Sunday, September 30, 2007

September's Twilight

September has come to an end. I am sitting here watching the minutes tick away. Strange, but I am thinking about what last September was like. I have long noted 2006 was one of the worst years of my life. By this point a year ago, I was physically recovering from surgery and a subsequent obstruction. During both, I managed to lose a ton of weight with all the trappings that come along with rapid weight loss. That is not even to mention the emotional baggage dragging me down.

By the end of the month, I had pretty much regained all my weight back. I did manage to injure myself falling from a dizzy spell. My knee and shoulder pains still lingered for a while there. But for the most part the medical issues were just a memory. The other stuff lingered on and still gets me down from time to time. My coping skills are a lot less than what they used to be.

But the past is the past and I have already been advised there probably is no meaning in the things that happen, so why bugger on about it? I do not buy into that notion, but what the heck. It is better to assume everything is random and meaningless than to assume you deserve the bad things that happen to you. I assume that rationalization is what keeps many people going year after year rather than just ending it.
Baseball Playoff Picture

Today was the last day of the 2007 regular baseball season. I am not thrilled my beloved Braves missed the playoffs, but it was not much of a surprise, either. What was a surprise was the utter collapse of the Mets who had sat atop the NL East for much of the year. But not only did the surging Philies win the division, but the Padres and the surprising Rockies tied for the wild card.

That is right. The Mets have been one of the best teams of 2007 but they missed a playoff berth.

The Padres and the Rockies will have a one game playoff tomorrow night to determine which team wins the wild card spot. I am not certain which team to root for. Indeed, I have not decided which team I would like to see win the World Series in general. I have no emotional attachment to any team playing other than the general distaste I have for the Yankees. Surely they will fall at some point in October. They have to.

For the sake of history, I think a Cubs v. Red Sox World Series even though I care very little for either team. If nothing else, I would like to see all those fair-weather fans who swear they have *always* loved whichever team come out the woodworks whenever the champion is crowned. It happened with both the Soxes. I will bet it happens with the Cubs as well.
The Dirty Dozen Remake

From the Is Nothing Sacred File, writer Zak Penn is currently polishing up the script for a remake of The Dirty Dozen. Calling it a remake might be a misnomer. It is actually being updated to the modern day and instead of destroying a Nazi stronghold, our antiheroes are rescuing the journalist daughter of a wealthy political donor from an Al Qaeda like group called The Sword of Crescent. Everything else is the same. There will be twelve hardened stockade prisoners with nothing left to lose led on the mission by a crusty old colonel.

Fans of the original are upset because it is a classic with irreplaceable actors like Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, and Telly Savalas. It is true they do not make them like those guys anymore. But I think fans are being a bit hasty. So far there is no director or stars attached (and word is the original script was pedestrian before Penn was brought in) , but once there are, things will look brighter. I am very attached to the original. It is one of my all time favorite movies, but even I feel that the title is the only sacrilege of the film. Do not call it The Dirty Dozen and virtually all objections evaporate.

I am not not sure the film will not go one of two ways. Either it will attract big name stars like the Ocean’s 11 remake or it will have the same relation Three Kings has to Kelly’s Heroes. Both have the same plot, but are in different eras of time. Either way, I am going to withhold judgment a little while longer and see what develops.
Introspection

You can tell by the timestamp it is a sleepless night. Not too worry. Sleepless nights are often productive for me creatively. Or not. Lately I have been spending time strolling through personal video blogs on YouTube. I have discovered two things. One, everyone hates Chris Crocker except Chris Crocker. Two, there is a lot of useless crap out there being passed off as either entertainment, insight, or both. But as Theodore Sturgeon once said, ninety percent of everything is crap. The maxim is true, but I have been fortunate enough to sample a bit of that elusive ten percent.

You may recall a while back when I first wrote about this I was getting bored with blogging. There was just too much politics, Jessica Simpson, and other assorted catering to Google searches. Such searchers are one time visitors anyway. It is no way to build up a readership, nor, and more importantly, is it very satisfying to write. I vowed to make the blog more personal and write about only the topics I cared about. I have not exactly set the woods on fire in the interim. I have not written much at all since. When I have, it has been mostly about politics and Jessica Simpson. How the heck did that happen?

Beats me, but a lot of my motivation has evaporated. It is not that I do not want to write. I do, but when I sit down at my keyboard, everything is a muddled mess. Truth is, I am down in the doldrums for whatever reason. There are not any new problems. I just seem to have a new malaise about the lingering ones. I used to purge it through writing. Now I cannot even bring myself to go that far. I am not certain how easy it is going to be to get my act together or even if I should continue the old act in the first place.

I am just going to plod along the best I can and see what happens. I do not want to pluck out the Eye, but until my comfort zone returns, it make have to suffer a cataracts or two.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ren and Stimpy's Crazy Cannon

Shoot Stimpy out a cannon. Good, clean, and sadistic fun.
Michelle Rodriguex Faces Jail Time

It looks like Michelle Rodriguez, the much despised (bur not by me) Ana-Lucia Cortez on Lost, will not escape jail time. She failed to complete the terms of her probation by not performing community service and not following her alcohol monitoring program. She is on probation for a hit and run, driving with a suspended license and DUI.

Rodriguez is looking at up up to 500+ days in jail, although I do not believe anyone seriously thinks she will have the book thrown at her. She is no hardened criminal like Paris Hilton, after all.


You nmay recall it was widely accepted her DUI bust was the big reason her character was killed off. Whether that is true or not is a matter of Hollywood public relations and just how well developed you believe the Lost story arc is.
The WGA Will Strike

The Writer’s Guild of America has been attempting to negotiate a new contract before the old one expires at the end of October. What is at stake is a bigger piece of new media. The old contract does not offer a fair sum of the money from DVD sales and product placement in movies, as a for instance. Progress is practically nonexistent. A strike looks eminent.

You do not have to search long to find news reports of studios stockpiling television scripts to produce while the potential strike wears on. An unproduced script is as common in Hollywood as running water, so the effects of a writer’s strike will not be felt as quickly as an actor’s or director’s strike. Producers, who are almost always writers themselves, will often polish up scripts during strikes even if they are WGA members because of their duties as part of management. The Powers That Be have been busy planting news stories in the media as a way of downplaying the potential work stoppage. You will soon see news items explaining a downturn in Hollywood revenue and how greedy writers have picked the worst time to make demands.

It is all public relations to hide the fact this will be a long, brutal strike. Both the Actor’s and Director’s Guilds’ contracts are due to expire next year. They will make similar demands as the WGA. They are keeping a close eye on what the WGA can negotiate. Management knows it has to make a stand here or lose three times over. Get ready for a brutal work stoppage, perhaps even worse than the one in 1988 which literally ground the television industry to a halt.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Star Trek: the Next Generation Turn Twenty

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of Star Trek: the Next Generation. I mark the occasion for TNG’s place in science fiction history. Virtually every major science fiction writer in television today got his or her start on TNG largely because of its open submission policy. Television does not do stuff like that anymore. Heck, the comic book industry once thrived on the practice and even they no longer do it. It blurs the line too much between fan and creator, but it helped promote the feeling it was our show.

At the time, the first season was new and exciting. In hindsight, the show really did not get cranking until the end of the third season with the introduction of the Borg. Truth be told, it is a wonder the show even made it to that point with its uneven storylines, preachy humanist philosophy, and lame villains like the evil capitalist Ferengi. But the latter seasons were some of the best in science fiction and most still hold up today.

The Next Generation was not my favorite of the bunch. That honor goes to Deep Space Nine. But TNG was a much see for its entire seven year run back in the day. The show ran from the time I was in fifth grade up until my junior year of high school. I loved it just as much at 18 as I did at eleven. Whether that reflects more on me or the show is up for debate, but how rare is it for one thing to hold youthful attention for so long? I can still sit through most every episode today and I am pushing thirty-one.

