For April Fools Day 2017, in light of increased public concern about Internet privacy, Off on a Tangent displayed a new privacy request on page-load . . . requesting very absurd and exaggerated permissions. You can view that request by clicking here. Here is the explanatory announcement that appeared on the site itself:

Off on a Tangent is adopting a new, updated privacy policy. Your privacy is important. Visitors to the site will now be presented with a window explaining what user information we collect, and you will need to explicitly grant us permission to collect that information before being allowed access to Off on a Tangent content.

We want to be completely transparent, and give you full control over your data. You can trust us. Don’t worry about anything.

Which Way?

Everybody wants to be on “the right side of history.”

But here in the real world (what’s left of it), it is hard to tell in the moment which “side” will be viewed by our posterity as having been the “right side.” Humans are fallible. We misjudge. We misunderstand. We choose wrongly, and then we often persist in our wrongness. So when somebody says that you should adopt a particular political or moral position so that you can be on the “right side of history,” you should not follow them blindly. Sometimes they will be right. More often, they will be wrong.

Adding even more complexity is the fact that something can seem to be on an inexorable track toward “rightness” when it isn’t.

When the ancient Roman Empire was in its prime, I’m sure that many argued that Roman paganism, Roman law, and Roman imperialism would rule indefinitely. One can easily imagine a Roman governor telling early Christians that their weird little religious sect was obviously on the “wrong side of history,” especially with its counter-cultural ideas about love for God and neighbor, the sanctity of life, moral living, and sexual ethics. And yet history has shown that Christianity was, in fact, on the “right side” and pagan Rome, aside from some of its early republican ideals, was not. (Some are working tirelessly to rewrite and distort this bit of history.) . . . Continued

Toyota Prius

Things remain suspiciously calm in the world of ugly cars. Only one of last year’s (dis)honorees—the Nissan Juke—has gone on to the great parts-bin in the sky. Toyota, however, stepped up to the ugly subcompact SUV plate with their new C-HR. There have also been some of the usual adjustments to the ordering, most notably those caused by the proliferation of weird sub-models of the Honda Civic.

The criteria for inclusion is the same it has always been. I don’t include models that aren’t sold in the United States. I don’t include models that sell in very low volume (and volume is defined subjectively based on how many I see on the highways in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area). I don’t include exotic, military, or special-purpose vehicles—so no super-cars, tanks, or postal trucks. I also don’t include vehicles reserved exclusively for the commercial market, such as the persistently horrific Ram Promaster.

This list is my personal opinion. If you own one of the cars on this list, well, don’t take it personally.
. . . Continued

Gun Barrel Sequence from Dr. No

The James Bond (agent 007) character was created by author Ian Fleming for his novels, but he later took on a life of his own in the long-running film series. By my count, there have been twenty-five James Bond (agent 007) films to-date—the twenty-four “official” films by Eon Productions starring Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig, as well as the unofficial 1983 film Never Say Never Again starring Sean Connery.

Below is my list of each of these films, complete with brief reviews, ordered from worst-to-best. This list will be updated as new James Bond films are released. Note that many of these brief reviews contain spoilers.

. . . Continued

In the grand foyer of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, there is an eight foot tall bronze bust of President John F. Kennedy (D) that was sculpted by Robert Berks. It’s iconic and well-known, but I don’t like it. It looks like Kennedy’s head is encased in a chrysalis. When I see it, I sometimes (uh . . . always) quip that soon he will emerge as a beautiful butterfly.

You may or may not agree with my amateur art criticism. It’s not exactly my area of expertise. But still, here is an illustration of the life-cycle of the Kennedy from president, to pupa, to butterfly.

The Kennedy Chrysalis