Monday, June 30, 2003

It's Not Easy Being Green (and Gamma Irradiated)

I saw Hulk today. I went expecting to find a mindless summer action flick. Instead, I was taken aback by the dark, often extremely disturbing elements of it. I shouldn’t be, since most of the elements showed up in the comic over th years, but I guess seeing it all on screen adds a certain emotional page that you just don’t get on the four colored page. Some scenes caused me to squirm in my seat. Without elaborating, some things hit close to home. The origin story differs much from the story. In the movie, Bruce Banner’s father is using his toddler son in illegal experiments hoping to build the perfect man. In actuality, his long term goal is to improve upon himself genetically. Without spoiling any more of the essential plot elements, Bruce’s father is an all around abusive man who brutalizes both Bruce and his mother. Bruce represses memories of this abuse (one instance especially) but it comes out after the accident that exposes him to Gamma rays. The Gamma rays trigger his father’s old experiments and turns Bruce into the Hulk. The Hulk is Bruce’s id—a personification of his subconscious rage.

The only calming effect on the Hulk is Betty Ross, played by Jennifer Connelly. Connelly is pretty much playing the same character she played in A Beautiful Mind She won an Oscar for that role, and although he Academy Awards ignores movies like this, I think her role here is just as emotionally intense and deserves at least a nod. Mercy, they gave one to a thug like Eminem. Why not to a comic book movie? Sam Elliot plays General “Thunderbolt” Ross, Betty’s estranged father (See a theme here?) who is obsessed with destroying the Hulk—until he sees how much Betty cares for Bruce. I love Sam Elliot for his westerns, but he makes just as good an old warhorse. It eminded me a lot of his character from We Were Soldiers If you liked him in that, you’ll like him in this. The best role, though, was Nick Nolte as David Banner, Bruce’s father. He played him so clinically psychotic and over the top, he was the most colorful actor. He chews up every scene he is in, especially near the end when he lays out his motivations for experimenting on Bruce. It is totally chilling that a person would do that to his own son, yet I believe he’s capable of it because he’s such a fruitcake.

The star is, of course, the Hulk. The CGI was fantastic—miles above Jar Jar Binks. My favorite scene is the battle with the tanks. There are several laugh out lius moments as he destroys them one at a time. The scene where the Hulk attacks San Francisco is also impressive.

I’ll admit some things had me scratching my head. The mutated poodles, for one. Yes. Mutated poodles. The ending is also largely symbolic and open to interpretation. I’ll have to chew it over before I pass judgment on it. Regardless, I think Hulk is definitely worth seeing, but it is certainly not a movie fit for kids like Spiderman was.

(I must announce as an addendum that I did not, at any point, pick nits about deviations from the comics, as I have in other movies based on comics I’ve seen. I’m a purist, but I’m improving.).

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Easy Like Sunday Morning

I decided to lay my paper aside and goof around. It was Saturday, after all. I was going to the movies, but i never got around to it. Technically, then, I let frivolous things keep me from doing a frivolous thing. I feel so worthless. I think I may go to the movies this afternoon anyway. As an old panelogist (kudos if you know what that is) I've been anxious to see the Hulk. That will probably be my destination.

I heard the Eagles new song, Hole in the World on the radio yesterday. The band isn't releasing a new albumfor their Farewell Tour, just this single. I may seek it out. The Eagles are my favorite band ever. It's a rare group in which every member is multitalented. Eachof them can write, sing, and play the living fool out of their instruments. I've never seen them live, and since this is their Farewell Tour, this is my last chance. I've got three weeks off between classes and the MPRE in August, so I looked for a concert date nearby. Turns out, they are playing DC on July 25. I'm thinking about going.

I tackled one of the books on my To Read stack today as well, Conffessions of a Dangerous Mind, the autobiography of Chuck Barris. While it was an entertaining read, I didn't buy the "autobiography" bit. If you missed it, Barris claimed to be both a gameshow producer and a CIA hitman--hired by the CIA because he answered a want add. Indeed. If you don't take it too seriously, it's a fun read. A little trashy in places, but what do you expect from the man who gave us The Gong Show?

