Saturday, December 31, 2005

And, oh, what a ("Mandate") year it has been.

One more before we ring in the New Year. Concerning that Florida kid who secretly traveled to Iraq to do his bit for King George and Country, Blah3 has this interesting insight:
However, as befitting a member of his school's Republican party club, Farris seems well in tune with the current resident of the White House in other ways as well. As a matter of fact, it strikes me that in both cases we're dealing with:

--a rich kid with more money than sense;
--someone who went against everyone else's advice;
--a plan that was carried out in secret;
--someone without even a basic knowledge of Arabic;
--a complete lack of understanding of what dangers might await;
--a plan that involves only the vaguest notions about spreading democracy;
--and someone who eventually needed some adults to rescue him.

Yes, Farris has learned a lot from George. But there's two big differences: Farris actually seemed to be in earnest about his goals, and unlike the Boy King, Farris didn't kill anyone.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Of all the movies coming out this season, Munich was not near the top of my list of films to see. My main thought when I first heard about it was how Spielberg must have busted his ass to get it done so soon after War of the Worlds. Quick filmmaking, in this case, does not in any way translate into inferior filmmaking. The things I keep reading about this film and the directions it takes astonishes me. An excerpt from Slate's glowing review:

Is Munich an apology for Palestinian terrorists - for men and women who barbarously murder civilians? I don't consider a movie that assigns motives more complicated than pure evil to constitute an apology. The Israeli government and many conservative and pro-Israeli commentators have lambasted the film for naivete, for implying that governments should never retaliate. But an expression of uncertainty and disgust is not the same as one of outright denunciation. What Munich does say - and what I find irrefutable - is that this shortsighted tit-for-tat can produce a kind of insanity, both individual and collective. As members of Avner's own team (played by a blond Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, and Hanns Zischler) are picked off in chilling ways, his escalating paranoia - and his hunger for absolutes, for a "world of our fathers" that is long gone - transcends his time and place.

There are sequences in Munich that make you sick with fear, that are impossible to shake off - among them one in which a Palestinian professor's little daughter is on the verge of answering a booby-trapped telephone. Most horrible of all is the movie's one pure vengeance killing, which is among the most appalling things I've ever seen. We want that revenge - we want it fiercely. But it's staged with such ugliness - as a sexual violation - that we choke on it.

Munich reinforces the idea that - great Miltonian allegories notwithstanding - the notion of evil has become profoundly maladaptive. Today, saying our enemy is "evil" is like saying a preventable tragedy is "God's will": It's a way of letting ourselves off the hook for crimes committed in our name. Not incidentally, it's also a way for our enemies to let themselves off the hook.
Spielberg has taken some heat from those who have bolstered his name in the past. Jews who sang his praises after Schindler's List are now heaping scorn upon him after suggesting that we look upon the efforts of Mossad as anything but righteous. Spielberg, for his part, is having none of it. He recently defended himself in an interview with Roger Ebert:

"Some of my critics are asking how Spielberg, this Hollywood liberal who makes dinosaur movies, can say anything serious about this subject that baffles so many smart people. What they're basically saying is, 'You disagree with us in a big public way, and we want you to shut up, and we want this movie to go back in the can.' That's a nefarious attempt to make people plug up their ears. That's not Jewish, it's not democratic, and it's bad for everyone -- especially in a democratic society."

Yet what is he saying that has people so disturbed? Careful attention to the film itself suggests that it's not so much what he says as that he dares even to open up the Middle East for discussion.

"My film refuses to be a pamphlet," Spielberg said. "My screenwriter Tony Kushner and I were hoping to make it a visceral, emotional and intellectual experience, combined in such a way that it will help you get in touch with what you feel are the questions the film poses. He said he was taught by his parents, his rabbi and his faith that discussion "is the highest good -- it's Talmudic."

But what about the issue of "moral equivalence," the charge that he equates the Israeli and Palestinian causes, when the rightness of one (or the other) is seen as not debatable?

"Frankly, I think that's a stupid charge. The people who attack the movie based on 'moral equivalence' are some of the same people who say diplomacy itself is an exercise in moral equivalence, and that war is the only answer. That the only way to fight terrorism is to dehumanize the terrorists by asking no questions about who they are and where they come from.

