Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pure Genius

You know, some of the best acting I have witnessed in the last few years has been by the women they are using in those fake video chat advertisements that show up on Myspace when you log out. The way they mouth simple phrases so that you can read their lips. How they are able to convince me that they are almost too shy to take off their shirt or flex their arms. And the way they manage to look self conscious and appear to not believe that someone would be flirting over video chat with a twenty-year-old with giant boobs and a wasp waist. I haven't seen performances by a sexpot this convincing since that blonde chick in The 40 Year Old Virgin.
Obama Bashing

I've really been enjoying all the fake controversy that has been coming out about Obama. It looks like he is ready for it and won't allow himself to be swift boated like the wussy John Kerry. Check out this great video of Colbert jumping into the fray.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More Drudge Dickness

Fake newsman Drudge linked today to a story in which Nancy Pelosi says she witnessed the effects of global warming during a trip to Greenland. What is the headline on Druge? It's "I saw the climate change." God, he's a dick.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy holidays

Today was memorial day. I saw in a news headline that the president honored America's deceased war dead. I'm amazed he can even get near the grave of the Unknowns without the ground opening up and swallowing him.

Yesterday we had a nice party. I invited a bunch of people and was surprised when a bunch of people showed up. It was a lot of fun. We grilled out, played croquet and the One Big Loud Guy even managed to organize an outdoor game of Scrabble.

Outdoor Scrabble
Drudge still an ass

Here's how Drudge approaches global warming (his headlines):

"Pelosi Departs to Europe on Global Warming Mission...

Britain hit with arctic air, snow...

Spring snow breaks 1911 Canadian record...

Late Snow In N Dakota..."

As long as it's mostly Democrats approaching global warming with any sense it won't be possible for Drudge to admit it may exist. Again politics trumps the planet.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Howdy

I mentioned yesterday that I left town for my grandfather's funeral. I had just been up there a couple of weeks before and was able to see him three times. He was my grandpa and he was a helluva a nice guy. One of my fondest memories of him is the day I was telling him about this Ty Cobb biography and he said off-handedly that he had seen Ty Cobb play. Not only that, he had seen just about every legendary Detroit Tiger player you could mention. He also said that the way he got into games was by helping to clean the stadium after a game and getting a pass for the next game.

A few memories of his funeral:

1) There were a lot of people crying at the funeral (of course) but what really brought the house down was the mention by the priest of Grandpa's previous dog, Checkers. Checkers was an amazing poodle mix that I used to walk before my mom moved back to Northern Michigan and Grandpa took possession of Checkers. Just a few months ago he got another dog. This dog has no idea how lucky he is. Grandpa was in the habit of outliving dogs.

2) It's a little odd to see again a roomful of people you haven't seen since the last family funeral in 1985 and many longer than that. I recognized a lot more people than recognized me. My mom had to keep saying, "You remember, little Eddie" and hold her hand down near her waist.

3) A cousin of mine was there with his kids and I was reminded of the two great-grandparent funerals I went to as a kid. I saw a mixture of sadness and bemusement among the youngsters.

4) The priest at one point referred to gramps as the patriarch of his family and I don't know if he knew how right he was. I know a lot of people went to him with troubles. Unfortunately I did not do this enough. Not really at all after I graduated high school.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Howdy

I've been away for a few days. I was up in Michigan for my grandfather's funeral. I'll have more on that later but right now I gotta talk about the little bit I heard of President Bush's press conference this morning. I swear today, in answer to a question about intelligence concerning the Iraq war during it's planning, he said that whatever we do militarily in the mideast we are going to have to fight Al Quaeda and fighting Al Quaeda is a major part of the war on terror so no matter what we do militarily over there it is an essential front of the war on terror. In fact, from what he said, I gather that maybe the complete botching of the occupation of Iraq may in the long run become seen as essential to fighting the war on terror. By his logic we can do anything there we want because it will be opposed by Islamic radicals and then becomes part of the war on terror. Amazing. How is he still in charge?

Here is the quote I am referring to. This argument is a perfect circle and those are rare in nature but becoming more common from the mouth of our idiot president: "As to al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda is going to fight us wherever we are. That's their strategy. Their strategy is to drive us out of the Middle East. They have made it abundantly clear what they want. They want to establish a caliphate. They want to spread their ideology. They want safe haven from which to launch attacks. They're willing to kill the innocent to achieve their objectives, and they will fight us. And the fundamental question is, will we fight them? I have made the decision to do so. I believe that the best way to protect us in this war on terror is to fight them.

