Monday, August 31, 2009

Charles Rangel in More Tax Trouble

Lots and lots and lots of tax trouble. The poor guy just cannot quite keep track of his unethically acquired rental property, assets, and income.

But this is not unusual, you say. Democrats often have a tough time paying their taxes, particularly those attached to the Obama Administration. You would be right to say such a thing. Not to mention bringing up ethics concerns.

The kicker is Rangel is chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means committee, which is responsible for drafting the tax code.

Harry Reid to Ads Salesman: "I Hope You Go Out of Business"

Harry Reid proves why he is about to be booted out of the senate in the next election--he is a petty jerk:
On Wednesday, before he addressed a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Reid joined the chamber’s board members for a meet-’n'-greet and a photo. One of the last in line was the Review-Journal’s director of advertising, Bob Brown, a hard-working Nevadan who toils every day on behalf of advertisers. He has nothing to do with news coverage or the opinion pages of the Review-Journal.

Yet, as Bob shook hands with our senior U.S. senator in what should have been nothing but a gracious business setting, Reid said: “I hope you go out of business.”
Brown must have been one of those evil-monger Republicans Reid has been warning us about. But really, rReid is just towing the Barack Obama line that this is a jobless recovery to the recession, right? what is one more business failure compared to his hurt feelings?

Carol Shea-Porter Taunts, Has Town Haller Removed for Asking Question

Apparently, this retired New York City cop was arrested solely because he asked whether the guy in the purple SEIU shirt, the one trying to drown out his question, was from New Hampshire. The implication was the SETU guy was bused in to support Porter. But that would be astroturfing and we know Democrats are above such tactics.

The odd thing is that four years ago, Porter was in the man's shoes. She was a an anti-war protester who once took part in an event at the New Hampshire state house surrounded by men dressed in Nazi uniforms. She also practically stalked stalked then Congressman jeb Bradley at every town hall event he held in his district.

During the Nazi protest, she claimed the federal government was trying to brand people like sheep. In the protest above, she disgustedly referred to 'these people' who do not trust the government to run the health care system.

In other words, when she wasa citizen, the government was run by Nazis. now that she is part of the government--until November 2010, I imagine--the peopleare Nazis.

Glad she could clear that up for us.

Disney Acquires Marvel Entertainment

Disney just agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment for $ 50 per share, thereby adding 5,000 new characters to it already huge stable. Of course, only about 200 of those Marvel characters are identifiable by the general public, but it sounds good in a press release.

What does this mean for fans of the comics themselves? Not much, I imagine. Disney is interested in owning the characters themselves for use in producing movies, television projects, and theme park rides. The actual publishing of the comics is incidental. At most, Marvel might add an imprint in order to publish titles featuring Disney characters. However, SC Comics has been owned by Warner Brothers for decades while only sporadically publishing Looney Tunes characters, so they may not happen, either.

As for the way the movie and television project will go your guess is as god as mine. I assume Disney wanted Marvel because it saw marvel was already doing a good thing. Considering the success of the Spider-Man and X-Men movie franchises, I would guess Disney wanted a piece of the action already there rather than to make major changes in some scheme to Disney-fy the characters.

That said, I do not much care how those projects turn out. I liked Pixar’s The Incredibles, so I know Disney’s spin on super heroes has potential. But even if characters get the Hannah Montana dumbing down for kiddies treatment on the big and small screen, meh. I will not get as fired up as many fans will. My interest is in the comic themselves.

In the long run, the publishing aspect of the business is going to become less important in the business sense than it already is. There has been a declining interest in the last decade or so of reading in general. Magazines, books, and newspapers have been making less money than ever. So have comics. I figured their decline was inevitable considering the trend. Disney is probably just going to speed up the process.

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Up the Long Ladder"

“Up the Long Ladder’ comes from an Irish rhyme that goes ’up the long ladder and down the short rope,’ a reference to gallows. A good hanging is what writer Melinda Snosgrass deserves for this literary travesty. This is the episode I referenced when I said my critique was going to have Snodgrass lying in a fetal position sucking her thumb when I was done. In the name of full disclosure, I have to correct myself. When I reviewed “The Measure of a Man,” I said this was Snodgrass’ next effort. I had forgotten she also wrote “Pen Pals,” an episode I liked. So she is two for three. But that one loss is game seven of the World Series.

Keep in mind Snodgrass is one of those liberal types for whom no one can be progressive enough to suit her idealistic visions. She was not terribly far out there with ’The Measure of a Man’ or “Pen Pals,” but she more than made up for it with “Up the Long Ladder.” The sad part is she would have been far worse if she had her original way.

Snodgrass wrote this episode with two goals in mind: to critique United States immigration policy and support abortion rights. Snodgrass has said in interviews she hates our immigration policy because she believes it does not appreciate diversity. I can only extrapolate from that the progressive belief Americans are inherently racist for booting out illegal immigrants. So now you know the naivete we are dealing with here.

Here stance on immigration, much to her chagrin was lost in translation. While trying to explain her idea to Maurice “Baywatch Nights“ Hurley, she unwisely compared the characters she wanted to create to Irish tinkerers rather than the diverse colors and creeds she actually had in mind. Hurley, proud of his Irish descent, loved the idea and made her run with it. Hence when get Irish settlers dressed in rags, living with goats, and drinking themselves stupid in another part of the galaxy. I can imagine how thrilled Snodgrass was to sit at her her computer and pound this script out.

I will have to explain the story before getting to the pro-abortion bit. The Enterprise answers an SOS from an area of space where there are supposedly no settlements. One is there and it is threatened by flares. Picard orders the settlers beamed to the ship, but they refuse to go without their farm animals.

What ensues can best be described as The Beverly Hillbillies in Space. The settlers live with their animals, set off the fire sprinklers with their cooking, and roam about drunk and horny. You know, a testament to Irish culture. Irish croups in the United States criticized the episode heavily for its stereotypical view.

These Irish folks are only half the original colony. Picard is urged to discover what happened to the others. It is discovered they exist on another planet not too far away. When the Enterprise arrives there, They find a society as advanced as the other is backwards, except they have given up normal reproduction. It is a miracle they have not murdered one another out of sexual frustration. At leastwe know how they had time to put so much thought into scientific advancement.

Everyone is a clone of the five original settlers who crash landed there. They are suffering degradation because they are copies of copies of copies. To alleviate this, they request DNA samples from the away team. The away team refuses, but thesettlerssteal their DNA anyway without their knowledge.

Here is where the pro-abortion argument comes in. Riker and Pulaski discover their DNA has been stolen. Riker beams down to the planet and kills the clones in cold blood. His rationale is that he forbid them to clone him and he has the right to control his own body. Said right grants him the moral authority to murder the maturing clones.At the time Riker committed the act, the clones had not yet taken full human form. They did not possess higher brain function. They were on lifesupport. In every way, they were comparable to an unborn child in the womb. “Potential life” as the pro-abortionists would argue. The analogy is not perfect. The clones have the exact genetic material from one person rather than a mother and a father. But the message is clear. It also completely negates Snodgrass’ previous assertion in “The Measure of a Man” that since we cannot define consciousness, we have no right to kill something that may possess it. Cue Sandra Day O’Connor in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Picard suggests asa solution the two settlers form a new colony and start making babies. The drunken, horny tinkerers think that is a marvelous idea. The scientist clones, not so much. Who can blame them? The otherhalf are just a little too attached to their goats. This being Trek, the humans know best, so the settlers all hook up and, well, hook up. It is the Federation thing to do.

