The folly of the Gilmore Girls

I saw the quote that is the subtitle for this entry on a Fark discussion thread.  It very succinctly sums up something I have felt for a very long time. 

If you’ve never seen the show, "Gilmore Girls" is principally about a mother and her daughter, said daughter having been born when mother was all of 16.  They behave more like siblings or best friends than they do mother and daughter.  While it’s made to work in the fantasy land of television, in the Real World it’s not at all practical. 

When I go grocery shopping or to a restaurant or any public place where there are likely to be children present, I see them: children who are "in charge".  I grimace, inwardly, wondering why in God’s name any parent lets their child get away with such atrocious behaviour.  I have NEVER had trouble like that with my two boys.  I started wondering less when I realized that there are two popular prevailing methods for dealing with misbehaving children in today’s society:  1) ask them nicely to stop, and 2) beat them.  Few parents these days seem to understand that somewhere in the middle lies success. 

I decided to write this because I am so fond of the quote.  But saying that children should be "treated as property" comes off as rather harsh, so I thought I’d explain.  Remove emotion from the equation.  Now remove personality.  You essentially have a robot where you previously had a child.  It’s a very EXPENSIVE robot, and it’s one-of-a-kind.  You love it dearly and don’t want anything to happen to it.  So you guard it with your very life.  You lock it up at night, you keep it polished and oiled and you apply all software updates to it.  Anyone who owns a "thing" of any sort understands the importance of taking care of that thing.  Now add back in the personality.  Now your robot can "think" and make decisions.  So now you have to make rules.  Rules are important to protect the robot from itself and from others, and they MUST be followed.  I daresay most parents are with me up to this point, rules being different in every family. 

But where it all seems, by my observation, to fall apart is with emotion.  FEELINGS.  No parent likes to see their child cry or upset.  But children, by the very nature of their existence, lack wisdom.  While it would be great if my children actually understood and agreed with every rule I make–and I go to lengths to see that they do–it is NOT mandatory.  They abide, or else.  Period.  Some day they’ll appreciate it, just as I look back on my youth and appreciate my parents for what they did for me.  I see the reasons now.  They weren’t popular with my sister and me all the time, but we always knew they loved us.  And we never considered them "friends", either!  We loved it when they showed up to hear our concerts or watch our sporting events, but we didn’t want them at the dances or "playing" with us when we were with our friends.  Now that we’re grown, our parents ARE "friends" of a special sort.  The kind of Friend that tends to know you even better than you know yourself in a lot of ways.  And that’s special.  But it’s possible because they’re no longer authority figures.  They are more "guides".  I ask their advice frequently.  I don’t always take it.  But I value their input. 

You can’t be both an effective authority figure AND a friend.  If you try to be both, you MAY succeed at each to a degree, but you’ll never be anything close to effective at either. 


It’s like someone took the pilot for a proposed TV series and stretched it out to make a movie.  You know what happens when you stretch something?  It gets THIN.  That’s a great word to describe this movie. 

David is a "Jumper", and after having discovered his ability and Jumped around for a few years, he discovers he’s not the only one.  As I write this, I realize just how much of a rip-off of Highlander the basic premise is.  These Jumpers are stalked by Paladins.  However, unlike the Watchers from the Highlander series (TV), these Paladins are spiritually self-righteous and are intent on destroying the Jumpers by any means possible.  And they have some pretty impressive means.

That’s pretty much it.  The movie’s predictable, and lays the foundation for a possible sequel, but would make an "OK" TV series.  I don’t predict either will come to fruition.

If you decide to see this movie, wait for DVD.  The popcorn’s cheaper that way.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Some day I’ll learn my lesson and I will STOP watching Will Ferrell movies.  Today was not that day.  I awoke at 4:30 A.M. for some reason beyond bladder maintenance and simply could not get back to sleep.  So I watched this thing.  Was it funny?  Sure.  Was it scary?  Yes, because I firmly believe there is a large segment of the American population who watched this movie and believed that it was SOMEONE’S biography or, worse, now aspire to the "ideals" exhibited by Ricky Bobby and his wife and kids.  I fear these people and their capacity to breed.

Gary Cole was a hoot as Ricky’s father.  I’m convinced he can portray anything and pull it off.  He is one of the more underrated actors of our time. 

