Maleficent, a review

Went to see Maleficent with the family today.

I tend to have mixed feelings about deconstructions of fairy tales, whether deconstructing the classic versions or the “Disney” version.  Sometimes they’re done very well.  Other times…not.

Maleficent was done very well indeed.

If you’ve seen the trailers, there are certain things you knew going in.  Maleficent at some point had her wings taken from her and the king, “Sleeping Beauty’s” father, was involved in that and thus the reason (or at least a reason) for the curse.  In the movie we see that it goes a lot deeper than that.  One can almost feel that the curse is justified except the baby had nothing to do with what was done to Maleficient.  And this adds some complexity to Maleficent’s character, making her sympathetic but not innocent, wrong but not irredeemable.

The bumbling character of the “good fairies” is a nod to Flora, Fauna, and Meriwether from Disney’s animated “Sleeping Beauty” as is the name of the Princess, Aurora.

Angelina Jolie did a superb job in the roll of Maleficent.  The scenes where she lost her wings and where the curse finally came home to roost were particularly moving.

Speaking of that scene where the curse came home to roost, there may have been a surprise intended there.  If so, well, I called it well in advance.  Well, actually I had two possibilities predicted for how it would play out.  They went with the one that was my first choice.

For those who like actions and big battles and fights, there’s plenty of that in the first and the last parts of the movie.  Not so much in the middle but the character interactions and development more than make up for that.  Some of those scenes might be a little intense for younger viewers.  Parents, use your judgement.

Upshot:  this is another one I will be owning.




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The end of physics?

I have heard recently some scientist (sorry, no link) saying that with the Discovery of the Higgs Boson, physical theory is complete.  There’s nothing more to be added to the Standard Model.  We’re done.

Which led me to think about where I’d heard that before.  Oh, that’s right.  When I took Modern Physics back in College, my professor described the state of physics in the late 19th century.  The attitude, he said, was that physical theory was complete.  They could just add a digit or two of precision to physical constants and then we could all go home.

Then two guys by the name of Michelson and Morley, and Hittorf’s discovery of “cathode rays” started a process which turned physics on its ear.  Michelson and Morley weren’t looking for the foundations of new physics.  They were looking to measure the movement of the Earth through the Luminiferous Aether scientists though carried “light waves”.  But what they found was something far more profound.  And the “cathode rays” led to a series of experiments that led to the discovery of the electron and eventually other atomic particles and the “atom” wasn’t so indivisible after all.  Between them, these to branches led to Relativity and Quantum Theory, giving us the Modern Physics.

So, are we on the cusp of the next big revolution in physics?  I think we are.  No telling how long the “hang time” will be at this cusp, but sooner or later (and I really hope sooner) somebody’s going to point at an experimental result and say “what the hell is that?” and we’ll be off with whole new worlds of physical theory to discover.

Feeding the Active Writer

Once again I address the issue of my sweet tooth.  This time with low-carb frosted cupcakes.
For folk who cannot handle artificial sweeteners like sucralose, well, sorry.

Start with the cupcakes themselves:

Ingredients
2 cups flax seed

1 cup sucralose
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
5 tablespoons flax oil, coconut oil, or olive oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 and get the double boiler (see Frosting) started.
Mix all dry ingredients then add the wet.

Whisk together. 
Spoon into a greased muffin/cupcake pan (or use paper cupcake shells) about 2/3-3/4 full
Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes are baking you can work on the frosting.

Frosting:
2 8 oz packages cream cheese
2 cups sucralose
1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional:  food coloring as desired.

soften the cream cheese in a double boiler.  I don’t have a dedicated double boiler so I use a metal mixing bowl set on top of a saucepan partially filled with water.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix throughly.

Keep the frosting warm and soft (use the double boiler over low heat) until the cupcakes are cool.  Pile the frosting on top of the cupcakes.
Makes about 12.

Although this is not a “low fat” or “low calorie” food, it has no more than 1-2 grams net carbs per cupcake.  Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

A truly decadent treat for people who have problems with carbs.

Protip:  Do not eat more than 1-2 per day unless you’re ready to cope with the results of a lot of fiber.

Fear

There’s this ridiculous argument made by anti-gun-freedom-denier types of the line of “what are you afraid of” about people who choose to be armed for self defense.  Implicit is that you have to be afraid or you wouldn’t take the precautions.

In at least one case the person said “well, if you weren’t afraid of death….”

Well, let’s start with the fact that a lot of my armed friends signed a check to the United States Government “payable for any amount, up to and including my life” and then went places where that was a very real possibility.  Hardly something someone “afraid of dying” would do.

One doesn’t have to be afraid to prefer one outcome over another.  I don’t have to fear chocolate to prefer vanilla.  And I don’t have to be afraid of death to prefer life.  And I certainly don’t have to be afraid of crime to prefer defense.  That a person cannot grasp that speaks _volumes_ about them, and nothing about the people to whom they attach the “what are you afraid of” argument.  I suspect they are engaging in what psychologists call projection, either that or in what ordinary people call “lying”–they are well aware that one doesn’t have to be “afraid” to take precautions against bad outcomes, but it is convenient to their attempt to denigrate their opposition to pretend they do.

I am not afraid.  I simply prefer some outcomes over others.  And I take steps to increase the likelihood of outcomes I prefer and decrease the likelihood of those I do not.