I despise this episode. Like many South Carolinians, I am Scotch-Irish, but I do not care about the racial stereotyping personally. I just think it was dumb. The sex, the booze, down on the farm motif--completely embarrassing for Trek. I might expect sucha thing from ‘60’s TOS, but not TNG in 1989. I certainly did not care for the pro-abortion message. I was disappointed by riker’s attitude and actions, but mostly how “The Measure of a Man” was completely demeaned. That is liberal hypocrisy for you.

Rating: * (out of 5)

Lindsay Lohan Allegedly Robbed Herself to Keep $ 2 Million in Jewels

Did Lindsay Lohan rob her own home in order to keep $ 2 million worth of jewelry on loan from Beverly Hills jeweler XIV Karats? Surveillance footage seems to indicate so.

This is not the first time Lohan has been accused of grand larceny. She was questioned earlier this summer by Scotland yard when $ 500,000 worth of jewelry disappeared from her London photo shoot. Lohan has also been accused of swiping an $ 11,000 fur coat from a friend at a party.

It sounds like Lohan is a kleptomaniac more into the thrill of stealing than anything else. Or she is a big fan of Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair. More likely Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment.XIV Karats is incensed over the loss of their swag and plans to sue lohan whether she was the one to steal them or not. The jewels were intrusted to her, therefore she is liable for their safe return.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What the Weekend Box Office Says About Our Character

You know things are going badly when even Hollywood is upset embarrassed by which movies are successful.

The top movies this weekend were the horror film Final Destination 3-d, the Nazi slaughtering Inglorious Basterds, Rob Zombie’s hack (pardon the pun) Halloween II, the (literal) illegal alien moral tale District 9, and the brainless, not so American hero anymore GI Joe.

The dogs days of august is when studios release their third string summer efforts which they did not have much faith in, so expectations for quality ought to be low to begin with. But look again what is raking in the cash this weekend: death, horror, war, revenge for genocide, violence, murder, and aliens all wrapped up in a room temperature IQ package. The top four movies are all rated “R,” an unusual event that has caught Hollywood’s attention.

I am not terribly prudish about people’s entertainment choices. You can watch or listen to whatever you want. I am not one to blame violent music or video games for juvenile criminal acts. I go along with Frank Zappa’s comment that 90% of popular songs are about love and that sure has not influenced society for the better. People are not blank slates to be filled by any random idea, good or bad, to which they are exposed. They seek out ideas that satisfy the attitudes they already possess. So what I do feel upset about is the reflection on our character how many people want to watch this stuff.

Look at it like this; convention wisdom in the movie business is to counter release against expected big releases. For example, Star Trek: Nemesis was moved to another weekend seven years ago when Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones was set to be released at the same time. Call it over caution or superstition, but studios will not release similar films opposite each other.

But the weinsteins are in dire financial straits, so it could not hold on to Halloween II until October like logically should, so they released it now again Final Destination 3-D. It apparently worked for them against conventional wisdom. So horror fans to a break from back to school doings and flipped a coin to decide which film to see on Friday and which on Saturday. Because getting their fix of R-rated gore was that important.

As for the other films, I am curious what they say about us. Killing nazis is as worthy a pastime as any, but inglorious Basterds is such an immature dumbing down of the old Testament eye for an eye concept, it is embarrassing. District 9 and GI Joe reveal the self-loathing progressives want Americans to feel is ingrained so deeply, we do not even mind sitting through overt lectures on the matter in entertainment choices.

Hollywood loves a trend, so I imagine you can expect against to be a cheapo dump for trashy, R-rated movies and superficial progressive sermons for the foreseeable future. That is a sad commentary on our fallen culture.

Blogroll Spotlight IX

Here is the weekly round up of my ten favorite posts from my blogroll. As always, they are not ranked, but alphabetical by blog name.

Ballot, Soap, Jury, Ammo explains the proposed cyber bill which would give Barack Obama emergency control of the internet.

The Big Feed shares a video of a pro-Obama cop hassling ObamaCare protesters.

The Classical Liberal says Lnowledge is power.

The Cotton Boll Conspiracy remembers another Ted Kennedy. This one did not kill a woman in a drunken accident and try to cover it up.

The Daley Gator examines the Irony of the Moonbats.

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World has the Reclamation of Independence.

Paco Enterprises says Ted Kennedy should henceforth be known as Spongebooze Nopants.

Piece of Work in Progress tells us Dick Cheney was right.

Right Klik says Medicare will suffer under ObamaCare. So will the rest of us, but who is counting?

Self-Evident Truths has his weekly round up.

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Samaritan Snare"

You have to imagine the Borg would be a hard act to follow for a villain. Relentless cyborgs destroying entire civilizations without the slightest hint of emotion is the stuff of sweat drenched nightmares. So what does TNG give us as the follow up adversary? The Pakleds on The Intergalactic Short Bus. Brace yourself. It does not get much worse than this.

Thankfully, the Pakleds are not the only story here. They do not enter the picture until partway through the first act. What we get before their unfortunate debut is the revelation Picard has an artificial heart which needs to be replaced. Perhaps that explains why he is such a cold fish. Pulaski can perform the surgery, but Picard opts to travel to a starbase instead out of, near as I can tell, a sense of vanity. He does not want anyone serving under hi to see his innards. Wesley has to go to the starbase for more academic testing, so the two are stuck together on a shuttlecraft for twelve hours round trip.

Picard makes no secret he hates every minute by taking his frustration out on Wesley. His attitude brings back harsh memories of his first season demeanor when he hated everyone and everything, but especially kids. At one point when wesley tries to strike up a conversation, Picard slams his book shut and stomps to the back of the shuttle to get away from him.

I can understand Picard’s frustration with undergoing risky surgery, but in my young adult life, I have had a double hip replacement, half my colon removed to repair a rupture, and eye surgery that caused me to lose sight in one eye. Never did I act like such a jerk before going under the knife at any point. I would think a guy like Picard would be even more stoic considering his life experiences. Oddly enough, no.

He does eventually warm up and the two have a conversation over lunch. It is an understandably awkward talk. They have a strange relationship. Wesley looks to Picard as a father figure, but with the mixed emotion of him also being the man responsible for his real father’s death. Picard hates kids, yet feels some obligation to look after Wesley in the same manner military men will “adopt’ the family of a fallen comrade.

What is interesting is Picard humanizes himself by talking about his youthful follies and the bar fight that got him stabbed in the back. He notes that he lookeddown at the blade that went through his heart and laughed, but he does not know why. We will see why in a few seasons when “Tapestry” rolls around. The scenes would have been much better if Wesley were not such a goofy, arrogant teen about having his life under control.

I cannot talk more about the Picard story until I deal with the pakleds. Oh, mercy.

The Enterprise answers a distress call from a group of aliens called the Pakleds. Their ship is broken. It will not go so they can look for things that make them go. That is a more intelligent assessment of their situation than anything they say from here on out. LaForge offers to go overandfix their ships since he does not believe they can follow directions. For whatever reason, riker decides to let him go over alone. They subsequently kidnap LaForge, raising some advanced shields to prevent him from being beamed out.

The worst part about the situation is the Enterprise is completely stymied. I would not be so bothered by this if they had been outfoxed by a more primitive people. That might even make a good twist. But these Pakleds are idiots. It is impossible to believe they can operate their own ship. Indeed, the writers try to get around this by saying they have stolen everything they have gotten…from the Klingons and the Romulans. I cannot say that is a more plausible explanation.

Meanwhile, Picard is under the knife, surrounded by surgeons dressed in bright crimson outfits. Because nothing puts you at ease quite like being overseen by a satanic cult with scalpels. The surgery is not going well--presumably not because t is cursed by Satan, but you never know--and Pulaski is needed in order for Picard to survive.