If nothing else, I have another item for my Bucket List:  To tame Komodo Dragons in Sri Laka and train them to perform Hamlet.


I scored a copy of "Cars" really cheap on Amazon.  I missed it when it was in the theaters.  Wow.  Since most everyone reading this has already seen it, I’ll just comment on two things.

1) The "Tractor Tipping" scene.  My GOD, was that FUNNY.  I laughed longer and harder than I have in a LONG TIME.  I don’t know why I found it so, so HILARIOUS, but damn, was that FUNNY!!  Just…wow.

2)  I was particularly struck by the sub-plot that was the "towns that time forgot."  I have believed for a long time that the Interstate Highway System was one of the worst things to ever happen to this country.  It was the beginning of the end of the "Good Old Days" as far as I’m concerned.  I know it’s hard (impossible?) to be nostalgic for something you never personally experienced, but we really lost something important.  Trips used to be more about the journey and less about the destination.  The other way around is a comparative bore.  About 15 years ago I went to visit a friend who lives south of Rochester.  I decided I would get there and not set tire on an Interstate.  I left Keeseville and drove down US Route 9 until I got to Albany and then went west on US Route 20.  It was one of the most fun drives I have ever taken, but I saw many, MANY towns like Radiator Springs.  40 year old shadows of former glory, all but forgotten, ruined in the name of "progress".

I don’t have a very long "Bucket List".  I’m not sure I even have one at all yet.  But I have had a dream for a very long time now: I want to drive cross-country in that same manner.  No Interstates.  No McDonald’s. No Burger King.  I might not be able to tell you where I went, but I’ll sure have fun getting there!

Transmission Complete.

In my "Rumbling" post I referenced a transmission problem.  It is this: If I exceed 40 MPH and the car decides to shift into 4th, the car winds out like it’s in neutral.  I get no forward traction at all with the engine.  If I pull the shifter back to "3", the tranny catches and I can proceed, but doing 55 winds it out to 5000 RPMs.  Not good.

I’ve been dreading a diagnosis, fearing that the car having sat for 2.5 years did some kind of damage.  Transmissions in general are NOT cheap.  Saab transmissions are even MORE not cheap!  Last night I Googled for a couple of hours, prowled forums, and came up with nothing conclusive.  Just before going to bed, on a lark I e-mailed North Country Imports in Glens Falls and told them of my problem.  The sales guy called me this morning and said he’d spoken with the Service Manager who said I needed to check the "Electronic Downshift Motor" to "make sure the lever and cable are free."  Great.  Wherever THAT is!  (Hey, at least he didn’t leap straight to "new transmission, bring it in!"!  So after lunch today I pop the hood and start snooping around.  Behind the engine, on the firewall there’s this motor-looking thingy.  On the end of the thingy is a rotor-ma-bob with nothing attached to it.  Two inches from the rotor-ma-bob is the end of a cable, just sort of dangling out in space; lonely, looking for a hook-up.  (Sounds pathetically familiar…)  I snap a couple of pics with my phone and E-mail them back to Sales Guy.  He calls me back, says my pics were very clear and that I need an $8.00 clip.  Parts Guy ordered one up for me and will ship it as soon as it arrives.

Here’s one of the pics, in case you care:


Thursday evening on the way to Norwood for my regular Poker tournament my Saab’s front muffler went from "annoyingly rumbly" to full-out LOUD.  I figured the hole had just gotten bigger and decided it might finally be time to get it looked at.  Unfortunately, I still had to drive it ’cause Jeannie still had my van while hers was in the shop getting new head gaskets.  So I drove the Saab to work on Friday.  On my way home, I crossed Elm Street at Grant, doing so in front of an oncoming State Trooper who followed me onto Grant and pulled me over.  I thought maybe he had HEARD me and that I was about to get a noise violation.  Turns out my muffler was DRAGGING.  (I couldn’t hear it dragging, so I think it was just hanging really, really low.)  So now I HAVE to get it fixed in order to have the ticket I got expunged. 

It’s now in the shop and I have my van back, as Jeannie’s is fixed.  *sigh*  Saab parts are EXPENSIVE, and I wanted an estimate on the transmission problem before I sunk $$$ into the exhaust.  It might not be worth fixing!