Wednesday, January 26, 2005
The best of television
The episodes that spoilers should never have touched.
Babylon 5 : "Z'ha'Dum"
American Gothic : "Requiem"
Star Trek DS9: "Duet"
Star Trek TNG: "The Inner Light"
Galactica : "Kobol's Last Gleaming"
And the winner is... BattleStar Galactica.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Fixed Rate Mortgages
The only way to go
One of the great things about newspapers like the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times, is that they are not read by the majority of people. And they know this. So they tend not to couch their stories in the way that a more mainstream paper might have to.
The onrushing collapse of the American dollar and the American economy are spoken about quite frankly, even if it is treated as mere "speculation" at this point.
In any case, mortgage holders in America should start reading Forbes.com and their ilk, to find out when those interest rates are going to go into double digits.
The doom of the dollar:
China owns one third of the U.S. Current Account debt.
Monday, January 17, 2005
Remember this the next time some church wants you to give them some cash for the poor and needy
Most of the 200 people are homeless or displaced, battling to rebuild lives and locating lost family members besides facing risks of epidemic,disease and trauma.
Jubilant at seeing the relief trucks loaded with food, clothes and the much-needed medicines the villagers, many of who have not had a square meal in days, were shocked when the nuns asked them to convert before distributing biscuits and water.
This is just another form of conversion by the sword. These people make me want to puke.
Very comfortable when worn close to the skin
I hate liberalism. And I hate 'X'. Therefore 'X' is liberalism.
Does anyone think that's valid reasoning?
If you're going to bitch about "liberalism", don't you think you should know what it actually IS, instead of shoving everything you don't like into one big pile, and throwing the lable "liberal" at it?
According to the dictionary : Liberalism
: A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority. An economic theory in favor of laissez-faire, the free market
, and the gold standard.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
How to legally avoid being drafted
Yeah yeah, we know the draft isn't really coming...
Despite the Stop-Loss programs, the increased funding for the Selective Service, the "open ended" review of the ongoing situation, the Universal National Service Act of 2003, etc... we all know there won't be a Draft. But since "Be Prepared" is good advice in all situations, I thought I'd post this little missive.
The 13th Amendment (designed to prevent slavery by calling it involuntary servitude) applies to the Draft. The military gets around this by getting draftees to volunteer as a matter of course.
If and when you receive a "draft notice" it will tell you to report on a certain date to a certain place to receive physical and mental tests.
You will then be told to report for "induction" into the military and to appear at a certain military base for that purpose on a date specified.
By law, you must appear there or a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
When you report, you will have another brief physical then be told to "line up on the yellow line" (Typically painted on the floor)
A Recruiting Officer (not identified as such) will then tell all those "joining the army" (or whatever) to take one step forward.
If you do this, you will be classed as having volunteered.
This is done so that no one can legally
claim they violated the 13th Amendment.
When the officer says "RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND AND SWEAR ALLEGIANCE" almost everyone does, thinking it must be required. And after all, they've been trained like seals to repeat such pledges of allegiance since their earliest school days.
"I, (name) do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America and will defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic, and will obey the orders of the President and the officers appointed over me, so help me God."
Now those who "voluntarily" stepped forward have also taken the Oath voluntarily.
What you must do, to avoid the Draft, is NOT step forward. And do NOT take the oath of Allegiance. The recruiter will probably say something like this: Wwhat's the matter with you, don't you know what' step forward' means?"
You should respond with something like "Sure I do, but I am NOT volunteering to serve in the military."
All of those who did volunteer will now be excused from the room and you will be cajoled with persuasive arguments at first then you may be called names and insulted, possibly even assaulted by one or more military people present there as
witnesses. Eventually the tormentors might give up and have you arrested on some charge.
One thing to say at this point is what the cops are coached to say on the witness stand: "Am I ordered?"
If the recruiter says No, then obviously you're OK. If the recruiter says Yes, then "By what authority do you, a military officer, order me, a civilian?" If the recruiter says anything else, repeat the question until you get Yes or No.