Saturday, June 28, 2003

For All Your Shopping Needs

Illustrated Catalogue of Fine ACME Products: Warning! Not effective on road runners.
Let Me Ask the Magic Eight Ball and Get Back to You

I spent a great deal of time today editing my Elder Law article. In my rogh draft, I used a number of examples of how "trust mills" have defrauded clients. These examples came from several hours of quality time with the WestLaw database--and I still have not been an instant winner. What do you have to do to win a measely 50 pioints? Anyway, Prof. Kohm has asked for the aftermath of each example. Unfortunately, they are all from case law, and the explanation of each case ends at the verdict. That combined with the fact that she has asked me to footnote my own original thoughts, has prompyted me to change my eamples from less of an narrative and more clinic and stop waxing poetic.

I am truly unimpressed with legal writing for publication. There isn't an original thought in the whole paper and that's the way its actually supposed to be. A peon law student shouldn't show up Alan Dershowitz by coming up with an original thought to compete with his, one assumes. In college, I studied political science and history. I did almost nothing but write, and if I turned in a paper like this, I would have been drummed out for plaigerism. Here, I get an "A" and offer of publication. No wonder people hate lawyers.

I gave up on it this afternoon and went for a burger. After scarfing it down, I thumbed through the discount books at one of our fine book emporiums. I saw Just Revenge by Alan Dershowitz (Him again. Hence the above reference.) It was only $4.99 in hardback, but I didn't buy it. I have three books stacked on my shelf to read before I get another. Must..refrain..from..building...up..library. I bought two canvas boards instead. My acrylic paints are drying up, as is what little painting skills I had. I'll play with it at some point in the near future.
Tribute to Strom

The Senate's Icon of Time. The text of an on the floor statement by Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) in memory of Senator Thurmond.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Senator Strom Thurmond (1902-2003)

Former Senator Strom Thurmond Dies at 100. We knew this day was going to come soon. 'Ole Strom (and that's not disrespectful, FYI for you non-South Carolinians) was an institution. It was often said in political circles in SC that the sun doesn't rise or set without Strom Thurmond's say-so. I was a gofer for his 1996 reelection campaign. He had more energy than I did--and he had 70 years on me.

Strom was beyond criticism. He could have been reelected if he were in an iron lung at Walter Reed. You can be sure that South Carolina is going to be virtually shut down for the next 30 days in mourning.

Rest in preace, Senator.
Retraction

No sooner do l say that Amazon refuses to post my review of Hillary's book, then they decide to. I guess they were moved by my friendly, well reasoned argument as to why their decision was wrong. or, more likely, they decided I'm a jerk who deserves to be thrown to Hillary's rabid loyalists. That'll teach me. Heh. Actually, what I learned is Lawyer Rule #2: "Always rattle the cage when you don't get what you want. Most people will cave in to avoid the hassle."

If you are curious, Lawyer Rule #1 is "Always make friends with the clerk of court."

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Digital Cams, Hillary Clinton, amd Ayn Rand

I got a new toy today--a digital camera. I've been having a ball with it all day long. I've made some seventy pictures, although I've deleted most of them, I'm going to take some serious photos this weekend and sprnkle them throughout several web page projects I have on the burner. All of this reminds me that I still have an undeveloped roll of film in my camera. I'm going to have to use up the rest of it, and have them developed. I'm still going to keep using my old camera mostly. As nice as this digital camersa is, I bought it just for interne use with few bells and whistles. I'm still having a blast with it, though.

I'm enjoying it so, I just wrote a review for it on Amazon.com, even though i'm a bit ticked at them. They refused my review of Hillary Clinton's Living History , saying that it didn't dwell on the subject matter and seemed like a personal attack on Mrs. Clinton. Poppycock. It was a autobiography (well, a heavily ghost written one) and any coments on it would be highly personal about the author. It reminded me of the paper I wrote on Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness in an ethics class in college. The professor was a huge fan of objectivism. I was aware of this. She took my paper as a personal insult. Truth is, she didn't much like Christians. I got an "A" in that class regardless, so I suppose it doesn't realy matter. The proessor also spread the word among her students when i wass running for the Student Senate much later, so I guess she was a forgiving soul.