I do not feel as though I want to pump out a huge essay on the show, so how about I talk about my favorite episodes instead?
1. Best of Both World I-II--Really original choice for all time favorite, but the two parter solidified my love for the show. The Borg have been watered down over the years, but this was their most terrifying moment. It was also a throwback to the classic idea of aliens conquering Earth. Is anything more frightening than the thought of assimilation? As a longtime comic book reader, I am usually jaded by cliffhangers, but Picard’s assimilation into the Collective made for a very long summer wait.

2. Descent I-II--Yes, another Borg two parter. I was a sucker fort hose guys once upon a time. The action sequence featuring the firefight between the Away team and the Borg was the most elaborate action sequence of the series. It was also the most violent, but that surprisingly did not cause much of a stir. The episodes featured Data receiving his emotion chip for the first time and his struggle with negative emotions. It also wrapped up the story of Lore, Data’s “brother” and recurring villain also played by Brent Spiner.

3. Yesterday’s Enterprise--I am also a sucker for alternate reality stories and this was the best of the series. A Federation starship winds up in the future missing its destiny of coming to the rescue of a Klingon vessel under attack by the Romulans. The missed opportunity leads to a devastating war between the Federation and the Klingons rather than an alliance. When the ship returns to the past to fulfill its destiny, it takes along the alternate reality Tasha Yar, who survives and eventually becomes the mother of another villain, the Sela.

4. Elementary, Dear Data--The firast time Data plays Sherlock Holmes he manages to create a Prof. Moriarty who can take over the Enterprise.

5. Q Who?--Yes, the Borg again. Here we get our first look at them when the ship is propelled two years’ journey into the Delat Quandrant. The episode had a very creepy and claustrophobic feel to it that still sticks with me.

6. The Wounded It does not attract much attention, but I liked the po8ignant way it dealt with damaged war veterans. This was the first appearance of the Cardassians and the first hint they would be a major villain down the road.

7. Clues--Remember how I said there was an open submission policy? This one was written by a mailman from Arizona. In it Data appears to have betrayed the crew. Reality is he is protecting them from a powerful xenophobic race.

8. Unification I-II--The return of Leonard Nimoy as Spock.

9. I, Borg--Yes, the Borg again. This was the introduction of Hugh. The episode put a human face on the merciless cyborg and of enemies in a war altogether. Just how far can you go to defeat an enemy who, at heart, is not much different than you?

10. Relics--Scotty returns.
I know most of these are not on a true critic’s ten best, but they are the one’s I like and made the show worthwhile. Happy birthday, TNG.
Reba Snubs Jessica Simpson

Reba McEntire, one of my favorite country artists, premiered at number one on the Billboard charts this week with Reba Duets. it was her first number one debut and, as a bonus, it knocked Kenya West off the top spot, which made me happy.

But all is not well. It would appear Jessica Simpson felt a little snubbed by the Queen of Country Music. Evidently, Jessica Simpson's people approached Reba McEntire's people about appearing on the album. she was refused.
“Jess thought she had been passed over because Reba would be singing with older, more established artists,” a source close to Jessica tells OK! “She was devastated when she found out that Kelly Clarkson was invited to be part of the project.”
McEntire's people (them again) claim they were never approached about having Simpson perform on the album, which is a polite way of saying they would rather not admit Simpson is even less talented than Kelly Clarkson.

Awful singer, awful actress. Simpson better hurry up and marry money or she really is going to be out of luck.
Atlanta Blue

I figured the late season playoff surge by the Braves would not amount to anything and I was right. They are going to finish in third place. they will be at least four games out of wild card contention when it is all said and done even though the current National League East leading Mets are in freefall.

I knew it was all over the other night when Chipper Jones, on what should have been a routine throw to first, threw the ball into the camera well with two outs. The Phillies then scored four runs and left the Braves in the dust. In fact, they may even pass the Mets by before the season ends.

I would like to say there is always next year, but I bet Andrew Jones will go elsewhere robbing the team of a much needed power hitter. the glory days are good and gone, folks.
Is This Captain Kirk?

Rumor has it lost creator JJ Abrams has cast Mike Vogel as Capt. James T. Kirk in his Star Trek film due out next Christmas. Vogel is the star of Abrams' upcoming monster flick, Cloverfield, so he must have seen something he likes in him.

I am still skeptical about the whole enterprise (no pun intended), so this is just another blip on the radar for me.
"Hitler's Children: Education for Death"

How is that for a charming children's story? More interesting than that, it is from Disney. The mouse's studio had and still has an edge to its product when called upon. This was a propaganda film regarding what the Nazis were teaching their children with the added scare tactic of insinuating if Germany won, they would be teaching your kids the same vile curriculum. It is very effective in that regard, as it promotes the Nazi version of social darwinism from the mouths of babes.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Democratic Debate

I did not watch last night’s democrat debate in New Hampshire for several reasons. First, I really do not care. I cannot imagine any circumstances in which I would vote for any of the current lot for any office higher than dog catcher. Second, Tim Russert is about the worst interviewer I can name. I think only Larry King lobs more softballs than he does. I would rather have seen someone with an edge moderating the debate. Finally, what does it matter? Does anyone seriously think Hillary Clinton is not already the nominee?

She is not the Howard Dean of 2004. she is the real deal. I would not be surprised if she sweeps the primaries in the same manner as Al Gore in 2000 leaving Bill Bradley an asterisk.

Honestly, the only guy on that stage who still thinks he can win is John Edwards. The belief is a key reason why no one should ever vote for him. We do not need anyone in office that clueless. Even Kuchinich is running solely to draw attention to his pet issues. He has never been anything but a public official and would not know what to do with himself if not trot along a campaign trail.

Pundits are already talking about how civil the debate was and how the kid gloves need to come off because time is running out. The New Hampshire primary is in fourteen weeks. Speculation is the candidates do not want to alienate voters by attacking fellow Democrats. Poppycock, says I. They have already alienated many of the base by refusing to commit to troop withdrawal from iraq. More likely they are being civil because they want the Veep slot or a Cabinet post. Obama, in particular, seems` like Veep material. Forget Mark Warner. Clinton is not going to carry the South regardless.

But she is going to be the nominee.
Billie Piper in Diary of a London Call Girl

She has definitely come a long way from Doctor Who, but is it a step up or down?
Bionic Woman's Ratings

Bionic Woman finished in second place for the night and is not only the highest rated premiere of the new season, but earned NBC its highest rated new show debut since The West Wing in 1999.

Next week will tell the tale. One can expect a fairly steep drop off from the pilot. Even though it put up Jeroes numbers, it did not prominently feature Ali Larter's behind and the prospect of seeing it on a regular basis in subsequent episodes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bionic Woman--"Second Chances"

Last year’s fall season had some very slim pickings. The only new show I paid any attention to was studio 60. I based my interest solely on the strength of Aaron Sorkin’s writing. I lasted only five episodes. From what I know of the new shows this season, I do not believe things are going to be much better. The only show I had any interest in checking out was tonight’s premiere of the Bionic Woman. I figured Battlestar Galactica producer David Eick and star Katee Sackhoff could make it at least worth watching. It turned out to be a mixed bag.

The story was too rushed. Within the first fifteen minutes, we have introduced Jaime Sommers as a bartender (not a tennis pro like the original?), her strained relationship with her sister, whom she is guardian, , her boyfriend, the horrible car crash that causes her to be rebuilt, and Katee Sackhoff as a villain. They even spent all of thirty seconds revealing her boyfriend was into bionic replacement of limbs. We are not given any time or reason to care about Jaime at all. She gets into an accident which totally alters her life and it really does not matter to any of us. It was all pat and too convenient. Such would be forgiveable if there was more to the rest of the episode—a fast set up before the action starts. It was not to be.