If the recruiter says "I order you by the authority of the United States Government" then "Which clause of the Constitution gives you, a military officer, to order me, a civilian?"
Another thing to say is: "Am I free to go?" If the recruiter says Yes, then obviously leave. If the recruiter says No, then "Am I under arrest? Am I your prisoner? Am I kidnapped? If I'm not free, then what am I?" and again, keep repeating the question.
Another thing to say is: "I want an attorney."
Another thing to say is, of course, nothing at all. I think I would go with "Am I free to go?" because if you get to Yes, then you can leave and he would look bad ordering an arrest. If you ask the question three times and don't get a yes or no, then "Well I must be free to go, because I asked you three times and you won't tell me I'm not." Then I would slowly turn around and leave, and if he keeps trying to interact I would just keep repeating the question.
This advice allegedly comes from D. R. Graham (Retired military officer)
Here's an excerpt from a book, referring to the original legal precedent.
The Army induction officer instructed the draftees to "take one step forward" as their names were called, and said that step would signify their induction into the Army. When reluctant Willie's name was called, he answered present, but did not step forward. After the ceremony, he went home instead of to camp. When the MP's came for him, he went to court for a writ of habeas corpus to retain his freedom. "The officer himself," Willie argued, "said the step forward is what would make me a soldier. As I didn't take the step, I'm still a civilian and the Army has no claim on me."
Counsel for the Army replied, "The Army isn't being run by childish games. Willie and a hundred others appeared to be inducted, and he was inducted before the whole group as any fool there could plainly see."
Willie retained his civilian status. The court ruled that the draft law required some definite ceremony to transform a civilian into a soldier. As the Army decided to have one step forward constitute the ceremony, and Willie didn't take the step, he wasn't a soldier. -- U.S. Court of Appeals, 1954
The hidden price of Religious Aid
Say "Praise God" and I'll give you a Happy Meal
You know, I was already pissed off at the attitudes that some religious people expressed. Namely that the Tsunami was God's way of letting those non-christian brown-skinned people know he was pissed off at them. But this goes above and beyond.
Dozens of religious groups have moved in to Aceh, ostensibly looking to help tsunami victims - but also to convert them.
The arrival of Western Christian groups with records of aggressive preaching risks confrontation with local Muslim leaders which could jeopardise the provision of aid to the 600,000 local people made homeless by the disaster. The death toll in Aceh stands at around 110,000 and is expected to rise.
Reacting to the attempts of one American group to fly hundreds of local children to a Christian orphanage, Din Syamsuddin, head of the Indonesian Council of Clerics, said any attempt to spread religion under the cover of aid was wrong.
"The Muslim community will not remain quiet. This a clear statement, and it is serious," he said.
Many survivors of the disaster are deeply traumatised by their experience and thus, experts say, vulnerable to religious groups. The disaster has led to a huge increase in religious sentiment.
But it's not just the Christians involved in this sickening display of prosletyzing. Radical Muslim groups started arriving in the province within days. These include the Islamic Defenders' Front, which has attacked bars and shops selling alcohol in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, and Lashkar Mujahideen, which endorses a militant ideology and has alleged links to the killing of Christians.
And you just KNOW the world is fucked up when I find myself on the same side as the gorram Scientologists. They have also established a presence in Banda Aceh but say "We are not here to proselytise. That would be distasteful." - "We hope we are just seen as another relief group."
Mark Kosinski, an American evangelist who arrived in Aceh from Malaysia last week, said: "These people need food but they also need Jesus. God is trying to awaken people and help them realise salvation is in Christ."
Oh fuck off and die, if you love Jesus so much.
And if you think I'm over-reacting, ask yourself, how would you feel if American orphans in some diaster were taken by Muslims because "they needed Allah". I think you'd be pissed off too. Just because you're convinced your religion is right, doesn't necessarily make it fucking so.
It's hard to argue to facts when they are marshalled before hand
You gotta love this clip.
Now if that had been a Michael Moore video, the right would be screaming that he never used the actual words
"Iraq is an imminant threat". But anyone can see that that was clearly his intention.