"What I believe is, every act of terrorism requires a strong response, but we must also pay attention to the causes. That's why we have brains and the power to think passionately. Understanding does not require approval. Understanding is not the same as inaction. Understanding is a very muscular act. If I'm endorsing understanding and being attacked for that, then I am almost flattered."
A-men. The issues are important ones and are ones that need to be communicated to a wide audience. Munich will not have Jurassic Park like numbers, to be sure, but the subject matter will get out there and start people talking.

From Saving Private Ryan to Minority Report to Catch Me If You Can to War of the Worlds to, now, Munich.


Please keep up the good work, Mr. Spielberg. You are very much still worthy of our attention and admiration.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Keep pulling me back in

I swear I was going to stop posting for awhile. But just as the man who starts a diet right before Christmas (Trust me. Of this I know), I foolishly called for a break just before Bush goes on the brink of totally losing it (mind and presidency). Reposted whole cloth from Demagogue:

Looks like Bush's people didn't get around to scrubbing this speech from the site.

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution." - George W. Bush, April 20, 2004

There you have it ladies and gentlemen-- Bush clearly states that he knows that wiretaps without court orders are unconstitutional at the same time he is/had been secretly authorizing the NSA to conduct order-free surveillance of American citizens for two years.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

So much for faith healing

I had to break my hibernation ever-so-briefly to post this (click to enlarge):

Thank you, Trudeau. You've addressed the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design ridiculousness and the obscenity of some Pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control. On target, as always.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Diesel Powered Nuns

Don't worry. I'll be getting back to what that means in a minute.

Earlier this year, I came across a satirical blog post that charted the general stages of most personal blogs in terms of content and frequency. Included amongst this is the declaration from the imaginary blog's author that they have gone into a rut and is taking a break for awhile.

And so goes Acrentropy.

It could just be the busy time of year. It can also be the fact that my fellow employees and I will be busting our hinders in the coming months (years?) due to a dearth of support staff. In any case, Acrentropy and I will be taking a sabbatical for the most part. There will be new posts, but not nearly as frequent as before. The next one you see should be the inauguration of "Quote of the Month" for a new year and a new actor on January 1, 2006.

More of my energies will be spent on the La-La Land Library, which is in itself a library project and thus deserving of my dwindling time reserves. The site's support blog, the aforementioned Diesel Powered Nuns, serves as a repository for newly found links I come across before they are added to the ever-expanding entertainment directory.

So if you're a first time visitor or one of the faithful few, I invite you to visit La-La and DPN. Make some use of my directory to answer any film or television questions you have. And if you have a question that those sites can't answer, then email me and I'll do my best to find it out for you.

After all, I'm a Librarian. It's what I do.

There's typecasting, and then there's typecasting

Of all the actors who have appeared in the various Star Trek TV shows, one of the most prolific in terms of steady, noticeable work is Colm Meany. With the release of Kingdom of Heaven and Syrianna this year, Alexander Siddig can now be added to that group of Star Trek actors who have been able to progress past their Federation term of service.

The interesting thing is that while most Trek actors have been doomed to play related Sci-Fi roles ever after, it would seem that the golden ticket for these two particular folks is another typecasting altogether: Ethnicity. During his tenure with ST-TNG and DS9, Meany started playing Irishmen in Far and Away, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain and a starring role in The Snapper. He's now gotten to a position where he can get roles that have nothing to do with his being Irish (witness his intense turn in the recent Law & Order: Criminal Intent two hour special) yet will still find himself in such Irish charm overloads as the recent The Boys from County Clare.

Now Siddig is starting to get some major attention for his two big films this year. For his part, he appears to welcome the opportunity to play these Arabic roles, and who can blame him. Hollywood isn't really swimming in prominent Arabic actors, so he has the opportunity to be a real trailblazer. More power to him. And it's nice to see these guys able to have a career outside of futuristic jumpsuits.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Aflac duck in a three-way?

While at work yesterday, I came across a link to Gilbert Gottfried's blog. After clicking it, I got the standard alert screen for our library system's web filter:

I'm 99% sure that the filter is sensing material from his recent appearance in The Aristocrats. Still, I hope this is the first and last time I see the concepts of "Gilbert Gottfried" and "Pornography" paired together.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Honoring the Fallen

Republicans are constantly trying to downplay the increasing number of American soldiers killed in Iraq. Yet, apparently, the numbers are high enough that the Bush administration has decided to forgo the solemness and ceremony that is the right of every one of our troops when they are killed in the service of our country (via Blah3):

There's controversy over how the military is transporting the bodies of service members killed overseas, 10News reported. A local family said fallen soldiers and Marines deserve better and that one would think our war heroes are being transported with dignity, care and respect. It said one would think upon arrival in their hometowns they are greeted with honor. But unfortunately, the family said that is just not the case.

Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag -- greeted by a color guard.

But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners -- stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo. John Holley and his wife, Stacey, were stunned when they found out the body of their only child, Matthew, who died in Iraq last month, would be arriving at Lindbergh Field as freight.

"When someone dies in combat, they need to give them due respect they deserve for (the) sacrifice they made," said John Holley.

The only reason I can think of for this happening is cost cutting, and even that is a piss poor excuse. Really, really sad.

Chicken Caesar Review: Quiznos Sub

I've always thought Quiznos was just a fancy-pants version of Subway, but their influence was made obvious when Subway started their toasted subs campaign earlier this year. The Quiznos Roman Chicken Salad (which is a Chicken Caesar by any other name and costs $4.99) contains tender chicken breast strips topped with Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese and spices that are all heated in an oven and then placed on Quiznos Sub own Salad Blend with vine-ripened cherry tomatoes and a side of Peppercorn Caesar dressing.

The operative word here being "side". The salad is not tossed. Furthermore, the triple-threat combination of thick dressing, confining triangular-shaped container and largish pieces of Romaine and Radicchio lettuce, makes tossing or even stirring a non-option. I will admit that the cheese being melted on top of the chicken was a plus with both tasty elements complimenting each other, but the most of the little squares of cheese just melted together into a single, long patchwork line. With the final gripe of no croutons or bread included with the salad, I will say that the individual ingredients were quite good. It's just their presentation as a whole that was problematic.

Overall, at $4.99 you could do a lot worse in terms of Chicken Caesars. But if you happen to be a Quiznos like the one I visited, which is situated two stores down from a Panera, you may consider taking a walk.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Regarding Mel Gibson's upcoming Holocaust series

The real statement made by Gibson regarding the Holocaust was that there were a lot more groups that died in the millions in recent history. The quote:
"I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union."
Fair enough. I've known people myself who were irked by the fact that there is so much attention paid to the Holocaust, yet very little is commonly known about the millions dead under Stalin. But if this is truly Gibson's attitude, then why doesn't he make a high-profile miniseries about the Stalinist purges or those that starved in the Ukraine. Instead he's making yet another film about the Holocaust. Very odd.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

DVD Goodness and Badness

The good news for my wallet is that I can now go through the Digital Bits Upcoming DVD Art gallery and not feel compelled to buy a dozen or more new DVD's.

The bad news is that I keep running into my favorite movies being released in special editions that I've already purchased in standard editions. Such was the case with The Great Escape, The Fifth Element and The Truman Show in previous years, which I have held off buying a second time. With Malcom X, I actually bothered to trade in for the new one at MovieStop for the sake of the extras.

Now I see that Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Bueller Bueller Edition and The Wild Bunch Two-Disc Special Edition are both coming out next month. ARGH! Stop doing this to me, or so help me I'll stop buying DVD's altogether!

Eh, who am I kidding?

One addendum: Though I do not feel compelled to purchase a dozen DVD's, I will put one of the upcoming titles on my wish list: Star Trek: Fan Collective - Borg. This follows the Patrick Stewart ST:TNG set from a few years ago. Let's all scrunch our eyes up and wish really, really hard that a Q set comes out soon hereafter.

Firth! That's who!

The title is a gentle jibe at Mrs. Mosley's comment about Colin Firth after seeing Matthew MacFayden in the role of Mr. Darcy in the latest Pride & Prejudice. In my looking over articles and reviews for the movie, I came across a hilarious mediation on the character by MSNBC's Mary Beth Ellis:
Colin was Action Figure Darcy. He fences! He swims! He bathes! Naked! He gives and fixes and scowls and rides his horse and just in general Firths all over the place, and we are much the better for it.

He also stares, a lot. There is a great deal of staring on the part of Darcy, mostly at Elizabeth Bennet, who occasionally stares back, which in the Regency era I suppose was the equivalent of text messaging.