Jaime’s bionics are the work of a patented shadowy intelligence agency of the government headed by the great Miguel Ferrer, who always plays the creepy, shadowy government figure well. Jaime bounces back from her surgery in a ridiculously short period of time and escapes with the help of her boyfriend. While being chaed, she discovers the full extent of her new abilities without one hint of excitement. You would think running with the speed of a cheetah would elicit at least a smile. No such luck. Humorless girl, that Jaime.

Jaime does not much notice the benefits of her new powers until a little later when she manhandles a mugger and realizes her potential. Jaime winds up in a duel on the rooftops with Katee, who was (surprise) the first bionic woman. The fight rages for a while as an excuse to show off Matrix style effects and make you wonder how Jaime learned the skilled fighting techniques she used. In the end, Jaime agrees to work for the government, but only on her terms.

Here is the deal. I thought this episode was lackluster, but the series has potential. There is an Alias feel to it that I imagine some critics will claim as a rip off. It is probably unfair to say a remake of one show is a rip off of another, but it does proof there should be low exi will give it a few weeks to see if it holds my attention. I will give it a few weeks to see if it can hold my attention.

Rating: ** (out of 5)
Phil Spector Judge Declares Mistrial

The DA will have another go at him. The jury was deemed hopelessly deadlocked 10-2 in favor of conviction. heaven only knows what the two dissenters were thinking.

A mistrial is an advantage for Spector even though it will be an emotional roller coaster for him. His defense team has already seen every card in the prosecutor's hand plus there will likely face a lesser charge. The best part is my precidtion of his eventual conviction is still a possibility, so i can continue my good record of calling these celebrity trials for a little while longer.

Because, you know, it is perfectly rational for a woman to go to a stranger's house in the middle of the night and get the whim to commit suicide.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Al Gore's Future

Buzz is growing, whether it is wishful thinking by liberals or conservatives needing a good laugh, Al Gore will announce his candidacy for 2008. The reason behind this is expectations Gore will win the Nobel Peace Prize on October 12th for his efforts to curb global warming. What global warming has to do with maintaining the peace is beyond me, but Nobel Committee has often made some peculiar choices (Yassir Arafat, anyone?) for Nobels based largely on the recipient’s polar opposite views from current American policy. Consider Stockholm as a yelping Yorkie nipping at your ankle and you just about have an accurate picture of the European ability to influence the United States.

The rationale for Gore’s running is similar to Sen. Obama’s. His strength is he is a novelty. He will only be that once, so if he wanted to capitalize on it, he had to run for president now. If Gore does indeed win the Nobel, he will be at the peak of his running potential. It will never get better for him. Not to mention it would be a boost no other presidential candidate has ever had. No other president has ever had an Oscar, either, but I guess an academy award would just be icing on the cake.

I cannot image Gore would run. From what I know of his personal history, he has a tendency to become a hermit when he fails at something, then comes back later with something else. He tried three different academic subjects before settling on Journalism and spent time in his basement watching television and veging out between them. He pretty much disappeared after 2000 only to emerge later as a global warming crusader with no hints of presidential aspirations. Nixon came back to win the White House eight years after a loss, but that was a long time ago. America is harder on one time losers these days.

All that said, there is a matter of ego. Gore let a Clinton get the best of him in 1992, then had to ally with despite the fact they did not like each other. Can he sit by and watch another Clinton take his spot? Whether he won the electoral vote in 2000 or not, he did win the popular and that has to gnaw at him. Is it enough to make him run? I doubt it. I imagine he would be like Fred Thompson—someone will get excited at the prospect, but you never know who. But you can be sure it will not be enough.

Look at it this way: if he runs and loses either to Hillar in the primaries or the Republican in the general election, he will disappear for a while and we will not have to listen to him prattling on about global warming. It would be a trade off, no?
Grimmy Has Taste in Television

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bush Advising Clinton

This weekend, Bush declared his belief Hillary Clinton was going to be the Democrats’ nominee for president. Not a bad guess. I believe it myself. But it is extremely unusual for a sitting president to make such a statement about a candidate from the opposing party. Today comes word Bush has been advising Clinton and other top Democrat candidates. Sounds traitorous, no?

I am thinking that is what the media would like you to believe. Matt Drudge reported the sensational headline Bush was advising Clinton as though he was giving her secret information that would ensure her election victory. Drudge, at least, appeared to want a scandal sparked off.

Truth be told, Bush was advising Clinton to moderate her views on Iraq since she has a good chance of being the next president to inherit the war. Now that is still a an iffy thing to do. It is campaign advice on an issue that will be from and center in yet another election cycle. But at the same time, I can understand the rationale. Bush is performing a civil duty as far as he is concerned in easing the transition of war operations from one administration to the next. Clinton does not have to take his advise, but one suspects she will. She does not seem any more interested in withdrawing troops than any Republican..

But is there a side benefit for Bush? Putting Clinton front and center as the nominee would fire up the GOP base that still thinks she is a communist crook who murdered Vince Foster. That crowd has yet to pick a clear favorite among the GOP candidates since there is not only no heir apparent to the White House, but no dyed in the wool conservative, either. Freed Thompson has yet to set the woods on fire although he has a small, but steady Southern following. Rudy Giuliani is in the lead, but not by much and I think he still makes conservatives nervous. I believe you can forget McCain and Romney, in all honesty.

Clinton is moving safely ahead of Obama, but the Republican field is still fairly wide open. One of two candidates need to crash and burn and I believe the best way to do that is scare the base by getting them to imagine another Clinton in the White House. It would probably be enough to get them all behind a clear contender or two and make the GOP look less weak. Surely Bush has that in mind, even if he does appear detached to the 2009 race. But I still cannot consider that too scandalous a plan.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Biggest Fan

You probably have not heard, since it has attracted very little attention, but the grand poobah of Iran spoke at a Columbia University forum today. He stirred up more controversy than when lost's Matthew Fox (BS Economics, '89) was chosen as last year's commencement speaker. But Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has his fan as well. Really, really fawning fans, like Sally Kohn from DailyKos:
I know I’m a Jewish lesbian and he’d probably have me killed. But still, the guy speaks some blunt truths about the Bush Administration that make me swoon…
Forget the phallic desire for a nuclear missile, his Holocaust denial, his stoning of homosexuals, or his desire to wipe Israel off the map. He properly hates the Bush Administration and that makes him a bog hunk 'o man.

Liberals can be some awfully peculiar folks.
Battle without Honor or Humanity

The first video I made about the Lost season finale did not resonate too well it would seem, so I gave it another shot. This one emphasizes the fight scenes. It is set to "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" by Tomayasu Hotei. You know it best from the Kill Bill soundtrack.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dennis Miller: Then & Now

While looking around earlier for another banned World War II cartoon to post, I got the whim to search for some favorite stand up comedians. I had already gone through just about every Lewis Black and Mitch Hedberg clip YouTube has to offer over the months, so this time I searched for Dennis Miller. I have enjoyed Miller’s satire since he was Weekend Update host on Saturday Night Live. I think he has lost some of his bite in recent years, but he is still funny. I did not realize until today just how much of his bite he has lost.

I found a five part recording of a 1990 comedy special for HBO. What a difference seventeen years makes. Miller blasts Ronald Reagan, pro lifers, and Christians. No surprise. That is the kind of thing he used to do. But he seems to have either had an epiphany about things or has sold out to the tastes of a new audience. I am not sure which it is, but watching his old routine made me aware how gypped I am by him now.