So now we have ticking clock to save LaForge and Picard. Picard needs a heart, the Pakleds need a brain, and you just know there isa lion out there somewhere in want of courage.

Riker and Gomez (Remember her from last episode? She was the clumsy ditz who spilled cocoa on Picard, so naturally she was place in charge of raising the shields before the Borg could resume their attack…while the Enterprise just sat there.) come up with a plan to trick the Pakleds into thinking they are going to be destroyed by a secret weapon. Lafarge catches the drift, but the Pakleds do not. Big surprise. They surrender LaForge I will Beth could have just told them their shoes were untied, then dropped the shields to beam out before they realized they were all wearing boots.

Pulaski saves Picard. He gets a standing ovation when he arrives back on the bridge. The look of contempt he has for the warmth and caring everyone has for him is priceless. The new heart might as well be a lump of coal.

I liked the Picard half of the story. The semi-bonding between him and Wesley was enjoyable enough to keep the episode from getting stuck with one star. Frankly, if it was just the Pakleds, one star would be generous. Even VOY never featured villains this dumb.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Kelly Brook

Oh, yes.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

It has been a slow news day, no? I have had the house all to myself this weekend, so I done little more than veg out and listen to the refrigerator hum. Combine those two factors and you will get a random thoughts post on what little I have bothered to follow in the last couple days.

I did not watch Ted Kennedy’s funeral. By all accounts, the family pulled a Michael Jackson memorial trick and had a child front and center to say an “unscripted” prayer for the passage of ObamaCare. It does not surprise me, but good gravy that is some major exploitation. But my biggest disappointment was that the hearse did not dive off into the Potomac and sit there for nine hours. That would have been poetic.

I have only the vaguest notions who DJ AM is, but he overdosed on crack yesterday because he was upset over a breakup. He sounded like a fine catch. I am sure the girl was worth it. Only lousy hookers use crack. Could the guy not afford cocaine? Surely there are enough to doofus teenagers out there buying that noise he called music to afford some pure Colombian snow. No? Well, good riddance then.

A new bill would allow Barack Obama to take control of the internet during a cyber emergency. Question of the hour: how many conniption fits would progressives have had if Bush 43 were given the same power?

I would suggest someone ask Diane Watson who is going to pay for all her leftist political schemes when Obama throws out the wealthy the same as she praised Fidel Castro for doing, but I am certain the answer would compel me to jam a pencil up my nose as hard as I possibly can.

Pretty much everyone thinks the Avatar trailer sucked. Count me in as unimpressed, too. Not that it did not look good. The CGI most certainly did. But the trailer did not give me the slightest idea of what the movie is about or why I would want to see it. There are some futuristic soldiers and blue elves. That is about it. Anyone who has seen part of the film has been blown away by it, but if a better trailer which actually sells the story does not come out soon, word of mouth might doom the movie.

Val Kilmer said he is not going to run for governor of New Mexico. Um…okay.

A couple of Britney Spears fans were escorted out of her Madison Square garden concert for dancing too provocatively. Because there is nothing provocative about Spears, right?On that note…

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around XII

It is time once again to round up all the bloggers gracious enough to link to me this week.

The Daley Gator links to FMJRA XI.

The Classic Liberal goes to the movies.

The Other McCain joins him.

The Troglopundit links to an epiphany on women and my lament over the upcoming Excalibur remake.

Boxset featured my review of "The Dauphin."

Oh No They Didn't links to my spoiler about the Daleks. so does Boxset.

The Camp of the Saints linked to my obituary for Ted Kennedy.

The Daily Paul copied my entire post on Barack Obama changed the 9/11 Day of Service into an American Day of Apology, but at least it did link back to the original.

Zaahn tweeted my review for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Contagion"

Darlt774 tweeted about the alleged hoax of Michael Jackson's death

Michael Jackson is Dead linked to...take a wild guess.

Project Savior invokes the Nazis when discussing my religious views. How original.

Grant Lawrence doubled up on the Nazi references.

Here is the Weekly Waldo section. This week, he psychoanalyzed me and wished I had skipped the fact a drunken Ted Kennedy killed a woman when I memorialized him.

A sincere thank you to all who linked. I am glad to know I give you a reason for living. If you linked to me in the last week, but I do not have you here, you unfortunately fell through the cracks of Technorati, Google Blog Search, and Sitemeter. Please drop me a note in the comments and I will update with your link.

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Q Who?"

We have arrived at “Q Who?,” one of the most pivotal episodes of the series. A lot of fan think that is so because the episode introduces the Borg. That is true, but it is more important because the story furthers the overall dynamic between Picard and Q that, unbeknownst to us, runs from the pilot to the finale. Oh, and Pulaski is absent from this one. Hallelujah.

I cannot ignore the Borg’s introduction here. I still have that wide eyed wonder about them as a twelve year old long before VOYr came along to destroy their mystique as a force of nature above any petty sense of political conquest. Love them or hate, the Borg were a unique creation. Most any alien species any trek characters normally encounter could very well be represented by humans with a different cultural standard. The borg rose above that. They were novel and terrifying even before we learned what assimilation was all about.

Getting into the story, we can see how this is more about Q and Picard than the Borg. Q kidnaps Picard while the captain is on his way to change uniforms because a nervous new crewman dumped cocoa in it. He winds up on a shuttlecraft with Q, who explains he has been exiled from the Q Continuum. He wants to join the crew because he fears Picard is about to encounter dangers beyond his ability to handle.

Q transports Picard back to the Enterprise. They wind up in Ten Forward where he and Guinan have a strange confrontation in which they make these threaten gestures with their hands like they are fondling invisible boobs. Picard is intrigued by the prospect of studying Q, but thinks he is too impish to have around. Q decides to show him how unwise his refusal is by throwing the ship 7,000 light years--three years travel time to the nearest Starbase--away.

Picard decides as long as they are stranded in an unexplored place, they should look around. They discover a number of planets with gaping craters much like the ones left behind in Federation and Romulan space at the end of the first season. Then they encounter a Borg cube for the first time.

A Borg invades engineering and explores the technology itself with the ttpical obliviousness to all other beings around it. Picard, ever the diplomat, tries to open a dialogue right up until the Borg accesses the computer. He then allows Worf to blow the heck out of it. A second Borg appears to finish the job, oblivious to the corpse of his colleague on the floor. It has already adapted to the pfasers, so Worf does not get the chance to blast this one into oblivion.

The Borg go on the offensive because they have apparently decided the enterprise is technology worthy of taking. They drain the shields and carve out a section of the ship, killing eighteen people. A phaser blast from the Enterprise halts the attack. For whatever inexplicable reason, Picard decides to sit there, sans shields, in front of the cube to have a conference on what to do next. You would think he would want to get a safe distance away while he has the chance. Evidently not.

Q shows up at the staff officers meeting. For the first time, Q acts like I would expect an omnipotent, nonchalantly cruel character to act. In his previous two appearances, he has acted up like Jim Carrey on a sugar high. Here he is subdued, almost diabolical, as he lets it sink in just how much desperate trouble the crew is in. He very easily could have been more over the top, but it would have ruined the tense, claustrophobic feel of the episode.

Speaking of claustrophobic, Picard decides to send an away team over instead of running off like he most certainly should. The away mission is one of the most chilling scenes in TNG. It has lost much impact now, but the first time I saw the narrow corridors with Borg wandering about completely ignoring the away team, the sense of their insignificance was creepy. The scene where they arrive in the usury still holds up today. Back then, there was the implication Borg were born human and received robotic implants. Creepy enough, but now you can look at it as human babies kidnapped by the Borg for assimilation. Yeesh.