I must find a way to use the verb "to Firth" in a sentence sometime today.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Operation Crab Grass

Bloggers watch Bush's feeble attempt at speechifying about Iraq so you don't have to. Of particular interest was Blah3's notation: "There's an incessant banging that's been going on throughout the speech so far - like Bush is going all Katherine Hepburn on the podium. And he's bragging about new sod in a soccer stadium."

Silly us! We didn't need to send the 4th Infantry Division to Iraq! We needed to send Cletus Fuddrucker's Landscaping Service!

More fun with Anagrams

This website, which is now a book, had a great idea: Create anagrams of famous author's names, then use that anagram as a title for a story/play/poem in the style of said author. The results are hilarious as we have Edward Albee's "A Wee Bladder", A. A. Milne's "An E-Mail", and William Shakespeare's "Is a Sperm Like a Whale?", among others.

With much respect (and sheer awe), allow me to reprint the short but sweet Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Errol Flynn's Not Dead":
He grabs the rope with withered hands,
Swings through the air and softly lands;
Girt with a silver sword he stands.

That rotting man is Errol Flynn;
He bares a grey and toothless grin,
And like a zombie eats my skin.

Ironically, they haven't used any with the dead grandparents in them

In the classic MST3K episode featuring "Manos: The Hands of Fate", Joel and the bots present an invention they call the "Cartuner". To paraphrase Joel, the device combines dodgy, ambiguous cartoons and mixes them with stifingly unfunny cartoons in order to make them funny.

Well, it looks like somebody got the idea to mix up Family Circus with the works of H.P. Lovecraft (via Boing Boing):

Hank Hill said it best: That boy 'aint right.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My vote for "Best Screen Capture & Caption of 2005"

I laughed my ass off over this when I first saw it a couple of weeks ago. It comes from a review of The Gingerdead Man over at Cold Fusion Video Reviews. Knowing the context helps understand it, but I still think it's damn funny on it's own:

"'Whaaat a friend we have in Jeeesuus...' Everybody sing!"

"Rot in Peace"

There's a very haunting slideshow over on Slate concerning the decay of structures as they are overtaken by nature. For obvious reasons, this picture and description particularly got to me:

In this slide, Vergara's photo of the derelict reading room of the Camden Free Library in New Jersey, a thicket of saplings reaches toward a tattered ceiling's filtered light. Historian Elizabeth Blackmar detects in Vergara's photos an "aesthetic pause," which leads us to wonder how we could have avoided the wasting away of these 20th-century landmarks - and to reflect on what we are to learn from their demise.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I just got wind of this story from Workbench and my brain is still boggling. Apparently, Jennifer Aniston recently posed partially nude on the cover of GQ and conservative columnist John Derbyshire expressed his distaste for it. Not because it was indecent or immoral, mind you, but because she's in her mid-thirties:

"While I have no doubt that Ms. Aniston is a paragon of charm, wit, and intelligence, she is also 36 years old. Even with the strenuous body-hardening exercise routines now compulsory for movie stars, at age 36 the forces of nature have won out over the view-worthiness of the unsupported female bust."

"It is, in fact, a sad truth about human life that beyond our salad days, very few of us are interesting to look at in the buff. Added to that sadness is the very unfair truth that a woman's salad days are shorter than a man's -- really, in this precise context, only from about 15 to 20. The Nautilus and the treadmill can add a half decade or so, but by 36 the bloom is definitely off the rose."

I'll repeat my post title query: HUH?!?!

Most of the reactions to this comment has been along the lines of the irony for a National Review columnist to be expressing such Lolita-ish tendencies. My gripe is much more basic: How the hell can you call this woman unattractive? I do not count myself among her many ardent fans, but I can recognize beauty and she's in no way lacking in that department. Heaven forbid this guy watch the remake of Thomas Crown Affair lest he become physically ill when 45 year old Rene Russo gets nekid.

If this is the kind of grand divide between liberals and conservatives, then vive la difference! Still, it makes me worry about those poor fifteen year olds in red states.

Chicken Caesar Review: Longhorn Steakhouse

With Mrs. Mosley's penchant for split-and-shift at Longhorn (she gets shrimp and I get steak so we can both share), it's a rare opportunity for me to get something like a salad. Recently, I was finally able to partake of their Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, which goes for $9.99 and includes Romaine lettuce topped with sliced, seasoned, grilled chicken, croutons and flakes of Romano cheese.

