Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Nothin' like a Rubber band Tommy gun to indulge those Albert Finney fantasies!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
The article was printed shortly after the sucky six episode mini-season had finished and the ratings began to drop. The writers responded by saying that the second half of season three would answer a lot of questions, and so we waited to see if they were pulling our chain.
The result? Well, now that season three is over, let's hit the fifty points again. And for clarity's sake, I put the questions into four categories: "Solved", "Addressed (but not Solved)", "Conjecture" and "Mystery". Let's start with the good stuff.
#49 (Who Is the Guy with the Eye Patch?) - His name is Mikhail Bakunin. He is an Other with specialties in Communications, First Aid and Self-Resurrection. He is presumed dead, but don't count on it. That Russian is apparently a descendant of Rasputin.
#48 (Getting to the Prison Island) - The Others travelled back and forth from the Island via a mini-submarine. I use the past tense because, well, crazy old Locke done blowed it up. They also have at least one other boat besides the one they gave to Michael and Walt.
#47 (The Quote on Eko's Stick: John 3:05) - Locke interpreted it as a direction they needed to go to find answers. Whether that was the purpose of the quote or not, they found plenty on that little excursion, so we'll stick with Locke's explanation.
#45: (Why Were All the Guns in the Hatch?) - We got more information on the war between Dharma and the Others, which went on for a while before most of Dharma got gassed to death. We even see a Dharma elementary school teacher whip out a rifle when an alarm bell rings, so it's not much of a jump to say that the Swan hatch was just preparing to defend itself from a long siege.
#44 (The Cable) - This was an anchor cable that was attached to a underwater hatch called the Looking Glass. It still exists as of now, but it is inoperable.
#36 (Who Is Christian's Daughter?) - That would be Claire, which has been theorized for awhile. Lucky us, we got a whole episode dedicated to this question!
#30 (Ben's Always Lived on the Island) - Not quite true. He arrived on the island with his father when he was around ten years old. He was originally part of Dharma before he killed them all (his Father included) and defected to the Others.
#41: (The Radio Tower) - The tower is finally shown, in all it's glory, at the end of the recent season finale. Rousseau's looping distress call was cut off and they were able to use the satellite phone. What the ramification will be from this action will have to wait until next year. Argh.
#20: (Aaron) - It seems any woman who gives birth on the island dies in the process, and the Others were conducting experiments to try and solve this problem. This is why Juliet was recruited and Claire was kidnapped. Fortunately, Claire conceived her child off the island, which apparently makes all the difference since she's still alive after giving birth to Aaron. Not so good news for Sun, who conceived her child with Jin on the island, which means a possible death sentence for her.
#50: (The Others and the Outside World) - The question is why don't the Others leave the island if they have contact and transportation to the outside world. Well, first off, some of them do leave occasionally for assignments (Richard Alpert) but they come back. Why? Because they have some deep understanding of how special the island is and how important their work is. From the flash forward in the finale, even Jack will come to realize this later on. However, since we still don't know all the details to the Island's properties, we'll leave this question in the "Addressed but not solved" category.
#39: (Why Didn't Ben Take Jack Earlier?) - It's a damn good question. Ben explained to Jack that he wants Jack to want to save his life. That's fair enough, but it still doesn't explain why he didn't kidnap him earlier when the circumstances were virtually the same. He had specified that he wanted Jack, Kate and Sawyer, and all three were at the mercy of the others during an earlier episode. Frankly, I think it's a matter of the writer's hadn't completely figured things out yet, but we may be proven wrong in the next season.
#38: (The Significance of 108 Minutes) - Frankly, this is one of the questions that I think the guy's at IGN put in there so they would have an even fifty. Of course the fact that 108 is the sum of the six numbers isn't a coincidence. Duh! Now, this leads back to the significance of the numbers themselves, which is a whole separate question on the list. Hey guys, no double dipping.