They realize the cube is repairing itself and beam back before it can resume attacking the Enterprise. Now Picard decides to move, but it is too late. There is no way they can defeat the Borg, so Picard has to grovel for Q and admit he needs him. Q accepts and sends the ship back to it original location. But now the Borg will be coming. That is a story for the third season finale.

Remember I said this was all more about Q than the Borg? Think about this. We see in future episodes the Q Continuum does not just expel troublemakers to ram free using their powers as they wish. I think Q was lying about being booed ot of the Continuum. His intention here was a test of Picard. Recall in “Hide and Q,” they had an exchange over Hamlet‘a tale told by an idiot” speech in which Picard told q that humanity had advanced beyond petty concerns to its utmost nobility. Think about the results of what Q has done subsequently in “Q Who?” the Borg are going to kidnap Picard, assimilate him, and use him to destroy the Federation. The ordeal is going to lead to psychological problems for Picsrd to the point he becomes as obsessed with the Borg as Ahab was with Moby Dick. Thus, in a way, Q’s actions lead to disproving Picard’s arrogant assumption of his triumph over human pettiness.

Nothing was planned out that far, of course, but the threads are there if you care to weave them together.

I cannot give “Q Who?” five stars because of some lapses in logic. There was no good reason for the Enterprise to remain near the Borg ship while it was disabled, particularly after eighteen crewmen were killed. The new character of Ensign Gomez was introduced, but she did not resonate at any point, so she went the way of the do do bird. She was clumsy doofus here, yet given the all important task of bringing the shields back online. A big task considering Picard has them just sitting there in the interim. Otherwise, this is one of the best of the second season.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Padma Lakshmi

I had to look up Padma Lakshmi in order to find out why she is famous. It would appear I am not the hippest of souls. What I found out was quite impressive.

Lakshmi is a former model who was discovered by chance while sitting in a café in Spain during a vacation from college. She became the first model of Indian descent to have a career in Paris, Milan, and New York. She has a sense of humor about her short carer in modeling, understanding she was a novelty.

She subsequently landed a few acting roles. Unfortunately, they were opposite Mariah Carey in Glitter and two reptilian aliens in an episode of Star tTrek: Enterprise. The poor woman is probably still stalked by Trekkies today.

Along the way, Lakshmi wrote acookbook called East Exotic which won Best First Book at the 1999 World Cookbook Awards. I did not know there was such a thing, either. The award earned her enough prestige to land the job as host of bravo’s Top Chef.

In 2004, she married novelist Salman Rushdie. They divorced in 2007 shortly after rush die was knighted. I guess it went to his head. She left an impression on him regardless. Rushdie based the love interest character in Fury on her as well as dedicated the book to her.

So she is beautiful, intelligent, can write, can cook, and still looks that good at nearly forty. I am sold on her.
(Part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reports of Michael Jackson's Death Are Not Exaggerated

You have seen this video of a Michael Jackson spotting allegedly after his death, but herd it is again for the sake of being thorough:It was only a matter of time before the legend Wacko Jacko joined the ranks of Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, and Eddie Wilson (Kudos to anyone who recognizes the reference.) as undead rock stars. It is only a matter of time before someone suggests it was a whim he got from playing a zombie in the Thriller video a quarter century ago.

Folks, he is dead. Elvis is dead, too. Paul McCartney is still alive. Eddie Wilson is a fictional character. That is the reality. Maybe the video is old. Maybe it is faked. Maybe it is Jackson impersonator off to play a spoiled brat’s birthday party. I do not know, but it is not him.

Would you really want it to be? If Wacko Jacko faked his death, that means he is leaving his personal physician to face a murder charge and abandoning his kids. What kind of idol of millions would do something like that? Wacko Jack cares about other kids--some a lot, if you catch my drift--but not his own? Come on.

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Pen Pals"

Remember the mantra I have repeated since my TOS reviews that Trek never does episodes centered on children well? I think “Pen Pals” is the sole exception in all forty years of the final frontier. It would pain me too much to admit the constant does not hold, so I am going to call this one a data-centric episode instead. The little girl, Sanjenka, is a catalyst for a character study of data, whom kids seem to get attached to easily, and a a more mature moral debate over the Prime directive than what we have seen before. Wesley saves the day, too, without being the obnoxious wedgie in the lock room waiting to happen he normally is.

The Enterprise is investigating geological disturbances in a sector of planets which no manned ship has ever visited. These planets are self-destructing due to crystalline growths underneath the surface. Wesley is put incharge of a geological survey team to study the phenomenon.

In the meantime, Data inadvertently answers a call from a little girl who has no idea there is life on other planets. He keeps up a conversation with her for six weeks. When he realizes her planet is about to suffer the same geological disaster as the others, he pleads with Picard to intervene.

A debate among the senoir officers ensues regarding fate, moral clarity, and intervention. It is one of the few times in Trek the concept of a Grand Plan might exist, although God is never mention as the originator of that plan. It is fate for an entire planet to day or is the fact the Enterprise just happens to be there with the capability of saving the planet a sign the grand plan requires them to intervene?

It is an interesting debate, one I have , as a good Calvinist, had on a number of occasions. But it falls by the wayside here as the discussion turns to the purpose of the Prime Directive. It is supposed to prevent the Federation from becoming involved in internal matters of non-warp cultures.

Here is where I think Picard’s rationale goes wrong. He is one who does not want to intervene at all because he does not know where to draw the line. Should they intervene in a war or overthrow a brutal dictatorship committing genocide? Obviously no. . Data, Pulaski, and Troi want to intervene because they argue there is a moral certainty involved. The planet will be destroyed in a natural disaster. I agree with their argument. If the prime Directive is supposed to prevent the contamination of cultures from outsiders, how can a race that is about to be destroyed be considered contaminated when the Enterprise can act anonymously?

Picasrd decides no up until he hears Sanjenka calling for Data. He realizes she is making a plea for help. He decides he has to answer the call.

The solution comes rather pat. Data inconveniently has to bring Sanjeska onboard. He decided to do so solely because she was alone and scared. It probably was not necessary, but it is a neat character moment for Data. Throughout the episode, he was learning more about friendship than he has ever demonstrated before. The process was more than just him running through a string of social obligations for which he is programmed. Indeed, he will prove to be incredibly socially awkward at times in the future. He has built up a genuine relationship with Sanjeska. It comes naturally.

It is a bit disturbing that her memories of data and the Enterprise are wiped under Picard’s orders, but much less so than allowing for genocide under some principle that non-intervention to prevent a race of people from being wiped out is aiding in their natural development. Picard still cannot hide his hatred for children. It was kind of nasty for o’Brien to refer to Sanjeska as an “it,” as well. I guess those two know kids and trek do not mix well.

On a final note, I am confident it was established in TOS’ “The Paradise Syndrome” the Prime Directive does not apply when a pre-warp race can be saved without them knowing the federation intervened. If so, that negates the whole moral argument here. Data never told Sanjeska who or where he was. As far asshe knew, he was another member of her race. But it would rip the heart out of the story if that moral conflict was not there, so I am going to overlook it.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Geri Halliwell in a Bikini

She still looks about as good as she did in her Spice Girls days.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Daleks Are in Doctor Who Series Five

Steven Moffat has gone on the record as saying he would be creating nostalgia for the next generation, not bringing back recurring villains for old fans, in his Doctor Who run. Specifically, he said no Daleks. The BBC quickly put out a statement saying it just would not be Doctor Who without the dalejs, so they would be back at some point.

According to the above photograph, the BBC won out over Modffat.

The fifth series is currently filming behind the walls of Cardiff University in Wales. The photo above is the best any fan has been able to get of the action. Eyewitnesses say there are Daleks being filmed in a World War II setting. Considering the daleks were inspired by the Nazis, perhaps Moffat is making the best of it and taking the characters back to their roots.

