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Showing posts from April, 2006

Why is this question being asked?

Why is this a question?
Is the country ready for ‘United 93?’Did anyone ask if the country was ready for V for Vendetta, or American Dreamz? Of course not, and for two key reasons:

1) They can make whatever damn movie they want. If you don't want it to be made, then you don't make it. You don't get to decide that someone else can't make it either. It's well established that if an artist wants to create something, more power to 'em. I thought this question was settled when the NEA defended funding "Piss Christ".

2) Because those movies, and others, slam the current administration and its policies, to one degree or another, and thus are perfectly acceptable. What is not acceptable, apparently, is portraying ordinary Americans as extraordinary people.

I don't know if I'm ready for United 93. I want to see it, I'll buy it when it comes out on DVD, I know it's a story that desperately needs to be told and re-told, but I don't know if I have…

Amazing stupidity in the news

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Bush Eases Environmental Rules on Gasoline:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Under election-year pressure to reduce surging gasoline prices, President Bush on Tuesday halted filling of the nation's emergency oil reserve, urged the waiver of clean air rules to ease local gas shortages and called for the repeal of $2 billion in tax breaks for profit-heavy oil companies.Compare the headling, "Bush eases environmental rules on gasoline" versus the story "urged the waiver of clean air rules". The headline, in other words, is a lie. Bush didn't "ease" a thing, he's recommending that the EPA temporarily ease some regulations.

And before you scream he's endangering the environment, were you also scream a few years ago when then-Governor Gray (Out) Davis was begging the EPA to grant California a waiver re replacing the gasoline addictive MTBE with ethanol? MTBE, the known carcenogenic. I do not recall a single environmental group…

Next, a law mandating you lock your house

CNN.com - N.Y. county mandates wireless security - Apr 21, 2006:
New York's Westchester County has enacted a law designed to limit identity theft by forcing local businesses to install basic security measures for any wireless network that stores customers' credit card numbers or other financial information.Also, because you are presumptively stupid....The law also requires that businesses offering Internet access -- coffeehouses and hotels, for example -- post signs warning that users should have firewalls or other security measures.Why this is a silly law is made clear a few paragraphs later....
Experts warned that the law would not fully protect anyone from dedicated hackers but acknowledged it could raise awareness of the vulnerabilities inherent in wireless technology.So the county is imposing a legal burden on all businesses, big and small, for the sake of minimal education. And while the law may or may not have sanctions and/or punishments in case of violations of the law,…

Make OS X open source?!?

John Dvorak: Apple Needs to Make OS X Open-Source:
A cloud is rising over Mac OS X and its future unless Apple makes its boldest move ever: turning OS X into an open-source project. That would make the battle between OS X and Linux the most interesting one on the computer scene. With all attention turned in that direction, there would be nothing Microsoft could do to stem a reversal of its fortunes.Interesting concept. Apple has taken three discrete steps that have lured my interest. First was Mac OS X, a lovely operating system that deserves far greater exposure. Second, the shift to Intel. And third, Boot Camp, its "beta" software that allows a MacIntel user to install and boot Windows XP, in addition to Mac OS X.

Right then and there, with step three, I know that my next computer purchase will be a Mac, probably an iMac. More than good enough for the Mac application I want to run (Bartas TechnologiesCopywrite), and more than good enough to support the XP programs I want to …

Save the planet, get a motorcycle

For now, I have foresaken cars and will stick with my BMW K1200 LT (mine is not this new, it's a 2000). It's simple math.

My beloved, lamented, and missed Passat got around 20mpg on my current commute. Don't blame the car, blame the distance, as in less than 5 miles from home to office. Last year, when I was commuting a longer distance, I got over 30mpg on the commute. Under these same circumstances, my Beemer gets 35mpg. Voila, I almost half as much fuel as I used to.

Of course, now that I have helped save the planet I say it is time to pave the planet. I need more roads to ride on. As the T-shirt says: One world, one people, one slab of asphalt!