Rumsfeld just didn't expect them have a citation or two ready to hand. So he was quite prepared to lie through his teeth, thinking he'd never be called on it at the time, and knowing no-one would bother trying to chase it up afterwards.
Sucks to be wrong. Again.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Let's warn potential readers...
The Bible doesn't meet the requirements for "fact" either.
I suggest the following sticker be placed on all copies the Bible.
In the interests of fairness, you understand.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
It's not all bad news...
Some sanity prevails
A federal judge today ordered the removal of stickers placed in high school biology textbooks that call evolution "a theory, not a fact," saying they were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
Full story here.
Rather than bury it in comment...
please clarify the "heart/mind/society" idea.
Well, it's been touched on by both Stan and Kate. In the writings of Plato's Socratic Dialogs with Phaedrus, we read the following : "What is good Phaedrus, and what is not good? And need we anyone to teach us these things?"
They were arguing that there is an innate instinct in man which can tell him what is "good". Abusing a child? Not good. Giving food to a hungry man? Good. But there are plenty of instances in the real world, particularly in dealing with man-made morals and values, where society plays a huge role in telling the individual what is moral.
A lot of "moral" behaviour can be learned by a child with no moral or religious background at all. Why? Because it's what society (and by that I mean those around you) are comfortable with, and expect. And these things differ, from society to society. I'll list some examples of what you might consider moral or immoral behaviour, but which are strongly rooted in what your society deems acceptable.
Public urination? (There are pissoirs in Holland for this precise purpose)
Smoking in restaraunts? (Rapidly becoming a taboo in the States, accepted still in many places)
Smoking marijuana? (Again, not a problem in Amsterdam and other places)
Showing the soles of your feet? (A definite no-no in parts of Asia)
Blowing your nose into a hanky? (Don't do this in public in Japan)
Showing public displays of emotion? (Also a no-no in Japan)
Public nudity? (Go to a nudist beach or nudist colony, to see where people don't have a problem with it.)
Nudity on television? (In many European countries, people are more concerned about exposing kids to violence on tv. A little nudity never hurt anyone)
Women showing their face in public? (There are countries in the Middle East where this is not allowed. And it's not considered a "repression". It's a cultural norm.)
Many things which you think of as immoral, only occupy that part of your mind because someone else taught you that they were immoral. As human beings it's very hard to break the conditioning we receive in our early formative years. But it can be done. And generally is done, by each new generation.
And this is a good thing.
In other words, can what is "wrong" or "sin" change over time?
If so, I think you have to acknowledge the eventual death of morality.
Dear lord, no wonder you're a creationist.
What you are doing here, is taking a trend, out of context, and extrapolating it to an extreme. Creationists do this when they say things like "The sun is slowly decreasing in size. If you follow the trend backwards, a few million years ago Earth could not exist. Therefore the universe is not a few million years old"
This is not a valid argument, for the obvious reason, that you cannot extrapolate a short term trend in such a manner. The sun has not been shrinking at the same rate for all that long.
Yours is also not a valid argument.
What is "wrong" or "sin" can change over time. But you cannot extrapolate from this to the death of morality. Why?
Because it goes BOTH
I know you've said your knowledge of history is pretty poor, so let me reassure you on something. Societies morals go back and forth over periods of time. The swing tends towards more conservatism after periods of war, for example. Modes of dress, for example, become more formal. It's swings and roundabouts. What were the children of the free-love 60's like? They were the ultraconservative yuppies of the greed-is-good 80's. They got 12 years of Reaganomics for that, but that's another story. Swings and roundabouts. I know quite a few people who think the U.S. is in a stage of becoming more conservative at the moment (2 Republican terms, shitstorms over Janet's nipple, etc..)
The fact is, somethings, especially the values we are taught, need to be challenged. And that is how a society evolves. We used to have the guillotine in Europe. We eventually realised (or decided) that this was immoral.
As Stan and Kate also pointed out, if it wasn't for the changing view of what is moral, we would still be living in a slave culture, for example. Would you approve of this? What about mixed marriages? Burning witches at the stake?
So it should be obvious that morals are not absolute. But that is not to say there are NO moral absolutes. Or that there are NONE.
