First off, at Michelle's we find that the Son of Chewbacca has been arrested again, Ace has funny names, Dr. Rusty brings us news of the clean-up effort currently underway in the Middle East, Charles has good news from Boston over at LGF, and Allahpundit reveals the plot for the much-anticipated "Charlie's Angels 3" film.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
I just watched President Bush's Memorial Day address from Arlington a little while ago, and he said something I really agreed with. To paraphrase, "the greatest tribute to our fallen warriors...is the liberty and freedom we enjoy here today." I started this weekend thinking of the dozen or so people that I work with, and how most of them had plans of camping trips, barbecues, classic car shows, etc. I wondered why seemingly too few people could take off one day to give quiet thanks for the service men and women who have given up their lives, so that we may live in the freest and greatest country on earth. But after thinking, I don't think you necessarily need to march in a parade, or lay wreaths at a cemetery, or any of those other things commonly seen as memorializing. Just live your life, enjoy your freedoms, and hopefully, in the back of your mind, while you laugh and joke with family and friends around the grilling burgers, you'll find yourself saying a silent prayer for all your fellow citizens who have laid such a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. (All thanks to A. Lincoln for paraphrased quote).
I still would like to take a moment to single out a few true heroes. Men and women whose actions and deeds defy rational thought, and places them on an entirely different plane from the rest of us. A Holocaust survivor,Corporal Tibor "Ted" Rubin came to America after being liberated in World War II, and joined the army. His actions in battle, and in yet another prisoner camp, ensured that he would receive this nations highest honor. Definitely read more. And there's Private George J. Peters, who was part of a 10 man parachute drop into Germany. Unfortunately, they landed within yards of a German machine gun nest, which quickly pinned them down. Pvt. Peters stood, and advanced on the enemy, armed only with a rifle and some grenades. His one-man charge immediately drew the German machine gun fire onto himself, and away from his comrades. He was hit, and fell. He stood, continued his charge, and was hit again. Unable now to stand, Pvt. Peters crawled directly into the enemy machine gun fire until he was close enough to take out the nest with some grenades. A true American Hero. And there's Dr. Mary E. Walker, the first and only female recipient of the Medal of Honor, who served with the Union during the Civil War. She was the first female U.S. Army Surgeon, earning a salary of $10 per year. A colorful character, she later went on to fight in the temperance movement and was also an early feminist.
These are just a few of the thousands who have received our nations highest honor. And but a small handful of the silent assemblage that have passed from this world, so that we may better enjoy its fruits. Their honor, courage, and their commitment to this great nation stand as a lasting tribute to the significance of the cherished values of liberty and freedom that we enjoy, and honor, today.
Additional coverage: Ragnar over at MPJ posts a tear-inducing photo, with a link to the story behind it, Michelle shows how not to honor a fallen soldier, Jackboot over at the A.I.R. posts some photos and stirring lyrics, Cox & Forkum give some history behind this day and show us that a cartoon is worth a thousand words, Frank J. lends us his trademark levity and wit, and finally, Bryan over at Hot Air has a good link round-up, and also check out the video on the front page.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
If you haven't seen it already, head over to Gates of Vienna and check out this post by a guest writer. As he says, there have been many theories bandied about regarding the collapse of the Soviet Union, but I must say I never thought of this one. Make sure you "read further" to follow his argument to its conclusion. Good Stuff.
Unrelated note: paging Anthony Hopkins.
Update: An excellent rejoinder.
Okay, so here we have my first official movie review. Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End. First let me just say that this qualifies as a popcorn movie. Swashbuckling action, cannonballs, monkeys, and pirates abound. All-in-all, I think that this third installment stands strong alongside its two prequels. An added bonus, seeing the latest Transformers preview on the big screen. Cool. Back to Pirates. I enjoyed the opening of the film greatly, it's always good when the 'bad guys' dispatch with a pesky pirate wretch of about 10 years of age. Heartache. I thoroughly dug the guest actors this time around, most famously Keith Richards as (assumed but never directly stated) Jack's father, as well as Chow Yun Fat as a pirate captain. Good stuff. For me, one of the funniest scenes was when we first see Captain Jack Sparrow, stuck in Davy Jones' Locker past the end of the world. He has gone completely mad and is talking with, and sometimes killing, dozens of his doppelgangers. I kept waiting for a fat Mexican lawyer to show up with some peyote buttons, but no luck.