#29: (Where Was Desmond Hiding His Boat?) - In the earlier seasons, the Others had a mystique of being all-knowing and all-powerful. Though they are very resourceful, they aren't invulnerable. It's clear that the Others don't concern themselves with every square inch of the island, so the boat being hidden from them is not too big a logical leap.
#28: (Survivors Captured by the Others) - We finally do see the survivors, both the adults and children. Jack sees them outside of his cage and Locke, during a brief stint travelling with the Others, actually works alongside them. So we know they're alive and OK. What we don't know is why they are going along with the Others so willingly and happily. They may have been brainwashed by the "Clockwork Orange" set up we saw the Other Karl hooked up to, but we have no absolute way of knowing as of yet.
#23: (Desmond Can See the Future) - We soon learned that Desmond's flashes were specifically geared to Charlie. He would see how Charlie is killed, so he would then have an opportunity to save him. Charlie is eventually killed anyway, by his own choosing, when the result of his action brings them closer to rescue. But does this mean Desmond's flashes will stop now that Charlie is dead? We won't know for sure until next season.
#15: (Why Do the Others Want Children?) - Well, given that all pregnancies end in death for both mother and child on the island, the best guess is that the Others want youngsters to continue their work after they are gone. Of course, they could just as easily convince children to come to the island like they did Juliet. But perhaps these children are special because they are on "The List". And since we still don't have an answer about that, this one is still up in the air.
#9: (The Healing Powers of the Island) - We got more mentions of the island's healing powers this season. However, we still don't know why the island can do this. One interesting point that IGN points out is that since the island may only heal "Good" people, perhaps the emergence of Ben's tumor is a sign that his reign is near an end. Locke would then be the heir apparent, which is why Ben feels so threatened by him. We don't know for sure, but this makes a lot of sense.
#8: (Locke's Legs) - Half of this question was how Locke lost the use of his legs. To that, we got an answer: His mean old Daddy pushes him out a window. As for how he got the use of them back, that ties into the point just mentioned.
#46: (The Four-Toed Statue Foot) - We now have two more pieces of evidence that there was a past civilization on the island long ago. The pillar that Anthony Cooper was tied to looked to be very old, and Ben mentions in the finale that the Others should go to "the Temple", which I'm guessing is from the same period.
#42: (The ? Hatch a.k.a. "The Pearl") - I would guess that purpose of this hatch was exactly what it was said to be in the tape Locke saw: to observe the actions in other hatches, mark them down in notebooks and send them through the vacuum tube. The purge that took place kept the notebooks from being gathered up by Dharma workers since they were all dead. I'm also guessing that the hatches were cut off from communication from Dharma so that they didn't know about the purge until much later, thus the continuance of the notebook procedure way after the purge had taken place.
#35: (Where Is the Pearl's Crew?) - To continue from the previous point, they probably either were infiltrated by the Others and killed or they came outside and were killed (or possibly even converted to the Others). It's clear from Ben and Juliet's visit to the Pearl that they already know plenty about the hatches.
#12: (The Others' Master Plan) - Well, we learned about their experiments with pregnancy this season. However, there are other things afoot, for sure. Richard Alpert admits to Locke that they were wasting their time with fertility experiments on the island, which means that he and other Others have a much larger mission. Again, "The List" probably ties into this, but we don't know for sure yet.
#10: (The Disease) - I'm guessing that the Quarantine signs tie somehow into the gassing of all the Dharma personnel by the others, but I don't have much more than that to tell you.
#43: (Compass Bearing 325)
#40: (The Skeletons in the Cave)
#37: (How Long Have the Events on the Island Been Going On?)
#34: (Black & White Symbolism)
#33: (Jack Tossed from the Plane)
#32: (The Supply Drop)
#31: (Why Couldn't Desmond Leave?)
#27: (The Dharma Shark)
#25: (The Black Rock)
#24: (Michael & Walt)
#22: (The Hatch Implosion)
#21: (Christian's Body)
#19: (Voices in the Woods)
#18: (Eko's Death)
#17: (The Others' List)
#16: (The "Good" People on the Others' List)
#14: (Surviving the Crash)
#13: (Christian Symbology)
#11: (What Hides the Island?)
