Monday, August 30, 2010


Thought of the Day

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Theodore Roethke


Friday, August 27, 2010


Comicon 2010 Highlights

A better looking Boba Fett than we're used to. I'm trying to think how this could be utilized in the future (if any) for the Star Wars Juggernaut, but other than a happy accident at the cloning facility, I can't think of any. I guess Jango Fett (the "father" of all the clones) played by Maori actor Temuera Morrison, could have had a daughter made as well. There is a contingent of the fanboys who used to think Boba was a woman.

I have to admit that the hot girls at Comicon outclass the ones at our pale copy each Spring.



Thought of the Day

Moreover, Obama has lost his connection with the American people. He’s aloof without inspiring confidence. On issue after issue — terrorism, immigration, the oil spill, the environment, and the Ground Zero mosque — he seems determined to craft his responses in a way that will annoy the most people possible.

Johan Goldberg


Thursday, August 26, 2010


Political Predictions

Let's hope I'm better at this than predicting judicial decisions.

The consensus among the Republicans is that we take the House back in November and get 6 or 7 in the Senate. I'll be a little more precise. I'm using InTrade Prediction Markets as an aid.

In the Senate, we Republicans take back one seat in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota and Pennsylvania almost for sure. I hope we beat Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada. California, Washington, Wisconsin and Connecticut are outside chances but not likely. We'll keep the Republican seats in Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire and Ohio and will improve on some of our RINOs in the Senate there. No current Republican seat will switch to Democrat. So that's 48, 49 Republican Senators in January, 2011--not a Senate takeover but close.

In the House, Republicans will gain 45 seats, plus or minus 3, so that's a takeover and Speaker of the House Boehner.

Here in Colorado, it's looking like an incredibly hard climb to escape Governor Hickenlooper but I won't yet say it's in the bag for him. We should keep the seats in the 5th and 6th Districts (Lamborn and Coffman) and should definitely pick up the 4th (Markey) and just possibly the 3rd and 7th (Salazar and Perlmutter). Nothing else will change near the top of the ticket.

Here's an opposing view from Reid Wilson, a person unknown to me:

...senior Democratic strategists say they're not only likely to keep the House, but they believe the GOP won't come close to gaining the 39 seats they need to take over.

How many House seats are there in "won't come close to gaining the 39 seats"? 35? 30?

The average loss in the first midterm elections after a new president is 36. With the economy hurting and Democratic actions only making it worse; with insane levels of Democratic spending and borrowing; with twice as many Republicans turning out for the primaries in Florida as Democrats; and, with the generic ballot at plus 4.5 on average for Republicans (reliable Rasmussen has it at 9), do the Democrats really think they can hold the losses to just about the average or less? Fat freakin' chance.

Time of course will tell. If I'm right, however, I will remind people of my 'genius' for prediction as it is the hardest thing to do, see what you cannot see.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Getting a Litte Perspective

The cluster of galaxies known as Abell 1689. Every fuzzy point of light in the photo is a galaxy a few hundred thousand light years in length and breadth--some are elliptical and some are sprial. Funny that I don't see any barred sprials. Perhaps it's the resolution of the image.
We, and all our hopes and problems, are so freakin' tiny!


Sunday, August 22, 2010


Thought of the Day

Afghans have failed to move their corruption from the Rod Blagojevich model, which we all deplore, to the Barack Obama model, which we all admire.

P.J. O'Rourke


Saturday, August 14, 2010


Thought of the Day

The decision in Loving no more changed the definition of marriage than allowing James Meredith (a black) to attend the University of Mississippi changed the definition of "student," or requiring the lunch counter at Woolworth's to serve blacks changed the definition of "customer." But recognizing a marriage between two men (say) changes the definition of "wife" (say).

To me, the notion that a constitutional amendment mandates, sub silento and plainly without intent, such a monumental change in an institution as fundamental as marriage is, as I said, ludicrous.

Paul Mirengoff


Thursday, August 12, 2010


The Ages of Women

There comes a time in every woman's life when she is no longer sexy in Catholic School girl clothes. Behold--

Not at all bad but not sexy. Pity, really.



