Saturday, March 12, 2005

MirrorMask

http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=19613

Over at the Ain't It Cool News, "Moriarty"'s got a review of "Mirrormask" up.

Mirrormask is a film, a collaboration between Neil Gaiman, award winning and best selling author, and Dave McKean, celebrated graphic artist and Sandman cover artist.

It's being produced by the Henson company, and is being touted as a quasi-sequel to Labrinth.

Being a fan of Gaiman and McKean's work, and having immense respect for Jim Henson and the advances in technology, film technique and storytelling that he pioneered, I'm really looking forward to seeing this one.

Dr. Dobson's Disciple - A Comedy

Funniest Thing I've read today:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/3/11/162512/852

Dr. Dobson, the man who recently protested something vague and unclear about a tolerence video for children, is a strange man. You probably remember the whole "Is Spongebob Gay???" ridiculousness of a month or two ago. Well, Dobson's newest morality policeman, Todd, began keeping a diary of questionable content in children's programming.

"Jan 30th. After a week of preparations, I sat down to
watch a few episodes of
Sesame Street....Sexual content is
unclear. I think Cookie Monster is probably pretty hot. The Count is really
sophisticated, with that accent, I wonder if small children are really prepared
to resist his obvious hotness."

"And yet, if we do not let our children watch the Cliffords, or Barneys, how will we prepare them for the stylized robot sex of "Gundam Seed" or the shocking paganism of a Totoro? Truly, we are surrounded by the forces of evil."

It is funny, because it is sad.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Know Your Government


"A Congressional Report on the Unprecedented Erosion of the Democratic Process in the 108th Congress"
Want some information on why, exactly, us progressive, democratic types have our panties in a bunch over the current political landscape?
Look no further than Nancy Pelosi's exhaustive report on the efforts of House Republicans to streamline the democratic process into something imperial and un-American.

Poodle In Peril: Film At Eleven!

Wow. Just, wow.

The lead story on the 11 o'clock news tonight?

"Snoopy," a poodle, was loose today on the Major Deegan expressway, here in NYC.

Apparently, a news chopper was following Snoopy's "Harrowing journey" for a half an hour. Several times, Snoopy came dangerously close to an early demise, and each time, CBS was there to capture the moment for its viewers.

Luckily, Snoopy is going to be alright. I know this, because a reporter was "live on the scene" at the hospital where Snoopy's being taken care of. They interviewed the Doctor in charge of Snoopy's case, and she reassured concerned viewers who've been calling from as far as California, that the poodle is going to be A-Ok.

I'm at a loss for words. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Still. This is fucking news?

There was a good 2 minutes of footage (with helpful, dramatic narration) of "near-misses," where Snoopy comes this close to joining Burt Reynolds and Dom Delouise in doggy heaven. This isn't news. It's animal cruelty porn.

Hey, newsanchors - I've got a few friends sleeping down on the street tonight that could use a good rescue. They're people, even.

Come to think of it, there's some Iraqi civilians that could probably use your attention. They've been figuratively running on the Major Deegan for months now, and would sure appreciate some coverage. Maybe even a safe bed.

And while we're on the subject, how about our soldiers? They've been running right alongside those civilians. Want to see if you can get that news copter over there?

Our empathy is reserved, it seems, for animals.

II: Thou Shalt Not Make Unto Thee Any Graven Image

Well, much as I tend to dislike Antonin Scalia's reasoning, I do admire the unpredicability of his attacks.

On AG Greg Abbott's argument that the ten commandments have become more of a secular symbol for the rule of law, rather than Judeo-Christian religious iconography:

"It's not a secular message. I mean, if you're watering it down to say that the only reason it's OK is it sends nothing but a secular message, I can't agree with you. I think the message it sends is that law is—and our institutions come from God. And if you don't think it conveys that message, I just think you're kidding yourself."

But just because he can't agree personally with the AG's argument, doesn't mean that it isn't a legally sound one.

Established case law does suggest that over time, symbols of previous religious significance gain secular meaning that overrides the religious component (such as swearing on the Bible to tell the truth).

Slate.com has a great article on the oral arguments in this case. Worth reading if you're interested in the subject matter, or simply in the mysterious inner-workings of the Star Chamber.

Err, Supreme Court.

http://www.slate.com/id/2114576/

http://www.slate.com/id/2114576/

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

"I Am Stupidest When I Am Being Funny"

Deadwood, my newest pop culture obsession.

