Grg Lstr's linkdump and thoughts on science, family and things in the ocean that would kill you if given the opportunity.

Link Dump: Treats, Joes and Rockets edition.

177 feet and falling fast

The Falcon Heavy Launch was big news last week. This shot of a booster landing gave me the first real sense of the size of the damn thing, which is about 177 feet according to something I quickly looked up.

Our Puppy is Fat, but…

Need to see if Dearest Daughter would like to help make some.

A Real American Hero

Here’s another retelling of the G.I. Joe origin story, paying proper respect to Larry Hama.   I just happened to re-read the first fifty issues or so the other week, and they were as just as good as I remembered them.

Yes, the point was to sell toys. But Hama has a great mind for storytelling and realism.  I still have memories of reading issue #50 for the first time–the Battle of Springfield, which claimed YourTownUSA Springfield for Cobra long before the Simpsons moved in.

There was a scene where a Cobra family–career terrorist and his children–burn their documents and put down the family dog before boarding the airlift out. That haunted 10 year old me.

Shark Heads, Shark Heads, Eat ‘Em up Yum!

Okay, so we got a couple of options here with this mako head.

  1. Its fake. They cut the head off a shark and staged some photos.
  2. It isn’t fake and circumstances led to a dead shark either being chomped to pieces or otherwise chopped up (other fishermen who just wanted the fin, perhaps?)
  3. A big beastie took a chomp
  4. Viral marketing for Megalodon 2: Megalodon’t

Quick Reviews: The Crimes of the Crimes of Grindelwald (spoilers)

I think I want to get in the habit of cataloguing my media consumption here. I generally get just a few opportunities to view a pictures on a screen (I was going to say watch television, but that isn’t strictly true any longer)–while working out on my elliptical machine in the basement, on the weekends if I catch a movie with the kids, and falling asleep while my wife watches a show next to me.

It turns out I can fall asleep while holding up a phone or tablet so she can see it.

So, let’s kick this off with something I watched with the kids this weekend: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.  I’ve read all the Harry Potter books to the kids, with the exception of the last one. For some reason, they just didn’t want me to read The Deathly Hallows to them, and I know they’ve read every other Potter book on their own. I haven’t gotten a good reason why, but I suspect the death of Dumbledore hit them pretty hard and that they have heard noises about more death in the last book.

Collectively, the Lstr household thought the first movie was uneven but fun. Bottom line: This movie was uneven and somewhat joyless. That’s despite the fact that I enjoyed each and every actor on the screen, particularly Jude Law.


  • My daughter uttered the phrase “They are not going to kill that baby, are they?” twice during this film. And the phrase “This movie murders babies” at least once.
  • Pretty much the entire ending of the first movie was undone through unconvincing exposition. Jacob’s memory? Wasn’t wiped. The death of creepy kid? Didn’t happen. Newt’s love interest? Estranged via awkward lack of communication. I wonder if the thunderbird is back in Newt’s box somewhere.
  • Both the Ministry of Magic and Dumbledore want Newt as a their secret agent against Grindelwald because, essentially, he’s so weird and awkward that nobody would suspect he’s anything but the Magical Steve Irwin/Doctor Who mashup that he is. Did nobody else see the first movie where he exposed Grindelwald? No, I guess the first movie didn’t happen and we’re doing this who retcon thing now.
  • Speaking of the big G. How did Grindelwald become a husky-eyed fauxbino? Maybe too much polyjuice. In the Harry Potter movies he was your standard British character actor. Couldn’t JK kept with the No Americans rule?
  • Did this movie somehow take the position that Magic Nazis wanted to prevent WWII?
  • How poorly contrived and overly complicated was the switched/drowned baby story? I love Rowling’s storytelling, but she’s gotten too big for an editor. She’s crossed the Lucas horizon.
  • So, is Dumbledore’s long lost, previously-never mentioned brother now the anti-Potter?

New to Me in 2018: Nonagon Infinity opens the door

I get it, I’m old. I’m a parent. All I hear all day is the soundtrack to Hamilton blaring from the kids’ rooms and my cranky old man podcasts. (Although, I’ve started letting my 10 year-old listen to The Adventure Zone, and he’s hooked. He’s f-bomb aware and pretty disciplined about that, so don’t question my parenting. My parenting is amazing, obviously.)

I digress.

What I mean to say is that it is rare that I listen to relatively new music, let alone come across it on my own.  Aussie psychedelic/prog (is that fair, prog?) rock champions King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard  were completely beneath my radar until I happened to find them on YouTube–my daily work background noise is usually ambient or some synthwave variant megamix that I can put on for a few hours.

My body’s overworked
It’s just the same I know
When can my body work
Cold static overload?

So, what’s new to me? Other than this new WordPress “block” interface, that is. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard has some old school concept rock sensibilities, yet remains fresh.  Normally, this sort of thing wears out quickly for me.

Nonagon Infinity, however, has been on heavy rotation on my godforsaken morning drive each morning. It came out in ’16–but, like I said, new to me. It is inherently re-listenable, as its central conceit is that all the songs are designed–if that’s the word for it–to dovetail into the next one regardless of what order the album is played. 

New to Me in 2018: Camera Thief

So, I get to cheat a little with this one. Joe Duffey and his brother Brendan aren’t new to me. I see them all the time all over town. Joe saved my [soccer] life this year as we started up a new U11 travel team. Joe’s music isn’t all that new to me either, as his previous band, Underwater Window Garden, released a fantastic album a few years back entitled The Greatly Divided, which you should buy.

Joe is a great guy, and I’d be a fan of him whether or not he played in band. As it is, his new band Camera Thief crushed it at the local arts fest this year. They’re working on a new album, but its increasingly looking like it won’t happen in 2018. Fortunately, they’re on SoundCloud with a handful of songs now.

This one, Starting Fires, legitimately gives me chills:

I love this video because a) public domain Superman from Fleischer studios,  b) it is a good tune and, c) Joe did the editing himself. See for yourself:

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