Maybe gypped is too strong a word. He has no obligations to me, after all. What I am saying is that comedians adopt a persona when they perform. The best genuinely talk from the heart, but there is an exaggeration that makes the punch line that they do not generally believe is true. It is all part of the joke. But comedians do see something wrong with the world and offer themselves up as jesters in the classic sense of the word to call attention to it. I do not necessarily mean social satire, either. Even the standard “What is the deal with airline food?” is shining a light on something wrong.

So why has Miller changed from his old nihilistic ways to towing a party line? I would like to think he has not sold out. Indeed, he probably has not. His concert engagements now generate the smallest ticket prices of his career. He is not enriching himself bycatering to conservatives and making commentaries on The O’Reilly Factor. I am coming around to thinking he has made a genuine change even if it is to my entertainment detriment.

Some of the more recent clips of his spell that out. In an interview on his radio show, Miller told Christopher Hitchens, who was promoting God is Not Great, that he was a believer. A marked difference from his previous skewering of Christianity. Second, he told Bill O’Reilly he thought there was a line between Hollywood drama and real drama. He said that in the context of his refusal to make Britney Spears jokes as he believes she is on a suicide run. (Not far fetched, honestly.) I do not know that he would have drawn that distinction in times past.

I assume his mellowing out is personal growth as far as he is concerned. Maybe it is a matter of getting older or, since his change occurred post 9/11, a realization that one ought to embrace the things have value rather than skewering everything for a laugh. It might be something I should think about more. I find myself becoming much more nihilistic as time goes on when I used to hold a lot more things sacred. It is definitely something to dwell on for a sleepless night.
The Fall

Today is the official end of summer. Tomorrow, we will be firmly entrenched in the fall. There is not a heck of a lot of difference between the two seasons in South Carolina. Sometimes you can wear tee shirts right on up into December and certainly up through Thanksgiving. I suppose, with that in mind, the season change does not mean much once you are out of school. Heck, I have already discovered how lackluster summer is once you have your diploma.

This was always a pretty interesting time of the year. By this point, I was always used to a new school year outside of missing regular trips to a swimming pool or the beach. The playoffs started for baseball, my favorite sport, and college football really started cooking. The NFL, too, but Southerners care very little for pro football in comparison to college. The rivalries mean more. The time of the year can be the doldrums. Summer memories are far enough away as to be the distant past and Christmas is too far away to think about. The days can turn into a rut.

Well, they are an even bigger rut now. I am not sure if it because I am getting old or because I have been knocked off my feet, but I have neither fond memories of summer, nor look forward to the near future. Is it me or is that natural? I assume a little of both. The realities of growing older have to sink in at some point. But I am certain there is a unnatural weight dragging me down, too. I have not felt about discussing it here. Truth be told, I have not felt about discussing anything here, which appears to be proof my albatross is weighing me down even heavier than I am letting on.

But anyway, I just thought I should make the season change, whatever change is within me, and explain why blogging has been sparse and punchy. Inspiration has dulled the same as the fun in the sun.
"Tokyo Jokio"

Here is another Loony Tunes take on the Japanese. Some of the racial stereotypes here are almost breathtaking even for one with a sense of history and understanding of the times. The times were 1943 and Japan was still considered a formidable opponent. this cartoon made a mockery of its war machine.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Baby Trafficking

Across the pond, the United Kingdom is taking children away from parents for the flimsiest of reasons and assigning them to foster parents in order to fill adoption quotas.I t sounds like something out of A Clockwork Orange, but it is real.

This is what happens when the political left runs rampant for too long.
Out of Bondage

The San Fransisco Giants have announced Barry Bonds has been canned. The move could not have happened to a nicer guy. You certainly cannot say he does not have the "juice" to play somewhere else, but I imagine a lot of teams will shy away from him. In fact, I imagine even the accursed New York Yankees will not hire him.

By all means, add a deserving insult to injury by voting to send his record breaking home run ball into orbit. You can also vote to bestow it to Cooperstown or brand it with an asterisk, but orbit is a much, much better idea.

Heck, why not launch him into space, too?
Ali Larter

We shall hit the trifecta this week with celebrity photos. here is the lovely Ali Larter on a coffee run.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Senate Condemns "Betray Us" Ad

The Senate today passed a completely pointless resolution condemning MoveOn.org’s “General Betray Us” ad in The New York Times. I think I am supposed to have mixed emotions about this, but I really do not. Things are pretty clear.

I do not like Moveon.org. I do not hold very many liberal positions and the few I do are rationalized, right or wrong, by libertarianism. I am further perturbed by the apparent sweetheart deal the NYT made with MoveOn to run the ad on an exact day at a cheaper rate. But none of that really matters even if many of my fellow conservatives are applauding the Senate’s actions.

No government body ought to be making any sort of official judgment on freedom of expression. The NYT is free to offer or refuse ad space to any group it chooses, but Congress or any other government body ought not comment on it. Of course, this is the same body that passed McCain-Feingold in order to curtail citizens and groups from financially adding candidates they support, so this should not be a surprise.

I am curious, as I have not seen much commentary today, whether many conservatives feel the way as I do or are happy with the Senate’s action.
Reese Witherspoon at Toronto Film Festival

After posting a Jessica Simpson photo last night, I want to cleanse the palate and class the joint up a bit. So here is my object of affection looking radiant while promoting the film, Rendition.

For the sake of Google searches, I have to mention the phrase "up skirt" even though I am much to classy to care about such things.
Underwood Overplayed

Carrie Underwood has a new song to promote, "So Small." Country Music Television (CMT) decided to help her out today by playing her new video all morning long, back to back, from six AM until noon. That is a grand total of 66 times. The decision to do so brings to mind four questions:
1. Did anyone complain?
2. Did anyone even notice?
3. Is Underwood sleeping with CMT's programming director?
4. If so, can I be CMT's programming director?
Inquiring minds want to know-- especially the answer to that last question.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dan Would Rather Sue CBS

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather is suing CBS, parent company Viacom, and several of his former bosses for $ 70 million. He alleges CBS intentionally mishandled the aftermath his “discredited story about President Bush’s National Guard service. Actually, it was an unsubstantiated report and a smear campaign, but who is cou8nting?

Certainly not Rather. Here is his actual problem:
Rather's lawsuit says he was forced to apologize, although "as defendants well knew, even if any aspect of the broadcast had not been accurate, which has never been established, Mr. Rather was not responsible for any such errors."

By making Rather apologize publicly, "CBS intentionally caused the public and the media to attribute CBS' alleged bungling of the episode to Mr. Rather," the lawsuit claimed. As a result, some news media called the event "Rathergate."
CBS bruised his ego by curtailing his 16 year (at the time) vendetta against the Bush family which dated back to a 1988 interview with Bush 41 in which the two exchanged angry barbs regarding Bush's role in Iran Contra and Rather's storming off the set years before because CBS' tennis coverage cut into the nightly news.

Some things never change. Rather is still evidently an immature brat.
Hillary Clinton Calls Dick Cheney Darth Vader

That is cute. Is she trying to have a Reagan moment like when he called the Soviet Union the Evil Empire or when he tried to sell SDI as Star Wars? I doubt it will work for several reasons but the worst is Clinton does not know her Stars Wars.

Darth Vader is a Sith. He is the apprentice to a Master Sith. in his case, it is Emperor Palpatine. Palpatine is the one really in charge and Vader has to do his bidding even if he is morally conflicted. Vader was self-interested and power hungry, but he fell in line right until the end. With all that in mind, Bush is Vader and Cheney is Palpatine.

I do hope she will get that straight in the future.
Jessica Simpson

I like this picture of Jessica Simpson. It beats me why. I do not care for her music. I have never seen any of her movies. I have only caught a few of her television appearances by accident and have not been impressed with her on any level including carnal.

