Cronenberg hits this out of the park, crafting a film for adults rather than the lowest common denominator.
The plot itself is surprisingly simplistic, but Cronenberg makes sure that he layers on levels of meaning to every scene so that we never focus just on the straight ahead direction the story is taking.
Wielding a languid camera that gradually reveals information rather than using the flashy slam cuts or MTV style editing that is the current flavour, DC gives the film a pace that is both natural and riveting. It also has the effect of making those scenes of violence that do occur that much more shocking for their realism.
His insistence on lingering afterwards to show the results of violence, and his narrative structure that links all the violence together is the antithesis of current film making where violence is used as a end to itself.
Similarily, I am hard pressed to recall a film where the sex between the lead characters was as naturalistic and real as it is in this movie. It's also shocking to recognize that this is one of the first films I can recall where the sex between a married couple carries the weight of the film as much as it does here.
In truth, Cronenberg has crafted a film about violence, and then hidden inisde of it an even better film about trust and marriage. In that sense, this movie is far more complicated than its surface plot ever lets on, and it isn't until the final scene that we get to where Cronenberg is REALLY heading.
This kind of movie making has been absent from Hollywood since the departure of Stanley Kubrick.
Oscar nominations are likely. Will he win? Probably not. Constant Gardener has already cornered the market on the 'sweep and scope' film that Oscar prefers to reward, but DC will likely earn himself some credit for doing more than just creeping audiences out.
If this is his 'sell-out' film as he suggests, I say he earned every penny it brings in, and I hope he sells out even more.
"Amniote penises have had a complex history. They have evolved independently multiple times, and perhaps most troubling to the male ego, they have been secondarily lost at least a few times (AR: emphasis mine). And every time they have evolved, they converge on a remarkably similar morphological solution."
"Regarding the way God works in the world, there are four possibilities:
1. There is no God and everything that happens is the result of the random collision of molecules. (AR: Bingo!)
2. There is a God, but he’s an absentee landlord. He arranged the world, including nature, as a self-regulating mechanism, then sat back and allowed it to function on its own.
AR: the non-interventionist God of Einstein and Spinoza - it was because of this view that Spinoza's religious contemporaries accused him of agnosticism.
3. There is a God and he controls everything, down to the minutest detail. If a certain leaf falls from a particular tree, it’s because he wants that leaf to fall from that tree. (Regarding the actions of humans, this would seem to negate the concept of free will.)
AR: All major conceptions of God run into the problems of Free Will and determinism. This version only more obviously so than the others, it also goes without saying that God would be morally responsible for everything from the Holocaust to Sept 11 - as no human moral agency is possible if God is ultimately responsible for everything.
4. There is a God who usually allows nature, or individuals, to follow their own course or path. But sometimes he intervenes to create a specific outcome, or to fire a warning shot across the bow of an errant people. When this happens, we call the result a miracle (thereby recognizing that it is supernatural) – as when He parted the Red Sea for the Children of Israel, or when the American Revolution succeeded, against impossible odds.
AR: In truth, this is by far the most difficult position to maintain. That She interferes with the world periodically to choose sides, rescue puppies, damn the wicked with storms, etc., is a fantastic claim. It requires; proof of God's existence, proof of Her meddling with the world not explainable by natural forces (it wouldn't hurt to get an explanation for exactly 'how' God interferes with the worlds events, but I don't see that forthcoming) and lastly, proof of Her moral choice in acting the way She is claimed to have.
Of these theories, the fourth seems the most plausible.
AR: Say what?
And so, it is not unreasonable to inquire: With the devastation wrought on New Orleans (and surrounding areas) was God trying to tell us something?
AR: Applying what I just said above;
1. No evidence for God is present in a hurricane. Hurricanes are a natural phenomenon and science has a strong understanding of how and why they form, and what forces make them occasionally very deadly.
2. No evidence exists that God interfered in any way with this particular hurricane (Katrina). It did not suddenly speak with a voice to the residents of NO, nor did it vanish suddenly in a puff of flame, or otherwise violate the natural laws we know to govern storms. It was just a big hurricane - exactly the kind that scientists, meteorlogists and New Orleans residents have been predicting would hit them for many years.
3. Even if we assumed that God does exist, and that She was involved in hurling a hurricane at the Gulf Coast- it is not at all clear that there was a moral purpose in doing so. But even assuming that New Orleans was God's target, why would She also wipe out Biloxi Mississippi? Why not wipe out, say, the forces resisting the US occupation of Iraq? Wouldn't that clearly and unambiguously put God on our side?
No, the fact is that bad weather killed New Orleans, and the people responsible for managing both the disaster relief and the disaster prevention were cronies on the take - and allowed it to happen through their malfeasance.
That said, is anyone surprised the religious right seeks to blame gays, hedonists, and the godless for the failings of the GOP?
I know I'm not.
- ESPN columnist John Buccigross
The common law process is based on the notion of precedent. The law in Vancouver is the same as the law in Victoria even though a different judge is sitting. Precedent can be binding but does not need to be so. The decisions of the SCC (Supreme Court of Canada) are binding on all lower courts; the decisions of the BCCA (British Columbia Court of Appeal) are binding on the lower courts in B.C. Courts of concurrent jurisdiction can not "bind" each other but there is considerable deference to what a brother or sister judge has previously ruled on a similar point of law. Thus there is precedent in the Victoria decision on X which the Vancouver court will take into consideration and is, usually, loath to decide differently. There are situations where, particularly with a novel or controversial issue, the views of outside jurisdictions are sought. So the decision of an Ontario court might be presented to a judge in B.C. not as a binding precedent, which it is not, but as a pursuasive one. This is the crux of the debate that is occuring in the U.S.