Interview with creator David Milch here:
http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2005/03/05/milch/index.html

Great, hardboiled, endlessly quoteable dialogue on this show. Read about the guy that makes the word cocksucker Shakespearean.

The Religious Left?

And lo, I'm not the only Christian wondering about the co-opting of faith by the Conservatives.

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/03/10/religious_left/index.html

Again, there's a short ad before the article, but its worth the 5 second inconvenience.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Captain America Sets US Straight

I've been a lifetime comic fan because, at their best, I find them inspiring.

I don't read many monthly titles anymore, but I've been picking up Ed Brubaker's Captain America since it debuted a few months ago.

I've always loved Captain America, for many of the same reasons I love Superman. Both moral, both believers in the strength and power inherent in this country, of the force of good it can be, in the right hands.

I was pleased to see Brubaker answer France's critics in this month's issue, with a flashback that puts the lie to the charge of them being "Cheese eating surrender monkeys."

Beautiful sentiment, beautiful art. Go check it out:

http://www.cadenhead.org/workbench/gems/cap-hates-america-2.gif

Deadwood

Just started watching season one of Deadwood, HBO's western hour.

It's fucking fantastic.

Ian McShane is incredible, Tim Olyphant continues to impress me, the actor playing Sol Star is really likable, the whole thing is just great.

They swear up a blue streak in the show, and at first, its distracting, but once the rhythm of the show kicks in, its like the Godfather with spurs.

Highly recommended to anyone who's ever enjoyed a western, or Scorcese's gangster pics.

Death of an Art Form

This Friday, "Robots" is released into theaters all over the country.

It looks just like every other animated movie of the past several decades. There's a plucky, driven hero with something to prove to the world (ala Aladdin, Hercules, Hunchback, Cats Don't Dance, etc.), the "Wacky" sidekick (ala the aforementioned, along with Beauty and the Beast, the Little Mermaid, the Lion King, Ice Age, etc.), the theme of "believing in yourself"...

In other words, despite its impressive visuals, it looks pretty dull.

What's depressing is that this will probably make a whole lot of money. Not because it's particularly good, but because its computer animated. With Disney having fired its traditional hand-drawn animation department and replacing it with its own, Pixar-free, computer animation department, we're entering a dark time for fans of traditional animation.

I've always maintained that hand drawn animation is art. The illusion of life created by the human hand is magical to me, as it is to many others of my age group. Will hand drawn animation go the way of silent film and black and white pictures?

I hope not. There's a beauty to traditional techniques that is entirely missing from the cold world of CGI. There is a craft, an individuality, to hand drawn animation, that simply cannot be replicated in 1's and 0's. I'm not putting down anyone who can use these new tools to animate, but it seems short sighted and, frankly, stupid, for a company built upon lavish, artful, hand drawn films like Pinocchio, Bambi, Snow White, Peter Pan, and many others to cut themselves off from that tradition.

Monday, March 07, 2005

A Brief Pause For Station Identification

My 'first flame' returns to explain himself:

"It was less of a flame and more of a comment. You seem
to delight in reciting talking points as "gospel" and then respond to criticism
by saying the person is stupid. Frankly, that is not the sign of an
intellectual..."


"...I don't understand why you think you deserve an
internet bj for every word you type. If you're interested in being interesting
maybe you should try to have a "fresh take" on a subject rather than engaging in
puerile regurgitation."


Ordinarily, I'd consign a response to this over in comments, where it belongs. But it occurs to me that this is the perfect excuse to explain a little bit about myself, this blog, and what I'm doing here.

Firstly, I'm pretty sure I've never claimed to be an intellectual (unless, of course, this is 'intellectual' as 'liberal; but I'm fairly certain its not). One look at the contents of this blog thusfar should bear that out. Real intellectuals tend to write about Philsophy, Political and Economic Theory, History...that sort of thing. I write about Sam Elliot and The Hulk. When things bother me, politically, I'll write about it.

I've not implied that anyone on my blog is stupid. I leave that to the individual, who shows his true colors without any help from yours truly.

I've got no agenda but my own, and that's to write openly and honestly here. And if you respond to my post not with intelligence and clarity, but with venom and nonsense, then I feel no obligation to civility.