Truth in Advertising?

Maybe not all rays.

Talk About Low Standards of Conduct

Waldo Lydecker's headline on my comment on Ted Kennedy's death:
Jamie stands in the temple and loudly thanks God he is is not like those liberals.
If you mean I thank God I have never gotten drunk and killed a woman, yes, I should say so. I suspect God will forgive me if I chalk it up to my having a common decency Kennedy could never muster rather than an act of divine inspiration.

I swear, Waldo. You need to be in a facility with responsible adults taking care of you lest you hurt yourself or someone else with your delusions.Whoops. How did that get in there?

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"The Icarus Factor"

“The Icarus Factor” is further proof all the best cowboys have daddy issues. When Riker is offered the command of yet another ship, a civilian attaché comes to the Enterprise to brief him. Unbeknownst to him, the attaché is his estranged father whom he has not seen in fifteen years. Worse yet, he learns his father used to date Pulaski. Kyle Riker obviously has some issues with emotional distance and probably untreated cataracts to think that ice queen bitty was ever a fine catch.

Riker and his father fight the entire time they are working together. In some respects, Riker’s doubts about the promotion to captain are a repulsion to his father. If it is his father getting him acclimated to the new command, then obviously the new command must be a bad thing. There is definitely ego getting in the way. The argument that finally convinces Riker to turn down the job is the prestige he receives from serving on the Enterprise. There is more glory to that than researching the possibility of microscopic life in some backwater system.

But the situation between his father and him cannot go unresolved, so they challenge each other to the ancient martial art and American Gladiators staple of beating each other with giant q-tips. Kyle defeats his son with an illegal move he has always used to win. Riker realizes his father has been cheating on these years. We have “A Boy Named Sue” moment and all is well.

The side story involves one of the rare occasions when his human friends encourage Worf to engage in Klingon rituals. This time around, it is the tenth anniversary of Worf’s age of Ascension. It is kind of like a bar mitzvah, but it this one, John Tesh dresses like a Klingon and jabs you with a pain stick. It is a gruesome sequence, but truly alien and, for once, not looked down upon for being so.

I try to appreciate TNG episodes that emphasize character development as much as possible. They do not come around often. I would appreciate this one more but for two problems. One, Riker lectured a Klingon just a handful of episodes ago about refusing to see his father at the same time he has not seen his own in fifteen years. The continuity error is a failure of the story editor to catch, but it makes Riker look like a hypocrite, not to mention reinforces the Trek constant that humans know best even if they do not follow their own ideals.

Two, it is way too early in the series to start offering Riker a command. He is supposed to be on the Enterprise for the run of the series. We have gone less than a season and a half, but we already but he has already turned down two commands. This will not be the last time he refuses one, either. The powers that be should have stopped that plot point to make it more plausible Riker would stay a commander for seven years. At it is, he looks weak. Timidity does not fit in with the rest of his character.

The saving grace is the Worf story. It was good to his friends sharing a special event with him they certainly have no interest in, save their care for him.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Jennifer Aniston

She still has it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Andre Bauer Holds a Press Conference

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is about to hold a press conference in Columbia in which he will ask Gov. mark Sanford to resign and renew his pledge to not run for governor in 2010 is Sanford does resign.

Keep two things in mind.

One, there is a growing movement among republicans in South Carolina to et Sanford out of the way before the gubernatorial race heats up. Party leaders have conferred with him from the beginning, but since he has not budged because of the strange divine right of kings notion instilled in him at C-Street, the house is on the verge of impeachment proceedings.

Two, Bauer is not a frontrunner for governor. He has a well earned reputation for being an aging frat boy which has been in full swing ever since his daddy boght him a House seat to keep him from joining the family business and really screwing up something important. Only in South Carolina could lead to eventually becoming Lt. Governor.

Congressman Gresham Barrett is the current frontrunner by a comfortable margin. Attorney General Henry McMaster is the elder statesman candidate with good prospects. Nikki Haley is a newcomer and long shot, but she has the fiscal conservatives happy and the Christians closing their eyes and imagining Sarah Palin. Bauer has his fans, but not enough of them.

The Democrats, God bless them, are chasing rainbows as always. The Republican primary is the governor’s race, even with the current troubles Sanford has brought on the party.

So Bauer is not showing any political courage by calling on Sanford to resign. He is joining the chorus now that it is safe to do so. His pledge to not run for governor is not a sacrifice. He has no real shot at winning against the competition. Bauer is basically a little kid asking if he can be governor for, like, a few minutes and stuff., promising not to screw anything up while he is there.

Edward Kennedy (1932-2009)

I am going to skip out on any political animosity I had with Kennedy. The conservative-liberal divide is not something to dwell on here, particularly when the Democrats are bound to rename ObamaCare after Kennedy in a classless attempt to ram heath care reform through based on sentimentality. You will get plenty of sentimentality in the coming days as misty eyed baby boomers mourn the loss of mythical Camelot and whatever other fantasies they have about the Kennedy clan.

All I can note is that the family of Mary Jo Kopechne has had to wait forty years to find some peace. people seem to think Kopechne drowned. She did not. She asphyxiated when the pocket of air around her ran out. Kennedy had time to save her, but spent that time concocting a cover up to save himself. But he is a progressive, so that is okay. Every holt cause has its casualties. Liberals are a forgiving lot with one votes the proper way.

Harsh? No. are you going to celebrate OJ Simpson’s football career when he dies or think justice has finally been served over the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman? If it is the former, you are probably someone I would not care to know.

Regardless, Godspeed, Mr. Kennedy. Perhaps you do seek Divine forgiveness. For your sake, I hope so. The absolution from the main stream media and adoring liberals does not mean a thing at the point you have reached.

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Time Squared"

Wherein we learn Picard secretly hates himself. You just knew all that arrogance was compensating for self-loathing.

The Enterprise finds a shuttlecraft adrift in space. When they retrieve it, they discover it is not only one of theirs, but there is a duplicate Picard on board. He is catatonics and, according to Troi, has little emotion. This other Picard is from the future. For some reason, he abandoned the Enterprise before it was destroyed. But why?

That is the question for at least part of the episode. The mystery aspect does not last long to begin with, but gets lost even more quickly under the side story of Picard’s irritation with his future self. The future Picard is weak, disoriented, and afraid. In other words, everything Picard ought not be, so the real Picard is on the verge of slapping him around even when his poor twin is nearly autistic. Certainly, Picard is motivated to find out what eventually happens to the ship, but it is clear his biggest concern is the perceived cowardice of his future self for abandoning the ship.

A time vortex opens near the ship before any real answers are found. The future Picard recovers greatly as the Enterprise is sucked in. The vortex is actually an entity that perceives Picard as the ship’s brain and wants him. So Picard actually left the ship to sacrifice himself for his crew. This answer does not satisfy the real Picard much. He decides to break the cycle by killing his future self to end the cycle. Presumabl, to also punish him for showing thecrew hecan be a weak, babbling mess, too. He certainly cannot have that.

The resolution of the time vortex story is some odd science fiction concept not worth talking about, but the plan works. The cycle is broken.

This episode was originally supposed to lead into “Q who” with Q revealed as the creator of the vortex. We can only guess if that would have improved the story. As it is, the idea of an entity creating a time vortex as an update of Priscilla and Carbides did not sing for me. If the two Picards story was meant to humanize the captain, it did not do much towards that, either. It just emphasized the fact he is still an arrogant jerk with a long way to go before episodes like “Family,” “Darmok,” and “Tapestry” make him a multidimensional, more human character.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Mena Suvari in a Bikini

Just because.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Title of Lost Sixth Season Premiere Revealed

The first episode of the final season of Lost is entitled "LA X." Since the title has been revealed so early, fans assume there is a hidden meaning beyond a play on the three letter acronym for the Los Angeles airport which was Oceanic 815's intended destination.