Sure, I recognize why other guys find her attractive. She just does not ring my bell. Nevertheless she has become something of an icon at the Eye. I have allowed the joke to go on for over two years now out of a fondness for irony. I will probably allow it to keep on rolling for some time to come.

But I actually –inexplicably – like this picture. So it gets posted for no particular reason outside of a whim.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

OJ's Associate: Thomas Riccio

OJ Simpson certainly keeps some interesting company. Thomas Riccio is the sports memorabilia dealer who helped set up the alleged sting in a Las Vegas hotel room in which OJ recovered “his” belongings. Riccio is also a convicted arsonist, prison escapee, and receiver and seller of stolen goods. Just for good measure, Riccio also recorded the entire hotel room incident and sold it to tablois web site TMZ without ever notifying police he had it. Good guy, huh?

In 1984, Riccio was convicted in New York of conspiracy to receive stolen property. He bounced around the prison system for months before escaping from a federal prison in Connecticut. He was on the lam two years before being recaptured. After his release, he was convicted of arson in California. Riccio was later convicted of receiving stolen good in regards to $ 500,000 worth of rare coins stolen from a Miami numimatics dealer.

You are going to be seeing a lot more of this guy as the case unfolds. he will definitely be a witness and OJ's defense team will most certainly try to pin everything on him. considering what I just wrote about him, it is not a bad strategy. it will not work, but all the defense really cares about is whether the checks clear anyway.
350,000

Earlier today, my Sitemeter stats rolled over to that landmark number.
Phil Spector's Jury is Hung

My record of successfully predicting the outcome of high profile criminal trials is about to take another hit. You may recall I predicted Phil Spector would be convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson. The jury is deadlocked at 7-5. That is a win for Spector’s legal team, particularly if a lesser charge is pinned on him.But I still predicted a murder conviction, so a lesser charge would be a strike against my prediction. I also screwed up on the Michael Jackson molestation trial, so perhaps I should stay away from legal proceedings involving music industry personalities.

It is true we do not get to see things the way the jury sees them or get vibes from being in the courtroom while the trial is going on. It is what makes being a trial attorney such an adventure. You never know who the jury is going to take things. Are they taking the evidence into consideration or do they just not like the defendant’s beady little eyes? It could be either. We are not certain whether seven want to convict or acquit, so who knows what the key sticking point is?

I would hope the jury is not seriously considering the idea Clarkson went to a stranger’s house in the wee hours of the morning and decided that was a great place and time to commit suicide. If so, I think we can put the final nail in the coffin of the California jury pool. The first nail was, of course, driven in by the OJ Simpson jury. One suspects the Nevada jury pool is going to show them how it’s done.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Circus Elephant Elopes

I really liked this story. there is a video at the link, but here is the text:
Aug. 31 - A wild male Bengal elephant broke into a circus and eloped with one of the female elephants.

Three other female elephants escaped along with Savitri and her lover but have since been returned to the circus.

The young lovers are still free and have been spotted by local residents wandering through a nearby forest.
Because every true love story should involve a jailbreak.
Jessica Simpson Video

The first videos I ever made for YouTube were photo slideshows. I have since graduated to using clips, but from time to time I still post celebrity slideshows. There has always been a sizable minority of comments to the effect of how ignorant I must be to think they are decent efforts. In a way, they are correct. Anyone can make titles, import a folder of folders, drop in an MP3, and have a slideshow posted on YouTube in fifteen minutes. As I loathe having my creative efforts questioned, I am now going to use actual clips instead of photos.

My first effort is here. It is a response to my most popular slideshow: a Jessica Simpson montage I threw together ten months ago that has accumulated 140,000 + hits. We shall see if using clips instead of photos makes a difference in the popularity of these videos.

Yes, this video does prominently feature the hot pink bikini.
Juice in the Can

OJ is being held without bail in a Las Vegas jail.

With his charges, he is facing up to thirty years in prison. I cannot imagine him serving that much time even if convicted, but it certainly would be just desserts after all the misery he has caused. He is sixty years old. Even a good chunk of thirty years served would likely mean the end of his productive life. Part of me thinks he will pull of a tragic miracle and get off scott free.

Mercy, I hope not.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lost at the Emmys

Terry O'Quinn, who plays man of faith John Locke, won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama series. Quite impressive considering he was up against William Shatner who seems to have a resurgence among critics for his role on Boston Legal.

It was also a big win because he was also up against Michael Emerson, who plays Ben Linus to the evil hilt on Lost. No slap at o'Quinn here, but Emerson steals the show quite often.

I guess they were trying to make up for not nominating O'Quinn last year while giving a nod to Evangeline Lilly. Lilly may be beautiful, but she only has two emotions: whiny and even more whiny. She fills out a bikini like noboy's business, but they do not give out Emmys for that. they would if I was in charge, but you know, I am not.

Congratulations to Terry O'Quinn.
OJ Simpson in Custudy

Here we go again. Not only is there very likely to be a new celebrity legal drama in the near future, it involves OJ Simpson yet again. OJ has been taken into custody by Las Vegas police. He will spend at least tonight in the pokey and probably longer. He is being charged with three felonies: conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery with a deadly weapon, and burglary with a firearm. (The latter are two distinct charges.) Since he is charged with felonies, he is a resident of Florida, and has run from the police before, he is likely to be considered a flight risk and denied bail.

Honestly, this does not surprise me. In recent years, OJ has flaunted the fact he got away with murder thirteen years ago. In that vein, he has thumbed his nose at the civil judgment establishing his liability for the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. That is not even to mention his book, If I Did It, which is beyond creepy. But it does not end there. There have been all sorts of incidents demonstrating OJ’s aggressive, antisocial nature and flagrant disregard for just about everyone who is not OJ Simpson.

Flipping channels last night, I noticed Denise Brown, Nicole’s sister, was back in the spotlight commenting on OJ’s legal woes. Maybe I should not be talking, but why in the world does she want to be back on television talking about that psychopath? There is a certain Cindy Sheehan vibe about her talking to Larry King and assorted FOX News reporters at this point and on this topic. But she did say one thing that caught my ear. I do indeed wonder what it must be like to be OJ’s kids and living with the man who murdered your mother. I am sure they are confronted with it often.

We should all brace ourselves for being confronted with a barrage of new OJ legal gossip. This incident may put him away for quite a while. He was not very careful in talking with police and has already given them enough to pin the above felonies on him just by his words, not to mention his accomplice has apparently turned informant. I am reminded of Al Capone who murdered scores of people but was sent away for tax evasion. Art least they got him and now they probably have OJ, too. Whether OJ will die of syphilis like Capone is anyone’s guess.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Video Bloggers

I am sure by now you have all seen the video of the distraught Britney Spears fan having a tantrum over the ridicule the pop star has received for her her lackluster come back performance on the VMAs last week. I would link to it, but I think I have relied too heavily on videos for content this month. I first saw the thing on Tucker Carlson’s show on Friday. If he knows about the thing, the rest of you are hip enough to have been long since aware. If not, there is no shame. Do a Google search for “Chris Crocker.” It is his biggest hit.

While you are there, check out a few of his other videos. They are further proof not only of how scary this world can be, but that there ought to be some sort of certification test before one is allowed a modem. Crocker is a flaming gay loony tune who spouts off platitudes about believing in yourself in between frank discussion about the dire need of gay boys to have just the right purse. He/ she / it must be seen to be believed.

Crocker’s video has generated tons of response videos, most all mocking, and many hilarious. I spent hours last night rolling through commentaries and parodies done by other YouTubers that had me rolling on the floor barely able to catch my breath from laughter. I have never paid much attention to video bloggers before. I figured they were mostly dull discussions about the mundane details of life from people I do not know or could care less about. For the most part, they are. But I have run into some good stuff here and there.

