Scott McClellan announced yesterday that he is writing a memoir, to be published next spring. In the book--which covers the former press secretary's childhood, entry into politics, and prominent position in the Bush Administration--McClellan will insist that he already addressed these topics in earlier statements, refuse to answer hypotheticals, and reiterate his longstanding policy of not commenting on his life while it is currently in progress.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
And as a bonus, here's a screen grab of Angie. Damn she kicks ass in this movie:
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Of course, Oldboy had the excuse of being taken away from his wife and child and locked in a room for years without any explanation whatsoever. Unless Cho spent some time we don't know about in Gitmo, all he had to blame was angst.
Update: Looks like someone at the NYT beat me to this observation. The article mentions an excerpt from the NYT review at the time of it's release and how such a film only appealed to "cult-film aficionados for whom distinctions between high art and low are unknown, unrecognized and certainly unwelcome".
Bite me, NYT. The current Tomatometer rating for Oldboy is 81% fresh, meaning that there were a hell of a lot of critics (who did know the difference between High art and Low) that saw it for what it was: a beautifully crafted film and moving film. Don't start demonizing this film because some schmuck got off on the violence and ignored everything else.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Old people rapping: Lame.
Old people performing The Who in full orchestration: Rocks!
Oh, and if they decide to actually release this as a physical CD single, I believe the Boing Boing screen capture should be the cover art:
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Putting aside the the possibility that this goal is achievable given the way that the Iraq venture has been botched so far (and continues to be botched), you would think that Bush would want people on his side that share this noble dream and are willing to fight to the bitter end to achieve it.
It is with this in mind that we read recent statements by John Bolton and realize that Bush did everything he could to ensure that his face and voice would represent this country on the world stage as embodied by the United Nations. The following is an excerpt by Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic commenting on Bolton's words (via Think Progress):
What staggers me about this clip is Bolton's point-blank view that the US had no responsibility to impose order after the invasion, and no responsibility for security within the country. Bolton actually says that the only error Bush really made was not giving the Iraqis "a copy of the Federalist papers and saying, 'Good luck.'" Yes, he says he's exaggerating for effect, but he is conveying the gist of the policy. The casual recklessness and arrogance of these people never cease to amaze. The world is theirs' to play with - and the victims of predictable and predicted violence are left to help themselves.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
"If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who."
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Well, as with many entertainment sites on the web, TNMC seems to have finally given up the ghost. Over the past year, the updates have been spotty at best with a new story posted about once a month. The current URL now shows a standard page stating that the address has expired. I have little hope that it will be renewed.
If it isn't, I'd like to bid farewell to the guys and gals at TNMC. It was good run while it lasted.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
It's a very tragic thing to think about, especially when we adopted our beloved Gandalf, who died only months ago, from that very same shelter back in 2002. If there are any readers who would like to contribute to the Jacksonville Human Society, click here. Thank you.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Over at the CNN website yesterday, there was a commentary by Roland Martin, a CNN contributor. He bemoaned the trend of many Christians to focus all their energies on abortion and homosexuality but completely ignore many others that are even more pressing. He illustrated this with two anecdotes, the second of which appears below:
An African-American pastor I know in the Midwest was asked by a group of mostly white clergy to march in an anti-abortion rally. He was fine with that, but then asked the clergy if they would work with him to fight crack houses in predominantly black neighborhoods.
"That's really your problem," he was told.
They saw abortion as a moral imperative, but not a community ravaged by crack.
Here's the funny thing about this particular Skippy quote. This nameless pastor (or, given the wording, pastors) could have declined in pretty much any other way and not have gotten chosen to be Skippy. He could have said that his current duties leave him no time to address other such pressing issues. He could have said that he felt ill-equipped to deal with such a situation. He could even have said simply said "No" and left it at that.
Instead, he uses words that specifically states that there is a segment of the Christian public that he doesn't really care about and would rather leave it to others to take care of. My God. What sort of congregation could respect this man and listen to him every Sunday?
This Pastor sees a first problem that affects people of all classes. This problem can be combated mostly by preaching from the pulpit, participating in marches, and hanging out in front of Family Planning clinics and yelling at people who are going inside. His worst worry with something like this is perhaps someone yelling back, but that's about it.
He then sees a second problem affecting only the African American poor who are likely not part of his congregation. This problem can involve marches as well, but in addition will involve counseling, forming bonds with families in these communities, and perhaps standing toe-to-toe with the criminal element. His worst worry with something like this is not just getting yelled at.