Here are the two most popular theories thus far:

"LA X' may refer to the Summer Olympics of 1932. The games were officially known as the Games of the X Olympiad, were hosted in Los Angeles. No other cities made a bid to host these Olympics. Held during the worldwide Great Depression, many nations and athletes were unable to pay for the trip to Los Angeles. Fewer than half the participants of the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam returned to compete in 1932.

This theory is pretty wild. It assumes not only did the bomb that went off alter the timeline, but presumably sent the characters back to 1932. While we have already seen time travel on the show, this theory sounds too far out there to be true.

The second theory is better, methinks. “LA X’ is a play on the Oceanic Six, with LA representing Los Angeles and “x” as the roman numeral for ten. It makes sense because there are ten main characters left from the plane;

1. Jack
2. Kate
3. Hurley
4. Sayid
5. Jin
6. Sun
7. Locke
8. Bernard
9. Rose
10. Vincent

There are problems with this theory, too, assuming the original plan worked. If oceanic 815 never crashed, then everyone is still alive. Considering it is an open secret cast members who played now deceased characters are returning for unspecified numbers of episodes, it sounds at least plausible everyone did survive. That would leave open the possibility those Jacob touched in the season finale are going to be called to the island regardless. Such would fit in with the destiny theme.

But it is early and all we know is the title of the season premiere. There is no way to know anything for sure right now.

Random Thoughts

If you thought the Cash for Clunkers program had ended, you obviously do not follow the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings are paying twice retired geezer quarterback Brett Favre $12 million. He only completed one out of four passes this weekend for a grand total of four yards. The Vikings still have a leg up on the Dallas Cowboys in the Money Well Spent department. Their new stadium has a $ 40 million multimedia screen hanging from the roof. Unfortunately, it hangs so low, it interferes with punts. You would think someone would have tested that out before now considering punting the ball might become necessary or time or two in the future.

If it is a good thing for a public option to private insurance be available for american citizens, why is it not equally good for their to be a voucher system for private schools to compete with public? Is access to quality education less important than access to quality health care? To a liberal, yes.

Am I the only one who thinks Mad Men is boring? I think it is the same situation there was with Arrested Development. All the smart critics raved about it, so everyone else said they liked it, too, just to avoid looking like philistines. At no point did the rating sever merit continuation past a single season, much less three. If it were not on cable with its less stringent criteria for rating success, Mad Men would be pushing daisies right alongside Pushing Daisies.

The left is less offended some terrorist detainees were threatened with mock executions than they are of having Dick Cheney to thank for the technique working.

If the republican party does not get the wake up call soon, it is going to be as irrelevant among conservatives as it is the rest of the country. The public option and the end of life advisory panels were removed from ObamaCare and the snitch on your neighbor program was ended by grassroots conservatives venting their anger at Democrats face to face. The GOP was completely out of the picture. It is not going to be long before those grassroots conservatives realize they do not need the Republicans. I am not confident they have yet noticed. The only prominent Republican who has been leading the charge is Sarah Palin. The GOP powers that be have it out for her rather than are trying to emulate her instead.

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"The Royale"

Keith Mills is a pseudonym used by Tracy Torme to disavow a script he feels has been altered too far from his original vision. Torme used it on “The Royale” to express his disapproval of the changes made by Maurice Hurley. I do not blame him. I would not want my name on a clunker like “The Royale,” either.

I have no idea which material is Hurley’s and which is Torme’s, but I have a hunch hurley, who has been maligned by a number of TNG writers for being a hack, probably is only partly to blame for the episode’s poor execution. The basic plot involves a holographic (at least we assume holographic. No explanation is given.) representation of an old earth setting in which our heroes are trapped. It sounds a lot like Torme was trying to copy his success with the Peabody Award winning “The Big Goodbye” from the first season. The mark was missed by a country mile, either by him or by Hurley’s rewrites.

I think the story had to be doomed from the beginning. The aliens who created this fake environment for the surviving astronaut based it on a cheap dime store novel famous for being loaded with cliché. Therefore, the drama of the episode has to be full of cliché by definition. Add to that trek cliches like an entire society built around a book, characters knowing incredibly obscure knowledge, such as at what time period the American flag had 52stars, at the same time they are unfamiliar with things like elevator buttons in order to operate them, and you have a mess.

Seriously, can you tell me when the American flag had, say, 34 stars? I am a history buff and I can only guess and I do not have three hundred additional years of historical facts to dig it out from. Then again, Riker can quote Sun Tzu fro memory, so maybe he just has a knack for facts. Since he Data, and Worf were baffled momentarily by up and down buttons on an elevator, though, perhaps they are all idiot savants. It certainly makes their inherent sense of superiority over contemporary 20th-21st century people a joke.

I will confess the part that makes them look the dumbest was unintentional. When riker, Data, and word try to leave through a revolving door, they just spin through. It would have been nothing for the special effects crew to make it look like they were entering at the same time they were leaving, but no. It just look like they do not know how to use a revolving door. The scene reminds me of that Farside, cartoon with the kid pushing on the door the the school for gifted children when a sign above him says pull.

But all that is window dressing. How is the plot? Implausible, I would say. First, why would an away team enter a revolving door in the middle of a deserted planet when the ship’s scanners cannot even tell it is there? Once they are stuck, there is no discernible way out until data figures out the novel keeps playing out, presumably over and over again. So they decide to participate.

Using Data’s android skills to cheat at rolling dice, they buy the hotel like in the novel, which allows them to escape. But if the novel has played out over and over again for three centuries, has that not happen thousands upon thousands of times already? Why is it the simulation ends on this particular time? Just because there is an additional factor of new characters should not matter. If it did, surely the astronaut trapped here for years would have stumbled across some way of changing things himself. Or maybe he did. There was still no way for him to leave the planet even if he did find a way out the casino. Bah. Who cares? It is all mind bogglingly dumb.

There is nothing about “The Royale” to recommend it. The idea of aliens creating an environment for a wayward astronaut was done better by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. There is no logical reason the away should be able to escape by playing ut the novel since it has been playing out by itself for three hundred years. The holographic characters are supposed to be stereotypes like the load mouthed Texan and the dumb blond in love with a mob boss, but none of them are fun to watch. It is just bad all around.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Stefania Fernandez

Miss Universe 2009. If she wishes to defect from Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, let me be the first to volunteer to take her in.

Out of patriotic duty, of course.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Michael Jackson's Death Ruled a Homicide

I figured manslaughter charges for Dr. Conrad Murray at the worst, but I underestimated the seriousness of the events surrounding Michael Jackson’s death. He had a lethal dose of profopol in him. The Los Angeles County Coroner has ruled Jackson’s death as a homicide.

Conrad admitted to administering 50 milligrams a day to Jackson. He feared the singer was becoming addicted, but in further proof the inability of anyone to say no to the singer was his undoing. Conrad decreased the dosage, but mixed it into a nasty--and eventually lethal--cocktail.

So, what do you know? La Toya Jackson was right when she said her brother was murdered. Now we also know it was not Sarah Palin who killed Jackson.. Or was she in on the conspiracy? You never know what a devious woman like her is capable of doing…

AG Holder Intends to Prosecute CIA Interrogators

Over threats, not physical torture.

What are these threats? Just after 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was told his children would be killed if any further terrorist acts occurred in the United States. There are also claims top terrorists were threatened with mock executions, guns, and a power drill. these were all just threats.

