Monthly Archives: October 2015

Nitty Picker and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Ch. 9

We return now to Hogwarts and the Flying Circus. i imagine that flying on a broom would be like riding a bicycle or a unicycle and that you would work your way up to riding a broom, but not at Hogwarts! They throw their toddlers into the deep end and let ’em sink or swim.

I may be too nit picky, but for the life of my I can’t understand why the first thing you would teach in flying lessons is to shout “UP!” at your broomstick to make it go into your hand. Was is really too difficult for the ‘ickle firsties to bend owver and pick up the bwoom?

Also, I don’t understand how a magical broom can malfunction. Malfunctioning is for things that rely on hard science to do things. Brooms don’t care about gravity, so why are these old brooms flying slightly to the left or vibrating when they go to high? An airplane might vibrate if it goes to high or too fast, but that’s because airplanes care about air resistance. Cars may drive slightly to the left, but that’s a problem with steering and alignment. Brooms don’t have alignments!

You all know this part, the kids yell “UP!” and Harry’s broom obeys him. His is one of the few that do, because…..his broom graduated from obedience school? This is the only time anyone ever does this, so learning this trick is *entirely pointless*.

Harry thinks that brooms are like horses and they can tell when you are afraid. Ok, I offer this in reply: BROOMS DON’T HAVE BRAINS!!!!

Then Madam Hooch corrects Malfoy’s grip on the broom and told him he’d been doing it wrong for years. O ho ho! 10 o’clock and two o’clock, boys and girls!

I love Madam Hooch’s teaching method. Teach them to kick off from the ground and fly, but don’t teach them how to come back down. If only they did that for pilots- no trainer in the copilot’s seat, no simulators, just take off and you’ll figure it out.

I’m skipping through this chapter because it was really good. I’ll point out that Malfoy challenges Harry to a duel even though neither of them can do any magic. (So far only Hermione has been able to make a match go all silver and pointy) So what are they thinking of doing? See who can get more emotional and make glass disappear?

Hermione and Ron chemistry!!!: “You! Go back to bed!” said Ron furiously. Awwww isn’t that just love at first conversation? And when she gets locked out of the tower, Ron says: “That’s your problem.” Ron Weasley, Ladies’ Man.

Then they meet Neville outside the common room. Neville says Madam Pomfrey mended his arm in about a minute. I’ll give Madam Pomfrey the benefit of the doubt, but Neville is stupid. He breaks his arm, Harry has a flying fight with Malfoy, gets caught by McGonagall, taken to Quirrell’s class, meets Wood, told he’s the new Seeker, goes to dinner, gets challenged to a duel, goes to the common room, gets ready for bed, waits for everyone to retire to their dormitories, then sneaks back out…. all in one minute? Really, Neville? What were you doing the rest of the time?

Hermione and Rom chemistry!!!: Ron threatens her and Neville: “If either of you get us caught, I’ll never rest until I’ve learned the Curse of the Bogies Quirrell told us about, and use it on you.”

Peeves catches them and…blocks their path? I don’t really know, but Ron tells the ghost to get out of their way and takes a swipe at him. So the thing that has no corporeal form is blocking your way Ron? Is it common for you to smack your head against the air? Neville may not have a concept of time, but at least he has a concept of matter.

This book is great, and it’s only getting better. Ron’s proved himself a moron and Hermione has definitely charmed him with her feminine wiles. Match made in Hogwarts if you ask me! Ship them! Ship them now, before it becomes canon!!!

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Nitty Picker and the Sorcerer’s Stone- Ch.8

Harry is at Hogwarts and it’s a-MAY-ZAAAAAAHHHH!!!!! He’s been accepted into the fearsome League of Lions, he’s got his first words of wisdom from Dumbledore (“Blubber!”) and he’s excited to be away from the Dursleys. What happens to our brave hero in this exciting 8th chapter?!

Harry’s first obstacles at Hogwarts are: a lack of engineering degrees, blueprints drawn by Picasso, and living standards that are grossly failing health and safety regulations. Let’s tackle these problems as they arise!