So he chooses the former and tells his colleague that the later is not an MP but a YP.
Onward Christian Soldiers, indeed.
Friday, April 06, 2007
A blonde walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she's going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan, so the blonde hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce.
The car is parked on the street in front of the bank, she has the title and everything checks out. The bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan.
The bank's president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the blonde for using a $250,000 Rolls as collateral against a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then proceeds to drive the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parks it there.
Two weeks later, the blonde returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $25.41. The loan officer says, "Miss, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000 on a $250,000 car?"
The blond looks at him coolly and replies "Where else in New York City can I park my car in a guarded lot for two weeks for only $25.41?"
Thursday, April 05, 2007
"But what does it all mean?" asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.In terms of the film itself, let me start off by saying I enjoyed it. I hadn't read the book, but I had heard good things about it. Mrs. Mosley, who is a big fan of the Narnia series, convinced me to sit down and watch it with her. They were really trying to catch the Fantasy wave that the Lord of the Rings movies started, and they did a good job. It's a solid, entertaining film that certainly merits a sequel (Prince Caspian will be released sometime next year).
"It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."
Susan: "We saw the Witch, the knife."
Aslan: "If the Witch knew the true meaning of sacrifice, she might have interpreted the Deep Magic a little differently. For she would know that if a willing victim who had committed no treachery died in a traitors stead, the Stone Table would crack and death itself would begin to unwind."
There was one part of it that nagged at me after it was over, and it is the scene that the two quotes above are taken from. For those who haven't seen the film, the subplot breaks down like this: The White Witch demands the sacrifice of Edmund, as the law dictates. Aslan offers himself to take his place, which the Witch accepts. Aslan is then tortured and killed on a stone table. Sometime later, he returns from the dead. When Susan asks how this is possible, Aslan explains, which is the text I have provided above.
My question is this: Can Aslan's deed truthfully be called a "sacrifice"? We learn after the fact that Aslan knew all along that his death would not be a final one. He sees his situation thusly: "I will offer myself up to the White Witch and she will believe that my steps up to the altar will be my final ones on this earth. In reality, unknown to her, I will rise again. Thus, Edmund will be saved and I will be able to come back and help our forces win the great battle."
Isn't this method of dealing with her a little ... underhanded? Of course, this certainly isn't unprecedented in popular film:
Vizzini, unlike his two partners in crime, is a bully and villain. And when he is dispatched in such a fashion, we don't blink an eye. Why? Because this film is a comedy. Vizzini's menace may be sincere, but honestly, how can you not laugh at Wallace Shawn keeling over in mid-guffaw? The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, on the other hand, is most decidedly not a comedy. It is an earnest morality tale in which the lives of four children and an army of fantasy creatures are at stake. Nobody's going to laugh at the White Witch (Nobody smart, anyway).
Dread Pirate Roberts : "You guessed wrong."
Vizzini : "You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha--"
(Vizzini stops suddenly, and falls dead to the right)
Buttercup : "Who are you?"
Dread Pirate Roberts : "I'm no one to be trifled with. That is all you ever need know."
Buttercup : "And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned."
Dread Pirate Roberts : "They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder."
Both Aslan and the Dread Pirate Roberts are in sole custody of the information that will save themselves and lead to the death of their adversaries. When we step back and look at this from an objective viewpoint, we see that both of them have played a rigged game. Do kids pick up on this subtlety when they read the story? I'm not sure, but it's not very moral, unless you're some Dirty Harry type that believes the ends justify the means.
Now, to be fair, there are other aspects to Aslan's "sacrifice" to consider. First, there is the beating and humiliation he has to endure, from which no ancient runes can protect him. Also, even though he goes to his death with the knowledge that he will return, he still goes to his death. Deeper Magic or not, the willingness to submit to the sword does indicate some measure of bravery in this not-so-cowardly Lion.
But let me turn from the Lion for a moment and focus on the Witch. The reason I put quotes from both the book and the film is due to some interesting editing the screenwriters performed in their adaptation. In the film, Aslan explains that the Witch didn't know the true meaning of sacrifice and, therefore, did not know what would result from Aslan's deed. In the original C.S. Lewis text, we have an additional line in between that states, "But if she could have looked a little further back".