Our own SCC is now often cited by foreign courts because we have a familiar common law system based on not only the British model but also shaped, increasingly, by our rather American notion of Constitutional supremacy embodied in the Charter. South Africa's new Constitution is, in many respects, a copy of ours. The idea of seeking pursuasive precident from other learned courts is increasingly an issue because of the newfound availability of these decisions. Their value is still only pursuasive but as foreign courts are more likely to be pusing the envelope on certain issues than American courts there is often more fodder overseas than in the lower 48.
The real problem for the U.S. Supreme Court is that it is increasingly being made irrelevant. While the U.S. is the world's most powerful nation, it is increasingly less its most progressive or dynamic. The U.S.S.C. really doesn't say much that is interesting anymore. Only the most vile, anti-democratic states would seek to follow the American example on civil liberties, abortion or the death penalty. Our own court and the European Court of Human Rights are the big two on those issues. Aboriginal peoples look to our courts or those in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa for guidance.
These are some of my thoughts.
Sadly, both texts appear to be thinly veiled sonservative screeds against porn - but the debate by the three women of the book club (Laura Kipnis, Wendy Shalit and Meghan O'Rourke) was far more interesting than either text appears to be.
"Both paint a depressingly disconnected world, like Sartre's No Exit for the porn age: Women want intimacy with men, men want fantasy sex with porn stars, and the porn stars presumably just want a paycheck. No one's getting much pleasure. It's all alienated, compulsive masturbation, cartoonish artificial breasts, and incessant pop-up ads." - Kipnis
"Here are a few of the many bad things Paul blames on porn: failing relationships, men's flight from intimacy, men judging women by harsh appearance standards, men liking large breasts, female body-image issues, general female insecurity, lack of sexual foreplay, male impotence, men demanding more oral sex, infrequent sex among couples—just about everything but acne. (Yes, a single explanation for every social ill is very convenient.) - Kipnis
"True, there have always been men who objectified women, but society also encouraged them to grow up at some point. But today, even grown women are taking their cues from the most immature males. Under pressure to compete at being "hot," young girls are making objects of themselves. Don't you find this a teensy bit depressing? I certainly do. Levy asks, essentially, isn't there a way for women to be sexual without having to be publicly sexual? " - Shalit
"Reading 'Pornified', I sometimes thought the women were simply allowing an unrealistic dream of imaginative fidelity to shape their response to their partners. At other times, I wanted to get myself to a nunnery, so crazily unappealing—and relentlessly objectifying—did these guys seem, with their anomic affection for digital bodies and their disgust with live girls." - O'Rourke
"But what about the milder cases: Are men who look at porn on a slippery slope to permanent alienation, as Paul worries? Does pornography really shape your expectations of what you want from the person you're sleeping with, and if so, does it distance you fundamentally from that person? It seems to me those questions aren't necessarily the same. Paul, I think, assumes they are. I'm not suggesting that porn opens our hearts and minds. I'm merely questioning the conviction that pornography is inherently degrading. Likewise, what if women who flash their tits on Girls Gone Wild are enjoying themselves—if not all of them, then a select few? What then?" - O'Rourke
See what I mean? Interesting, thoughtful and salient commentary from three women on porn.
As to my own thoughts, let me say this; until Playboy came along most guys had to make do with the stimulation of a bare ankle flashed suggestively at church, or the Sears catalogue spread on brassieres.
In economic terms, this describes a supply problem, not an absence of demand. They enjoyed the ankle or the Sears catalogue because that was all they could get.
After Heffner, porn was defiantly mainstream.
All the internet has done since Heff blew the doors open in the 60's-70's is democratize the imagery available. Are you into stout Phlillipino girls? Big butts? Whip cream lubricated lesbian orgies? Burly motorcycle cops? Women in high heels smoking cigars? Tattooed punks? Puffy nipples? Hairy legs? Amputees?
Somewhere there is a porn website just for you. Which is another way of saying, that the supply now meets the demand.
Is porn destructive to relationships? Not in and of itself it isn't (though I am reminded of a friend whose ex found his porn stash and went through it all with a magic marker blacking out the naughty bits - my advice to him was an unequivocal 'Dump Her Now').
Addiction of any kind is destructive to relationships, porn no more (and likely less so) than many other problems we can addict ourselves to (like say; gambling, smoking, scrap-booking or cocaine).
My advice? Watch it together. Find porn that works for both parties. Divine your desires. Share them. Celebrate them.
The alternative is some form of self denial or self censorship. And as Freud clearly showed us, sublimation and repression of our desires will only make that slim and dashing ankle at church more dangerous - not less.
"It's impossible to look over a list of the movies that well-meaning Hollywood emissaries have pushed on him over the last 20 years - "Witness," "The Truman Show," "Top Gun," (AR: Don't forget he was once attached to "HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy") "Flashdance," etc. - and not amuse yourself by imagining how some of the seminal pop cinema of the last 20 years might have been different had Cronenberg ever said yes.
"'Flashdance' was the real anomaly," he says. "But I don't really think of anything as inappropriate. What's boring, what's depressing, is if they only send you horror films. Or, in fact, they think you'll like something, and it turns out to be, let's say, 'Constantine' - devil stuff, demon stuff. I don't do demons. I'm an atheist, and so I have a philosophical problem with demonology and supporting the mythology of Satan, which involves God and heaven and hell and all that stuff. I'm not just a nonbeliever, I'm an antibeliever - I think it's a destructive philosophy. But the people who send this material out, all they know is that you've done some stuff that they think is supernatural, which is actually not something I do either. I was asked to do 'Dark Water,' and it was a nice script, but the reason I didn't want to do it was the ghost thing. The movie posits that ghosts do exist. That suggests that there is some kind of afterlife. I'm philosophically opposed to that view. On the other hand, I can say, for example, that I am haunted by my parents. And I can hear their voices in my head. To explore that kind of haunting - that I can do. That's interesting to me."