Hogwarts has 142 staircases. The following should be considered Safety Hazard #2:

  • wide, sweeping ones (these staircases have giant brooms that try to knock students off the edge)
  • narrow, rickety ones (because the termites are the closest thing wizards have to carpenters)
  • some that led somewhere different on a Friday (you are still expected to get to classes on time, even if that means jumping to the desired floor)
  • some with a vanishing step halfway up that you had to remember to jump (but halfway down, you’re ok)
  • there were doors that wouldn’t open unless you asked politely (because doors think it’s polite to stand in your way when you need to pee)
  • or tickled them in exactly the right place (because tickling is all you can think of when you have to pee)
  • and doors that weren’t really doors at all, but solid walls just pretending. (don’t expect students to hold in their urine)

Filch catches Harry and Ron trying to open a door that happens to be the entrance to the third-floor corridor. Again, no signs, no warning lights, no caution tape? Let’s sue that Dumbledy-doo.

Harry quickly found out that waving your wand and saying a few funny words is not everything there is to magic. After all, you have to get emotional, want it (this won’t be a rule until the 5th book, but I’m adding it anyway), and pronounce the words correctly so the wand understands.

McGonagall’s first magic trick to the first years is to change her desk into walking bacon and back again. (Remember this moment for Book 7, kids. Making food could save your lives.)

And at the end of class, only Hermione was able to make her match all silver and pointy. I guess she didn’t say the funny words, wave her wand, get emotional, want it, or pronounce the words correctly so her wand could understand. Better luck next time, Hermione!

Snape’s debut performance is more than worthy of mention. “I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death.” If Snape can brew glory, then why isn’t he glorious? If he can bottle fame, then why why whhhyyyyy did he sell it to Jaden Smith and Justin Beiber??!!!!!

These students need to listen to Snape. He can teach them to “stopper death”. I know this is a kids’ book, but bare with me on this one. What if (if, mind you) someone important in this book series will die (I know it’s crazy-talk, but hear me out!) What if Dumbledore or Harry or, I don’t know, Snape were about to die. Snape could have this stuff on hand to save their lives!

Ok, trivia time. I’ll write the questions and you answer them before looking to see the correct answer below.

Q: What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?

A: Benedril

Q: Where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?

A: Cybertron. Bezoars are wild robot pigs that will gore you, so be careful.

Q: What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?

A: One is a hood worn by monks, the other isn’t.

How did you do? I got 5/5 right.

Safety Hazard #3: Neville had somehow managed to melt Seamus’s cauldron into a twisted blob, and their potion was seeping across the floor, burning holes in peoples shoes and causing boils to grow all over Neville. Any safety committee would demolish Hogwarts for the following:

  1. Not providing personal protective equipment to students.
  2. Not providing fire extinguishers or fire blankets for fire emergencies.
  3. Not providing waste disposal, wash stations, or spill-cleaning equipment.
  4. No downdrafts or fume hoods for vapor protection.
  5. Not providing safety training for students, or educating them on what to do in emergency situations.
  6. Using toxic, corrosive, and carcinogenic chemicals without first informing parents via permission slip.
  7. Using metal equipment to hold highly acidic chemicals instead of glass.

In short, I give Hogwarts an F minus minus for negligence in all safety regulations. This school should be shut down immediately and its faculty imprisoned.

Nitty Picker and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Ch. 7

Ah, yes. The chapter that truly begins the epic 8 book, 7 movie tale of Harry Potter (not sure why JK Rowling felt the need to split the last book into two parts!)

Now, the first thing I want to nitpick is when Professor McGonagall teaches us about the wonderful heritage of Hogwarts: “Each House has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards.” Yeah. Let’s break this down.

Noble history. I understand that Gryffindor and Ravenclaw may have noble histories, but Hufflepuff? Slytherin? Really McGonagall? Since ‘noble history’ is the only history we are ever given about Hufflepuff, I’ll take your word for it. And Slytherin has a noble history? You can fool anyone who hasn’t read the series, but you want to go with that? Ok, let’s put aside our knowledge that Salazar Slytherin was Nazi in his views of magic users, every dark witch and wizard has come from Slytherin, Slytherin built a Chamber of Secrets and filled it with a basilisk that could murder every student, Voldemort and his Death Eaters come from Slytherin, and the Slytherin common room is a dungeon, then yes, Slytherin has a noble history!

