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Showing posts from September, 2006

A Negro Flyboy?

No, I haven't seen Flyboys. Frankly, I can wait for the DVD. (Which is wait of what, four months?) The preview doesn't really thrill me, though Emmett says the film is pretty good. I just can't get to worked up.Besides, thought I, there's this black guy and who is going to believe that a black guy is a fighter pilot in WW1.Oops!Eugene Bullard (9 October189512 October1961) was the first African Americanmilitarypilot.He flew for the French in WW1. Complete Wikipedia entry here. The black character in Flyboys appears to be derived from Eugene's story; the character is named Eugene Skinner.What a fascinating story. There's a book from 1972, The Black Swallow of Death. I think I'll have to hunt up a copy.Damn, why isn't this man's biography a movie already?

And they eat their young, too!

And here I was, thinking that was just a truck that San Francisco meter maids did. Naw, moonbat idiotarians are just as rabid.Click here for LGF link, and from there you can read the insanity.Oh, heaven forfend, liberals say a nice word on behalf of the US and Bush and the office of the President. Eee and gads. Admitedly it's a bit of a shock hearing any nice words from Rangel and Pelosi, but the response of the Kids et al is stunning.Oh, and riotously funny to anyone higher up the evolutionary ladder than a demented bee.

CNN, clueless revisionists of history

OMG, when I read this, I almost fell out of my chair:The pope's speech in Germany last week -- in which he appeared to endorse a Christian view, contested by most Muslims, that early Muslims spread their religion by violence -- has sparked protests around the world.Emphasis mine, because it's not a "Christian view", its historic fact. Islam came into being during the 700's and within three centuries had swept most of northern Africa, mostly by conquest and imposition. Eventually they invaded Spain and Italy.From Wikipedia on Islam:Secular historians place Islam's beginnings during the late 7th century in Arabia. Under the leadership of Muhammad and his successors, Islam rapidly spread by religious conversion and military conquest.Hello, Earth calling CNN, because what in the hell do you think triggered the first Crusade? Hello, it was because Muslims kicked the Christians out and they wanted back in!For a short-hand edition of why CNN is -- at best -- insane …

Is iTunes 7 the work of Satan?

Well, no, but it's buggier than v6. I don't even own an iPod, yet I've got iTunes as my music manager...in anticipation of getting and iPod (cough). So I dutifully "upgraded" to v7.(Cough.)99% of the time all is well. The playback is better...most of the time. But every now and again, the sound starts crackling and fluttering and sounding like exquisitely tuned crap. Apparently this is happening to a lot of people, whether they're running Windows or Mac OS. For me, the solution is easy.I pause, count to "one", then resume playback. Voila. Annoying, but not lethal.Nonetheless, I can hardly wait for the coming-soon update, patch, fix, etc.And people say that Apple walks on water.... Ha!

DVD: Find Me Guilty

Love it. Read about it here, buy it here. Or wherever.I want Vin Diesel to get an Oscar, or at least a nomination. I've like him ever since you could barely recognize his voice. And he was perfect as both Caparzo and Riddick. Here, he is almost completely out of his element; he only gets in one on-screen fight. And he loses!For me, Diesel makes the film. Sidney Lumet has done better, he's even done staggeringly great. He's also done much worse. His direction here is average and quiet, which is a good thing since it puts Diesel front and center.Bullet-point synopsis: During the longest Mafia trial in history, Vin Diesel plays a lower-echelon thug who defends himself at trial.There, that's it, that's the plot. And Diesel does a great job, better than you would imagine him doing with a talking role. Go get it, watch it, kick back and have a good time. One of the few times I didn't mind cheering for thugs!

Among the reasons I like Christopher Hitchens...

...is that he's a left-learning atheist who is honest. Others of that combo (see anything posted by the Kossacks) aren't. It's one of the reasons I admire Paul Greengrass, who made the remarkable United 93; his politics are suppressed to create an amazing drama. His art is, for wont of a better word, pure.And so I feel the same when I read...One must have a blunt answer to the banal chat-show and op-ed question: What have we learned? (The answer ought not to be that we have learned how to bully and harass citizens who try to take shampoo on flights on which they have lawfully booked passage. Yet incompetent collective punishment of the innocent, and absurd color-coding of the "threat level," is the way in which most Americans actually experience the "war on terror.") Anyone who lost their "innocence" on September 11 was too na├»ve by far, or too stupid to begin with. On that day, we learned what we ought to have known already, which is that cle…

What I said five years ago...

(Originally Posted December 11, 2001) "You monster. You beast.
You unspeakable bastard." Everyone has an opinion about September 11, 2001. Everyone is pitching their two cents worth. So why not me? Not that I am any great statesman or spokesman or a "mover and shaker." However, it has all reached a boil now, and I thought I might as well spell out a few things from my point of view. Let me begin with that morning and how it appeared to me. My alarm had gone off just shortly before six in the morning (Pacific coast time). OOMA [object of my affection], who had been up since 5:30, said that the World Trade Center was on fire. She went back to drying her hair. Sure, thought I. I sat up in bed, looked at the TV, and sure enough, one of the towers is blazing away. The "expert" guest commentator on the Fox News Channel was a dodo. He prattled on, saying we can't assume this was deliberate action, that there's a great deal of air traffic in the area, …

Some biased reviews of "The Path to 9/11"

From that staunch supporter of the right, the New York Times:The terrorists are ruthless and implacable. Some foreign informants and obscure civil servants turn out to be inspiringly tough-minded and smart: low profiles in courage. But “The Path to 9/11” is an unsparing, and at times hyperbolic, portrait of bureaucratic turf wars, buck passing and complacency. Senior managers at the F.B.I. and C.I.A. are overwhelmed and quicker to protect their own hides than national security. It’s always the enemy within that nettles the most.From the Detroit Free Press, that bastion of conservatism:But "The Path to 9/11" -- airing at 8-11 p.m. Sunday and 8-10 p.m. Monday on ABC -- intently avoids any shallow shock value sensationalism to dissect the roots of an almost unfathomable national catastrophe. And it does so with a fair amount of understated intelligence, while utilizing an often absorbing, richly detailed procedural style. On a simple quality drama level, it's the best netwo…

Rally 'round, all ye defenders of free speech!

