Friday, June 30, 2006

Super bore

I recommend waiting to see Bryan Singer's 2 and a half hour opus SUPERMAN RETURNS at the dollar cinema (assuming your town still has one). It was long, it was slow, it was NOT exciting.

The story starts off in slow gear and takes almost a half hour to give us the first action sequence. Granted, you don't need action sequences if the story is fun, the character interactions are entertaining, and the dialogue is popping. Sadly, there was little of that. Newcomer Brandon Routh does a fine job...he is best doing a goofy Clark Kent (though they really don't go far enough). Kate Bosworth is lovely as Lois Lane...not as spunky or adorable as Margot Kidder but a helluva lot better looking (though she is a little bit of a lightweight pulling off the big "drama" of the piece...Lois is VERY upset that Superman took off for five years and didn't even say goodbye...she can't figure out why a man would do that).

The final action sequence is not really that impressive, then you have a very long anti-climax. The movie just peters out rather than ends. Yawn.

Oh well, maybe PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN II will be better.

Monday, June 26, 2006



This is crude, but effective. I must marshal my Jedi film editing skills and show the Galaxy what a fully trained Jedi film maker can do!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

To Go Boldly Where No Man Has Gone Before [link]

Interesting reading Monday morning. Apparently J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, submitted a proposal for a new STAR TREK series back in 2004. Straczynski proposed a "reboot" of the ST universe. Take the story back to the original series and start again at the beginning of the first five year mission of the USS Enterprise under the command of James T. Kirk. Follow the link above to a PDF file of the outline.

Bruce Zabel was kind enough to post this outline, and to discuss the history behind it. You can read his blog here:

Straczynski had some good ideas, but also some bad ideas. He believed that the way to make the new series engaging was to have a 5 year story arc, similar to what he did with B5. In the pilot episode, we would learn about a highly advanced alien race that disappeared one million years ago. The Enterprise (and the other starships on 5 year missions) are out looking for traces of this ancient civilization.

Excuse me Joe, but this VERY idea was the plot to a STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION episode. So, ditch that idea....or at least remove it from being the central narrative device for the series. I don't have a problem with an advanced race out there...after all, we had a variety of hyper-advanced energy beings out there...any new Trek series should make sense of those: the super beings in "Charlie X," Trelayne from "The Squire of Gothos," the Organians from "Errand of Mercy," and a hand full of other advanced aliens should be better explained. Either they were all the same race, or there were a series of ancient races that have since retired from active politicking around the galaxy (very much like the ancients in David Brin's Uplift War sagas).

Of course, it could just be as simple as that...there were lots of civilizations that have retired to their home worlds and would prefer to be left alone; the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, and other young races are tearing about the galaxy and occasionally bumping into these advanced their own risk. This would make an excellent subplot (one of several) for the entire series...but I don't think it would work well as THE central theme for a five year story arc...too melodramatic...and it was already done in B5.

In fact, now that I have thought more about it, I think Straczynski is on to something. But it would not be just one mystery, but many. There have been many ancient races that have ruled the galaxy and died out or disappeared. The investigation of these disappeared races (and the possibility that some of them may still be out there lurking in the great unknown...or the possibility that there is some great evil force that comes out every few million years to destroy the galaxy) is an important, but covert part of, Starfleet's mission to explore the galaxy. You could have a "great unknown" that Kirk and company are occasionally picking up pieces of...that would be fine. But don't try to tie it into a "war of the gods" like Straczynski had for Babylon 5.

Ok, I edited out the rest of my comments...this post was just TOO long!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Zarqawi's first blog entry from Paradise [link]

Courtesy of Iowahawk (link above), here are Abu Musab al Zarqawi's first impressions of "Paradise." The short version: it's a lot hotter than he expected and much, much more painful.

Due to the mature content of that blog,
parental discretion is advised before
reading the Iowahawk blog entry

When the door close behind me, zwwwwippitch, I guess you could say I was a little surprised, maybe a little disappointed. Turns out paradise is dumpier that you'd expect. A lot dumpier. In fact it's a lot like the Iraq boondocks; sandy, dusty, seemed like 150 degrees in the shade. I always figured paradise would have better climate control, but hey, Allah has the thermostat and He works in mysterious ways. I start looking around, and looking around. No virgins, no figs, no raisins. Now, I'm horny, hungry, and annoyed. Okay, I figure, I guess it's up to Zarkman to cherchez la poontang himself, so I start to walk down this dusty street, and BOOOM!

