Movie Review: Barbarella

Jane Fonda as Barbarella
Jane Fonda as Barbarella

A couple weeks ago, on a whim, I tossed Barbarella on the Netflix queue. I had seen it when I was 17 or so, and I recalled it being racy and titillating. But that was almost 30 years ago.

I wasn’t sure what I expected, but it turned out to be a high – “cheese” factor, late 1960’s movie. It starts with Jane Fonda getting out of a “space suit” in zero grav, and devolves into a slapstick series of comedic episodes. Ironically, the “cheese” and the ridiculousness of the situations, combine to make a much more enjoyable film than I expected.

Also, at 31, Jane Fonda had a really nice body.

A shout out to Dover Publications

Dover Publications, also known as dover press. I first became aware of Dover when I was in college. Dover picked up the rights of old text books that had gone out of print, and packaged them as reasonable priced paperbacks. Since I studied physics, and much of the core material was pretty static (not the modern, high energy, or particle physics that were evolving rapidly, but mechanics, field theory, E&M, and others were quite relevant. Textbooks that had gone out of favor were often packaged for sale at very reasonable prices, as low as $6 up to the mid $20’s. ┬áText books that if were being used would cost (even in the 1980’s) $40 – $100.

While I bought my required texts, I also picked up others on the same subject to give me additional points of view on topics. I primarily bought mathematics and physics texts.

Recently, I have found the need to brush up on some basic topics. The products I work on use PID digital controls. So I started looking for digital control books. Amazon had several, but they were current text books (read: $100 or more). Ouch. Hit dover’s website, and I find dozens of texts for less than $15 each. I pick one up.

When reviewing it, I realize I need to expand my knowledge of discrete mathematics, again, Dover to the rescue. A classic under grad text (and a companion volume on topology) are on the way to my house. Total cost $27.95.

Back in university, the internet wasn’t even on the horizon, so I would make the trek to Cody’s in Berkeley. They had a huge selection, ready to be exchanged for my hard earned cash. But today, it is a lot easier, you can buy them online, and browse their entire catalog.

Dover does have a lot more than just geeky science and physics books. There are books for all ages, and of a myriad of topics. I highly recommend a visit to their site.

Driving Smokers

As someone who for a long time rode motorcycles on his commute, and who now drives a convertible, I can say that there are some smokers who should be fined and incarcerated.

Note, while I am not a smoker (never been one), I don’t think it should be banned.

But, people who flick their ashes out the window of their moving car, and then who inevitably toss the butt out the window as well, those people need a special ring of hell to inhabit. YOu have an ashtray, use it. And for those who will pile on and say that most cars don’t come with them today, I respond thusly: All of them have a smoker’s kit as an option that includes the lighter, and an ashtray. Besides there are a large number of ashtrays that are designed to fit in a standard cup holder. If you can afford $6 a pack cigarettes, you can afford these as well.

Why do I hate it? I live in Arizona, where it get hotter than hades. So I ride in the summer with a ventilated jacket. But sometimes that is too hot, so I will partially unzip the main zipper. At 50mph or so, some jackass tosses a butt out the window and it strikes me mid chest. Then I have a burning cigarette butt in my jacket. Fuck.

Every state and municipality has laws against littering, and penalties that escalate if the litter is burning, but from the number of butts on the side of the road, it apparently is even less observed than speed limits. Sigh.

One day, I pulled up to one of these people (who had just tossed a butt out), and asked her why she doesn’t use the ashtray. Her response: I don’t want to dirty it, a used and dirty ashtray lowers resale value (this was in a $50K BMW). Uh, hello, just by smoking in your car, you lower the resale value. That is no excuse.