In the film, it's implied that the Witch has never attempted to mend her ways and look into power of Deeper Magic. She had the chance to turn away from evil, but chose not to. She has ignored all of this, and it has cost her her life. But in the original text, the word "could" implies something else entirely. It implies not a lack of will but a lack of ability. She did not see Deeper Magic because she could not see Deeper Magic.
Perhaps the folks who worked on the script decided that, when all is said and done, it would be a bit fairer if the Witch had the chance. Thus, while Lewis sees the White Witch as Evil incarnate with no chance of redemption, the screenwriters at least imply that she had a chance, but did not take it. It's one thing to not read the fine print. It's quite another when the fine print is, for practicality's sake, invisible.
Which brings me to my final quote, which concerns the trials and travails of Arthur Dent:
"...You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anyone or anything."Am I nitpicking? Perhaps. But the works of C.S. Lewis are certainly not the first nor the last canon of classic literature to be analyzed and parsed through so thoroughly.
"But the plans were on display..."
"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."
"That’s the display department."
"With a torch."
"Ah, well the lights had probably gone."
"So had the stairs."
"But look you found the notice didn’t you?"
"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of The Leopard'."
And the exactness of wording was definitely important enough for Aslan.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
HotAir: "The campaign commercial practically writes itself. Ah well. A woman must know her place when entering a mosque. … It pains the left too, I'm sure, to see the most powerful woman in America having to yield, however slightly, to a misogynistic culture's expectations, but they can't vent their anger at the people responsible so they'll vent it at Charles or me or whomever instead."
Instapundit: FEMINIST IN AMERICA, subservient in Syria.
The New Editor: "This picture disgusts me. What message is Nancy Pelosi trying to send? Are women equal to men, or not? Why is modesty foisted only upon women?"
Little Green Footballs: "Pelosi in a Hijab. The modern Democratic leadership. How … quaint."
The post then follows this with this picture.
That's right. That's the First Lady kowtowing to those heathen when she visited a Mosque in Jerusalem.
Hey, guys. How about this? How about being respectful and polite when you visit other cultures? How about showing some humility for once in your pathetic little lives?
Back when I visited England years and years ago, I was going through a phase where I wore a baseball cap pretty much wherever I went. Upon entering my first Cathedral, I was asked by one of the staff to please remove my hat.
Was I Catholic? No. Was I British? No. I was and am American. And despite the example set by these overgrown fratboys passing themselves off as pundits, I did not go into a rage and tell the guy where he could f*%king stick it. Instead, I removed my hat and proceeded to enjoy the Cathedral.
It's called respect. No matter how many weapons we have and how much weight we throw around, we're not going to be able to effect any change without earning other country's respect.
Pelosi's trip is just a small first step. We will start this process in earnest come Inauguration Day in January 2009.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Variety says that Warner Bros. Pictures has hired Mark Burton to write the big screen adaptation of James Turner's comic book Rex Libris, about an everyday guy who becomes part of a secret sect of librarians who battle forces of darkness in chasing down overdue or stolen books.
The story revolves around head librarian Rex Libris, who must protect the world's knowledge and most dangerous secrets from falling into the wrong hands. In their global exploits, Rex and the other librarians are aided by an ancient god living beneath the library. They're also armed with an impressive array of high-tech weapons, not to mention their intellects.
Mosaic Media is producing the comedic action-adventure. The comic book is published by Slave Labor Graphics. The producers are Mosaic's Charles Roven and Alex Gartner.
Burton, who wrote Madagascar and Chicken Run, penned 20th Century Fox's upcoming fantasy adventure They Came From Upstairs.
I guess I have to go buy a copy of the comic now.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Wait. Didn't we do a Cameron Diaz film last month?
Well, yes we did. I'm not sure how to account for the appearance of Diaz and Lindo in two films within a year of each other. In some essentials, they even have the same plot: Diaz and male companion on the run being pursued by ruthless people. But rest assured that there are two big differences between the films themselves. (A) Lindo's character is a whole lot meaner in this one and (B) this film itself is better. It's a kind of Quentin Tarantino/Elmore Leonard tale with lowlifes and guns and swearing and a big dollop of dark comedy. Nothing new, certainly, but competently done.
Did I mention Lindo is mean in this one? In one scene, he tells some schmuck how he intends to get back the money that the schmuck stole, even though said schmuck says he doesn't have it to give:
Red: "You do what you gotta do. You, uh, sell your mama's blood for nickles. I don't give a f*ck."
Schmuck: "My mama's dead."
Red: "Right, well, I guess you sh*t outta luck."