Get this: some asshole planted an IED right in the middle of goddamn downtown Paradise, and I take my first step right on the cocksucker. As I was flying through the air, I'm going, what the dung? It must have been planted by some Jew or Crusader, but how did one of those bastards slip into paradise in the first place? It was giving me a headache. Then I got another headache when the schoolbus ran over my head.

I was laying there trying to figure it out, when my various limbs and torsos and gonads and such started to reassemble, sort of like that liquid chrome cop in Terminator 2. Pretty cool, but it hurt like a mofo. So SPROING! I'm back on my feet, and start out again and BOOM! And I'm like, another fucking IED? I mean, what are the frigging odds? Then shhhklorrrp, bus over the head, reassemble SPROING. The next couple of hours was a blur of step- BOOM- shhhklorrrp - SPROING, lather-rinse-repeat, and I'm like, dude, fuck this shit. I had only made it 50 yards and wasn't all that horny anymore.

Here is to hoping that Iowahawk is understating the truth!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

ZARQAWI IS DEAD!!!!! [link]

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has gone to collect his 72 virgins! I hope they all look like Yasser Arafat!

Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in an American airstrike on an isolated safe house north of Baghdad at 6.15 p.m. local time on Wednesday, top U.S. and Iraqi officials said on Thursday.

At a joint news conference with Iraq's prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the top American military commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., said Zarqawi's body had been positively identified by fingerprints, "facial recognition" and other indicators. He said seven of Zarqawi's associates had also been killed in the strike.

Death from above! Great. Actually, I hope he is burning in hell!

While it is good news, let's not fall into the mistake of thinking that killing one leader will end the war on terror (or the war in Iraq). Back in the French war for Algeria, the French diligently went about killing all the leaders of the resistance. When the last resistance leader was dead, the French assumed they had won the war. Well, they were wrong.

So, let's have a toast for our boys in Iraq for a job well done, and then cheer them on to more feats of daring do!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

When the world was young...

A long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away, when Patrick Stewart still had hair!

Your heroic dictator for life just ordered the BBC series I CLAUDIUS on DVD. This is going to be FUN!

* * * * UPDATE * * * *

Apparently, the hair in the above photo was actually a wig...according to the Wikipedia, Stewart was bald since the age of 19

At 16 he was a furniture salesman. And in 1957, at the age of 17, he embarked on a two-year acting course at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He lost most of his hair by the age of 19 (alopecia runs in his family), but he successfully sold himself to theatre producers, after performing an audition with and without a wig, as "two actors for the price of one!". In 1964 he met the Old Vic's choreographer Sheila Falconer and they married on March 4, 1966. They had two children — Daniel Freedom Stewart and Sophie Alexandra Stewart — but divorced in 1990.1 Daniel Stewart would have a small role playing Picard's son in an alternate universe in the Next Generation episode, The Inner Light.

Following a period with the Manchester Library Theatre, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 where he appeared next to actors such as Ben Kingsley and Ian Richardson — and even played on the company's football (soccer) team. He then moved to the Royal National Theatre in the early 1980s. Over the years, Stewart took roles in many major television series without ever becoming a household name. He appeared as Sejanus in I, Claudius; Karla in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People; Claudius in a 1980 BBC adaptation of Hamlet. He even took the romantic male lead in the BBC adaptation of Mrs Gaskell's North and South (wearing a hairpiece).

Oh well, his enormous talent more than makes up for his lack of follicles. Whereas your heroic dictator for life has plenty of follicles (on his head, thank you) and no talent whatsoever.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Prison Ministries ruled unconstitutional [link]

Ok, so it is unconstitutional to have prison programs preaching Christianity to prisoners. let's just leave the preaching to the Islamo-Nazi-terrorist-wannabes and gangsters. Here is an excerpt from the NY Times report:

A federal judge in Iowa ruled Friday that a state-financed evangelical Christian program to help inmates re-enter society was "pervasively sectarian" and violated the separation of church and state.

The decision has set the stage for an appeals process that is expected to explore more broadly the constitutionality of the Bush administration's religion-based initiative programs, according to plaintiffs, defendants and legal experts.

Prison programs run by religious groups have increased over the last decade or so, as policy makers, prison and law enforcement officials and prisoner advocates have focused on the high rates of recidivism when inmates return to society, said Robert Tuttle, a law professor at George Washington University who is an expert on religion-based initiatives. Proponents of such programs in prisons have said that the transformative experience of religion can counter recidivism.

It is almost as if the liberals in our society WANT our nation and our society to commit suicide! The only thing that liberals want prisoners to learn in prison is how to be better at committing crimes.

Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State is an evil man. He calls himself a Christian, but he opposes the actual spread of Christianity. Mind you, I am not a Christian, I am a very secular JEW! But I recognize that faith is an important component in living a civilized life. I have no problem with government sponsored and paid for programs that promote Christianity as long as I am not being forced to convert (and as long as Jewish and other faiths can have similar programs).

Some people are so cynical or so afraid of religion that they cannot bear to see it anywhere...they want it stamped out of public life. But, if we say that there is no God, then WE become our own god. Or, as many wise men have said, "Without God, all things are permissible."

Hopefully, the Court of Appeals (and perhaps even the Supreme Court) will have a different perspective and will overrule the District Court. If not, well, I can only take solace in the fact that I do not have any children...because the world would truly be going to hell (or, to be precise, turning INTO hell).

Congressional Leadership

The National Journal has a story this week indicating that Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the likely new Majority Leader should the Republicans retain control of the Senate this fall.

McConnell is a fighter who has not been afraid to speak his mind. McConnell was one of the leaders in challenging campaign finance reform. If the National Journal story is to be believed, McConnell is also savvy and subtle when it comes to politics.

But after checking and rechecking with his Senate colleagues to see where they stood, McConnell concluded that the vote would be a 50-50 tie.

McConnell didn't hesitate to notify the White House that Vice President Cheney, as Senate president, would have to cast the tiebreaker. Never mind that Cheney was halfway around the world in Afghanistan at a delicate moment in U.S. foreign policy. And never mind that by the time the vice president returned to Washington, his vote might not even be required, because a senator or two might switch positions.

In the end, McConnell's vote count was dead-on. The Senate approved the fiscal 2006 budget reconciliation conference report, 51-50, on December 21. For the seventh time during his vice presidency, Cheney provided the decisive Senate vote.

Other lawmakers might try to grab some glory for pulling off such a feat. Step out before the klieg lights. Enjoy the spotlight. But the low-key McConnell did none of those things. He saw that episode as simply part of his job as the No. 2 to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.

I suspect that the Senate will be much more pleasing to conservatives if McConnell is in charge and not just because of his political savvy. McConnell has a power base, something that Frist (and Denny Hastert over on the House side) never seemed to really have. It takes power in the hands of the leadership to knock heads together and to force the individual members of Congress to work for a higher purpose (rather than just meet their immediate needs).

Congress has been a disaster for the last few years. The Republican leadership seemed incapable of holding the members together to vote on important issues. The Senate leadership has been a major embarrassment...they have a 10 vote margin and the let the Dems set the agenda.

It seems to me that Frist and Hastert were consensus choices for their leadership positions. While I have no first hand knowledge of the situations behind their rise to power, I have my suspicions.

Let's go back to post-election 1998. Newt Gingrich announces that he is not going to continue on as Speaker and Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was next in line. Livingston IS a force to be reckoned with, yet his prospective Speaker-ship lasted only a few days. Word of a potential scandal involving marital infidelity caused him to announce his resignation from Congress. He went on to found the Livingston Group, one of the most powerful lobbying shops on Capitol Hill (the offices were on the same floor of the building I worked in between 2000 and 2002 and I became friends with Bob). The Republicans in the House then picked Hastert as the new Speaker.

Certain senior members in the House (leadership members and chairman of major committees) act as political "barons" who butt heads and jockey for power. A strong Speaker can keep these barons in line and prevent them from running amok. Livingston's departure left a vacuum at the top...and none of the remaining barons were powerful enough to seize the top position for themselves. So, they agreed to allow a non-entity like Hastert to become Speaker. Very quickly, the barons learned that they liked having a weak Speaker at the top...they could manage their own affairs and pursue their own agendas without interference.

All this has been a disaster for the GOP. Self interest of the members now reigns supreme. "To hell with the agenda, I have to get myself re-elected!" Well, to the leadership, I say, "To hell with YOU!"

Friday, June 02, 2006

TIN FOIL HAT ALERT!!!!! [link]

The Dems just can't accept the fact that they lost the 2004 presidential election. Case in point, the new article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

I guess you can't keep the tin foil hat brigades from finding conspiracies. I mean, if there are people who believe that the CIA and Israel were the parties truly responsible for the attacks on 9/11, then they will believe anything!

Maybe if you can't beat them, join them...

For that matter, Murphy needs protection too...

Speaking of vote fraud, Murphy still has not forgiven me for not letting HER go and vote in November of 2004. All of her Democrat canine friends in the neighborhood got to vote for John Kerry.