Friday, May 30, 2008

Susan Sarandon Moving to Europe, We Hope

This is just stupid, Susan Sarandon says she will abandon the USA if jackbooted thug John McCain is elected president:
“If McCain gets in, it’s going to be very, very dangerous,” she says. “It’s a critical time, but I have faith in the American people. If they prove me wrong, I’ll be checking out a move to Italy. Maybe Canada, I don’t know. We’re at an abyss.”

Please. Please wake the hell up or at least keep your promise and take your wiener husband with you. What does it say about her politics when she finds John McCain, arguably center-left, so abhorrent? I was ambivalent about voting for McCain, but if Sarandon can get hubby, Sean Penn and Keith Olbermann to accompany her I may develop some enthusiasm.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

loudQUIETloud A Film About The Pixies

Film makers, Pixie fans, Steven Cantor and Matthew Galkin accompanied the Pixies on their triumphant 2004 reunion tour. Using a fly on the wall perspective they show the Pixies off stage in all their dysfunctional, clay footed glory and on stage still the alt rock gods I fell in love with back in 1987.
The Pixies formed in 1986 and broke up in 1992, for reasons never fully explained. What is made clear in this film is the Pixies don’t sit around back stage and discuss their feelings much or anything else for that matter. As a group they seem entirely un-cohesive and uncommunicative. But somehow they’re still able to sync on stage and remain the coolest rock band still in existence. How is it possible for very flawed, even prosaic people to be so effing cool?
In 2004 they reunited to tour because, for starters, they needed the money. This shocks me. In case you had any doubts the world is entirely unfair, ponder the fact that Brittany Spears is worth over a hundred million dollars and Pixies drummer David Lovering has had to sleep on friends' couches. This injustice is right up there with P.K. Dick having to eat horse meat hamburger or Vincent Van Gogh selling one painting, to his brother Theo, while he was alive.
Another thing that I found kind of surprising is that the Pixies, particularly bassist Kim Deal, fresh out of rehab and sober for the first time in her adult life, seems genuinely surprised by the overwhelming enthusiasm of Pixie fans.
All in all a good flick and an absolute must see for Pixies fans.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gender Neutral West Point

Priorities, some of them are important, others less so:
The head of the U.S. Military Academy thinks it's time to replace the ''men'' and ''sons'' in West Point's two most beloved songs with more gender-neutral lyrics.
Lt. Gen. Franklin ''Buster'' Hagenbeck, superintendent of the nation's oldest military academy, told a congressional oversight committee Wednesday that with more than 3,000 women graduating from West Point since 1976, the change is long overdue.

I'm glad everything else is perfect.

Little Stinker

Movie Reviews: Indiana Jones IV and Iron Man

This weekend we carted up the kids, packed a picnic dinner a went to the drive in movies to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Iron Man. Quick review for those of you with attention spans spans developed since 1980, they're both pretty decent - go see them.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the third best Indiana Jones movie, behind the sublime Lost Ark and the decent Last Crusade, still way better than the abominable Temple of Doom.
Iron Man was a bit of a surprise to me in that I don't normally like or go out of way to see big screen comic book adaptations. There is probably some political hay to be made by looking at how this movie portrays the American industrial military complex, but considering it was made in Hollywood, I imagine we should be thankful Iron Man isn't a recycled aluminium, transgendered vegan who seeks to engage in multilateral dialogues and increased CAFE standards. No, even after Iron Man realizes weapons cause boo-boos, he still manages to kick ass and leave the name taking to someone who gives a shit.
Robert Downey, Jr. really is a fine actor in the right part and this roll is perfect for him. A bald headed Jeff Bridges and a skinny Gwyneth Paltrow are fine as well. Everything you ever wanted in a big budget Hollywood film, admirably executed.

What is CTF?

Doctors show us once again there is nothing so sad that cant be made fun of.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Michel Fournier's 130,000 Foot Parachute Jump

Most extreme activities are pretty lame, bungee jumping, street luge, paper clip chaining etc.. Jumping from 130,000 feet is quite another story.

