’t we setting the bar just a leeeetle too low – I mean my dog would be a better VP than Cheney!

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  6. Heather said on August 25, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    In Chicago they’re making a big deal of enforcing traffic rules for cyclists. Fine. I always slow down on my bike at stop signs and take a good look around, but who comes to a full stop? Anyway, this weekend I slowed down at a stop sign, then tried to enter into an area narrowed by construction. An SUV actually sped off to cut me off, then the guy said as he rolled by, “You’re supposed to stop.” And you’re not supposed to cut off bikes in your two-ton piece of machinery, you ass.

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  7. nancy said on August 25, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Of course we’re setting the bar low, Peter. That’s the point. The people who voted for Bush are going to vote for McCain, and they don’t get to say, “Biden, oh he’s an egomaniac, a Washington insider, etc.,” when they voted — twice! — for the Dark Lord Torturemaster. I mean, those arguments aren’t going to carry, are they?

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  8. coozledad said on August 25, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve been feeling a bit more sanguine about Biden, too. He’s a bizarre combination of affable doofus and cut you off at the knees wit. He’ll kick Lieberman’s ass, and Wink Martindale’s…uh, Mitt Romney’s, if it comes to that.

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  9. Lex said on August 25, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Possible source material for zombie short: http://kensingtonvictoria.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/zombie_outbreak.jpg

    Good luck, and keep us posted!

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  10. Jason T. said on August 25, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Nance @ 1:13:

    With all due respect, you misjudge how strong self-delusion can be.

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  11. Lex said on August 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    (Oops, meant to make that a link, not a long*ss URL. Sorry.)

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  12. Mindy said on August 25, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Olympic cyclists riding around Colorado Springs in large packs were a common sight when I lived there twenty years ago. They braved the busiest highways, and traffic allowed room for them easily. Lots of people cycled around the Springs yet I never heard complaints about rude drivers or read tragic stories in the paper of someone getting clipped. The Olympic cyclists waiting for the green light to cross a six-lane highway was quite a sight – twenty guys hopping in place on their bikes and then straining to get going when the light changed. They didn’t even bump each other.

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  13. brian stouder said on August 25, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Of course we’re setting the bar low…. That’s the point.


    Nothing like “Perfection” is on offer in this election – and it never is, in ANY election!

    All my adult life I was a “declared” Republican (albeit one who didn’t hesitate to vote for D’s in November, when they were the better choice), and after 8 years of President Bush and his trusty quick-shootin’ sidekick, I am now a “declared” Democrat (and LOVIN’ it!!).

    This is as much about fatigue with the “I got mine” mindset that the national GOP and its syndicated lip-flappers espouse, as it is about excitement about Obama’s candidacy.

    As I see it, the worst case for President Obama and a strong Democratic congressional contingent still includes agreeable Supreme Court appointments and confirmations, more sensible foreign relations (particularly with Russia), and no wasted time on canards like privatization of Social Security (which I once thought was an interesting concept) or gutting support for public education.

    And, if there was any sullen complaining that the Best case may not entirely come to pass, despite an Obama presidency, it would be genuinely pointless except for those who value being able to say “SEE!! I TOLD YOU SO!!”. A President Obama certainly wouldn’t be perfect; he’d make mistakes as surely as the sun rises in the east every morning. And then the chicken-hearts in the crowd can squawk and squawk, as if taking self-satisfied credit for that sunrise.

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  14. ellen said on August 25, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Zombies filming a youtube video? Zombie American Idol auditions? Zombie Iron Chef?

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  15. Catherine said on August 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Zombie Camp Rock? Zombie High School Musical?

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  16. Catherine said on August 25, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Zombie Dancing With the Stars? Oh wait, they already had Priscilla Presley.

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  17. Dexter said on August 25, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    I walked with a zombie, I walked with a zombie, I walked with a zombie, last night.
    I walked with a zombie, I walked with a zombie, I walked with a zombie, last night.
    Well, I ain’t a zombie, but a mummy. Doc wrapped my legs up tighter ‘n’ a drum today with that mummy wrap stuff . memo to self: never use salt again!

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  18. Bruce Fields said on August 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    “a male cyclist was stopped at a light in Midtown, and had a great sense of balance…totally stopped and balancing , feet on pedals, waiting for the light to change. This was good…the bike had narrow tires. When I got home I tried it with a mountain bike with wide tires…I lasted three seconds, tops. Some people…how do they do that stuff?”

    The key words you’re looking for are “track stand.” A google search on that and you’ll find all the instructions and videos you could want.