I have my tix to see the Vancouver premier of 'A History of Violence' this Thursday!
In true Bob fashion, the Shadowmen GM saw it last night at the Toronto Film Festival, beating me to the punch by three full days.
"... the new plan is "a significant advance over Apollo," he added, describing it as "Apollo on steroids." Among other differences, the new lander is larger, can put twice as many people on the moon, leave them there potentially for months instead of days, land them anywhere on the lunar surface instead of just at the equatorial region and leave the orbiting spacecraft without a crew onboard."
My only question is will they put this stupid initiative go away if we just agree to put him on the Supreme Court?
"I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing.
"We must not need any more resources for espionage."
Among friends and trusted colleagues, an experienced national security analyst said, "it's a running joke for us."
A few of the printable samples:
"Things I Don't Want On My Résumé, Volume Four."
"I already gave at home."
"Honestly, most of the guys would have to recuse themselves."
I do wonder though if the Breyer/Stevens quotes are taken in their full context. It does seem uncommonly sloppy to justify an American legal decision on the death penalty relying soley on nternational grounds.
Perhaps we can get the Highlanders GM to comment?
It’s tempting to conclude that there is a genetic disposition in the human animal to this kind of behaviour. That primitive violence, like original sin, lies just beneath the surface of society, kept in check only by the forces of law and order. The 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes thought that, left to its own devices, humanity would spontaneously ignite into a war of all against all and needed a Leviathan – an almighty state – to keep these irrational and destructive passions in check.
However, before we condemn our genes, we should interrogate another suspect. In Northern Ireland and Iraq, there is one obvious organising factor: religion. It is religious conviction that injects the passion into politics.
Religious leaders always insist that they are committed to peace, love and living in harmony, yet their followers seem to be fatally attracted to war, hate and internecine strife. In Belfast, it’s the hatred of one group of Christians for another group of Christians. Protestant versus Catholic. In Baghdad it’s one group of Muslims loathing another group of Muslims. Sunni versus Shia.
What is it about faith that true believers invariably fall out with each other? Give them a prayer book, and in no time they’re reaching for automatic weapons. Why can’t they just live together, for Heaven’s sake if not Earth’s?"
AR: I think he has it mostly right in the first sentence;
The pledge issue not only couldn't come at a worse time (since it will be a distraction from the criminal conduct of the Bushies), it couldn't happen to a worse person - Gonzales. In one fell swoop he can claim he is fighting for the conservative cause of god-country-liberty and pacify the religious rights objections to him as not being conservative enough for SCOTUS. This issue is tailor made to put him on the Court, presuming the Dems continue to roll over and scratch their tummies as they have so far for Roberts.
Tell me again why stem cell research is so controversial?
The beaming not-famous non-starlet in the picture is 'Tess Smith' photographed on the red-carpet at the Emmys.
No, I don't have a clue who she is either. I just liked the dress.
Ok, more than a lot.
It's a cross between 'Jennifer Lopez at the Oscars' and 'I'm ready for my double penetration' - and who can't get behind that?
Well, I'm sorry, but it doesn't.
And whenever I hear someone blame a bombing in Baghdad or a levee breaking in New Orleans on the forces of evil, it makes me so mad I just want to grab my pitchfork and stick it right through my cloven hoof!
Now, Americans have always loved devil movies: "The Exorcist," "The Omen," "Rosemary's Baby," "The Devil's Advocate." The list goes on forever because Americans love the devil. Why? Because he's simple and he provides a simple answer. He did it.
But evil is not a demon with a tail and horns. That's a Jew. And evil - evil isn't some spectral goblin with red eyes and the voice of Anthony Hopkins. That's Anthony Hopkins.
Is George Bush purely evil? Of course not. And that's what's so evil about him. He doesn't twirl a mustache and smirk and cackle. Well, he doesn't twirl a mustache. He's like the Peanuts character Pigpen. Wherever he goes, he stirs up such a humongous mess it can only be cleaned up by Halliburton.
But he is not pure evil. Because evil is a chain. Did any one person doom New Orleans? No, it's a chain. People vote for a corrupt leader; a corrupt leader puts unqualified cronies in high places, and when those cronies fuck up, evil gets done. The devil didn't fly up from hell and knock a hole in that levee. The levee just didn't get built because the money for it went to rich people's tax cuts and pork projects and corporate welfare.
Evil isn't "Salem's Lot." It's Trent Lott.
This week, an ailing American bald eagle was found to be dying from mercury poisoning. Republicans immediately tried to blame it on the eagle's lifestyle choices. But it's worth noting that also this week, the White House threatened to veto limits on mercury pollution. Now, pure evil would be if George Bush sat around the White House saying, "Let's poison eagles!" And even I don't believe George Bush would do that.
Cheney would do that.
And even he is not pure evil. Dick Cheney doesn't hate poor children and caribou. They're just in the way.
Bottom line: some people think Satan is real and some people think global warming is real.
If you think stopping gays from doing it is more important than the ice caps melting, the boogeyman is YOU."
The article goes a long way towards explaining the curious factions that dominate the German political scene.