Joe Conason--Beam, Mote, Eyes

Uber Lefty Joe Conason has an op-ed I read at Real Clear Politics called Conservative Racists Return. Although the accusation of racism is having ever diminishing returns for the Democrats through overuse and underproof, let's look at this new one as if Conason were a fair and serious social commenter.

Conason starts, of course, with the thoroughly disproved accusation of racial epithets by tea partiers towards Black Caucus Congressmen when the horrible health care "reform" bill was passed. Then there is the key quote, from NRO, which Conason makes fun of (I'll return to this in a bit):

That these things are even remotely newsworthy leads me to one conclusion: Racism in America is dead. We had slavery, then we had Jim Crow-and now we have the occasional public utterance of a bad word. Real racism has been reduced to de minimis levels, while charges of racism seem to increase.
Here is the complete list of really horrible racist things Conason trots out:

1. Comparing the life under the Obama Administration to Planet of the Apes.

2. Laura Ingraham in her satiric book The Obama Diaries used words like "uppity" and showed Michelle Obama often eating ribs.

3. A church fair had popguns fired at a cardboard simulacra of President Obama.

4. On the Jersey Shore, boardwalk game existed with baseball hurled at clay simulacra of President Obama.

5. Threats of violence against President Obama.

Perhaps you underwhelmed by the accusations, particularly the last one and particularly if you can remember the feted books, movies and on air comments with George Bush assassinated. I think that if this is all Conason has to complain about, racist actions in America really are de minimus. There is one thing that Conservative racists have in spades (if I can use that word and remain a non-racist)--principaled, honest opposition to the policies and agendo of the Obama Administration.

Now a little history, just for context. Conason twice says that Conservatives opposed Civil Rights legislation. In 1964, there were some Conservatives who opposed the legislation, most, like Barry Goldwater and the denizens of National Review, on reasoned constitutional grounds, but the major opposition to the bill came from Southern Democrats who opposed it as a bloc and solely because of their racists mind sets. Republicans voted for the '64 Act in greater percentages vis a vis their representation in the Congress than the percentage of Democrats, and President Johnson could not have passed it without Republican support.

Conason says that "leading figures on the right cannot seem to suppress their inner Klansman these days." Really, who? Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham? That's it? For making fun of the President? That's all you have? Oh, and Joe, the Klan membership was 99.9% Democrat. The last surviving Klansman in the Senate was recently deceased Democratic Senator Byrd. I have to admit that I don't know the current political party affiliation of today's KKK, all 12 of them, but I do know that no one has been lynched by Democrats, hiding their identity under white sheets, since 1968. That seems like progress to me.

The most recent racist murders were by a properly fired black man seeking out and methodically killing only whites at his former place of employment. I wonder if Mr. Conason counts that as racial progress.

UPDATE: James Taranto takes on the same column here, and comes to a similar conclusion although far more elegantly. Here's a sample thereof:

In colonial days, black Africans were brought to America in chains and enslaved--literally made the property of other people. So deeply ingrained was the practice of slavery that it was written into the Constitution. It was abolished only after more than 75 years and a horrific and bloody civil war.

Although blacks formally were granted freedom and legal equality after the Civil War, in practice they remained second-class citizens. Particularly in the South, they were subjected to a regime of discrimination so pervasive that it is no exaggeration to describe it as totalitarian, enforced as it was through violence and terror by both the state and the majority population.

Overcoming this system of white supremacy was a century-long struggle, culminating with the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960s. Today black Americans are full citizens, their civil and political rights secured by law. A black man has even been elected president of the United States.

Despite this progress, the struggle continues. Slavery and Jim Crow are history, but it falls to our generation to rid America of the scourge of . . . offensive carnival games.

You see the problem. It's not that Conason is wrong exactly, but that his level of righteous outrage is so wildly disproportionate to the trifling offenses he is describing. Had we ever seen evidence that he has a sense of humor, we would assume that this column is satire. But we haven't, and it's not.