#7: (Dead Characters Appearing)
#6: (The Polar Bears)
#5: (The Unusual Connections Between Castaways)
#4: (The DHARMA Initiative)
#3: (Walt's Powers)
#2: (The Monster)
#1: (The Numbers)
And there you have it final tally:
Solved - 9
Addressed - 9
Conjecture - 5
Mystery - 27
Overall, not a bad breakdown. We got a decent number of questions answered and/or addressed. We also got some new mysteries to worry about (Who or what is Jacob? Who does Naomi really work for? Are there any fans of the show that really give a rat's ass about Jack's tattoos?), but the progression of answers are now moving along at a nice clip. At any rate, I'll still be watching come 2008.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
You would think that walls and a floor would be easy enough to build, but there were other things to consider, such as having enough room to fit my camera in for close-ups. I had the base and half of the wall height built when I decided to widen the set by about 30%, which meant taking down the walls again to work on the floor.
On the bottom, you'll notice the lower platform in front of the stage. This was where I mounted the camera for most shots (more details on that below). Above, you'll see an empty amber-colored DVD case used to diffuse the bright lamp I used for lighting.
The same set at an angle, for the hell of it. Also, you get a better view of the smaller details like the shelves of potions and the walkway I built.
One of my first ideas was to put an object in every shot that was constantly in motion. This ended up being the fireplace. On the left are three levers attached to special Lego blocks that light up and send that red light through tubes into the fireplace. On many shots with the fireplace in view, you can see the lights flicker, which is me tapping on the levers.
On the right is a crank that allowed the five individual flame pieces to turn inside the fireplace. This ended up not getting used, but you probably wouldn't have been able to see that much detail anyway.
This is the camera bracket I built so that the camera could be solidly anchored to the low platform in front of the set (It was a Canon PowerShot A80). I was able to find a screw amongst the spare parts in the garage that fit the camera's tripod hookup.
Ah, but all things must come to an end. Going, Going, Gone.
Incidentally, the next LEGO film is tentatively titled, "Colin & Nigel meet the giant robots that turn into various modes of transportation".
Sunday, May 20, 2007
The Great World of Sound - Description from the JFF website: "Martin (Pat Healy) applies for a job at a company training prospective music producers. During training he pairs up with another new employee, Clarence (Kene Holliday), a middle aged man trying to change his career path. As record producers, the two travel to towns where the company has placed newspaper ads to find undiscovered musicians. They are seeking talent for the record label - signing new artists and giving them a chance to let their music be heard for a small fee. It’s going great at first, but soon Martin and Clarence begin to question whether the company is as virtuous as it promises to be in its promise to give people their dream."
Most of the musical acts that the two lead characters interact with are real people who responded to a newspaper ad put out by the filmmakers. They really think that this might be their one shot. Of course, they were told later about the film and signed off on the filmmakers using the footage, but the moments we see are genuine people with fragile dreams. Which makes it hard to watch when you know those dreams will be dashed. In reality, their dreams are dashed when the filmmakers walk out from behind the camera. In the film, their dreams are dashed when the checks are cashed. It's a technique that is both potent and disturbing.
Of course, there was part of me that wondered how these people could fall for such a ramshackle operation as two guys talking you up in a cheap hotel room. I suppose I've watched too many films about cons long and short, but this particular one seems very flimsy to me. Even if I hadn't read the film synopsis or seen the brief footage at the start of the film showing "gold" records being created (with spray paint), I think alarm bells would have gone off for me when listening to the business owners and looking at their flimsy set-up. Of course, as Mrs. Mosley pointed out to me, people fall for Nigerian Emails too. So I guess money and fame can be a very powerful lure sometimes.