I cannot see prosecuting the CIA for making threats, particularly to captured terrorists who would gladly kill all three hundred million men, women, and children in the United States if they had the means. Forgive me for not sympathizing.

Apparently, what we should have done is given them a hug and ask what weas a nation could do to make it all better. I suspect “convert or die” would have been the answer.

Look, this is intelligence, not the boy scouts. The Inspector General report that prompting Eric Holder’s decision has been around since 2004. The techiquesdescribed were approved by the White House, members of Congress were briefed, and the Justice Department was aware of any potential misconduct. The only prosecution has been a private contractor who beat a detainee to death. He was turned in by the CIA because his actions violated their policy. All things considered, prosecutions are going to be nearly impossible. The actions taken were legitimate.

This is all a cynical move to put the Bush Administration back in the news as a distraction from Barack Obama’s floundering as of late and as a way of appeasing the peaceniks because we are still, in theory at least, fighting a war on terrorism. I do not blame Leon Panetta for threatening to quit. He has the toughest job in Washington. Not only is he charged with defending America, but he has to contend with the rest of the administration undermining him at every point for political gain. The double irony is they will be the ones who howl the loudest if another attack takes place within our borders.

Let the CIA do their jobs.I have no complaints over what they have done so far.

The Politics of the Race Card

New York Gov. David Paterson had a frank discussion over the weekend on a liberal talk radio show. He claimed, among other things, the big reason he has been unable to pass most of his agenda is due to racism and the public gets nervous when there are too many blacks in power. He also advised Barack Obama to watch out, because he is next.

Next? With all due respect, if racism were blocking any black politician’s agenda, it would have impeded Obama’s long before it ever got to a New York governor who only got his job because the previous governor resigned over his penchant for high priced hookers. There is a slight hierarchy there, you know?

As for people fearing too many blacks in power, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed the progressive rational for Roe was to make sure we did not have too many blacks in the first place. Perhaps Paterson should start question the progressive intelligentsia’s about too many blacks period, much less how many are in power.

But here is the kicker: Obama warned Paterson to not play the race card. that is not what respected, post-racial politicians do--except when they remark at national press conferences that cop have acted stupidly without having any of the facts on hand to make such a judgment.

Or if there are hard economic times:

Obama Turns 9/11 National Day of Service into Leftist Propoganda

Barack Obama once explained the root cause of the jihadi attacks of 9/11 was a lack of empathy on the part of the attackers. Not religious fanaticism, blind hatred, or plain homicidal mania. It was a lack of cultural understanding. Nothing excusesthedeliberate murder of innocent people a lack of cultural exchange.

With that mindset, it is not hard to imagine Obama would want to turn 9/11 remembrances into a National Day of Service. Indeed, that was part of his massive expansion of community service, for which all but fourteen republican senators supported, signed into law this spring.

Surprise, surprise, apparently none of the GOP senators supporting the measure actually read the bill. The National Day of Service for 9/11 is all about ethanol, curbing carbon emissions, and leftist community organizing. In other words, Americans need to spend 9/11 atoning for all the evil which “forced’ Al Qeada to attack us. It is pure progressive guilt.

The National day Service’s goals were outlined by Obama ally “Rev.” Lennox Yearwood. year wood is president of the Hip Hop Caucus, an organization which manages community building projects in poor urban areas. But year wood is most well known for getting himself arrested. Most recently, he was hauled off by police outside the Senate hearing of Gen. David Petraeus in 2007. He insisted upon sitting in on the hearing because “when officers lie, soldiers die.”

Yearwood has gone on the record as saying he wants 9/11 to be about something positive, forward looking, and productive.

Here is my two cents worth. While I am all for private citizens volunteering in their communities, particularly without any government participation, this National day of Service is a cheap attempt to rob 9/11 of it true meaning and replace it with the alleviation of guilt over whatever cultural crimes of which the left believes Americans are guilty.

The problem with that is we are not guilty of anything. The radical jihadis used high technology in order to destroy symbols of modernity. They flew planeloads of ordinary citizens into towering skyscrapers which were a symbol of wealth and power. We do not need to be punished for having those things, no matter how much guilt obama and his ilk feel guilty about our nation’s prosperity.

I am in the camp which says those towers should have already been well on their way to being rebuilt taller than before asa celebration of the superiority of our culture and prosperity. I would rather see us spending resources to that goal rather than soul searching on why radical Islamists hate us and how we can fix the problem outside of sensing them straight to hell which I also think is a hunky dory idea.

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Contagion"

The Romulans finally show up after their return in “The Neutral Zone,” ywt are not the main villains of the episode. Instead, it is a computer virus from a long dead civilization. Weird how that turns out, no?

The Enterprise comes to the aid of the Yamato, a ship that entered the neutral zone under the assumption it had discover the ancient Iconian civilization with all its mythic ability to appear anywhere in the galaxy. The Yamato is stranded above the planet with major recurring malfunctions. The ship is destroyed right in front of the Enterprise, but not before its infected database is downloaded into the computer. The Enterprise begins suffering the same type of malfunction.

A similarly infected Romulan war bird appears, conveniently trapping a just arrived away on the planet because the shields are raised preventing a beam out. Theaway team discovers the Iconians used technology in order to open portals to different words so they could travel anywhere .in an instant. Picard decides the technology has to be destroyed before it can fall into Romoulan hands. He probably laments this is the neutral zone, so the Federation cannot claim the technology for itself, but this being trek, the instinct the captain always goes with is to blow stuff up.

Data is accidentally infected by the computer program, too. He appears to die, but actually shuts himself down to purge thevirus, then restart his program clean. This technique would also work perfectly for the Enterprise, though no one ever thought about trying it in the seven hours the ship has been deteriorating. Obviously, no one onboard has ever had to CTRl + ALT + DELETE their hard drives before. Does the blue screen of death not exist in the 24th century?

Picard blows up the portal technology, the Enterprise reboots, and for good measure, the technique is shared with the Romulans who also do not use a Microsoft operating system.

“Contagion” is a good episode. Nothing groundbreaking, but a fun adventure. I found it odd how emotionless the crew was to watch the Yamato be destroyed, particularly consider Picard and its captain were supposedly old friends. Trek typically handles death in a casual manner, but you would think watching a thousand people die right before your eyes would have more impact than just being an excuse to go to commercial. Doubly so that it is glossed over there are children on board. But the script does not dwell on that, so neither will I.

The iconian portals will make a reappearance in the fourth season of DS9 when the Jem Hadar attempt to use them to invade the Alpha Quadrant. Worf takes part in a mission to stop them and mentions the events of “Contagion.” Nifty bit of continuity there. The Iconian portals also show up in the novel crossover Gateways. The novels are not canon, however. Probably a good thing, as I believe Archer took part in that series. Very tainted, I imagine.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Heidi Montag in a Bikini

Just because.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Brad Pitt: Slam the Door on World War II Movies

I have smacked brad Pitt around over the last week for his anti-Christian (Calm down, Project Savior.) comments on Real Time and Today, so I am going to give him some kudos for finding a better target in recent days.

When asked about Valkyrie the most recent big budget Hollywood film centered around World War II, he said it was a ridiculous movie. I agree. No Scientologist midget could play the German hero who tried to assassinate Hitler. I am not saying that just because Bryan Singer, who is a confirmed hack, is remaking Excalibur against my wishes. But it does not hurt.I cannot say too much else good about Pitt, at least as far as his promotional tour for Inglorious Basterds is concerned. A little exaggerated in order to get people into theater seats is one thing, but Pitt told a German magazine Inglorious Basterds should end all world War II movies. According to him, Quentin Tarantino has broken all the symbols. There is nothing left to be said about the war on film.

It looks like Pitt is just as ignorant of historyas he is of Christianity.