That cheese bit is a guess, as they don't actually name the cheese on the menu. Regardless of it's type, it's tasty and plentiful on this salad. In most respects, the salad is a larger version of their Caesar side, which I've had more times than I can count and have always been satisfied with. The warm chicken is exceptionally tender and moist. The lettuce is fresh and tossed with a mild Caesar dressing. Finally, the croutons are seasoned and simply average.

Longhorn's ribeyes have long been my favorite, and their Chicken Caesar is also a mark of their quality. It's not as flashy as some other Chicken Caesars in this price range, but it does it's job well (which, unfortunately, is an abnormality these days).

Friday, December 02, 2005

Sex & Violence: Creed style!

I never liked them, so I feel less bad about spreading the humiliation of a certain frontman for a christian rock group (via Atrios).

Anyway. Here's Scott Stapp with the Sex:

Anyway, so the guy who was so spiritually affected by The Passion of the Christ is now hightailing it to Gainesville to tag a piece of ass he met in an airport bar. And he's having his ghettotastic hootchie skanky Jersey girl sleaze of a sister drive him. Yes, Creed is making his sister drive him to the Gainesville Denny's for a booty call.

And here he is with the Violence:

But Stapp later came into the Harbor Court Hotel bar while Sexton and bandmates SA Martinez and P-Nut were watching basketball on television. He stepped in front of the screen and said, "311, I am ready to fight," according to Sexton.
It's nice to end the week of a humorous note. Bye bye.

So much for diligence

In the two days I worked before Thanksgiving, I fielded questions from two grumpy patrons.

One was a woman who called asking the location of the library and the status of parking. I gave her the new address, directions and options for parking: She could use our new, secure garage next door which is $2.00 and hour with a max of $10.00 a day, or a close by empty lot which charges only $3.00 a day. I also told her that if she spent less than an hour here, She could get her parking validated and park for free. She dismissively responded to this by saying that her genealogy research couldn't be done in an hour and that it was inconvenient for people to have to drive downtown (as opposed to one of the branches) in order to do this sort of research.

The other was a gentleman who came in looking for the Grants Resource Center. In the previous building, this was a separate room with both circulating and non-circulating materials. In the new building, the non-circulating materials were given their own special section in Reference and the circulating materials were integrated with the nonfiction collection. When I showed him the stuff in Reference and told him that circulating materials would be under the same call numbers on the third floor, he screwed up his face and complained that it was a big hassle to go upstairs.

A little advice, folks. My wife is familiar with the great lengths her grandfather went for his genealogy research and I know from several acquaintances the bureaucratic hoops one has to jump through for government grants. If you don't have the dedication and patience to travel downtown or even climb a flight of stairs, then you may just want to hang it up right now.

Even more concise than "Two Thumbs Up!"

Mrs. Mosley and I finally went to see the long anticipated version of Pride & Prejudice now in theaters. I thought it extraordinarily well done, if a bit rushed in spots. As for my wife, her opinion was perfectly expressed in a sparse two words that she said to me right after the film ended:

"Colin who?"

Thursday, December 01, 2005

"... missile attacks that look like screen savers ..."

Fans of MST3K like me live for really bad movies where the budgetary shortcomings are just glaring. Slate writer Grady Hendrix risks a one-way ticket to Hell by tearing apart the Left Behind movies, and it's hilarious:
In Left Behind 2: Tribulation Force, for example, Kirk Cameron has to take Ben Judah, a respected rabbi, to the Wailing Wall so that he can tell Jews everywhere that Jesus Christ is Lord. Israel is represented by a few stone walls obviously made of plywood, some Christmas-tree lights, and 500 volunteer extras wearing leftover costumes from a Nativity pageant. The Wailing Wall is patrolled by soldiers dressed in World War II army uniforms. The producers have also dubbed in the sound of goats during scenes set in downtown Jerusalem, which leads to the unusual notion that modern-day Israel is populated by WWII re-enactors, nervous-looking people in bathrobes, and goats.

Keith David Quote of the Month: December 2005

There's not a lot of setup for this month's quote. Agent Cody Banks is something I've never seen and probably never will, even with the supercool presence of Keith David as the CIA director. I can't give a lot of context or thoughts on this quote, except that I bet George Tenet wouldn't last a single round with David in a matchup.

Cody Banks: All her classes, isn't that kind of creepy?

CIA Director: Creepy? We're the CIA, creepy is what we do.