The character of Martin must be one of the blandest white guys I have ever seen in a leading role, and I'm still undecided on whether this works to the film's benefit or not. He is the man we're supposed to identify with and connect to. His growing scepticism about the company and the work they do solidifies that bond and our sympathies for his situation. But he can be so blank in some scenes as to be almost catatonic. It's hard to believe his boss when he says that Martin and Clarence are their best salesmen when Martin can be so awkward and ill-at-ease. It's clear that Clarence is doing most of the work for the two of them.
Now Clarence is a different case all together. He's older than Martin and has clearly been through some rough times, to the point where he has an it-could-be-a-lot-worse optimism about their work (he practically gushes about a cell phone the boss gives him to use on the road). But his ease of working becomes disturbing when he comes to the same realizations as Martin, but soldiers on anyway. And he's willing to play plenty of cards to get the sale (his use of Christianity when dealing with fellow African Americans as a bonding point will make your skin crawl). Late in the film, he gives Martin a speech about the fairness of what they do and how it doesn't matter worth a damn if it keeps you off the street. It's a cynical view, yes, but Kene Holliday sells it, and we sympathize with Clarance's plight (and life) as well.
This may have a good deal of laughs in it, but this is not a happy film in the end. I'm glad I saw it and encourage others who are intrigued by the description to see it too. It will remind you of the people out there that want to swindle you, and it will make you sympathize with them as well.
Exiled - Description from the JFF website: "When a group of close-knit mobsters defy a powerful boss, the stage is set for a series of jaw-dropping, bullets-blazing action sequences in director Johnny To's homage to spaghetti westerns. The time is 1998. The setting is Macau. Every living soul jumps at every chance to make quick money before the Portuguese colony ushers in a new era under the Chinese rule. For the jaded hit men, they wonder where this journey will end. Against this background of fin-de-si cle malaise come two hit men from Hong Kong sent to take out a renegade member trying to turn over a new leaf with his wife and newborn baby. They soon find themselves in the throes of a dilemma when two of their former associates also show up, intent on thwarting them at every cost."
It's been 18 years since John Woo created his masterpiece The Killer which became famous to movie fans here in the States who saw it on video. Since then, Hong Kong and brilliant gunplay has gone hand in hand. I don't claim to be an expert on the genre, but it does take someone special not to blend in with all the others considering the volume that comes out of the region. I'd say Johnny To is definitely one of them.
He makes the five heroes distinctive enough to have different personalities, but we don't dwell too much on character history past their joined history together. They're a likable lot, particularly Anthony Wong who has that wonderful stoic hitman thing going on, complete with glasses. All four have plenty of screentime between gun battles to engage in some entertaining camaraderie that really shows their friendship.
As is to be expected, the most impressive aspect of the film is the set pieces where the action scenes unfold. One is two story building with a big open space in the middle where you can peer into all the rooms on the first floor, which have no ceilings. This makes for some nice camera angles. Another is a loft apartment where an underground surgeon works. When the bad guys show up shortly after the heroes, they immediately hide behind bookcases and hanging tarps. When they come out to fight, the choreography is magnificent.
There are some goofier aspects to the film. The first gunfight where no one gets hurt looks unreal (pretty, but unreal). The running gag of the cop who refuses to notice anything close to retirement gets old, though I suspect that the actor's presence is some sort of Hong Kong in-joke since he is specially credited at the beginning of the film. Also, as befalls many action films, they put a little too much stock in bullet proof vests and their protective qualities. And this complaint isn't even counting a scene near the end where a man is said to be saved by one from six shots to the chest ... yet clearly has a bare chest that can be seen behind his open shirt!
But ignore all that. This is Hong Kong action at it's finest. Those who love it know who you are, so go and see it if it makes it out to your neck of the woods. You won't be disappointed.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Everything Will Be OK - This short starts off with above average stick figures walking around on an off-white background and looks like something from Liquid Television back in the day: Pretty goofy and harmless. The simplicity of the beginning, which includes several focuses of action going on at once through fuzzy white circles against a black background, really fools you. As we learn more and more about Bill and his condition and how that's changing his life in very odd and unfortunate ways, the animation changes. We get blasts of color and photography of real objects such as runnels of rain on glass. Things go psychotic when characters heads turn into insects and Bill breathes fire onto passers-by. It's surreal and very compelling.