"At the moment no party has an overall majority in the new parliament – with the CDU (Christian Democrats) on 225 seats, the SPD (Social Democrats) on 222, the FDP (Free Democrats) on 61, the Left party on 54, and the Greens on 51. The only way for either Merkel or Schröder to govern is at the head of a coalition. The problem is: which coalition? The FDP’s Guido Westerwelle has ruled out doing a deal with Mr Schröder; Mr Schröder has ruled out forming a ‘grand coalition’ with the CDU under Mrs Merkel; and everybody has ruled out doing a deal with the new Left Party.
The only coalition that seems possible is the ‘Jamaican’ coalition between the CDU, FDP and the Greens (so called because the parties' black, yellow and green colours resemble the Jamaican flag). Before the election nobody had given this option much thought. This morning, though, the CDU will almost certainly be making overtures to Joschka Fischer – Germany’s ex-street fighting foreign minister. He now appears to have the role of kingmaker."
So it's either the 'Jamaican coalition' with the Greens somehow working hand in hand with the conservative Christian Democrats, or some form of a minority government.
Now THAT is thinking big.
In a year you could turn the world's drug trade on it's ear, end vast areas of illegal narco-crime permanently, and provide addiction help to those who need it rather than filling up prisons.
It's simply too sensible to actually take hold.
It doesn't refute the Peak Oil theory, but it is a more sober look at the reality than was presented in the article he linked me to.
"In a sign of just how severe the damage to the President’s standing caused by Katrina is, the Zogby America survey finds that, despite his re-election last fall, President Bush would lose to every modern president since Jimmy Carter, the one-term Democrat who left office amid record unpopularity and a presidency rated, at the time, dismally.
He would also lose to his own father, who left office amid an economic recession triggered, in part, by a devastating hurricane."
Interestingly enough, Bush would still beat John Kerry. Which may say more about Kerry's fantastic lack of charisma than anything else.
With Bill Frist trying to soften his image for a run at the Presidency, Bush in full retreat with the debacle over New Orleans rescue efforts an albatross around his presidency, Dobson increasingly unlikely to get another fire-breathing evangelist Supreme Court justice that he seeks (make no mistake though, Roberts will be another Thomas/Scalia - if not worse, when it comes to seperation of church issues - he's just way more slick than ole pubic-hair-in-the-coke Clarence), the rise of Jesusland may be temporarily (or more hopefully, permanently) abated.
Speaking of the ancient city, check out this new information on what archaeologists are finding out about the real city of Sodom.
Here's the scenario - someone horribly scared, but not in a life threatening situation, volunteers for the opportunity to be a guinea pig for the first succesful face transplant.
Among the risks;
"Complications could include infections that turn your new face black and require a second transplant or reconstruction with skin grafts. Drugs to prevent rejection will be needed lifelong, and they raise the risk of kidney damage and cancer."
I also assume that since this is major surgery, at some level, 'death' is also a possibility.
So here's the question, knowing ahead of time that the patient will survive without the surgery, how is it ethically feasible to proceed with it even if the psychological benefits of receiving a new healthy face are tremendous? Isn't the downside still way too great to ethically proceed with what amounts to ultra-radical plastic surgery?
Which goes to show how seriously Bush takes the reconstruction. Rather then source a competent bureaucrat or agency to oversee the construction, he puts his freakin' SPIN DOCTOR in charge.
A simply staggering display of contempt by Bush.
You see, as a teen friends of mine (Graham Harley, Lee Viggars) got involved in Judo, and they were having so much fun, I thought I'd give it a go to. Unfortunately, my build (long, lean, lacking raw power), is absolutely the worst possible build for Judo - I am essentially one big lever for my opponents to crank on.
Still, despite this genetic setback, I found I really enjoyed the sport, and more importantly, grew to understand that sports like boxing were complete crap. 9 out of 10 fights aren't settled on ones feet, they only really get finished after both fighters are on the ground.
Ultimate fighting recognizes this key fact. Started up by a bunch of Brazilian ju-jitsu guys (the Gracie family) Ulitmate fighting began as a means of advertising for Brazilian ju-jistu, and then over the last 10 years or so, evolved (in large part to avoid violating local state and health ordinances against prize fighting that includes genuinely dangerous acts like head butts, hair pulls, kicking an opponent on the ground, etc.) to the more streamlined 'sport' it is now.
Originally it was conceived as a test of different martial arts vs each other in a fair contest to see which is superior. Fairly quickly, it became apparent that karate guys, boxers and kick boxerswere in huge trouble as the lacked any ground skills at all, Judo and wrestling practicioners needed to develop some strikes and finishing holds as they were adept at getting control of the fight, but lacked any means of putting their opponent away. Ju Jitsu though (along with the Pankrate guys from Japan) offered the full meal deal for fighting. Since then though, we've seen a development in a different direction. Most of the fighters now come from wrestling backgrounds, and are given fighting instructions to help them with the 'ground and pound' strategy. Way cool.
Sure, it's being taken in a poor direction by reality TV, but the fact is ultimate fighting is the pinnacle of hand to hand combat. Boxing is still a fave, but instead of watching two guys beat each other punch drunk over an hour or more, I prefer to watch two guys attempt arm bars, ankle locks, choke holds, knee strikes, etc. over 15 mintues. Shorter fights, more spectacular finishes, more furious combat.
Yeah, it's a blood sport. That's just how I like it.
Still on the topic of zombies, while the Great White's GM and his lovely GF were out here in beautiful Lotus land we (including my own lovely GF) were driving through sun dappled down-town Van when we noticed 3 zombies lurching along the pavement. Their eyes were all hollow and black, their clothing were rags, and several had what looked like the leftovers of a recent human flesh meal staining their faces. On-lookers had reactions that ranged from indiference (we get panhandled every few minutes in Van, distinguishing flesh eating zombies from homeless vagrants isn't as easy you might think), to laughter, to incomprehension.