    It’s said to be easier on a fixed-gear bike, since that lets you move the back wheel either way with the pedals (whereas a bike with a freewheel mechanism will only let you pedal it forwards). I agree, it’d be fun to learn! I never have.

    The “should stop bicyclists stop a stop signs if there’s nobody around” questions strike me as sort of empty. The interesting question to me is “how do you know if there’s nobody around”? And the one thing I feel really strongly about is that people be on the lookout for cyclists and pedestrians, not just cars–it’s no fun stepping out into the street at a stop sign and having a cyclist woosh past your nose….

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  19. James said on August 25, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    I always thought the whole idea about bicycling was to get exercise. I’d think you’d relish those full stops, and get the most out of them.

    But maybe it’s all about the goofy Lance Armstrong outfits.


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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 25, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I’m not planning on voting against Biden, but for McCain (or Dark Lord of the Zombies With White Hair).

    And Biden on the ticket is reassuring to some of us who aren’t voting for the ticket, but understand they may just prevail in the Electoral College this December. (And the Dems get bonus points for putting the Navajo/Dineh Codetalkers up as the Color Guard! Plus the kids are delightful. Everyone else is planning on watching C-SPAN obsessively the next few days, right?)

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  21. Catherine said on August 25, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Zombie Bike Messengers: Couriers of death.

    Just trying to tie it all together.

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  22. Cathy D. said on August 25, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    How about a film made with zombie sock puppets? http://outofcharacter.blogspot.com/

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  23. Jim Wetzel said on August 25, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    “Cars and pedestrians pay nothing, or nearly nothing, for their momentum.”

    I think kinetic energy would have been more to the writer’s point, in terms of the economics of stopping and starting. Pedestrians and cyclists pay for theirs in oatmeal and apples; and it’s cheap for pedestrians because their velocity is quite low, and KE goes as the square of velocity. Cars, on the other hand, pay at the rate of about four bucks a gallon, give or take.

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  24. beb said on August 25, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Biking was discussed on Washington Monthly a month back or so. One bike adovcate related an incident that happened to him once. He was riding in a bike lane during a rush hour when he nearly got clipped by a car making a right hand turn at an intersection which he was going straight through. This guy felt that the car was totally at faul but just from listening to his story you could see several troubling issues. The bike lane was on the ride sideof the street, otherwise known as the blind side of a car. The biker was traveling fast. The car was as far to the right as it was allowed. The car had the right to make a right hand turn at that intersection. The car driver probably checked for pedestrians on the sidewalk, drivers potentially plowing through a red light on his left. He may even have looked behind him but bike move fast and are hard to see compared to cars. It’s like creating a one-way street without putting up “One-Way” and “Do Not Enter” signed. The traffic designers were just asking for trouble.

    I don’t know how you can mix bike lanes with traffic lanes without problems like this.

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  25. Terry WAlter said on August 26, 2008 at 5:53 am

    ABCs’ Brian Ross had a story on the lobbyist parties around the convention, which he wasn’t allowed into. The Uh-bama camps’ line was that they would have liked to have done things differently, but they didn’t have enough time to change them. ‘Change you can believe in’. Riiiight. The only change they’re aiming for is the name on the check. My brother lives in Denver; he had the right idea. Left town while the liars club meets.

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  26. Wally Wilson said on August 26, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Nancy, I have long known that hamsters were the zombie spawn of all that is truly evile in this world. Marketed by corporate pet stores as “cute and lovable,” they have always won the hearts of those who are weakest amongst us. It is a conspiracy worthy of a movie (a B movie, I hope).

    The savage hamsters from the pet stores have always known me to be a rat/mouse lover, and I can’t even get close to them without their eyes turning red and their cacophonous hissing burning my eardrums. Bitten? Yes, and I have the antidote to savage hamster zombie’ism! I have never met a hamster that wasn’t merely a poseur of loveable fluffiness and political correctness (and sharp teeth).

    Just so you know… LOL

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  27. Bruce Fields said on August 26, 2008 at 10:40 am

    “The car was as far to the right as it was allowed.”

    No, the car should have actually been in the bike lane at that point; the correct way to turn right across a bike lane is to check over your right shoulder, merge right when it’s clear, and continue in the bike lane (well, as far in it as you’ll fit) until the turn. Just as if the bike lane was any right-turn lane.

    Otherwise, as you say, there’s an obvious conflict.

    That said, I can’t recall if I’ve *ever* seen a motorist do that–most people see the bike lane much as they would a shoulder, and just turn across it at the last minute. So for a cyclist I’d actually recommend merging left into the rightmost traffic lane before going straight through–again, as if the bike lane were a dedicated right-turn lane.

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