And so we're fighting them in Iraq, we're fighting them in Afghanistan, we've helped the Philippines -- Philippine government fight them. We're fighting them. And this notion about how this isn't a war on terror, in my view, is naive. It doesn't -- it doesn't reflect the true nature of the world in which we live.

You know, the lessons of September the 11th are these: we've got to stay on the offense; we've got to bring these people to justice before they hurt again; and at the same time, defeat their ideology with the ideology based upon liberty. And that's what you're seeing, and they're resisting it.

I think it ought to be illustrative to the American people that al Qaeda is trying to stop new democracies from evolving. And what should that tell you? That ought to tell you that we're dealing with people that have an ideology that's opposite of liberty and will take whatever measures are necessary to prevent this young democracy from succeeding.

The danger in this particular theater in the war on terror is that if we were to fail, they'd come and get us. You know, I look at these reports right here in the Oval Office. For people who say that we're not under threat, they simply do not know the world. We are under threat. And it's in our interest to pursue this enemy."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fear mongers

A former commandant of the Marine Corps speaks out against fear mongering right wingers: "The American people are understandably fearful about another attack like the one we sustained on Sept. 11, 2001. But it is the duty of the commander in chief to lead the country away from the grip of fear, not into its grasp. Regrettably, at Tuesday night's presidential debate in South Carolina, several Republican candidates revealed a stunning failure to understand this most basic obligation. Indeed, among the candidates, only John McCain demonstrated that he understands the close connection between our security and our values as a nation.

God help us if Giuliani is our next president. It will be more of the same BS we've had to deal with for the last 8 years. Another fear monger that is more concerned with appearances than serving.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

MP3 Blog

I haven't posted in a while. I do have a song set up and ready to go so I'll MP3 blog today. I am posting John Lennon's song "Scared." I have always loved the honesty in John Lennon's music. From the autobiographical "Ballad of John and Yoko" "Julia" to the open nerved confession of "Cold Turkey" to vindictive "Sexy Sadie" and "How do you Sleep."

This song is off his album "Walls and Bridges" which he made during his 'lost weekend' in California. It has the usual multitracking of the vocals that is used in his seventies solo stuff and has that unnecessary wolf howl at the beginning but it's still a masterpiece.

The honesty is what I love about this song. It's just a guy admitting that life is scary and that he suffers from hate and jealously just like everyone else. To me that is the essence of everything John Lennon did musically. No fake orgasms.

I present to you John Lennon's "Scared".

Drudge, Still a prick

In case you were wondering, yes, Matt Druge is still a prick. According to the website of the NOAA this last April was .3 degrees cooler than average. What headline does Drudge use to link to this story: "WARMING ON HOLD? April's temperatures were below average..." I really don't understand why people like him are so unconcerned about this. Don't they live on the same planet the rest of us do?

On his way to heaven

I'm sure you've seen that Jerry Falwell died yesterday. I am also sure if he was alive he would find a way to blame his collapse yesterday on the secularists and lesbians. Alas, he is sitting at the left hand of God and will be unable to issue a hate-filled statement at this time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The big guy jumpeth

I just received an email that includes the picture below. I have the coolest friends.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dick Cheney, an introduction

Hi, I am a draft dodger. While others were fighting bravely for their country in the Vietnam era I hid like a scared little girl. I spent the rest of my life gathering as much money to me as possible. A few years ago I helped start a war that was criminally mishandled. Thousands brave men and women morally superior to me have laid down their lives and it looks more and more like it was all for naught. Now I'm standing on an aircraft carrier threatening to make war with another nation. Excuse me while I laugh.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pyramid Point birches

I had forgotten how many birch trees there were up in Northern Michigan. They are all over the place, especially near Pyramid Point. A scenic bluff on the Lake Michigan shore that I visited twice. The second trip there was with my mom, sister and my sister's beau just a day or two before I left for Charlotte. The sky was as clear as it could be and visibility on the overlook was amazing. I could see a lot more detail of South Manitou Island and could actually see North Manitou Island this time. I really can't remember the last time I saw the air that clear. Probably the last time I visited northern Michigan.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Spiderman 3

I went and saw Spiderman 3 this weekend and it was a bit of a disappointment. It didn't resonate emotionally with me like the first two. Three really just felt like a reshash the second movie with more stuff thrown in that made it clunky. It's too bad because I really wanted to like this movie because I loved the first two.