He intends to climb into the pressurized gondola of the 650-foot balloon, which resembles a giant jellyfish, and make a two-hour journey to 130,000 feet. At that altitude, almost 25 miles up, Fournier will see both the blackness of space and the curvature of the earth. He will experience weightlessness.
Then he plans to step out of the capsule, wearing only a special space suit and a
parachute, and plunge down in a mere 15 minutes. If successful, Fournier will fall longer, farther and faster than anyone in history. Along the way, he can accomplish other firsts, by breaking the sound barrier and records that have stood for nearly 50 years.

UPDATE: Track his progress here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

M. Night Shyamalan and The Pixies?

Pretty cool, as long as it's better than oh so very lame Lady In The Water.

The World's Hardest-Working Countries

Forbes has a story about the world's hardest working countries. Supposedly, Koreans work ungodly hours, followed closely by the Greeks. I've never been to Korea, but I have been to Greece and all I can say from my limited experience there is "horse shit". Greeks may work a ton of hours, but I'll be damned if they work hard. Case in point; we were boarding a ferry in the Cyclades and there was a pile of luggage about the size of Ford Explorer sitting on the ramp. Six or seven uniformed ferry crew members stood around the pile with their hats in their hands, smoking, pointing to the pile and conversing as to the nature of the pile's existence and it's reluctance to move itself up the ramp. For at least thirty minutes the ferry and hundreds of passengers watched and waited as this kabuki show went on and on. Finally a senior guy came out and said, I assume being a barbarian, "Hey malakes, if each of you grab two bags and make two trips up the ramp so we can get the hell out of here." They did and we left.
Flash forward a month later arriving back in the USA at the zoo known as JFK international airport where gruff, young, primarily African American baggage smashers moved about with aplomb and efficiency. They didn't get to wear nifty naval uniforms or smoke or stand about conversing, but they sure as hell got their job done. It's weird, standing there with a bunch of foreigners watching these young American kids TCB, I was proud of them. There's nothing like travel to let you see your own country with new eyes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

NY Times: "Iraqi Troops Take Charge of Sadr City in Swift Push"

BAGHDAD — Iraqi troops pushed deep into Sadr City on Tuesday as the Iraqi government sought to establish control over the district, a densely populated Shiite enclave in the Iraqi capital.

The long-awaited military operation, which took place without the involvement of American ground forces, was the first determined effort by the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to assert control over the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood, which has been a bastion of support for Moktada al-Sadr, the rebel cleric.

The Belmont Club has more:
"It's getting harder and harder to maintain the fiction that the Surge has succeeded only because Moqtada al-Sadr has magnanimously allowed it to flourish..."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Arguing With Liberals

