Saturday, July 21, 2012

So I went to see a matinee showing of The Dark Knight Rises, there was some talk about a mass shooting in Colorado on the radio, but I didn't hear until I got out of the showing that it had been in a midnight showing of the same damn movie.  That was... odd.

The movie was kind of a disappointment, BTW.  Much more like Batman Begins than Dark Knight - very much a movie of pieces, poorly digested chunks and scenes without any real integration or thematic consistency.  I don't know why Nolan finds the Ra's al-Ghul/League of Shadows storyline so engrossing, but it... just doesn't work.  At least not for me, but then, I react poorly to "all-powerful conspiracy" narratives, I tend to fear and respect chaos (the Shuler Joker) more than hidden order (the League of Shadows et al).  Mostly because I tend to think that man-directed hidden orders are inherently fragile and implausible.  Mafias don't produce terrorist political revolutionary conspiracies - political revolutionary conspiracies and terrorist cults degenerate into mafias and fissiparous criminal families.  Entropy only really works in one direction, and Eternal All-Encompassing Ideological Conspiracy is a violation of the second socio-political law of thermodynamics.

Also, the Miranda Tate character makes no sense.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Longmire is a pretty good cop show.  About a Wyoming sheriff in a county on the Montana border, lots of rural West politics, decent if not brilliant writing.  Nice to see Katie Sackhoff getting work, and Lou Diamond Phillips has gotten better with age.  They're going to have trouble after a season or so with believability, though - rural ranching counties just don't have that many murders compared to LA or New York.  It'll turn into a grittier version of Cabot Cove in short order, I fear.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This report that H&R Block messed up their joke Bruce Wayne-vs-Peter Parker tax comparison by totally blowing the charitable-deduction rule -  you can't deduct more than 50% of your adjusted gross income with charitable contributions, you can only roll the excess over to later years - doesn't exactly fill me with confidence in their tax-preparation service.  I've been using their cheap online service for the last four years, since it's relatively quick - takes a long afternoon - and the results *looked* good.  But now I worry about what might happen if I get randomly audited and it turns out that their code is based on wild guesses instead of solid tax advice.  I've never understood the way the "Making America Work" deduction works in their online software, for instance - did they screw that up somehow? 

I don't have a complicated financial life - mortgage, single, not that many charitable contributions, local and state taxes, no real income outside of work, few medical expenses - so I'm not *seriously* worried.  But... concerned, maybe.  Does anyone else have a favored, cheap tax-preparation service?  I can't see actually hiring a CPA, I just don't have that sort of cash flow to justify it.

(BTW, I saw that gag tax ad on a comics webzine a couple weeks ago.  Laughed, didn't think much about it past that.  But there's a difference between a webgag and a for-real advertisement for tax preparation services.  Screw-ups are fine for the former, all good for a laugh - but if you're selling your expertise?  Argh.)

via the usual.