I am talking, of course, about The Path to 9/11. Is it free speech, and the artist can produce whatever he/she wants, or are you going to side with the Democrats, or, more precisely, "former members of the Clinton administration"?"The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has a duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely. It is unconscionable to mislead the American public about one of the most horrendous tragedies our country has ever known," [Clinton Foundation head Bruce] Lindsey and [Clinton advisor Douglas] Band wrote in their letter.And... "I haven't seen it, but from everything I've heard it's not down the middle. It's not fair at all. And to have a film that seems to be biased and take one side put on by a network seems to be the wrong thing to do," said [Senator Charles] Schumer [D-NY]. "You can't take a film that's supposed to report on something that's so real…

United 93 on DVD

Have you bought your copy yet?United 93 is easily one of the best movies I've seen in a great many years. No, I am not overstating the case. It's excellent on all counts. Paul Greengrass hits one out of the ball park by suppressing his own political leanings (leftward, or so I have heard) and simply tells the story. I was impressed with what he did with the Bourne Supremacy, making a sequel that, in many ways, exceeds the original. And his Bloody Sunday is on a par with United 93; indeed, if I were Irish I might say it was better.But I'm not. I'm an American and while I deeply honor the men and women who died in the World Trade Center, and I humbly respect and praise the firemen and policemen and others who died charging into those doomed towers, I am in awe of the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93. And Greengrass does 'em proud.It's sort of what I was getting at with my bit on the Battle of Thermopylae. There you had a bunch of Spartans ready to die, but…

Can Time get anything right?

Even writing a complementary article, Time can't get it right... The Orion spacecraft, by contrast, is based on proven Apollo technology. It’s configured like a large Apollo: a conical crew compartment atop a cylindrical engine module. It will sit atop heavy-lift boosters that are modeled in part after the shuttle’s own liquid-fuel engines — far and away the best part of the old shuttle technology and the part most worth saving.Only, that's not quite right. The crew lift vehicle (Ares I) will use as its first stage a solid rocket booster (SRB) based on the shuttle design. So, unlike what Time implies, humans will still be riding up toward the stars on solid rockets (at least for the first stage). Also, the heavy lift vehicle (Ares V) will not use the space shuttle main engine (SSME). Rather, it will use the RS-68 from the Delta V (and it's based on a Russian design at that). And the Ares V first stage will be assisted by two SRBs. Read all about it here. It was all announc…

Crocodile Hunter, R.I.P.

I'm not going to pretend I'm shedding tears. Nonetheless:Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and environmentalist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray during a diving expedition, Australian media said. He was 44.Target of much satire, he obviously had a fire for what he did and how he went about doing it. Crazy or not, at least he walked as he talked. And such a way to go. Would have expect a croc to finally gnaw his ass. I wonder what kind of ray it was. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe a jelly got him.

Christian rock as a threat?

I'm not sure what Peter Suderman's point is here at Alarm-Alarm, but the line he cites from a Pitchfork short track review is pretty straight forward:Why is Christian Rock the new punk rock? Because those bands care about what they're selling-- care a lot-- and they make a culture out of it: a weird, fucked, mortal-enemy-to-what-we-hold-dear culture, but there it is.To which Peter comments:If pop culture art with Christian ideas succeeds, it may well be because of what Baron is describing.Well, yes, because of that passion. Too many performers today seem more caught up in themselves than in their craft. And I said "craft" because it's not "art". (What is art? In the eye of the beholder. In other words, I know it when I see/hear/smell/taste/touch it.)Lately I've taken to listening to a variety of what I suppose is called "Christian rock". Certainly Lincoln Brewster is right there, singing songs of straight-forward praise and redemption.…

About that "Steven Spielberg ending" comment

All right, when I wrote about the film V for Vendetta, I said the "happy ending" was an ending Steven Spielberg would have been proud of. Is there someone out there who doesn't get it? I can think of precisely one film that Spielberg didn't slap some sort of "and they all lived happily ever after" ending onto, and that was Munich (which sucked in its own right and for other reasons).Most of his films righteously have happy endings. Kill the shark, absolutely. Hero wins the day, without a doubt. Some poor schmuck prevails over homicidal big rig, yea!But as I recall, his first theatrical film didn't have all that happy an ending. Indeed, I think the protaganist gets his ass shot off and dies. Which was proper, since that was based on a real story and that's really what happened.And does Close Encounters of the Third Kind really have a "happy" ending? Our hero goes off with the aliens, and the music swells to happiness, but he's just aban…

Transformers?

Why does this make me grin?It's directed by Michael Bay, and he's not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. However, his films have a certain enthusiastic exuberance that is...endearing. And The Island was actually a shock, being such a loud and profound anti-abortion analogy.So maybe this will be...interesting. Maybe at least as entertaining as Armageddon. Is Steve Buscemi a Transformer? Now that would rock!