It has made me think about the direction this blog is taking. The eye has been trailing off as of late. A big reason is the last bit of time has been rough for reasons which shall remain exclusively mine, but the end result how difficult it has become for any bloggable items to interest me. By bloggable (Have I coined a term? Probably not.) I mean things you would actually want to read. The first rule of blogging is to write stuff people want to read, naturally. Readability has fallen by the wayside as I have recently found myself being amused by wackier things. The good news is these video bloggers, truly awful as most of them are, have convinced me there is more freedom and flexibility in blogging than I have previously allowed myself.

What does that mean for the Eye? Maybe nothing significant. My whims are not always all that colorful. But then again, perhaps me unbound can be quite enlightening and entertaining. If not, it certainly has not stopped a virtual army of YouTubers armed with digital cameras and an embarrassingly banal imagination. I will try to do better, of course.
I
While I am on the subject of YouTube, I have made another Doctor Who video. it is a throwback to the Ten / Rose era. over half my subscribers are Whovians, so I have to throw them a bone when there has been a lengthy drought between Who videos. I am not going to post it here for the same rationale i stated above. i have posted too many videos this month as it is. But it is the latest video on my account if you would like to check it out.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Second Time as Farce

If you count the civil trial, this might be a case of third time's the charm. But are we really ready for another OJ trial?
Bugs Bunny--"Hare Meets Herr"

Herman Goering takes the place of Elmer Fudd as Bugs' sparring partner.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Britney Spears' Comeback Was a Dud

Depending on your viewpoint, I am either too cool or not cool enough to watch the MTV Video Music Awards. I have, however, had occasion to watch video of Britney Spears’ comeback as the opening number. It was not exactly Elvis’ ’68 comeback special, now was it?

The poor girl pathetically lip synched, appeared to not know the dance routine, and wore next to nothing even though she has not gotten her body back. If this was an attempt to put the craziness of shaving her head and attacking Kevin Federline’s SUV behind her, it failed miserably.

Spears is going to have to reinvent herself entirely in order to maintain her $ 750,000 a month income flow. Madonna has pulled it off countless times for over twenty years. Of course, Madonna is more talented than Britney Spears. A sad statement when you really think about it.
You knew I was still going to post a photo of her in her bra and underwear, though, did you not?
"The Rising"--Bruce Springsteen

Six years after 9/11, this song still resonates.
I wrote about my 9/11 experience here .

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Surge

I haave listened to some of the highlights of General David Petraeus’ testimony before Congress today and heard a smattering of commentary from the left and right. I by no means have all the tidbits down pat, but what I do know mirrors exactly what I thought he would say. The surge is sort of working, the Iraqis are doing their part the best they can, and Iran is fighting a proxy war. Surprisingly I have yet to hear the likes of Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer rattling sabers towards the Iranians because of the General’s testimony. But the night is young.

I know both sides worked themselves into a tizzy this weekend regarding the impending testimony. There was absolutely no reason to do so. Petraeus was going to say exactly what he did say. He had no choice. If he said the surge was clearly working, he would have to present definite proof of success and stop further troop deployments. If he said the surge was not working, people would be up in arms over the waste of blood and treasure. So the surge is sort of working. Kind of. Yeah.

I get the distinct impression we are just coasting in iraq until a new administration inherits the problem. Then whatever the bitter end involves will be on some ele’s watch. One suspect’s Bush would even like for a Democrat to win the White House so the losing war will not be his or the GOP’s legacy. I doubt that while happen but he has never been known as a forward thinking person anyway.
The Title of the Fourth Indiana Jones Film Is:

I had a better reaction to this than when I heard Star Wars: Episode II would be subtitled Attack of the Clones, but only slightly. the whole crystal skull phenomenon is a bit overdone. There really is not much to the legends. Even in nine seasons of the X-Files it was the one popular myth the show never touched. But I am sure Lucas and Spielberg can make it good.
Donald Duck--"Der Fuhrer's Face"

Even Disney got into the act. In this short, Donald duck is a factory worker making bombs for the Nazis. Throughout he is forced to honor various bits of Nazi propaganda. Yes, that does include a hearty, "Sieg heil" from our fine feathered friend.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

What Kind of Nerd are You?


NerdTests.com says I'm a Cool Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!


I am surprised by the science and math score. I thought those subjects were punishment in high school and avoided them like the plague in college. Everything else sounds just about right, though.
Popeye--"You're a Sap, Mr. Jap"

I have never been a huge fan of Popeye, but being in the US Navy, he was the perfect hero to battle the Japanese. There are some pretty nasty stereotypes in this one. I am not entirely certain, but I believe this one is from 1943.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bush's Very Unfortunate Flub

Why did he have to say OPEC instead of APEC?

Couldn't he have fumbled and said AFLACK instead? It sounds similar and everyone would have been reminded of the duck. Everyone likes ducks. But now all those folks who think Bush has oil on the brain have more ammo.

By the way, John Howard is, indeed, Prime Minister of Australia, not Austria, Mr. President.

*Sigh*
G. I. Joe to Become International Task Force

If you are of a certain age, you remember rushing home from school in order to watch G. I. Joe. It was pure 1980’s fair: a thirty minute commercial of nothing but violence with a silly public service announcement tacked on at the end to suit Standards. It was all about a US Special Forces group battling an international terrorist organization. Yes, it was way far fetched, but it was loads of fun.

There have been constant rumors over the years about a big screen version in the offing. At one point, Tom Cruise was attached. Nowadays Stephen Sommers is at the helm and things sound even worse with him than Cruise:
Paramount has confirmed that in the movie, the name G.I. Joe will become an acronym for "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity" — an international, coed task force charged with defeating bad guys. It will no longer stand for government issued, as in issued by the American government.
If that is not bad enough, here is the rationale:
The word is that in the current political climate, they're afraid that a heroic U.S. soldier won't fly.
There you go. American servicemen cannot be3 considered heroes. If that does not boil your blood, nothing will. It is bad enough they have to change the source material from what guys my age loved, but they have to take jabs at the real thing. Something tells me this movie is rightfully not going to fly.

Here is the article.
The Phil Spector Trial Concludes

The jury in the Phil Spector trial begins deliberations on Monday. I have not covered the trial here in a while, but you may recall Spector is accused of murdering former actress Lana Clarkson. He claims she was attempting to shoot herself in his home and he was trying to wrestle the gun away from her when it went off. I have a history of making predictions on celebrity trials since I started blogging. Not to brag, but the only one I really blew was Michael Jackson’s molestation trial. I thought the jury would believe Jackson was a danger even if they did not completely buy into that particular case. I was wrong in two ways. First, I do not believe they thought Jackson was guilty at all and second, they hated the kid’s mother and did not want her to win. Juries can do strange things for strange reasons. It is frustrating beyond words.

Court TV has been covering the Spector trial regularly. I have stopped to watch a few minutes here and there over the months. Admittedly, I have not paid a whole lot of attention to it beyond the closing arguments on that not too much. Even so, as an outside viewer, I get to see things the jury does not which may prejudice my opinion. With all that in mind, I still predict Spector will be convicted. If he is not, it will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt celebrities can get away with anything. Spector’s defense lawyer felt the need to urge the jurors not to judge Spector by his hair styles. It is never a good sign in a closing argument. It is also never a god sign when a high priced defense lawyer, with life in prison on the line, cannot convince you to forgo the huge afro or purple dye job or the Liza Minelli special during your murder trial. But hey, the checks cleared, so who cares?

I have found the background circumstances of this affair fascinating. Phil Spector has been a mega music producer since the ‘60’s working with everyone from the Ronettes to the Rolling Stones. He is also an eccentric weirdo in appearance and behavior who did not shape up to make him more presentable even when his life was on the line. Was it arrogance that he could never possibly be convicted of anything? Maybe, but the jury will sense that if true if the. If the evidence is a close call, attitude becomes a serious factor. Always get the jury to like you.