There will always be something left to say about World War II. Everything you ever need to know about the best and worst of mankind was on gruesome display from 1939-1945. Since studying history has become passe in our schools, cinema may be the only way to keep awareness of the war, with all its heroism and tragedy, alive for future generations. The best example of why we should is because Pitt is so casually dismissive of its value.

Make them better, too. Without Tom Cruise.

Sounds Like a Death Panel

John McCain begrudgingly admits death panels were part of ObamaCare on ABC's This Week:
"There was a provision in the bill that talks about a board that would decide 'most effective measures' to provide health care for people, OK?"
This provision was removed immediately removed by the Senate Finance Committee once Sarah Palin publicized he idea such a panel could decide it would be better to abort her Down’s syndrome baby than let hi live with his medical condition.

If Palin was mistaken in referring to this innocuous panel as a death panel instead of, say an advisory board on selecting the most effective treatment option, answer these three questions:
1. Why was this provision never publicized?
2. Why was it removed in such a hurry?
3. Why does John McCain sound so defensive the provision ever existed?
The answers add up to a lot of nasty things being hidden in the ObamaCare bill. I am not certain what bothers me more about it. That someone was sinister enough to include the provision in the bill or our legislators are too clueless to know its implications.

There has not been a single member of Congress, Democrat or Republican, who has read the bill. I understand it is fourteen Hundred pages and counting. That is no excuse. If you are going to force a health care overhaul on the country, the least you can do is read the darn thing. It is not like the Senate and house are too busy during their recess with more important stuff.

(Via: The Other McCain.)

Godwin's Law Has Been Invoked in Theology Discussion

You know you have lost all credibility when you bring the Nazis into an argument. Oh, well. here we go again.

Project Savior still has his undies in a bundle over the question of Unitarians as Christians. I am firmly in the camp of not asking the question if you cannot handle the answer particularly when asking for an opinion, but if hewants to go on about it, I will go along with the gag:
I went on to ask him how that made me “Anti-Christian” as opposed to just Non-Christian and he just responded that he didn’t consider Unitarians Christians.
What i actually said was Unitarians deny the divinity of Christ. if a denomination denies the divinity of Christ, how is it not fair to call it anti-Christian? if someone does not get along well with people, we do not call him a nonbeliever in social harmony. we call him anti-social.

It will not surprise you to know project Saviorr considers use of proper terms bigotry:
This showed me the great logic of bigotry, basically if your not with us your against us. There doesn’t have to be any more steps involved. This is the circular logic of a Bigot, you’re not like me, therefore you’re against me, and therefore anything I do against you is a defensive move, because you are against me, because you’re not like me.
First of all, it should be "you're," not "your" in the first sentence. As much as I have been lambasted for typos and grammar errors, I would think some extra care would be shown when rebutting me.

Second, I have not done thing against Unitarians, defensive or otherwise, other than dismiss their theology as anti-Christian. you go on to ay catholics do the same to me:
He responded he doesn’t consider Unitarians Christians; fair enough, a billion Catholics don’t consider him a Christian either as he doesn’t belong to the one true religion in the church founded by Jesus Christ.
Right. Catholics do not believe I am part of the one, true Christian church, there I am--wait for it--anti-Christian.
The big difference is all the Catholics I know believe in a god that has greater judgment then men, so the final call is his. So they treat everyone, even heretics and heathens, the same as they would a Catholic on this Earth, just in case God’s final call isn’t exactly what they thought
I do not treat pagans, heretics, and heathens any different, either. But I recognize what the Bible says about them:
"Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."--Matthew 7:14

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."--John 3:3.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."-- John 3: 16
The Bible is vey clear the "final call" depends on a decision we make now. not everyone will make the correct one.

Check out project Savior's final, magnificent leap in logic:
So if you think Nazis were evil, and a Jew doesn’t share your views; that obviously means the Jew is a Nazi.
Could you say anything dumber? If I think Nazis are evil, presumably because of the Holocaust, and a Jew does not, it does not make the Jew a Nazi. it would make him anti-Jewish since he is denying the Holocaust of the Jews is evil.

Deny Christ=anti-Christian
Deny Jewish genocide is evil=anti-Jewish.

All clear?

IN THE COMMENTS: Project Savior still thinks there is some flesh left on the dead horse he is beating:
To sum up the difference in a way consistent with your website. Angelina Jolie does not stop by for a three-way with me and my wife every Thursday. That doesn't mean she is hates me and my wife, she just nothings us.
"Nothings us," huh?

So all it would take for Angelina Jolie to have sex with you and your wife is for her to believe in you? I suspect she would be anti-threesome whether she knew you existed or not out of general principle.

I do not know why you continue to beat this dead horse. If you do not believe in an idea or concept or belief, you are in opposition to it. You may not be active in your opposition, it may not make you evil or bigoted, but you are anti- by definition.

Just live with it.

Blogroll Spotlight VIII

Here is the weekly round up of my ten favorite posts from my blogroll. As always, they are not ranked, but alphabetical by blog name.

The Audacity of Logic ponders the ironies of ObamaCare.

The Big Feed bBlog, with apologies to Don Mclean, presents "American Lie."

The Camp of the Saints notes similarities in terms used by Barack Obama and Chairman Mao Tse-Tung.

The Daley Gator tells us threestates got 60% of the bailout money.

Interesting News Items, my favorite humor blog, notes terrorists have booked Scotland for their next convention.

Left Coast Rebel puts Obama's $ 9 trillion deficit in perspective.

MAinfo has a Marine schooling a Congressman about honoring his committment.

No Sheeples Here! has a fractured Fairy Tale I thought all Obama's promises were fairy tales?

Right-Wing Extreme has a graph analyzing the mind of a socialist.

The Troglopundit analyzes MSNBC's racism.

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"The Dauphin"

Wesley falls in love with a pretty girl who turns out to be a slobbering monster. He is lucky. Usually, you have to marry a woman before you find out she is actually a vicious creature aiming to rip your throat out if the toilet seat is left up. If only Wesley could have turned into a monster, too. Then they not only could have wound up happy together, but befriended a donkey that sounds a lot like Eddie Murphy.

The Enterprise is escorting Salia, an exiled leader, and her guardian, Anya, back to her war torn home planet Her return is supposed to bring a lasting peace, but when ahe spots Wesley, that plan goes out the window. He is smitten with her, too, like I imagine he would be anything female who can look past his Steve Urkel qualities.

Anya looks to be little more than a nanny figure to Salia, fretting over how unsafe the ship is. After Pulaski refuses to kill a sick patient in order to protect Salia fro illness, she reveals herself to be the creature pictured above. Oh, boy. Yet another chance Pulaski may die a horrible, bloody death. No such thing, though. Darn. Worf battles Anya into a stalemate.

Meanwhile, Wesley, after bad sex advice from Riker and Worf, starts macking on Salia. To the surprise of everyone in the audience, she wants to stay on the Enterprise With him. They smooch.

While Wesley presumably changes his underwear, Anya refuses to allow the budding romance. Picard forbids Wesley to see Salia, too. But she sneaks out to see him in his room. Anya finds her there. Salia finally turns into a monster, too, and they battle each other. Over Wesley.

Wesley is hurt over the deception or that he has to wait three more seasons for Ashley Judd to show up. I am not certain exactly which. Salia and Anya leave while wesley goes back to his science projects. Is that not just the way? He finally finds a girl who thinks he is great and she turns out to be Gossamer from Loony Tunes.There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this episode, but there is not much to recommend it, either. Even the one of two Wesley fans out there have to be disappointed with how his character is treated here. Heck, I cannot stand him and I still felt sympathy.

Rating: ** (out of 5)