The Talk of the Town?

The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town:
The imminence of catastrophic global warming may be a subject far from the ever-drifting mind of President Bush—whose eschatological preoccupations privilege Armageddon over the Flood—but it is of growing concern to the rest of humanity. Climate change is even having its mass-entertainment moment. “Ice Age: The Meltdown”—featuring Ellie the computer-animated mammoth and the bottomless voice of Queen Latifah—has taken in more than a hundred million dollars at the box office in two weeks. On the same theme, but with distinctly less animation, “An Inconvenient Truth,” starring Al Gore (playing the role of Al Gore, itinerant lecturer), is coming to a theatre near you around Memorial Day. Log on to Fandango. Reserve some seats. Bring the family. It shouldn’t be missed. No kidding.No way. Near as I can tell, most of the major leaders in the environmental movement are morally bankrupt, as in they don't mind a stretch or two with the truth. Few (none?)…

Pigs fly yet again

Going Nuclear:
In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change.A couple of years ago, the Sacramento Bee ran a series of articles about the environment. The series recounted how the desperate need to save habitat for the spotted owl had forced the lumber industry of northern California out of business. It also revealed that at the time and unto this day, the spotted owl has never actually been seen in that area. So why was it that an industry had t…

Which sportscar am I...?

I'm a Chevrolet Corvette!

You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.
Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

A History of Violence

Watched David Cronenberg's A History of Violence last night. Kicks the crap out of Crash, and probably all the other films that were considered "Oscar worthy" for 2005. (I saw "probably" because I have not, as yet, seen the others.)

I like Cronenberg films. There is always something unsettling about them, and I don't just mean their subject matter. It's the way he does thing, how he films. All of his films are very straight-forward, or so it seems. When there's violence it always has a sense of here-and-now-real, with little pretense and not a hint of glory.

And that's true here. I remember reading that this is a difficult film to review, and now a difficult one to write about, because to really discuss the film you have to give everything away. Which would be wrong because even though you may assume what the truth is, that's only a part of the story. In short, the film doesn't rely on that mystery and that's why it's really, reall…

Return to Jackson's Kong, King

I should have written this last night, but I couldn't see straight. It was a three-way blitz: a bit of pink eye, a lovely carbernet, and watching the rest of Peter Jackson's King Kong. At the end of the marathon, the pink eye was in recession, the bottle was almost empty, and Kong wasn't half bad.

It wasn't half good, either. Attend!

Kong is a story in three acts: New York (meet everyone) -- Skull Island (meet Kong, etc.) -- New York (Kong as stage act). In the 1933 original, each of these is taut and to the point. In the 1976 re-visit, much the same time schedule is adhered to. In the 2005 re-make, each act is stretched almost beyond endurance. With the exception of 2005's third act, Jackson should have left well enough alone.

I already ranted about Act I, so on to II and III....

After a seemingly endless sea voyage during which damn near nothing happens, we arrive at Skull Island, "the most dangerous place on earth." I laugh outloud (blame the wine) at the …

Jackson's King Ko-uhhh-Zzzzz....

I admit it. I was pre-disposed to not like Peter Jackson's King Kong.

Like Jackson, I'm a big fan of the original 1933 version. Heck, I even like a few moments in the 1976 rendition, which is otherwise pretty awful. But when Dino de Laurentis announced he was remaking the fabled film, he made no pretense of being some great lover of the original. Oh, he liked it, and said so, but compare with Jackson, who made the original sound like his mother. Now, I love my mother, and I'm sure Jackson loves his mother, but I'd never want to make love with my mother. Jackson, on the other hand....

Oh, that's harsh. Let's concentrate on the film instead.

Watching the first third of Jackson's film is seeing a man obsessed with himself. There are plenty of coy moments, but since Jackson takes us back to the time at which the original was made, 2005 begs comparison with 1933. And 1933 kicks 2005's ass.

Jackson takes a full 30 minutes to do what Cooper and Schoedsack did in 1…