In short, it was FANTASTIC!
I'd only read about Zombie attacks in other blogs, so to actually see a group of them engaged in their specialized performance art was definitely a treat. Our guests were equally impressed - apparently there are not many zombies in Ab outside of the legislature.
"Third, in general, children raised in same-sex environments show no differences in cognitive abilities, behavior, general emotional development, or such specific areas of emotional development as self-esteem, depression, or anxiety. In the few cases where differences in emotional development are found, they tend to favor children raised in lesbian families."
(AR: emphasis mine)
For the sake of clarity, the Brookings Institute is an arm of Princeton University.
I have no doubts about how this will be recieved by the theocon crowd at Freedominion.
The story of how all of Aeschylus' works are consumed in the destruction of the library of Alexandria still makes me furious everytime I read it. It's only been 1300+ years, you'd think I'd be over it by now.
My only exposure to some of these authors is tangetial at best. Plath's 'Bell Jar' comes to me not through poetry readings but through film, and Gogol's 'Dead Souls' arrived in my cultural firmamemnt as a song title by Joy Division (subsequently redone expertly by Nine Inch Nails for 'The Crow' soundtrack). Which goes to show not just how shallow my own tastes are, but how despite my Plebian palatte I manage to still make contact with the giants - albeit elliptically.
Which leaves us with a quite a slew of retirements lately;
Some others who might have joined this list include; Turgeon, Yzerman, Shanahan, Roberts, Nieuwendyk, Leetch and Chelios.
The article also makes another cogent point. There are four slots for the HOF in any given year, and (including Igor Larionov) there are 5 guys who should get the nod (Messier, Stevens, MacInnis, Francis, Larionov). Who gets bumped? Larionov almost certainly.
Or...the league finds a way to bend the rules and get all 5 in at once.
Secret Agent Peter Bondra has signed with the Thrashers - and is officially the last remaining player of significance to sign with a team.
Perhaps more worrisome news, Mr. Kovalchouk makes noises about playing in Russia rather than accept the Thrashers RFA offer.
I also heard speculation that the Rangers are considering a play for Kovalchouk at the expense of the 5 1st rnd picks he would cost if successfully poached. The Rangers have the room to sign him, the need for a young talented superstar goalscorer, and a rotten track record with their own picks the last few years - it might even make sense to the Thrashers if Kovalchouk insists on playing hardball with the cap-strapped team.
He doesn't much like what he sees.
"Bush has given us the worst of all possible worlds-- a half-finished job against al-Qaeda, an Iraqi imbroglio that could still explode into civil or even regional war-- and which serves as an al-Qaeda recruiting tool--, a government starved for funds, an enormous windfall for the rich at the expense of the middle class (which saw average wages actually fall recently), and an inability to respond effectively to a major urban catastrophe.Four years after September 11, al-Qaeda's leadership should have been behind bars or dead. Four years after September 11, Afghanistan should have been stabilized. Four years after September 11, the government should have been ready to save lives in an urban disaster."
This makes my top-ten list for the year, no doubt about it. Taking the best elements of 'Chinatown' and 'Saw', subtracting the gore, and adding a little gallows humour, and you have one of the most riveting flicks I've seen in a long time.
The tale of revenge features a middle-class businessman who for reasons unknown is held captive in a dingy hotel room for FIFTEEN YEARS. When he is unexpectedly released he finds that he has only a few days to figure out not just who did this to him, but why?
A mystery wrapped inside a revenge tale, my only comparison in recent memory would be 'The Limey'.
5 Star viewing (though get the subtitled version, the dubbing will give you a headache).
N = N* fp ne fl fi fc fL
N* = number of stars in the Milky way galaxy (100 Billion or so)
fp = fraction of stars that have planets
ne = number of planets capable of supporting life
fl = fraction of those planets where life evolves
fi = fraction of planets where intelligent life evolves
fc = fraction of planets where intelligent life evolves capable of communication
fL = fraction of planets life span during which intelligent civilizations live
Smack all your best guesses for each of the variable together, solve for 'N' and you have the number of likely intelligent alien species in the galaxy capable of communication with us.
Now, since you start off with such a HUGE number of stars (100 Billion give or take) the result of the equation is that the galaxy should be teeming with intelligent communicating alien species.
So where are they?
"So you send an ultra-powerful signal as a focused laser beam. How much energy would that take? How long could you afford to transmit? How many directions must you point the transmitter to cover the whole sky? (The answer to that one is 100,000 trillion). And what chance a citizen of an alien civilisation is tuned in when your one-second message whistles by at the speed of light? The arithmetic, says Trotman, predicts one-way communication with both antennae pointing at each other will happen for one second every 10 billion billion years. Assuming, that is, both civilisations are using the same wavelength.
Don't wait up for ET. Use your imagination instead."
Since 'Steve's' represent a miniscule fraction of all scientists, comparison of the list size serves to put just how popular the creationists arguments REALLY are into perspective.
Congratulations to Project Steve on it's 600th Steve!
All of which is just the latest visible residue for how poorly they handled Goodenow's departure.
Somewhere, you just know that Bobby G is having a hearty laugh.
In my place I'd appreciate it if one of you could read the following statement:
I have known you as a friend since before we attended grade 9 together - a length of time that is only surpassed by the number of days you have so irresponsibly sought to grow that horrible goatee. But I send this message to you not as a plea to invest in personal hygiene (though for the love of god man, shave that thing off before you have your wedding pictures taken!), but rather as the last chance I will have to communicate with you before you make the leap into marital bondage. Forever. And Ever. Or, perhaps merely till death do you part.