In my opinion, some things will always be wrong. Some things will always be right. But those black and white areas have an awful lot of grey seperating them.
Compassionate Conservatives in action
Now that's funny
But not for the residents of D.C. I guess.
Not only is this a first time ever, but the money to pay for this sturm-und-drang show is coming from... yes, money that was flagged for Homeland Security projects.
It's an unfunded mandate of the most odious kind. How can the District be asked to take funds from important homeland security projects to pay for this instead?" said Davis spokesman David Marin.
The region has earmarked federal homeland security funds for such priorities as increasing hospital capacity, equipping firefighters with protective gear and building transit system command centers.
Nah, they don't sound like important projects. Give the money to Bush.
You have freedom of speech
So long as you don't use it
We all knew about the Republicans idea of "free speech zones" designed to shelter Dubya and the Media from uncomfortable views of public annoyance. But they continue to chip away at the bill of rights, one incident at a time.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Well allow me to retort...
In response to KMan's post
, I bashed out the following response.
For those who subscribe to Judeo-Christian values, right and wrong, good and evil, are derived from God, not from reason alone, nor from the human heart, the state or through majority rule.
And for those who don't, from Greek philosophers to modern scientists, good and evil derive from the heart, the mind, and society around you.
Though most college-educated Westerners never hear the case for the need for God-based morality because of the secular outlook that pervades modern education and the media, the case is both clear and compelling:
The idea that modern media is secular is a bit of stretch but I can let it slide.
If there is no transcendent source of morality (morality is the word I use for the standard of good and evil), "good" and "evil" are subjective opinions, not objective realities.
In other words, if there is no God who says, "Do not murder" ("Do not kill" is a mistranslation of the Hebrew which, like English, has two words for homicide), murder is not wrong.
Idiot. Stupid stupid idiot. You're ignoring what you just implied earlier.
I've heard this argument put forward by idiots talking about drugs. Saying things like, if cocaine wasn't illegal, we'd all be driving to work high as kite, etc... That's so idiotic. If you need it explained, I'll explain it for you, but holy crap, is this a losing way to start your argument.
Many people may think it is wrong, but that is their opinion, not objective moral fact. There are no moral "facts" if there is no God; there are only moral opinions.
For those who don't believe in God, good and evil derive from the heart, the mind, and society around you.
Years ago, I debated this issue at Oxford with Jonathan Glover, currently the professor of ethics at King's College, University of London, and one of the leading atheist moralists of our time.
Because he is a man of rare intellectual honesty, he acknowledged that without God, morality is subjective. He is one of the few secularists who do.
Nah, I don't think that's true. It's more likely that in the debate, Prof. Glover admitted this, and you couldn't just pretend he didn't. So you're ascribing the belief as "rare". It really isn't.
This is the reason for the moral relativism -- "What I think is right is right for me, what you think is right is right for you" -- that pervades modern society.
Generalisation and taking a legitimate point to absurd extremes.
The secularization of society is the primary reason vast numbers of people believe, for example, that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter";
No, I don't believe that because I'm secular. I believe it because it's true. :p Or to put it another way, I believe it because that's what I think, feel, and so do the people around me.
why the best educated were not able say that free America was a more moral society than the totalitarian Soviet Union;
The best educated were not able to say this, because they saw the world was not black and white.
why, in short, deep moral confusion afflicted the 20th century and continues in this century.
That is why The New York Times, the voice of secular moral relativism,
I think that's meant to be insulting, but the New York Times is not the voice of s.m.r. by any means. It certainly doesn't represent my views, for example.
was so repulsed by President Ronald Reagan's declaration that the Soviet Union was an "evil empire."
Well, I wasn't repulsed by it. I thought it was stupid and dismissed it. Reagan was feeding a line of propaganda that was at variance with reality. Those who knew this, knew this. Those who didn't, didn't. His comment was meaningless, at least to people like me.
The secular world -- especially its left -- fears and rejects the language of good and evil because it smacks of religious values and violates their moral relativism.