Conversely, I am bemused by Lana Clarkson. She was never a particularly successful actress. Indeed, there are only three movies I know she has been in and all three were essentially the same role of a B movie science fiction heroine who jiggles about half 9and sometime more naked) through out the films. These were late night Cinemax fare that I have to confess I have seen. Barbarian Queen warped my young mind with the hot blonde in a loin cloth. Said hot blonde was a waitress at the House of Blues the night Spector picked her up and took her to his home. We cannot be absolutely certain what happened later, but I imagine the jury will find for the worst scenario.
Bugs Bunny Promotes War Bonds

Here is the second in the series of banned cartoons related to World War II. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Elmer Fudd urge moviegoers to purchase war bonds after the movie with a catchy little number you will probably find yourself humming for a day or two. At least I did after I heard it for the first time.

Interestingly, the short was not banned because of Nazi imagery or racial stereotyping of the Japanese but because Bugs Buny performs part of the song in black face. It is no less diaturbing to see these days, but it is indicative of the times.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Bin Laden Tape

It appears to actually be him, taped sometime after august 6th since he mentions the Hiroshima anniversary, and contains no obvious new threat. So what is on his mind? Quite a few things. He rants about:
Insane taxes
High interest rate loans
Global warming
Why can't the Democrats end the war in Iraq?
But nothing about Paris Hilton going to jail, Nicole Ritchie being pregnant, the Britney Spears/Kevin Federline divorce, or Owen Wilson's suicide attempt. Does he not know how to speak to the average American?
The Ducktators

Being a history buff with a quiet penchant towards comic books and animation, I got the whim a while ago to search YouTube for World War II era cartoons. They are difficult to come by on television or DVD releases. I have seen a few at comic book conventions, but that is about it. The cartoons are a definite reflection of the times and way too much for even Ted turner to carry on his networks. But you can tell a lot about the attitude of the day with them. A recurring theme is while Nazi ideology is mocked with noted Nazi figures exaggerated in a cartoonish way, the Japanese are stereotyped as subhuman. Well, I have found a treasure trove of cartoons I am going to share to demonstrate.

First up is The Ducktators. It is a Looney Tunes short but does not feature any of the usual suspects. Instead it features a community of animals in which three dictators arise, representing the journey of Germany, Italy, and Japan towards fascism. The short was made in 1942, a time period when the Axis was at its high point and Allied victory was no a guaranteed thing.

It is humorous, but chilling in a way as well.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fred Thompson is in for 2008

Not that former Sen. Fred Thompson has officially entered the race and I have had time to think more about my previous post on the subject a couple days ago, I would like to make a less cynical observation about why political pundits have given him a month to get the ball rolling or he will wind up this campaign season’s Sen. Bill Bradley.

You may recall I speculated pundits were trying to create some drama. They may very well be. But I think there is a point in something I heard earlier today. Thompson does not have any executive experience. Republican frontrunners Rudy Giuliani served as New York City mayor and Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts. Thompson’s only shot to demonstrate executive experience between now and November is how well he can build and maintain a smooth campaign operation. You will be able to judge that in about a month.

The only drawback to this rationale is the two Democrat front runners, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have no executive experience, either. Granted, you might debate the issue regarding Clinton, but let us not pick nits.

Taken in that perspective, the time limit seems a lot more reasonable. I still think it will prejudice some people’s opinion, but as I wrote yesterday, pundits have to say something that at least sounds intelligent when asked. Nothing says intelligent like specifics, no?
Blood from Turnips

It has been a while since I have written one of these flotsam and jetsam posts of stuff not worthy of an individual post, but darn it, I feel the need to write about it. Actually, I have not blogged much at all. A few things have occurred. Most importantly, I have been inexplicably distracted by one thing after another and just have lost whatever oomph made me sit down to wax poetic about whatever might be on my mind. I have not seriously gotten my mojo back, either. At least not for blogging. I have been banging away on other things. Second, my computer died a while ago and I have been busy setting up a new to my liking. Finally, there really is not much interesting going on, is there? We are all stuck in a rut during the dog days of summer.

I have had the opportunity to speak to some old friends as of late regarding their personal lives and law careers. Without revealing too much, I was interested to discover who is not all that enthusiastic about their chosen professions any longer, who loves it, and who has found greener pastures with other, more personal endeavors. I have already written reams on the issue as far as my own life goes. I am curious how much can be chalked up to personal growth. If you had told me the day before my reina detached I would never be a lawyer, I had have gone out searching for a large bus to throw myself under. But these days I wonder whether another profession would have been more fulfilling. Is that a matter of the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence or just a matter of maturing into a better, albeit to late to matter, decision maker? They have given me food for thought on the issue.

One of the more trivial things distracting me of late has been Atlanta Braves baseball. I did not watch very many games early in theseason when they were either in first or hovering close, but I have been now that they are tanking. Maybe I am exaggerating. They are in third place in a tough division, but still competitive in the wild card race. I do not believe anyone, myself included, expects them to actually make the playoffs. Even if they do, I doubt they have the juice to win. The team chemistry is off. The first hints of that came earlier this season when Chipper Jones and John Smoltz traded barbs in the press over the team’s failure to establish a dynasty after the 1995 world championship. A couple days ago, Chipper was at it again, critiquing the umpiring crew for bad calls.

Fact is, the Braves have been over rated and in steady decline for years. Even in the heyday, they relied too much on the pitching staff. I will grant you the Maddox, Glavine, and Smoltz trio was the best in the National League, if not the majors, for the better part of a decade. But those guys got worn out in a 162 game season to the point they had nothing for the post season. I am convinced the 1995 championship was one solely because it was a strike shortened 144 game season. Sad to say, but the Braves have even less now than they had then. There is nothing exciting about them. I guess that is what is frustrating Chipper.

But I do remember those heydays. Back in my last couple years of high school, the Braves were the it entertainment in town. Everyone watched the games and planned at least one pilgrimage to Atlanta Fulton County Stadium for a game. I was in college for the 1995 world Series. The buzz followed me there, although it was interesting how many northerners lined up behind the Cleveland Indians.. Fair weather Johnsons to be sure, but it divided campus into a friendly yankee v. southerner rivalry that introduced a certain comraderie among the freshmen. Next year was the big one. The Braves met the Yankees in the 1996 World Series and that really got everyone pumped. We were fighting the War of Northern Aggression all over again. That was pretty much the last time the team generated any excitement. The Braves choked the next two years and the 1999 rematch with the Yankees was overshadowed by John Rocker’s racist idiocy. I do not believe the spiral has stopped yet.

I am going to cap this off with news that Luciano Pavarotti has died after a long bout with cancer. I am not a fan of opera, but I recognize he was the mass at what he did, so my hat is off to him. Godspeed.
Whither Norman Hsu?

Hillary Clinton's new deep pocketed bestest buddy in the whole wide world missed his court date.
Reality Check

During the Republican debate last night, Rudy Giuliani said he was not running on his actions on September 11th. Even I, as a Giuliani supporter, cannot accept that one with a straight face, particularly when he has stated on several occasions we are the Post 9/11 Generation.

Giuliani has a solid record as mayor of New York City to run on, but anyone with two brain cells to rub together realizes without 9/11, he would be little more than a potential gubernatorial or senatorial candidate while spending his days on book and lecture tours instead of running for the White House.

Quit kidding us.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Heath Ledger As The Joker




I was skeptical about the news Heath Ledger was going to play the Joker in The Dark Knight and these photos do not offer much assurance. The guy has Jack Nicholson's shoes to fill, after all.
Small World

Sen. Larry Craig, who is also reconsidering his resignation promise, has hired Michael Vick's lawyer to defend him. For whatever reason, I find both those facts extremely amusing.