Maybe she realized what a budding libertarian I was becoming, even back then.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Enlighten Me

Sweep of Reason examines whether the Enlightenment was a good thing in the face of calls for an Islamic Enlightenment to combat fundamentalism (i.e.--terrorism). As a religious conservative, I view the Enlightenment with a cautious eye, even though I don't believe in following a religion unquestioningly. Christian fundamentalism puts a straightjacket on the soul. The problem I see with the Enlightenment is that it generates presumptious little twits who proclaim any religious person is automatically ignorant and unsophisticated, while one who hods no religious belief is an urbane intellectual. There is, of course, no explanation on how an ex-Christian who becomes an atheist suddenly gains 20+ IQ points. Random chance, one assumes.
Leon Uris Dead at 78

Exodus author dead at 78. Exodus is an excellent history of the Jewish experience from the turn of the century to the establishment of the nation of Israel. It is a must read for any philosemitic or student of history. I'm sorry to see Uris pass away.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Total Recall

A roundtable discussion of the effort to recall Gov. Grey Davis of California. I have mzed emotions about recalling Davis. Most of it is tempered with the fact that I couldn't care less about California. But as an exercise in political science, I will be fascinated to see who jumps into the lead should Davis get booted. California is a heavily Democratic state, but I would like to see the GOP atone for its error in not nominating former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan for governor last year.

Forget Diane Feinstein. She's too comfy in the Senate. Look instead for San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to try to become the first black governor of California. He's been plagued by scandal, but he's one of the few palatable candidates around, which is odd to realize in a state that is essentially a Democratic fiefdom. According to Robert Novak, the party would instead like Davi to resign and elevate Lt. Gov. Bustamente to the top spot. There is virtually no chance Davis will do this.

Bottom line, Democrats will finagle a recall vote for the highest turnout it can manage and keep Davis humming along until they can elect someone better. Of course the GOP can always run Ah-nuld.
New Schedule

The Negotiations class I signed up for has been cancelled, so I have had to shuffle some classes around in order to fill my oral requirement. Now I am signed up for:

Trial Practice
Business Associations
Conflict of Laws
Health Care Law

Say tuned for further exciting developments as I continue to march proudly towards oblivion.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Back Amongst the Living

If anyone acrually gives a rat's patootie, I am now officially alive.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Urgent Mission

I have to return to South Carolina this afternoon and fly back tomorrow. It seems the Social Security Administration has me classified as dead.

No lie. Federal bureaucrats. Gotta love them.
Great Choice of Words

When Barbara Walters asked Hillary the other night what would happen if Bill cheated on her again, Hillary responded, 'You know, that will be between us.'"

Will? Not would?

Hmmmm.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Still Alive n ' Kickin'

I haven't written in a few days, but I've been busy. I spwnt the weekend withmike and his family in North Carolina. Had a good tme. It was his grandmother's 91st birthday. She's been diagnosed wit cancer and decided to forego treatment and let nature take its course, so this was the family's last hurrah together. I was glad to be a part of it.

I handed in the rough draft for my rigorous writing project today. I expect to finish it in no time flat.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Iraq's WMD

I am reminded that when Bush announced the 48 hour deadline on Iraw, that time period was for Saddam to leave, not for Iraw to come clean on it's WMD program. What does this mean fo me? That's a clear admission that the goal of Operation: Iraqi Freedom was to get rid of Saddam, and that any WMDs found would be icing on the cake. Well, mission accomplished. I was all for Saddam getting whacked, and whther he is a grease stain under the rubble of an Italian restaurant or huddled in a cave somewhere, he is impotent.

You can't say the world isn't a better place without him.