He is saying a lot about the secular world, but he knows very little about the secular world. No surprise there. The secular world uses the terms good and evil, just not liberally. And certainly not always on the same targets that the religious right in America would like to use them on. Pre-Emptive War is evil. Spending hundreds of billions on weapons while you have hungry and homeless people in your own country, is evil. Bombing innocent people is evil. What happened on 9/11 was evil. See? Not afraid to use it at all.
It is perhaps the major difference between America and Europe. As a New York Times article on European-American differences noted last year, "Americans are widely regarded as more comfortable with notions of good and evil, right and wrong, than Europeans. . . . " No wonder. America is a Judeo-Christian society; Europe (and the American Democratic Party) is largely secular.
Wrong again, but oh don't get me started on the ignorance of the average republican when it comes to Europe...
In the late 1970s, in a public interview in Los Angeles, I asked one of the leading secular liberal thinkers of the past generation, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., if he would say that the United States was a morally superior society to that of the Soviet Union. Even when I repeated the question, and clarified that I readily acknowledged the existence of good individuals in the Soviet Union and bad ones in America, he refused to do so.
Possibly because he knew some history. About atrocities committed by America.
A major reason for the left's loathing of George W. Bush is his use of moral language
Again, wrong. It just goes to show you have no interest in examing why people don't approve of George. His language is actually one of the more amusing things about him. If you want to know why I personally hate George, I'll make a list. You won't find his use of moral language anywhere on it.
-- such as in his widely condemned description of the regimes of North Korea, Iran and Iraq as an "axis of evil." These people reject the central Judeo-Christian value of the existence of objective good and evil and our obligation to make such judgments.
You know, I think even the JudeoChristian should object to you making such judgements. Wasn't it some famous Jewish guy who said "Judge not, lest ye be judged" ?
Secularism has led to moral confusion, which in turn has led to moral paralysis.
I disagree, but it's too complex to go into here.
If you could not call the Soviet Union an "evil empire" or the Iranian, North Korean and Iraqi regimes an "evil axis," you have rendered the word "evil" useless.
No, you could just disagree with your usage of the term. I don't call the Soviet Union an evil empire, and I just used evil a few moments ago. And it was useful, thanks.
And indeed it is not used in sophisticated secular company -- except in reference to those who do use it (usually religious Christians and Jews).
Again, displaying his righteous ignorance of secular conversation.
Is abortion morally wrong? To the secular world, the answer is "It's between a woman and her physician."
No, I think you'll find that even among atheists that is not a clear cut issue. But then, you'd actually have to talk to some of them to find that out, and clearly that's never going to happen...
There is no clearer expression of moral relativism: Every woman determines whether abortion is moral.
Again, nonsense. Every woman might (and I say might) decide for herself if she is going to have an abortion, but she is still capable of being wracked with guilt because she has decided that it was an immoral thing but that she had no choice under the circumstances. Again, the world is not as simple as you'd like to believe.
On the other hand, to the individual with Judeo-Christian values, it is not between anyone and anyone else. It is between society and God. Even among religious people who differ in their reading of God's will, it is still never merely "between a woman and her physician."
And to those who counter these arguments for God-based morality with the question, "Whose God?" the answer is the God who revealed His moral will in the Old Testament, which Jews and Christians -- and no other people -- regard as divine revelation.
The best-known verse in the Bible is "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). It is a reflection of the secular age in which we live that few people are aware that the verse concludes with the words, "I am God." Though entirely secularized in common parlance, the greatest of the ethical principles comes from God. Otherwise it is just another man-made suggestion, no more compelling than "Cross at the green, not in between."
Monday, January 10, 2005
Movie Round up
You'd think someone with about 600 DVD's would go to the cinema more often.
Copying Holz's idea (or "stealing" as the RIAA would no doubt have it) I ran down through the list of top 150 US movies of the last year. I saw 21 of them. Sounds like very few, but then, I obviously can't include non-US movies there.
My top 10 for 2004 (from the list)
I wasn't expecting much from this, but it was a nice surprise of a movie. No main surprises, but well acted, well lit, well directed. And Tom Cruise dies in the end. An all too rare event these days. Saw it twice in the cinema, just to know that it wasn't a fluke.