Sunday, August 08, 2010


Insomnia Theater--H P Lovecraft Movies

Rented from Netflicks a double header, two movies based on H. P. Lovecraft stories, the horrible Die, Monster, Die and the interesting but flawed The Dunwitch Horror. The former is based on The Colour Out of Space and the latter on a short story of the same name. Both had the same director, Daniel Haller (more about him latter). So what could have caused one movie to be so horrible and the other so good? Like most things, I believe it was a combination of a lot of little improvements.

Die, Monster Die (DMD) was Mr. Haller's first movie, filmed in 1965. He did a few others, motorcycle gangs and car racers, and then returned to the difficult to film Lovecraftian universe. He did one other after The Dunwitch Horror (DH), filmed in 1970, and then tried hard with a trendy subject (musical priest falling in love) with Pieces of Dreams, which failed on almost every level and he retreated to television direction until his retirement in 1988. Haller didn't just jump into directing; he was the art director/production designer (I have no idea what the difference is between those titles) for most of the so horrible they're good Roger Corman movies with Vincent Price and Poe titles. That explains why he relies so much in DMD on the outward appearance of the house and delivers so little else. It is a fatal reliance. Whatever horrific effect a strangely decorated mansion might once have held in the mid-60s, it is long vanished, especially for those raised on well designed video games. However, even though he spends too much time in the less palatial but somewhat creepy home of the eccentric family in DH, he handles the monster so much better in the later film. The blasts of sound and color, the tiny bits of detail of the monster as it disrobes and does something bad to the interloper, Elizabeth, are nearly the highlight of the movie. You don't know until the end that it is a ring of fanged snakes around a lumpy yellow fleece face.

Haller has a lot more to work with in the second movie's script too. The DH screenplay was written by Curtis Hanson. It was his first, but he later wrote the quirky Canadian movies The Silent Partner and Never Cry Wolf. He directed the great L A Confidential and satisfying Wonder Boys, and he's not finished yet. And even though Haller wasted the talents of an aging Boris Karloff in DMD (and did what he could with Nick Adams, which was next to nothing), he was very lucky to have former child star Dean Stockwell and Ed Begley (father of the tall 'purer than thou' ecco-nut) in what was about Begley's last film. The girls are pretty good too, Talia Shire looks real good, and beautiful former teen throb Sandra Dee has the right touch of innocence if a lack of intensity. Stockwell throws himself into a barely human role with gusto. He convincingly seems merely to ape human manners but has mad skills at the rituals. The stylized turning of the knife, the rings to his temples, the heartfelt chanting, are all brilliant details. Sam Jaffe is nearly perfect as the eccentric grandfather, who tried to bring back the old ones (a Lovecraft leit motiv) but failed and backed away.

Lovecraft, an American (don't let his spelling of color fake you out) said that the source of horror in the modern age (he began writing at the start of the 20th Century) must be science, not old myths of vampires and shape shifters. And then he created a new, non scientific set of myths about old gods (beings from another dimension). Go figure. Still, his invention of the Necronomicon, the book which can call back the old ones, seems to have had a lasting influence. Sam Raimi certainly thanks him. The quintessential fear we have of science, at least ever since Mary Shelley wrote her famous book, is that we will open a gateway to a new, worse world, that we, like Wilbur Whateley, can take knowledge from a book and, merely by repeating it, we can create horrible things.

There's even another ancient dichotomy explored by DH. The forces of good, God in particular, wants us to be part of Him consciously, but through love and a willingness. The forces of evil, all the demons in particular, want us to be part of them but they will take us by force, by possession, but entering us and taking us over or through the more common, human means of rape and ingestion. The other worldly brother clearly used the latter methods, but did the Dean Stockwell character actually woo Sandra Dee to him? What's with the crystals in her tea? Indeed, for Lovecraft, the doorway to another world was clearly through a never used vagina. The educated men, the doctors of medicine and philosophy, stopped it with just a few words.
The ending was a little bit abrupt and a letdown, but where was it to go if not interrupted and then a serious flaming failure? Were the hippie types in Ms. Dee's dream the old ones or something else? Would her baby succeed where all the Whateleys had failed, when the "shalls" in the Necronomicon came to pass?

See, not that bad a movie at all.

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