And lastly, I didn't realize "internet bj's" existed, much less that I wanted one for every word I write. But let me assure the above poster, and any others out there reading this, that I require an "internet bj" from none of you. This is a fraction of who I am, and if you enjoy what I've written, I'm glad. But this isn't my life. It's fun. Stress relief. And I don't need weird internet sex favors to justify my existence.

If my writing bothers you, don't read it.

If you're going to "comment" on my writing with insults, then I'd say you should expect the same in return.

But don't expect me to spank you. I've got to draw the line somewhere.

UPDATED! Fine Southern Gentleman

It's been pointed out to me by Oerwinde that the Senator is probably referring here to Lincoln's "invasion" of the South, and the still-present resentment that many Southerners hold over that act.

And that being the case, I really can't fault Graham for having said this. Do I agree with the South's bloody legacy of slavery? Of course not.

But our Constitution guaranteed the right of succession to any state that wishes to withdraw from the Union. Lincoln ignored this, keeping the South affixed to the North through force.

And whether or not you agree with what the South was doing, they had the right to do it.

The issues of North and South are far more complicated than slavery V. anti-slavery, and it does me no good to oversimplify things. My apologies.

Original Post:

“We don’t do Lincoln Day Dinners in South Carolina,” Senator Graham told a Lincoln Day gathering in Tennessee Saturday. “It’s nothing personal, but it takes awhile to get over things.”



Well, at least it's nothing personal. Racist, bigoted and nauseatingly 19th century, yes. Personal, no.

It's disgraceful that this sort of shit still goes on. And I can't wait for the defenders of this hick to start their toy top impressions.

I note again for the record that this is a Republican Senator.

Notice how many racist, homophobic Democrats we've got running around these days?

Yea, me neither.

Poole Updated

Lest anyone think me a knee-jerk liberal, here's an update on William Poole, Danger To Our America.

According to AICN, more info from the situation has been released, which you can read here:

http://www.splc.org/newsflash.asp?id=973&year=

"The boy's version was that he was writing a story about zombies and it was for a portfolio entry that was going to be turned in at school," Atkins said. "The teachers aren't aware of any kind of project like that. The word 'zombies' was not mentioned in the writings."
Atkins said investigators and school officials were concerned because they perceived "a direct threat" to Clark High School in the writings, although the school was
never mentioned.
"It did not mention [Clark High School or school officials] specifically but it did mention 'the high school,' and how many teachers were there and how long it would take the police to arrive once they received an emergency call," Atkins said. "It implied very strongly that it was referring to this school."


What's interesting about this, based ONLY upon the news articles I have available, is that Poole is never quoted as having written the story for English class. What Poole says is the following (from the original article, at: http://www.lex18.com/global/story.asp?s=2989614&ClientType=Printable)"

"My story is based on fiction," said Poole, who faces a second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge. "It's a fake story. I made it up. I've been working on one of my short stories, (and) the short story they found was about zombies. Yes, it did say a high school. It was about a high school over ran by zombies."


What the journalist involved with the story wrote:

"Poole told LEX 18 that the whole
incident is a big misunderstanding. He claims that what his grandparents found
in his journal and turned into police was a short story he wrote for English
class. "


So, we don't know that Poole claimed to have written this for english class. We know the reporter has characterized it that way. But did they do that because of the facts, or because they're doing another version of the same Police statement, minus the direct quote? I'm not saying Poole is innocent, though I still believe in the concept of being assumed so unless proven otherwise. He may have written something more troubling. But he may also have told his worried, ready-to-throw-him-to-the-PO-lice grandparents it was a school assignment in order to keep them off his back about his fiction.

And that the word zombie never comes up in the story? Well, I've read I Am Legend, and I don't think Matheson ever referred to them as vampires. Does that make them not vampires by process of verbal exclusion? Certainly not.

All I know about this is what I've read thus far (and you can make up your own damn mind, which is the point of a free country, by clicking back to the updated site over at aicn:http://www.aint-it-cool.com/display.cgi?id=19562), and I'm rarely right at first instance. But nothing that the cop says is particularly damning. The closest he comes is with his allusion to "plans" that William had in his journal. Plans? You mean, like the plot of a story?

I still see this as a probable case of regrettable over-zealousness in the new Age of Terror. But unlike some of the sheep, I'm smart enough not to stick to my initial snap judgment without room for new information or reevaluation (you hear that, GW?)