I had not read Hellboy the comic, until word of this movie started to hit the net. Then I searched out some trade paperbacks. What I found was an interesting story, not particularly scary, but with some keen writing and characters. Word was that the movie was going to be true to the source.
I can't really say if it was or not, as I don't know the material that well. But what there was, was a fun fun movie. I liked this in the same "check your brain at the door" way that I liked Independence Day. But this was much better. Don't think about it. Don't try to understand it. Just enjoy it.
8. Spider-Man 2
Some plot holes aside, this was a great sequel for Spidey. Sam Raimi was able to improve on the first by jumping straight into the action. Doc Ock is a much better villain than the Green Goblin though there was a superb cameo at the end by William Defoe. This was a hopping good movie that made me really want to see the third one done ASAP.
7. Fahrenheit 9/11
Every one has an opinion on this movie, even those who haven't seen it.
Unfounded accusations of lies and distortions abounded. I went through the eponymous list of 57 falsehoods or whatever. They were crap. Those who criticised the facts really had not got a leg to stand on. There is one (repeat one) deliberate distortion in the movie that I am aware of, and it is minor, appearing in the middle of a whole host of other facts. It could be snipped out (3 seconds) and the movie would be factually flawless.
6. Super Size Me
Let's just say I was never planning to eat at a McDonalds ever again anyway.
I'm not a fast food or junk food type person. Never have been. The closest thing to it in my semi-regular food intake would be the occasional pizza. And then I prefer to make my own. Or at least have it home made.
This was a real eye-opener though, on just how nasty and bad for you, fast food is.
After this movie, I read "Fast Food Nation" and "Fatland". One was good, the other not so much. Can't remember which was which now, but the one about McDonalds history was the bad one. The one about America in general (including declining PE classes in schools) was the better one.
5. The Chronicles of Riddick
I can't defend this. So I won't. Pitch Black is a brilliant movie, and if you don't think so, you're just wrong. Chronicles had many flaws, but god-damnit, it's Riddick. It's Riddick. And Gwen Raiden as Jack. And Riddick.
Just make the damn trilogy already.
4. Kill Bill Vol. 2
Darryl Hannah needs a career again, in the way that Travolta got his second chance. Uma was amazing. And David "Bill" Caradine is the fucking man. The Superman aside is worth the price of admission.
3. Shrek 2
Everyone's favourite animated comedy. I laughed so hard at this. That five minute section of the movie which has the C.O.P.S. piss-take, is just gut-bustingly funny. Puss-n'-Boots is a character that has enriched the world of animation, just as with Homer Simpson and Eric Cartman and Stewie Griffin. I can't imagine animation without 'em.
2. The Incredibles
Simply Pixars best movie ever. Holly Hunter's accent has never been sexier. The kids were not annoying (so hard for kids). Edna Mode stole every scene she was in. The Wallace Shawn voiced character looked like Rick Moranis (perfect) but Ricks voice would never have worked. Frozone's arguments with his wife made me cry laughing. And the plot... dear lord, the plot, the story. It works. It all works. It's just incredible. This was my Christmas Day movie this year.
1. Shaun of the Dead
If you like Clerks, or Kevin Smith type movies, see this. If you like Bruce Campbell, Ash, and the Evil Dead movies, see this. If you like British comedy (like Black Books, Father Ted and The Office) see this. If you are a fan of SPACED, see this. If you don't know these references, see this.
Only if you dislike all of the above, could you fail to like this movie.
Me, I loved it.
And to show that copying never stops at one, therefore must be called "stealing" and stamped out using the full force of American judicial system... I'm copying the next part from Holz as well.
My top 3 worst movies of the year: (Only 3 because they were really in a league of their own...)
3. The Ladykillers
Now, I generally like the Coen brothers movies. The Big Lebowski and Fargo are my two favourites, but they're generally good and quirky and funny. But this was just awful. Awful in the way that Charlies Angels 2 was awful. It was racist, stupid, patronising, dull, contrived, and just plain sucked. That said, Tom Hanks did his level best with what he had. I normally don't like his choice of material, but this made me remember why he's an ACTOR and commands such a high salary.