The problems:

1) Too many villians. A Green Goblin, the Sandman and the evil black suit?

2) The black suit. I think the Peter Parker struggling with his role as Spiderman in the last movie went over so well that they tried to do something similar with the exploration of his dark side. With the other plots in this movie it just didn't work because they couldn't give the plot time to develop. It was used mostly for comic relief. There was even a montage similar to the montage in the second movie when Peter gives up the Spiderman role. Here we see him reveling in being a bad boy because he is under the influence of a symbiotic alien species that landed next to him in a meteorite.

3) The Sandman character was used in a fashion similar to the Doctor Octopus character in #2. He is supposed to be someone we can empathize with. He is stealing money to help get medical care for his daughter. He's a simple yet good person. The criminal with the heart of gold. The bad guy who is not really bad but has had a life of crime thrust upon him. I was supposed to care but I didn't. I am sure the big guy from Wings could have fleshed this character out but he wasn't given the screen time that traitorous hireling from Raiders of the Lost Ark got.

4) Mary Jane becoming jealous of Spiderman's popularity. Another nice idea that just didn't have time to develop. Mary Jane Watson was a major character in the first two movies and in this one she had the range of Johnny Cash's first wife in Walk the Line. She was either jealous and angry or supportive and joyous or getting tossed around by super villains and screaming a lot. How many times can she be put into the middle of superhero battles before her psyche cracks like a library's roofing?

5) Harry Osborn/Green Goblin. I was anticipating that this would be the basic overall plot of this third movie. Harry would be struggling with the voice in his head (which sounds and looks like his father) and he and Peter would battle it out while Mary Jane was tied up somewhere screaming. Instead we get an early action scene, amnesia(!) and Goblin ass whuppin' courtesy of a Mr. Hyde-ish Peter followed by a remorseful Harry saving Peter's life. Yeesh. I haven't seen such an obvious and good story botched this badly since the Americans got their hands on the Godzilla franchise. His death while saving Peter was about as predictable and emotionally void as a death could possibly be in a movie.

6) J. Jonah Jameson. When watching the first Spiderman movie and seeing Schillinger from Oz playing J.J.J. my jaw hit my stomach. The brilliant and obvious casting of Schillinger as Jameson was one of the myriad reasons I loved the first movie. This time around his tirades in his office are so expected that they don't hit with the same power as before. Tired and been done are the few scenes he appears in.

7) The fights. Remember that fight on the elevated train in Spiderman 2? It was set up so perfectly. The audience knew just exactly what was going on and what was at stake. None of the battles in the third movie even approach the intensity and narrative smoothness of the battle on the elevated train. The first fight with Harry Osborn in his Goblin get up is just fast and confusing. The final scene where Harry flies in to save his friend is just a rehash of the grand finale in the first movie with an extra villian and hero.

The end) I know, it's a comic book movie but I loved the first two and this one is not a great movie so it disappoints. At least Hot Fuzz was funny. My movie going weekend wasn't a total wash.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Back from vacation

Yesterday was my first day back two work after a two week layoff. Of course, sitting on my desk was a stack of books I had placed on hold earlier. Two books I have been anticipating were in that pile, The Children of Hurin by Christopher Tolkien and The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. Wow, what to read first? I think I'll go with the Tolkien book since it's shorter and has been getting pretty favorable reviews. I think I may have to put down Rabbit Redux and read these two books first.
Another picture

I scanned this photograph during my vacation in Michigan. This was taken in the summer of 1986 right before I got on the bus that started me on my trip to boot camp. If you think I look a little sad you would be correct. Is that dread in my eyes? I can't tell for sure.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Another Michigan picture

Last night I went to my favorite spot, Good Harbor, to take a few pictures of the sunset. The sunset seems hard to capture with the point and shoot digital camera. Next time I'll to bring my 35mm camera or get a better digital camera. Or both. Only one picture really turned out OK. I took a similar picture about ten years ago in the same spot.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007