Something like this can become very self-indulgent with takes going on too long, but the pacing felt just right. My favorite moment was one of much needed quiet in the middle, where Bill sits on a hospital bed, running his hand over his head (Bill's unexplained problem may be a tumor). This was an excellent start to the film festival: Out there enough to please the serious movie fan, but accessible enough to those who aren't used to this sort of thing.
One Rat Short - What wondrous things we can see with CGI. Since 1995 when Toy Story opened (damn, is it that long ago?!?!), everybody has gotten into the CGI feature game to the point where there is a glut of smart-ass talking animals at the theater. Very few of them, however, have Pixar's flair for storytelling, and the makers of this short have it as well.
It's a dialogue-free story of a city rat becoming involved with an empty chip bag, a cute white lab rat, and a tenacious red-eyed lab robot. This short just breezes along, and I mean that literally, as they take full advantage of CGI's POV freedom to follow the bag any where the eddies and currents of the city takes it. It's a mirror of the short itself which proceeds ever so gracefully. Very satisfying.
Post Nasal Drift - No IMDb link for this one. It looks like something that would have been made if David Lynch had gone into microbiology. We basically get to see all sorts of microscopic creatures crawl about on various human body parts and eat each other. Sometimes new creatures sprout from the corpses, sometimes new creatures sprout from others' slime trails. And the eating continues. It's the circle of friggin life, and it's quite depressing and tedious. Moving on.
Shut-Eye Hotel - Ah, that's better. Good old Bill Plympton. The last short I saw of his was actually at last year's festival (called Guide Dog). He's lost none of his talent or wit since his work started popping up in bits and pieces on the Comedy Channel back in the early 1990's. This one is short and sweet (maybe a little too short) as a pair of cops investigate a series of murders that all occur in the same hotel room.
Things get surreal and there's some lovely touches of humor (keep an eye on that blinking sign). And though the animation is distinctly Plympton's, he's never done a film noir themed short to my knowledge, so it's nice to see his trying different things. Rock on, Bill!
Destiny Manifesto - When politics gets preachy. Things are never as simple as some people would have us believe, and that's on both sides of the aisle. This short draws parallels between the frontiersmen of old (and their treatment of Native Americans) and soldiers now in the Middle East (and their treatment of Arabs). Despite the existence of Gitmo (the fault of Bush) and Abu Ghraib (the fault of Bush and a collection of soldiers willing to be complicit, even eager, in those activities), a large part of the army there just wants to help, and painting with this wide a brush doesn't help matters any. The fact that goes on too long doesn't do itself any favors, either.
Monster Camp - Here was something I was reluctant to see. I've done my share of gaming, thank you very much. D&D, Rifts, Cyberpunk and, most notably, Shadowrun. As for LARPing (which stands for Live Action Role Playing and is the subject of this documentary), I have dabbled in it without much interest. I can certainly see the appeal, but I never thought it was for me. The subjects of the documentary, which participate in a one-weekend-a-month LARP called NERO, have found it very much to their liking and go all out.
The danger with this sort of subject is the fine line one must tread as a filmmaker so we laugh with these people more than we laugh at them (and this group doesn't make it easy on themselves). It helps that the folks that go to NERO seem to be a more diversified lot than the gamers I used to know, especially in terms of gender. Many of the players come across pretty sensible and even likable. It also helps that the filmmakers have Carter to turn to occasionally.
Who is Carter? Oh, you'll remember Carter if you see this. Carter is the hopeless geek that acts as a black hole to suck amounts of geekiness from everyone else so they look a lot more normal in comparison. And when I say "hopeless", I mean it. The guy happily admits to entering his fifth year as a High School senior. Why? I'm guessing because he's playing video games all damn day instead of going to school and doing his work.