2. Team America
I really really wanted to like this movie. I'm such a huge fan of SouthPark and the SouthPark movie is my favourite comedy ever. But this movie wasn't funny.
It seemed almost a given that when I mentioned this to people they assumed I didn't like it because it skewered the left. To which I say, bullcrap. I don't identify myself with "The Left" and the only thing in the movie that made me smile was "Matt ... Damon...".
No, what I hated was that this movie was just not funny. Not. Funny. And that's a crime for a comedy.
"How do you know?"
"Because he sucked my dick outside in the limo"
That's the level of humour we're dealing with here. Idiots who decry Southpark or Kevin Smith movies as being just about "dick and fart jokes" would be absolutely right on the money here.
If you want to make a comedy skewering the left, there's LOADS of material. But none of it wound up in this movie.
I wanted Harry Knowles to be right about this. He said the critics got it wrong. This was a wonderful movie. That America was too homophobic (see recent election stuff) to take a bisexual hero to heart.
This was the worst movie I had seen in the last 10 years. And I'm including Matrix Revolting in that. Oliver Stone should never make another movie. There's 3 hours of my life I just KNOW I'm going to be regretting on my deathbed. The way Stan felt after The Passion? That's how I feel now.
Fuck you Oliver Stone. I want my money back. Your movie sucked ass.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Way to win those hearts and minds
Hint to Rumsfeld: Killing innocent people and showing little or no remorse, is NOT the best way to discourage terrorism. Or recruitment for terrorist organisations.
Late Saturday, a U.S. military statement said an F-16 jet dropped a 500-pound GPS-guided bomb on a house that was meant to be searched during an operation to capture "an anti-Iraqi force cell leader."
"The house was not the intended target for the airstrike. The intended target was another location nearby," the military said in a statement.
The homeowner, Ali Yousef, told Associated Press Television News that the airstrike happened at about 2:30 a.m., and American troops immediately surrounded the area, blocking access for four hours. The brick house was reduced to a pile of rubble, according to an Associated Press photographer at the scene.
An Associated Press photographer said from the scene that 14 members of the same family — seven children, four women and three men — were killed, and six people were wounded, including another child.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Oh Sydney... It's been too long
Alias as woman analogy
When I first saw you, oh I was blown away. The praise of a few friends peaked my interest in seeking you out, but oh, could not have prepared me. You were amazing. Like no-one I'd seen before. They were good times, those early days.
And in the second year, you had matured so much. I got to see your parents, in action no less. I really thought we had something special.
Then in the third year, things changed. You stopped making sense. You started acting all irrational. Sure, a lot of women act all illogical and stuff, but I wasn't used to seeing it from you. I hoped it was just a phase.
You started hanging out with different people. Annoying people. Your family issues started getting obnoxiously stupid. And I saw more of your relatives. Your sister. Your Aunt. I began to wonder what the hell I was letting myself in for. These people were god-damn awful.
When I last saw you, I knew we were through. We had two good years. And I'd remember them always. But apparently you're coming around tonight. Like any man who's come out of a bad break up, I'm not sure I want to see you again. But I've been hearing some thing. That you've been trying to change. Be the kind of person you used to be. Maybe I'll let you in. Just the once. For old times sake.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Sometimes it takes time
Inspired by the book I'm reading.
Courage doesn't always shout. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, "I will try again tomorrow."
Bertolt Brecht, the German playwright, tells the story of a man living alone who answers a knock at the door. There stands Tyranny, armed and powerful, who asks, "Will you submit?"
The man does not reply. He steps aside. Tyranny enters and takes over. The man serves him for years, quietly obeying commands. Then Tyranny mysteriously becomes sick from food poisoning. He dies. The man opens the door, gets rid of the body, comes back to the house, closes the door behind him, and says, firmly, "No."
A Prayer for the American Atheist
Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.
He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.
Beside the still waters, he dumps industrial waste.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war,
I will find no exit, for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou anointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term,
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.