Damn that’s a long time my friend, and there are many important things to say before you go.
Let me start then with this; despite appearances to the contrary, the bachelor party is not about you. It is really about those deviant souls who are in attendance. They will feel the need over the course of the evening to drink themselves stupid, to mock you incessantly, and to visit strip clubs. This is tradition and you shall not stand in its way, for this is the last time that you are a free man and can engage in these activities with us as the Jeff we know and love. For soon, that Jeff will be but a mere appendage of the fine Nicole, and while we celebrate your ascension into perpetual sexless servitude in the name of marriage, we will miss the Jeff we know and love.
And so I hereby charge that you will drink to excess, accept the mocking without bitterness or ill-spirit, and revel in the vast lakes of naked flesh that will no doubt cap off this last evening as a man without shackles, or need to purchase feminine hygiene products.
For this is your sacred duty as both a man and our friend, and you shall not shirk it.
Along with this important public service announcement, I wanted to reminisce about the Jeff I know. The Jeff who fought vigorously with me over the pronounciation of 'anathema', the Jeff whose basement I spent many a bright summer day rolling dice with far too many sides, arguing over which of us would claim the magic sword. The valiant Jeff who on our first day of highschool stood between his friends and a group of vicious upper class men insistent on covering us with raw egg. Some less kind might suggest that the fact you tripped immediately before their onslaught was the cause of you being singled out for abuse, or that even if you hadn't tripped you were simply too slow to avoid the attack, but we all know that you were actually taking the eggs meant for all of us.
Thank you for that.
Let me also remind everyone of the selfless spirit you possess. As an example I am brought back to the occasion where you helpfully offered to reconfigure my computer for improved performance. After an hour or more of defragging my hard-drive, and consequently permanently erasing all those pesky word files I had built up in my mistaken and pathetic attempts to create literature, we celebrated the death of all those files with a sample of flora that when burned produces a sense of euphoria in most - and apparently a vicious attack of nausea and vomitting in yourself.
Your selflessness apparently knows few bounds as your were insistent on not just sharing your computer skills, but also your stomache contents with me, my keyboard, table, floor, and carpet.
Thank you again.
I have no regrets about the damage done by the acid in your stomache contents either. The keyboard you brought over for me was more than enough compensation, even if it was previously used by someone who had finger warts, and was damaged in such a way as fry the motherboard moments after it was plugged in - I know it was the thought that counts, and yours have always been the purest of pure thoughts and intentions.
But you are clearly more than merely just a selfless computer genius, willing to demonstrate the inner products of your digestive tract to a friend. Few people are aware of how just respectful you are of others feelings. As an example of this largesse of your soul, I offer two things; your wardrobe, and your facial hair.
What man could possibly dress so slovenly, so against the grain of common sense, so incomparbly defiant in his 'homeless-chic?" you ask? Only a man possessed of such radiant beauty that he felt he must hide it from the world lest they feel ashamed to be in his sight.
Yes, the fact is Jeff dresses the way he does not because he has no fashion sense what-so-ever, or because he had that large portion of his frontal cortex removed, but in fact because he does not wish the rest of us to feel slighted by his beauty.
I am sure the rest of the people around you will agree, that this is manifestly true.
Now, lastly, let me comment on that other characteristic most singluar about Jeff - his distinctive facial hair.
Clearly whatever that thing is, it is not meant to be a 'beard' in any sense that the rest of mere male-kind would understand. Perhaps it can be seen as an ironic statement on how male-ness is not a function of mere testosterone.
Regardless, without any even moderate genetic or hormonal ability to do so, Jeff forced upon us this thin wasted excuse for face covering - in contravention of all that is decent and good.
Jeff would not do so without good reason, so I suspect it is less about succesfully growing a beard than it is about claiming victory over brute nature by making the attempt despite the sure knowledge of failure. So like Sysyphus ever pushing his rock up that hill in Hades, Jeff refuses to trim the horror that clutches to the nether areas of his face and neck.
In this way, I think we can see that while his 'beard' is at first glance a mockery of all facial hair ever grown in the history of man, it manages by sinking to a level of such pure awfullness to transcend 'beard-ness' and reside, along with his fashion sense, on a much different plane. A plane where it could never, ever, arose the jealousy of his fellow men.
What a man. Truly your greatness is beyond our worthiness.
I encourage those around you to raise their glasses of ale in salute and to drain them as a testament to your glory.
For Jeff is a Jolly Good Fellow, and a man I am sincerely proud to call my friend.
Congratulations on your marriage Jeff!
"(My resignation is) ....in the best interests of the President".
Couldn't have put it better myself.
So first he gets 'reassigned' because nobody ever, ever, gets fired (or held accountable) by Bush for screwing up, and it looked like it might be a tougher sell to give him the medal of freedom than it was for Tenet et al., so having him resign to take heat off of Bush is at the least a refreshingly honest take on why he had to go.
Note: this doesn't include the 'movie library' of 10,000 units that cost $152M to build.