Some men are damned because they have hearts of stone, neither fire nor water has any effect on them. So it is with liberals and logic. From time to time I'll engage a liberal in conversation which is like translating Finnegan's Wake into Goldfish - there's no point to it.
There's this annoying accountant I know who defends Michael Moore's films as 100% factual and maintains that John McCain said we'd be in Iraq for 100 years. Pointing out that even a cursory fact check of Moore's films would show a level of prevarication not seen since Bill Clinton last got caught with strange, i.e. any, lipstick on his boxers or that in fact, John McCain never said we'd be in Iraq for 100 years falls on willfully deaf ears. Why bother? Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but liberals want there own facts.
Another example, an attorney friend and I were discussing the election and a pleasant enough woman overhearing us asked if we supported Obama, my friend said no, I said hell no and she looked as if we bit off a chunk of a Baby Ruth floating in the pool or a chicken's head. "Aren't you concerned about global warming? It's the most pressing issue facing the world today". My friend, "No". Me, "Hell no it has nothing to do with us." She said, "I can't believe you think that" and walked away.
Then there's my favorite:
What should we do about Iraq?
Liberal: Pull out immediately.
Isn't that irresponsible?
Liberal: We shouldn't have been there to begin with.
I disagree, but let's assume you're right, what now?
Liberal: Bush lied, people died, we need our troops home immediately, do you know we spend $35 billion a day there? That money could be used to fight global warming or for the AIDS quilt.
I thought the AIDS quilt caused global warming.
Liberal: I can't believe you think that.
I don't, not really, what about the Middle East? If we leave, won't Iraq become a resource rich failed state - a perfect breeding ground for groups like Al Queda to stage attacks on the US, our allies and interests?
Liberal: There's no Al Queda in Iraq.
Jesus, who says that?
Liberal: Keith Olbermann.
You must be shitting me. Al Queda cells have been uncovered in nearly every country in the Middle East and Europe, why not Iraq?
Liberal: Saddam Hussein wasn't religious and Al Queda is. There's no way two groups so opposed could agree on anything.
Like Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Third Reich could never agree on anything, such as dividing up Poland, Romania, Finland and the Baltic States?
Liberal: The Soviet Union fought the Nazis in the Great Patriotic War, they were enemies stupid.
Yeah I know, I saw the movie, but prior to the war they signed a non-aggression pact that Hitler later violated.
Liberal: Are you sure? I never heard of that.
I'm afraid so. It's called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. Your people at the time were outraged that the USSR would sully themselves by dealing with Hitler. As if one were worse than the other.
Liberal: What do you mean 'my people"?
Useful idiots on the left.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lester is More

Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, who was diagnosed with lymphoma a little over two years ago, pitched a no-hitter at Fenway last night.

Lester received a key assist from center-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Without Ellsbury's play in the fourth inning, there would have been no no-hitter.

It is very good to be a BoSox fan these days.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New Hartford Fishing Derby, May 24

This is the second year for New Hartford's Fishing Derby.

Last year was a lot of fun with a very good turnout. They stocked the Farmington River the evening before. The next morning kids (and their fathers) had some really impressive catches.

This year we'll be able to stock about six times as many fish as last year. We're looking to build on last year's success and create the kind of event anglers won't want to miss.

For the first 100 who pre-register, the kids get a free fishing pole. Call 379-1952 to pre-register. Fishing begins at 7 AM.

Click on the image for more info!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Movie Review: Evan Almighty

We have kids, so I'm always looking for family films that we can watch as a family after my youngest child kept repeating "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?" after our last Scorsese film festival, which in hindsight may have been ill-advised. So anyway, if a movie looks like it might be unobjectionable and has some decent actors in it, we give it a shot. Since Morgan Freeman, John Goodman and Steve Carell were in Evan Almighty I ignored the poor reviews and let her rip. Big mistake. Even though I didn't pay a dime extra to see this crap fest, I want to demand my money and or time back from somebody, anybody. Unfunny - desperately so, cliched, preachy, predictable, lame and unfunny. I mention unfunny twice because there's a sequence where the usually droll Steve Carell is forced due to a lack of anything funny in the script to bang himself up in an vain attempt at humor, the result is deader than my sense of propriety.
One of my pet peeves in movies is the "dad works too much" meme. Not only is it cheap and easy and done to death, it's effing stupid. I'd much rather hang out with my family than work, but guess what? Groceries aren't free and neither are shitty movies unfortunately. It's particularly galling to be preached at by such a vacuous film. Miss it, even if it means sitting in the lav counting the paper towels for two hours on a cross country flight.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Prius Owner

As I walked home from the office early this morning, I saw a silver Prius backing out of a Shell Station in a very odd fashion onto Trout Brook Drive. It continued across all four lanes, up over the curb, comming to rest on top of a shrub. Apparently no one was inside. It started to roll a little bit back onto the road, so I ran into the gas station and asked a blonde 30 something if she was driving a "Pry-us", she said "I have a 'Pre-us'", I said "Well that's great Gee-a, do they come with parking brakes, because yours has just rolled down the hill all the way across Trout Brook Drive". She said, "My name is pronounced 'Jy-ya'". True story.