Carter elicits no sympathy from me. I had a dear friend in college that actually looked and acted a lot like Carter. Also like Carter, he was book smart but not smart enough to devote enough time to studies in order to get passing grades. By the time he reached the end of one semester with four F's and an Incomplete, his parents pulled him out and hauled his sorry butt back up to Maryland. Dude brought it on himself. Gaming does not deserve that much of your time.
It's time consumption that burns out Shane, the head of Seattle chapter of NERO. LARP is described at the beginning as a great alternative to traditional roleplaying in terms of the passion of the players. To which I could only think: Don't blame the system, blame the players. Pencils and paper is certainly a lot less stressful and time-intensive and certainly doesn't require the taking out of insurance policies on your players. No wonder Shane is completely fed up by the end of it.
Alright. Anti-LARPing rant over. But when you get right down to it, this documentary is easier to connect to general audiences now than fifteen years ago. As it points out, most of the players are also World of Warcraft players, which claims 8.5 million members worldwide. All of these are not just nerds, but also regular working stiffs that don't still live with Mom. The Internet has allowed us to tap our inner geek and make doing that OK. And LARPing is OK, too. Just don't miss any classes because of it.
Once - Ah, now here was a sublime piece of cinema. On the streets of Dublin, we meet a guy and a girl (they never receive proper names). He's a singer/songwriter who busks on the street when not working in his father's vacuum cleaner repair shop. She is a Czech immigrant with a two year old daughter and is looking for work. She takes an interest in his music and a friendship forms between them which grows as she compels him to take his talent to the next level.
This films is first and foremost a valentine to music and the creation thereof. The two leads are not only talented but also very charismatic. These two qualities make the audiences' joining their journey all the more effortless. He (Glen Hansard) looks at times like a red-headed Hugh Laurie and sounds like a cross between David Gray and Thom York. She is an endearing creature who has a more delicate voice like the lead singer for Portishead. Together, they make beautiful music together (forgive the cliche, but it works).
I'm not going to say any more about it, frankly. I want people to go see it knowing as little as I did. It has been getting rave reviews and has been picked up by Fox Searchlight, so it may even make it out to the smaller towns. You'll thank me for telling you to see it, and then you'll go straight out and buy the soundtrack.
Weird timing, though. All of this is happening at the same time as the Jacksonville Film Festival. I skipped out on screenings last night, but I'll be first in line to one of the 11am screenings this morning. And, as with the previous two years, I'll be posting reviews of what I see.
Oh, and for those of you wondering, yes I am planning on some other videos. One is already done and will be in submission to a little mini-festival downtown. It's a stop-motion LEGO short, and I'll be posting it to YouTube on Sunday or Monday. As for another clip show, I am working on one. And since most of you are viewing the "100 Movies" video as a "Guess That Film" game, You'll be glad (and frightened) to know that the next one will also feature about 100 clips ... in three minutes.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