• Marie deYoung, a Halliburton logistics specialist, testified about subcontracts under which Halliburton paid $45 per case of soda and $100 per 15-pound bag of laundry. Ms. deYoung also disclosed that Halliburton did not comply with the Army’s request to move Halliburton employees from a five-star hotel in Kuwait, where it cost taxpayers approximately $10,000 per day to house the employees, into air-conditioned tent facilities, which would have cost taxpayers under $600 per day.15 •
Henry Bunting, a Halliburton procurement officer, described how he and other buyers were instructed to split large purchase orders into multiple purchase orders below $2,500 in order to avoid the requirement to solicit multiple bids. Supervisors routinely told the employees responsible for purchasing: “Don’t worry about price. It’s cost-plus.”16 •
David Wilson, a convoy commander for Halliburton, and James Warren, a Halliburton truck driver, testified that brand new $85,000 Halliburton trucks were abandoned or “torched” if they got a flat tire or experienced minor mechanical problems. Mr. Warren brought these and other concerns to the personal attention of Randy Harl, the president and CEO of KBR. He was fired a few weeks later.17 •
Mike West, a Halliburton labor foreman, described how he and other Halliburton employees spent weeks in Iraq with virtually nothing to do, but were instructed to bill 12-hour days for 7 days a week on their timesheets. In addition, his superior directed him to buy unnecessary equipment, telling him: “Don’t worry about it. It’s a cost-plus-plus contract.”18
"Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire metropolis to rising water and snakes.
On your watch, we've lost; almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two Trade Centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans...Maybe you're just not lucky! "
- Bill Maher
- The off-wing wrist shot to the far corner. If Mess had a signature move, this was it - cruise down the wing and pick the far post. Everytime. It was like he was in a video game.
- Joel Otto. Calgary had one answer and one answer only to the Moose. Stick Otto on him. Otto could skate well enough to keep up, was strong enough not to get bullied, was powerful enough to win draws against hin, and was tough enough to go to toe-to-toe with the Moose in a donnybrook when necessary. Their battles became legendary for Calgarians.
- The Elbow. On no less than two occasions (more likely 202) Mess tossed elbows that were vicious to the point of criminal. In the Canada Cup (82 I believe) he used this weapon to open a massive cut on a russian forwards face - all but ending his effectiveness in the tourney. Against Calgary (again) in the playoffs, his cheapshot elbow to the cranium of Jamie Macoun resulted in Macoun being 'out on his feet' - the footage of the Flames defender skating lopsidedly to the bench knees buckling like overcooked pasta haunts us Flames fans still.
- Messier vs. Gretzky. Flames fans grudgingly respected the Great One. He may have been an Oiler but even we Calgarians could see he was beyond special in terms of his talent - if anything we knew were just jealous that he was an Oiler.
But we HATED Messier. HATED HATED HATED HATED him. Only Glenn Anderson brought out more ire from Flames fans than the Moose did. That level of antipathy made for the BEST hockey games ever. Flames vs. Oilers was a hate-on of serious dimmensions, with the entire province splitting over who to cheer for. Messier (and Co.) contributed to what is without a doubt the greatest hockey rivallry in the NHL.
- After the Rangers first go-round. It seemed that the last 7 years have been more about Messier wanting to take his run at immortality in the record books than winning. His decision to go to Vancouver was horrible - for both him and Vancouver. His return to the Rangers all but ensured that they would lack chemistry in the dressing room, and that Lindros and others would never be allowed to flourish as leaders still possessing the talent and skill to compete at an all-star level. He was playing out the string. For a warrior like him, it just didn't seem right.
The California legislature (not 'activist judges') passed a resolution to recognize SSM in California. Arnie based his veto on the false premise that the Prop 22 vote indicated Californian preferrence for no SSM.
This is of course, false. All prop 22 was about was recognizing out of state SSM in California.
All however, is not bleak. Arnie's regime has proved to be so corrupt and ineffective he does not look likely to be re-elected. A democratic Governor backed by the Legislature would have a significant likelihood of getting that legislation passed.
At the end of it all, Arnie failed to back human rights in favour of his fundamentalist Republican base.
And that will doom him to being a one term Governor.
I particularily like the fact they include the dissembling by Brown, Bush, and the rest of the screwups. You can actually trace the course of fear as it grips the Bush administration followed by Rove's counterattack strategy of blaming; the looters, the local officials, the state officials, and even the people of NO rather than have the Feds accept responsibility.
The latest news from NO? Bush and his team are going to censor all media coverage. No more dead bodies on the evening news. No more Geraldo holding up crying children begging for help. The answer as always for Bush, ignore it, spin it, attack it and hopefully it will all just go away.
That's sure some President that you Americans elected. Envy of the world. Not.
Certainly the most fearsome bodychecker the league has ever seen.
Underrated offensively throughout his career, he is still the Devils all-time best defenseman for points, assists, etc.
Despite being the hardest of the hard, you can count his elbowing penalties on one hand. He may have been devestating to play against, but he was always 'clean', and never 'cheap'.
Nowadays his name is used as a compliment heaped unfairly onto young defensemen who if they exhibit even a whiff of physical play are inevitably described as being 'a Scott Stevens type of defenseman'. Unless you invoke the names of Orr or Bourque, there is no higher compliment you could give a young rearguard.
Through and through, he was a hockey player's hockey player.
Number of National Guard soldiers killed in Iraq through August 27, 2005: 269
Number of National Guard soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam War: 97
Number of Iraqi military and police killed since training began (June 2003): 3,051
Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq (November 2003): 5,000
Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq (June 2005): 15-20,000
Estimated number of 107 Iraqi military and special police battalions that are capable of operating independently: 3
Amount charged to American taxpayers by Halliburton to build a movie library for its employees: $152 million
Number of movies in the library: 10,000
* Unmentionable number of shots = $40 give or take $20
Doing a hockey draft while slurping beers, and pounding shots, recording the results in a drunken stupor and sending them to a friend with his own blog?
Well 8 pints or so later & unmentionas ble shot s its either email you or my mother, and odds are any emlai to my mother is gonna be rambly... so instead i email the hockye gods...
howz this team gonna doo?