Oh and get this: “any rule-breaking will lose House points.” McGonagall’s script has a little asterisk by it that says (SPOILER): unless it is the end of the book and your name happens to be Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Neville. Then rule-breaking will win the House Cup.

The ghosts are also racist. When we first meet them, they are discussing the Peeves problem. “He’s not really even a ghost.” Come on! He’s not a ghost because he isn’t exactly like the rest of you ghosts? Go join Slytherin you reich-toplasms!

And at long last, the answer you have been waiting for: What is Hufflepuff? So Gryffindors are courageous and daring, Ravenclaws are smart, and Slytherins are cunning. Hufflepuffs! You are loyal and unafraid of toil! You can expect work in the field of servitude and Igor-ship.

And by the way, I must snobbishly and angrily wave my finger at anyone who likes Harry Potter. Clearly this author copied the House idea from Divergent!

So the new students are segregated into their various factions to be indoctrinated into a class war that has been since the foundation of the school and will soon erupt once again into a deadly war.

And our first sign that clearly shows us that Dumbledore is gay: “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” Yep. That’s cutting edge character development for you. (Oh, what’s that you say? That announcement was completely out of the blue and just a PR move? See? It’s right here in the book.)

Oh, Nick. Nearly Headless Nick. You raise so many questions that will never be answered. Someone tried to behead you, but didn’t do it properly. I’m guessing they used some advanced Ghostbusters weapon to cut through your ghostly neck. Oh, you were part-beheaded in life and your ghost is also part-beaheaded? That doesn’t make any sense. You ghosts can go through walls, how could an axe do anything to your ghost? Also, ghosts need to breathe to “live” because Nick pops his head off, sticks it back on and coughs! Again! Coughing means your throat is irritated by foreign contamination. If ghosts go through walls, then what does Nick has stuck in his throat that requires a cough?!?!!?! And what happens to a ghost if it stops breathing?!! How does Moaning Myrtle spend hours inside the plumbing and not drown? (Sorry, that happens in the next book. We are going through this book as though we have not read it yet.)

Neville explains that his family thought he was “all-Muggle for ages”. (*Squib hasn’t been invented yet… aaand there I go again about a future book.)

Neville’s uncle pushed him off the end of a pier and he nearly drowned. Call child protection services? No? Ok. And I thought the Puritan method of discovering witches was unfounded, but it is an approved method according to this book. If he drowned he wasn’t magical and he would be pardoned, but since he didn’t drown he must be a witch!

When Neville was dropped out of a window and rolled into the road, his family was pleased. I repeat: call child protection services.

Starting small in the Wizarding world is turning a match into a needle. I must ask if a big task is turning a log into a steel beam and what the difference between the two is. It’s wood to iron. Again, JK Rowling hints that size matters!

And hang on a minute! Why do wizards need matches? They have wands that can shoot and endless stream of fire out of them. Making matches is wasteful and harmful to the environment. (Tree Huggers unite against wizards!)

Arbitrary rule #1: no magic should be used between classes in the corridors. In Muggle schools, students are forbidden from practicing math in the hallways. That stuff is dangerous.

Unsafe conditions #1: the third-floor corridor is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death. Subsequently, all first-years died painful deaths because there were no hazard signs, no safety barriers, no warning lights, no security guards, and no maps to show them where to go. Good one, Hogwarts.

Also, anyone who does wish to die a painful death is allowed to go to the third-floor corridor. Instead of seeking psychological help, Dumbledore advises you to go die. Thanks, Dumbledore.

Dumbledore admits that music is a magic beyond all they do in Hogwarts. For those who wished to join the symphonic band, marching band, or choir we strongly urge you to shut your trap, burn your sheet music, and break your instruments. We will have none of that magic in this School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And now I wonder how any pure bloods know anything about music if it is forbidden.

I almost forgot about the Pink Lady. No she’s not an apple, but she is round. She’s a living thing capable of remembering faces and holding intelligent conversations with the rest of the school, but don’t ask her to remember faces to know which students belong to her House. No, instead make up a word that most students won’t remember. If you can’t remember, expect to be left out in the cold drafty corridors of the castle all night, while the stone drains the heat from your body and the rats chew at your feet. Oh, and since you are out in the hallways past curfew, you will also get detention. Good one, Pink Lady.

Wait. This isn’t the Pink Lady.

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