100. Night of the Living Dead
98. Dead Poet's Society
96. The Lost Weekend
95. Ocean's 11
94. Star Wars
93. Midnight Run
92. It Came From Outer Space
91. The Right Stuff
90. The Fugitive
89. The French Connection
88. Back to the Future
86. Quiz Show
85. Silence of the Lambs
83. The Magnificent Seven
81. Galaxy Quest
80. Harold and Maude
79. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
78. The Day The Earth Stood Still
77. The Apartment
76. The Great Escape
75. The Hustler
74. Ed Wood
73. The Jerk
72. Raiders of the Lost Ark
71. When Harry Met Sally...
70. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
68. The Breakfast Club
67. The King and I
66. Gentleman's Agreement
65. The Princess Bride
64. Yellow Submarine
62. Mr. Roberts
60. Gone With the Wind
59. The Awful Truth
57. The Manchurian Candidate
56. It's a Wonderful Life
55. The Blues Brothers
54. The Remains of the Day
53. Midnight Express
52. Waking Ned Devine
51. Roman Holiday
50. Cool Hand Luke
49. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
48. The Adventures of Robin Hood
47. The Big Sleep
46. On the Waterfront
45. The Hudsucker Proxy
44. Dirty Harry
43. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
42. Finding Nemo
41. Ben Hur
39. The 39 Steps
37. Men in Black
33. The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
32. All About Eve
31. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
30. The Wild Bunch
29. Young Frankenstein
28. The Bridge Over the River Kwai
27. The Usual Suspects
26. North by Northwest
25. Sunset Blvd.
24. Escape from NY
23. The Wizard of Oz
21. The Lion in Winter
20. Boogie Nights
19. The Shawshank Redemption
18. Almost Famous
17. The Maltese Falcon
16. The Natural
15. Being John Malkovich
14. The Professionals
13. Lawrence of Arabia
11. This is Spinal Tap
10. Citizen Kane
9. 12 Angry Men
8. Office Space
7. To Kill a Mockingbird
6. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
5. The Godfather
3. L.A. Confidential
2. Once Upon a Time in the West
1. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Thus it is the quirk of timing and fate that my "100 movies 100 quotes 100 numbers" video is represented by the sweaty torso of George Kennedy.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
McCain ‘first out of the gate with Falwell condolences.’ Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who once called Rev. Jerry Falwell an “agent of intolerance,” was the first major presidential candidate to issue a statement of condolence following Falwell’s death. “Dr. Falwell was a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country.”
Though there are many quotes to choose from, let the following one (which he said just after 9/11 in answer to who was at fault) be his small-minded legacy:
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Somebody in one of the forums declared the guy looks like Dennis Hopper. I think the hippie vibe last night might be coloring their judgement, though. Personally, with that tall forehead, he reminds me of Tobin Bell aka "Jigsaw":
Which, if that is the case, then the islanders are sooooooooo screwed.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
On the other end, we have Christian Slater as Moses, and I really hope he squeezes out every drop of Jack Nicholson from his voice before delivering his lines. And then there is God, voiced by ... Elliott Gould? Now don't take this as a slight against Elliott. I love the guy. But there are certain people who are appropriate to voice God (John Huston) or his facsimile (Alan Rickman) and then there is ... well, Elliott Gould.
You know, Jack Gellar! 'Trapper John' McIntyre!! Reuben Tishkoff!!!
And it is this last name that inspires me to adapt one of his lines in Ocean's Eleven for use in this new project. Take it away, "Reuben" ... um, I mean, "God"!
"I'm sure you can make it out of Egypt, of course, lest we forget, once you and the Israelites are across the Red Sea, you're still in the middle of the f*cking desert!"
Monday, May 07, 2007
An unpopular war that nobody wants to see go on for any more months (let alone years) will never, ever, ever have an end date.
Understand all that? No? Me neither.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
The first stanza of this nonsense poem looks like this:
"It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing," Bush said. "All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq."
If idiocy had gravity, that paragraph would collapse into a black hole. Let's take it sentence by sentence:
"It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing." Here's a news flash -- there is no such thing as surprise withdrawal. You can't sneak 160,000 soldiers out of Iraq in the trunk of a Volvo. One day, America will leave Iraq, and when we do, we will catch no one - no one -- by surprise. Does anyone really think al Qaeda will be looking at empty blockhouses for weeks saying to themselves, "why don't those infidels come out to play?" When we start to leave, it will be broadcast on every station around the world for months in advance and there is not one damn thing anyone can do about that. Whenever any Republican advances the "we can't let them know when we're leaving line," they should follow it with an agonized scream, because stupidity that powerful ought to hurt.