Lang & Datyuxk
Recchie & katchuk (woohoo FC from waay bak when!) Alfreddsopn & guerrin Pronger, (woohoo agan!) pronger, reden, suray, kubina,
benching wullivan, roberts, modano
longuo, belgforuy, & kjhabiilbynlin.
soo... howmy gojnna doo?
BWWT BOB, sorrrry, drafft tpook place tonight... not room for nwwe team...
Go, McCauslan Apricat Ale! Saner e-mail to follow persuant of hangover,
Lyckey thus didn't end up on the blog cameron... copeid therefrom.
Dum Spiro Spero
While I breathe I hope
All in all not a bad team - not a bad team at all.
C: Lang, Datsyuk, Modano - nice top two (Lang, Modano), but Datsyuk just signed in Russia.
RW: Recchi, Alfreddson, Guerin - as a thrio - elite, especially if you play Guerin as goon. Sullivan on bench - Wow.
LW: Tkachuk - play him as your goon, ride the freakish scoring totals that result. Roberts, and...?
D: Pronger (so good he's mentioned twice!), Redden, Souray, Kubina - A solid top 4, especially the top three.
G: Luongo, Khabiboulin and Belfour? Sick.
On a side-note, I correctly predicted on Friday that Bush would soon involve both his parents and his wife in the photo ops, and by Sunday we had images of all three touring the area (with people carefully pre-screened). You just know that Bush is getting beat on when he has to drag his family in front of him like a human-shield for the now emboldened press.
Also of note is the'blogoshpere' has seen a chain-mail type of reaction of posts encouraging Bush to fire Mike Brwon immediately for gross incompetence.
Last but not least, Bush, like OJ before him, wants to take on the task of finding the 'real killers' or in this case, the 'source of the bureaucratic breakdown' himself. Gee thats fresh. Thanks. I feel much better about it now.
Q Were those bureaucratic impediments that have been corrected? Or was that a --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the bureaucratic impediments that the President is referring to is about getting assistance to the people who need it. Yes, there are a number of agencies that are acting, but they have issued waivers to rules and regulations. The President wants to cut through the red tape in the bureaucracy and make sure that the assistance is getting to the people. One thing that he talked about in the Cabinet meeting today at length was, look, we've got to make sure that there aren't rules in place that are preventing assistance from getting to those who have been displaced, or have been evacuated, who are no longer in a home of their own, they're in a shelter. And we've got to take that assistance to them.So, yes, that is part of -- all that is part of cutting through the bureaucracy and red tape.Go ahead.
Q Scott, there's words that James Lee Witt had said, that -- people who had been there within three hours after everything broke loose. Why was Mr. Brown not on the ground?
MR. McCLELLAN: He was, prior to the hurricane.
Q Well, why didn't he bring in the troops? Why didn't he deploy all the necessary assistance that was needed?
MR. McCLELLAN: There were -- disaster medical assistance teams were deployed. Search and rescue teams were deployed ahead of the hurricane.
Q But why didn't he -- but why weren't teams deployed to the Convention Center? Why weren't teams deployed to the Superdome? Why were people without water, without food? Why was there looting in New Orleans for survival? And you're talking about zero tolerance. Why did these things happen over a period of days, and you start seeing Mr. Brown on the air talking about he didn't know about the Convention Center and other things. Why?
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, you're getting into all the after-action analysis, and I can't tell you all the --Q And you're saying there is not a blame game, but you open the door to the response --
MR. McCLELLAN: I can't tell you that everything you said is factually correct, and they've got -- we've got to look at all the facts. We've got to determine what worked, what didn't work, and apply --
Q Well, what's not working? What's not working in your view right now?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and apply lessons from that.
Q What do you see that's not working right now? What is not working? Because these people are dying from dysentery now --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, last week --
Q -- infection now; they're displaced, homes are gone. Does anyone in this administration know anyone that's down there --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you need to talk to people on the ground --
Q -- beyond Trent Lott?
Condi Rice - She too has been on vacation. While New Orleans drowned and began to cannibalize itself, she took in some theater, and even had her secret service agents remove some hecklers from the swanky store she was at so she could buy some new shoes in peace.
Karl Rove - went to Camp Casey! Not to visit Cindy Sheehan, but to pay his respects to the handful of Bush supporters who were protesting Cindy's vigil. I mean really, what's not to like about this guy?
Big Dick Cheney - You guessed it, on vacation. However, Big Dick isn't just 'away' from the office, at least one source is speculating that he is legitimately too ill (heart problems) to do anything.
So there you have it - at least part of the reason Bush's response has been so totally inadequate is that the three people who function as his brain are either; shopping, hanging with the wingnuts, or sitting at death's door. Hence, GWB goes into total brainlock without anyone around to do the thinking for him.
Meanwhile, rats are feeding on the corpse of the Big Easy.
"President Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday with a fresh reason for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields (AR: emphasis mine), which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists."
AR: You knew that eventually he would slip up and say the truth. The US is in Iraq for the oil.
- Arlo Guthrie.
I learned this song at my father's knee, just another one of the many, many things I am thankful for that he has given me.
I was tempted to rail on about how BushCo. has transferred National Guardsmen away from the places like New Orleans where they are urgently required, to Iraq. Or I could throw a bomb or two about the fact that the Canadian DART (Disaster Action Response Team) our internationally renowed special operations team is currently being checked at the border because Bush hasn't officially given the OK for our assistance, or note the fact that the legendary Fats Domino is among the missing-presumed-dead.
But in the end, I decided to go with Arlo.
Peace to the people of New Orleans, Biloxi, and the other places devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Heck he's funnier than cancer and Herpes combined.
I think it's time to face facts. That place (AR: New Orleans) is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you're working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he's not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen. It's never too soon to be prepared.