And not even the good kind of horror.
Christmas eve, Shelly and I and her sweetie and his wife celebrated Christmas eve by seeing Sweeny Todd, the movie that shows that Johnny Depp is capable, when he chooses, of reaching very near to the pinnacle of creepiness set long ago by Christopher Walken. This is no small feat, for Christopher Walken is a creepy motherfucker.
That’s not the horror, though. Lots of people being killed very graphically, but that’s not the horror.
We didn’t look up the movie times,a nd as a result we spent over three hours chasing around from theater to theater, always arriving either two hours before the movie started or twenty minutes after it had begun. That’s not the horror, either.
Finally, we ended up spending a couple hours in a Barnes & Noble waiting for the last showing of the movie. That, too, is not the horror; indeed, there are many worse ways to spend several hours than in a book store. I even learned something while I was there1.
The horror is that we live in a world in which there is Dick Cheney slash fiction.
And it’s sold in the “literature” section of Barnes & Noble.
I don’t know what the book is called. I’ve blotted it from my memory. Shelly found it; it’s a collection of short stories, all erotica. And one of those short stories is… shudder… Dick Cheney slash. In a gun store.
In which Cheney gets sodomized.
I fear I will never recover.
1 I ended up picking up a book on helicopter design. Most of the book was way over my head; the math began on page 1, and the bulk of the book’s three inches in heft was calculus and fluid dynamics. One interesting tidbit, which did get lodged in my brain and will no doubt stay there forever, even though I can never quite seem to remember things like what street I live on, concerns autorotation.
If a helicopter’s engine fails, the helicopter can land safely using a principle called autorotation. The rotor blades are disengaged from the engine, so they can spin freely. As the helicopter falls, the air rushing past it causes the rotor blades to spin, generating lift and slowing the fall.
The neat bit of information, which is wildly non-intuitive but makes perfect sense when you stop to think about the physics involved, is that a light helicopter that is autorotating will fall much faster than a heavy helicopter.
The acceleration imparted by gravity is constant: 9.8m/sec2. Objects which are behaving ballistically always fall at the same speed regardless of their weight. However, a heavy object has more potential energy than a light object. As an object falls, this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy. A heavy helicopter has more potential energy than a light helicopter, so more energy is available to spin the rotor blades as it falls. Until you reach the point where the weight of the helicopter is so great that it overcomes the blades’ ability to generate lift, a heavy helicopter falls more slowly than a light helicopter, because it loses more energy per vertical foot of drop, and so there is more energy available to be turned into rotational energy in the blades (and hence lift), which slows its drop.
The book had about four pages of calculus to support this assertion, and it makes perfect sense from a conservation of energy perspective.
And man, that’s got to be the biggest and most irrelevant digression EVER.