"All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq." So, knowing when we're going to depart, the terrorists would... settle down and plot while we went on about our business? Has no one noticed that this is exactly what we wanted to happen? If giving a timeline would make the terrorists sit down and check off the days like Ralphie waiting for his Red Ryder, then why not give a deadline on day one? Heck, make it an announcement "Hey, bad guys, we're going to leave in a year. In the meantime, why don't you park it some place while the government gets its act together, we repair a few power plants, get the water running, and get people used to peace."
The president is daily delivering a message that directly translates to "We plan on sneaking all our troops out of town, because otherwise they'd wait for us to leave before shooting," and no one is calling him on it. Hell, nine out of ten little tin soldiers stood up at the Republican debate to repeat this message almost word for word.
What's stanza #2 of the national nonsense?
"Al Qaeda terrorists who behead captives and order suicide bombings in Iraq would not simply be satisfied to see us gone. A retreat in Iraq would mean that they would likely follow us here."
I was only sixteen when I worked for my local weekly paper, but there were these things they taught us to ask back then -- questions they called them. Who. What. When. Maybe even why and how. Has anyone out there thought of applying these things to the tune that dutifully plays every time someone winds up the crank on Bush or McCain? Who will follow us home? How will they do that? What the holy hell have you been sniffing? The insurgents in Iraq are Iraqis, they already are home. That handful of people in Iraq who really are al Qaeda, and not just people who have adopted that name because they know it pisses us off, can not hike to America. If terrorists can really hop a jet and land in America, it's because this administration is fixated on Iraq and had done next to nothing about real problems of national security. In fact, this whole second paragraph translates as "We've done nothing to stop terrorists from coming here."
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever.I'm not a part of the liberal left wing that will throw around names like "Hitler" with wild abandon. Using so vilified a name on just any Republican that pisses you off will weaken your argument and immediately turn your audience off. But the way Paul Harvey easily tosses aside the treatment of Native Americans and African Americans as necessary for the building of this country, he could have easily written speeches for Der Fuhrer himself.
And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which - feeling guilty about their savage pasts - eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy.
Here's the basic point: Sometimes your two options are to do something (A) morally right or (B) personally beneficial. If you're lucky, you have options that are both. But what Paul Harvey is basically saying is that, no matter what, this country should choose option B, because supremacy and survival are the only things that matter. Wiping out one group of people and enslaving another is fine if it benefits the country. How much closer does he have to get to the Third Reich mindset before Americans at large will cry "Foul"?
Hitler wasn't made of sugar candy, either, but he and his empire fell anyway due to bad tactics and a world community that fought against him. Liberals don't want a country made of sugar candy, Mr. Harvey, but we do want one that does what is right and just, regardless of the consequence. Sometimes doing what is right will make us weaker, but we can at least continue with a clear conscience. People like Mr. Harvey, however, do not appear to have one.
Re-read your Book of Mark: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?". I've always agreed that the Bible can be a great guide for living a good life. Too bad Mr. Harvey doesn't read it closely enough.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Six men were wounded Tuesday in two separate shootings in a neighborhood near Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.
Investigators said they suspect the two shootings, about a block apart, are connected.
Four people sitting on a front porch were shot at the first location and two other people were shot at the second location, said Ken Jefferson, a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman. All were hit with birdshot.
Birdshot? I didn't know Dick Cheney was in town today.
The Cider House Rules was his first Miramax film to do this. It's a solid film that will probably be most remembered as the movie that finally got Michael Caine his long-deserved Oscar. Another supporting role worth noticing is that of Arthur Rose, played by (you guessed it) Delroy Lindo. In the following scene, he gets the honor of reciting a speech that elaborates on the movie's title. And though the speech may have a touch of nobility, we learn later on that he has a darker meaning in mind.
Arthur Rose: "They outrageous, them rules. Who live in this cider house? Who grindin' up those apples, pressin' that cider, cleanin' up all this mess? Who just plain live here, just breathin' in that vinegar? Well, someone who don't live here made those rules. Those rules ain't for us. We are supposed to make our own rules. And we do. Every single day."