For the most part, it sounds like a great movie so far. And it is. I'm sure it will make a bazillion dollars or so and be well liked. I have only one gripe. The ending. In my opinion, 'popcorn movies' must hew closely to the time honored (or time worn) archetypes of your standard summer blockbuster. To wit, the good guys must win, and the guy must get the girl. I guess Will and Elizabeth do get married, but he's stuck on The Flying Dutchmen for eternity, less one day every decade. Hmm. Captain Sparrow ends pretty much how we found him, alone in a dinghy, off on another great quest. I haven't heard any rumors about additional future Pirates films, and if there were any, I would be surprised if any/all of the cast would return. That said, they at least have an opening for further adventures with Captains Sparrow and Barbossa. They could even attempt a 'rescue' of some kind for Will. I do not think that it will come to pass however.
Now whoa there, don't get me wrong. I loved Pirates 3, would unequivocally recommend it, and will certainly buy it on DVD. Also, the fact that it has a slightly 'downer' ending, at least compared to more standard Hollywood fare would normally be a selling point for me. ADDITIONAL SPOILER ALERTS! Some of my favorite movies end poorly for the protagonist. It is especially delightful when everything is going swimmingly and you think, that after all the trials and tribulations of the main character, it will all end well for him. And then BANG! An excellent example of this phenomenon is Layer Cake, or see also A.I. (kinda-sorta), Alien 3, The Butterfly Effect, and most extra-specially Fallen, a truly great film and sadly little-known in my opinion. I just think of all the poor despondent 12 year old girls who will quite likely go home after seeing the movie and slit their wrists. All because poor Legolas is stuck on a moldy boat for all eternity. Sad.
Anyway, long story short, Pirates 3 is good. Very good. Maybe not way good or gnarly however.
I am an absolute and total movie nut. For that, I make no excuse. There are two ways in which I broadly categorize movies; "popcorn fun" and all others. From time to time on this site, I will be posting movie reviews of new or new-ish theatrical releases as well as dvd releases. For the "popcorn fun" category, I will generally be very lenient. I am fairly certain that on July 4th, I will be watching Transformers with bated breath. I am also fairly certain that Transformers will kick major butt. I realize that Michael Bay does not have great talent as a director, that the plot might well be somewhat lacking, that the dialogue may consist entirely of cheesy one-liners, etc. That is not the point of that type of movie. Simply put, if a movie is classified as a "popcorn movie," it should simply entertain. That is all.
The second category is all other movies. Basically, if a movie is not a big budget summer blockbuster mass market film, it falls into the "other" category. It is this class of film that I will be much more stringent in my review criteria. A big turn-off for me is a so-called 'liberal' film. Case in point, the Marky Mark abortion from a few months ago titled "Shooter." I had already heard negative reviews of the movie, but decided to go see it anyway, primarily because I am a huge fan of 'sniper' movies. I.e., Enemy at the Gates, Sniper, etc. The problem is, any marginal coolness of the film was greatly overpowered by the nauseatingly obvious liberal slant. See also V for Vendetta as another example of ridiculous lefty posturing in a film.
So in summary, I will review films from time to time from both categories. If a film is a 'popcorn movie' I'll simply declare whether or not it was 8 bucks worth entertaining. If it's anything else, I'll try to delve deeper into the inner workings of the movie, especially regards any items that make my conservative blood boil. However, I still reserve the right to say Michael Bay is a dork.
I have a couple of ideas for a couple of longer posts that I will put up today and tomorrow, but first I wanted to bring something to everyones attention. I saw, yet again, a very sad report on Fox News this morning. Apparently there are two humpback whales stranded in the Sacramento River in Central California. They have been there for a few days, and officials have tried, so far in vain, to drive them back to the sea from whence they came. Now stay with me here, as everyone knows, the Sacramento River drains into what body of water? That's correct, it drains into San Francisco Bay. There is a certain city located on the South Eastern edge of San Francisco Bay. That city? Alameda. And located in Alameda? Nuclear wessels.
Two humpback whales, San Francisco Bay, nuclear wessels, come on people, it's not tin-foil hat territory here. I hereby accuse Adm. James Tiberius Kirk of Starfleet for the plight of the two whales so sadly shown on Fox News. I demand a full Congressional investigation into the matter. Are these two whales George and Gracie, returned from the future after their work was done? Or was this a second attempt by Kirk to save the future once again from the evil 'Whale Probe of Doom.?" If this is George and Gracie, I think it is absolutely shameful that they would so callously be cast back into the dangers of today's whale-hunting environment. If they are two different whales, what then? I think the only logical explanation would be a sloppy beam-up attempt by that Scottish lush Scottie. His ham-handed typing on the transporter control panel only clipped the whales, resulting in the mysterious injuries described on Fox News.
So please, contact your Congressman and Senators. Demand a full inquiry into this egregious affair. And demand that justice finally be delivered onto Admiral Kirk.