Things is, Craig is reconsidering because of a phone call by raging RINO Sen. Arlen Specter to fight both the guilty plea and defend his Senate seat. I pay less and less attention to Specter as time goes on as he has become way too comfy in the Beltway life and out of touch with what is best for his constituents and the country, but I am not so sure he is wrong here. What Craig allegedly did was creepy, but I think Sen. Vitter's frequenting a hooker is much worse and he has gotten off scott free on all accounts. Hypocrisy I do not like.

By the same token, Craig's supporters are not happen with his plan to fight. I can see this backfiring on him later as the GOP runs someone in the primary against him. All this may wind up with yet another Republican Senate loss.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Smile, You're Under Arrest

FOX, the network never famous for upholding the highest boundaries of good taste, is prepping a brand new reality series called Smile, You’re Under Arrest. It will be a lot like the myriad Candid Camera rip offs that have aired over the years, except instead of a harmless prank and a hearty laugh afterwards, you get arrested. It is the next step up (Down?) from FOX’s long running hit, Cops.

The show will feature non violent offenders who have outstanding warrants for their arrest. They will be lured someplace under the premise they have won some money or a prize. In reality, they will be placed under arrest while the cameras roll. Good, cleanfun, no?

I will bet you virtually every single one of those bozos signs a waiver allowing himself on television. I have never considered any television show I have watched to be a guilty pleasure. Of course, I have zero intentions of watching this, so I do not think I have met my first guilty pleasure yet.
Fred Thompson's Pundit Albatrosses

Fred Thompson will officially announce his presidential candidacy later this week. It has pretty much been a given he was going to run for months now to the point his name has already shown up in the polls. I do not recall a poll in which he has placed higher than third, but for an unannounced candidate, that is a decent showing. Decent, however, is not always enough in politics.

The questions pundits have been batting about is whether Thompson can be a viable candidate. I am not even sure I can say they have debated the issue honestly. Even conservative commentators who would probably like to see him occupy the White House have stated repeatedly he has a window of about a month to gain traction. Liberal pundits have been even less enthusiastic. You know what? Now everyone is going to be watching Thompson for the month after his announcement. If he is not first in most polls once it is over, they are going to write him off as a candidate. They would not do that if the pundits did not put the seed of doubt in their minds, but they did. It makes me even more skeptical about the journalism profession.

Witness how quickly opinion turns. Thompson has not even announced, yet he is placing third in the polls. It is a matter of perception. People thought he could win, so many through their support behind him even before he ever said he would run. Now pundits have set a goal for him, which is simply a matter of opinion, that people are going to largely consider gospel truth. I understand pundits have to say something regarding such things. They are not paid to admit they do not know anything, but many seem to be reveling in the power they have to sway public opinion.

I am not going to tell you they are trying to sabotage Thompson’s campaign. Odds are he will not be able to raise enough money at this late date to make a really good run on anything other than what the public already knows about him. He would not be the first candidate to win that way, either. I think pundits are trying to create some artificial drama about the 2008 campaign. Frankly it is way too early to care, yet news of the campaign fills the news. The campaigns have not even gained any substance yet. The Democrats are running on platitudes about change and the Republicans are pretty much lockstep with Bush even though they are walking a fine line about not identifying too closely with the unpopular president. So should we label this a matter of bored journalists trying to amuse themselves?
Ewan McGregor Regrets Star Wars

He believes it was his worst work.

I do not agree. I think he was fine as Obi Wan Kenobi. The problem was substandard material and the fact, as I am quickly coming to realize it, prequels are not a good idea, particularly when the original material is so well loved. Plot holes and bad dialogue sank the prequels, not McGregor.

He goes on to further state his favorite role was in Trainspotting. I concur. I also liked A Life Less Ordinary.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Doctor Who Renewed for 2010

It is an epidemic. Lost is getting split into three shortened seasons, Battlestar Galactica is being split in half over two seasons, and now Doctor Who is going to be delayed a year. All I can say is you had best hope I never start enjoying a show you like or you will only get five episodes a year for three years out of it.

The good news is the show has been renewed for a full fifth season. The bad news is the season will not air until 2010. Is the delay a concession for star David Tennant and Russell T. Davies to have time for other projects? It sounds like a good possibility. But all is not lost. There will be three specials aired during 2009, all three with tenant and Davies. One is presumably the 2009 Christmas special. There is no word yet on how Catherine Tate or Freema Agyeman fit into the picture.

So, we have a 2007 Christmas special, a 13 episode fourth season airing in the spring 2009, three specials during 2009, and a 13 episode fifth season in 2010, all with the current crew. I suppose you cannot complain a whole lot about the set up, although I imagine a lot of fans are ready to burn BBC executives in effigy over the plan.
Under the Boardwalk

Labor Day is a slow news day (I do not care Bush paid a surprise visit to Iraq, do you? It smells of desperation more than inspiration.) so how about a little end of summer music? Here is Bruce Willis crooning "Under the Boardwalk" with The Temptations as back up. Judging by the hairstyle, I am guessing this is the mid '80's and Willis is capitalizing on his Moonlighting fame here. Yes, he can sing, by the way.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Facebook

I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago I had signed up to Facebook to see what the fuss was all about. After all this time I still do not, but I have added the link to may page in the less than subtly titled Stalk Me Not section of the sidebar anyway since I have been asked several times whether I am still a member.

Feel free to add me as a friend if you so desire.
Battlestar Galactica's Final Season Split in Two

At the Battlestar Galactica panel at DragonCon this weekend, it was revealed the final season of twenty episodes is going to be split in half. the first ten will air in 2008. the final ten will air in 2009. This is a way for the Sci Fi Channel to get two seasons for the price of one. It is also a way to royally aggravate fans who already have had to wait through enough long enough gaps between seasons as it is.
Harley Quinn in The Dark Knight?

According to rumors, British soap opera star Sarah Jayne Dunn has been added to the cast of The Dark Knight. The most likely role for her would be Harley Quinn, the loony psycho smitten with the Joker. There have not been any hints thus far Quinn appears, but Christopher Nolan has kept things pretty much tightly under warps, so who knows?
Perchance Persia

Shades of fall 2002:
They [the source’s institution] have “instructions” (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this—they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is “plenty.”
Is this true? If so, it is definite proof the lunatics are running the asylum. If I had to take a guess, “war” in this sense would mean a sustained bombing campaign against suspected facilities in the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The Powers That Be might be hoping for a Rally Around the Flag effect to take hold for a potential ground war after sustained air strikes, but the notion has to make you wonder where we would get those troops from. The fast answer is the Iranians will poor over the border into Iraq so we would have a ready made force right there. Let us try to not think of that nightmare scenario, shall we?

Forget the United Kingdom joining in this little adventure should it come to pass. New Prime Minister Gordon Brown was a critic of Tony Blair’s close ties with the US and has all intentions of changing Britain’s foreign policy from “following the Americans from war to war” to something more self-interested. New French president Sarkozy might be different. His quip last week that Iran may have to be attacked might be a preview of things to come or, more likely, a hint to Iran France will not make the diplomatic moves to save the country from attack as it did for Iraq in the months leading to Operation: Iraqi Freedom.

I can virtually guarantee the upcoming Iraq progress report will paint an optimistic picture of the country’s progress, but will list Iranian intelligence as serving as a destabilizing force giving aid and comfort to insurgents. Such a finding might tip the scale towards Iran being labeled public enemy number one. Considering iran’s saber rattling towards Israel, you can bet the conspiracy theorists will come out of the woodwork at such a possibility, as will all the experts who claim attacking Iran will irreparably destabilize the region. The former are fevered minded idiots; the latter are probably correct.

Bin Laden, by the way, is still at large.