Thursday, November 13, 2008

In the Ghetto

This was going on in my neighborhood today. What was going on in yours?

Who You Calling Sissy, Pretty Boy?

I saw this vid on Andrew Sullivan's blog. It wasn't really worth it, but there was one great moment where Dan Savage says to Tony Perkins, "You stripped me of my rights and I'm interrupting you. Who's really suffering here?"
That made me laugh.

P.J. O'Rourke Reluctantly Admits that Republicans Suck

P.J. O'Rourke goes deep in the Weekly Standard. It's a long piece, but I highly recommend it to anyone who cares about the conservative movement. (And I kinda do, not because I'm a follower, but because I think the world needs vibrant, principled conservatives. It's a yin and yang thing, or to be brute about it, a Darwinian competition thing, hopefully resulting in the survival of the fittest philosophy.)

The whole thing packs a punch, but I'm going to quote it liberally.

On abortion:
If the citizenry insists that abortion remain legal--and, in a passive and conflicted way, the citizenry seems to be doing so--then give the issue a rest. Meanwhile we can, with the public's blessing, refuse to spend taxpayers' money on killing, circumscribe the timing and method of taking a human life, make sure parental consent is obtained when underage girls are involved, and tar and feather teenage boys and run them out of town on a rail. The law cannot be made identical with morality. Scan the list of the Ten Commandments and see how many could be enforced even by Rudy Giuliani.

On gay marriage:
But are we men and women of principle? And I don't mean in the matter of tricky and private concerns like gay marriage. Civil marriage is an issue of contract law. A constitutional amendment against gay marriage? I don't get it. How about a constitutional amendment against first marriages? Now we're talking.

On immigration:
Our attitude toward immigration has been repulsive. Are we not pro-life? Are not immigrants alive? Unfortunately, no, a lot of them aren't after attempting to cross our borders. Conservative immigration policies are as stupid as conservative attitudes are gross. Fence the border and give a huge boost to the Mexican ladder industry. Put the National Guard on the Rio Grande and know that U.S. troops are standing between you and yard care. George W. Bush, at his most beneficent, said if illegal immigrants wanted citizenship they would have to do three things: Pay taxes, learn English, and work in a meaningful job. Bush doesn't meet two out of three of those qualifications.

On Republican foreign policy:
Since the early 1980s I've been present at the conception (to use the polite term) of many of our foreign policy initiatives. Iran-contra was about as smart as using the U.S. Postal Service to get weapons to anti-Communists. And I notice Danny Ortega is back in power anyway. I had a look into the eyes of the future rulers of Afghanistan at a sura in Peshawar as the Soviets were withdrawing from Kabul. I would rather have had a beer with Leonid Brezhnev.

Fall of the Berlin wall? Being there was fun. Nations that flaked off of the Soviet Union in southeastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus? Being there was not so fun.

The aftermath of the Gulf war still makes me sick. Fine to save the fat, greedy Kuwaitis and the arrogant, grasping house of Saud, but to hell with the Shiites and Kurds of Iraq until they get some oil.

Then, half a generation later, when we returned with our armies, we expected to be greeted as liberators. And, damn it, we were. I was in Baghdad in April 2003. People were glad to see us, until they noticed that we'd forgotten to bring along any personnel or provisions to feed or doctor the survivors of shock and awe or to get their electricity and water running again. After that they got huffy and began stuffing dynamite down their pants before consulting with the occupying forces.

Is there a moral dimension to foreign policy in our political philosophy? Or do we just exist to help the world's rich people make and keep their money? (And a fine job we've been doing of that lately.)

This is stuff you might hear me, a Bush-hating Obama-loving liberal, say. And this is the stuff that makes me wonder sometimes how truly liberal I am. Could it be that I'm really "conservative" and the "conservative movement" is not?? Is that even possible?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Short-Handed Again!

Last night we were a man down...again! It wasn't so bad, considering it was Tuesday, and despite the banker's holiday, Tuesdays aren't big movie-going nights, but it's the pattern that's disturbing.

Oh well.

Two can play at that game. I'm taking Friday and Saturday off, and you know what I'm doing? Going to Chaco Canyon.

For reals this time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm an Idiot

I was fooled. Fooled, I tell you!

I bought Hellboy II on DVD tonight and I got the super-special collector's gift set, the one that comes with the super-special shiny Hellboy belt buckle. (Yes, in case you were wondering, I'm still a nerd.)

Only I get home and liberate my new movie from the packaging...only to discover I got the wrong one.

Oh, it's Hellboy II alright. But it's the "full-screen" edition and it doesn't have the second disc of super-nerdy extras. (I'm a sucker for the extras, ladies and gentleman.)

Did I mention it was "full-screen?" "Full screen" movies are a crime against cinema!

At least the belt buckle is cool.

And you know what else is good? Honeycrisp apples. Love em!

The Fall

Here's a movie you should see. The Fall by Tarsem Singh.

The set-up: A paralyzed stuntman makes up a story for a little girl to trick her into stealing enough morphine for him to kill himself. Despite Tarsem's insistence on the commentary track that this framing device is the most interesting aspect of the film, the sections in the hospital are depressing, slow, and upstaged by the mind-bending visuals of the fantasy sequences, all of which were filmed "on location" in some of the most interesting places in the world.

Just a few things that show up in the movie: The Taj Mahal (the real one), the Hagia Sophia (Tarsem got permission to film inside for 15 minutes), the jungles of Bali, the blue city of India (Jodhpur), the desert peaks of the Himalayas, genuine Roman ruins, and the Jantar Mantar observatory in India.

Here they are in the Himalayas:

Check out this (apparently real) well in India that would give M.C. Escher fits of artistic joy.

These sequences are visually breathtaking and fun, kind of like the The Princess Bride seen through the eye of an absurdist. It's a pity, though, that the end result (story-wise) is so unsatisfying.

Imagery like this usually only shows up in dreams.