Friday, June 16, 2006

Our Own Extremists

This video is fifty different kinds of awesome.

The Left and the Right need to come together and realize that the enemy are people like crazy-satan-eyed-lady. Anyone can plainly see that this woman is dangerous; possibly supernaturally so. Notice the way she sort of morphs into a man throughout the course of the "interview."

Mad props to Julie Banderas in this clip, who dresses down satan-eyes most hilariously.

Both women come off as screaming at one another, but that's why it's Info-tainment!

Satan-eyes makes a loony free-speecher like me want to duct tape her mouth.

My favorite quotes?

***

Satan-eyes: They are being cut off by the same raging, mad God that's cutting off the children of America.

Banderas: Mad God. Okay....

Satan-eyes: Raging! Raging mad God!

***

Satan-eyes: You think "gay pride," bimbo.

Banderas: Okay. Okay. You are an abomination.

***

Banderas: You are the devil.

***

Banderas: You are preaching absolute "B." And you know the final letter.

Okay, that last one's pretty lame. But I'd argue that it's so lame as to achieve a sort of brilliance.

[CENSORED] Is A Hyporitical [CENSORED]

I promised myself I wouldn't talk about her anymore.

So I won't mention her name. Or talk about her stupid book. I'll just point this out:

For someone so hell-bent on portraying Liberals as "the opposition party to God," she doesn't seem to spend much time with the Big Man.

Out of Curiosity

I was reading an interview with Hugh Hewitt of Peter Beinart, who is trying to save the proverbial soul of the Democratic Party. In any case, Hugh asked this:

HH: Assume that diplomacy fails, and assume that sanctions are tried and fail, and assume as well that the president, whether it's this president or his successor, believe on the absolute assurance of intelligence here and abroad that Iran is about to acquire nuclear weapons. Ought military force be used to interfere with and impede that acquisition?

I won't give you Peter's answer, although if you could conceivably look it up. But that is my question to the overwhelmingly liberal crowd here at Codemorse. This isn't a challenge, like, why don't you fight in Iraq, or something similarly inane. This is really just out of curiosity. Caveats are obviously allowed, otherwise the question is somewhat unfair.

Your thoughts?

Friday Filmatist Roundup! Giddyup!

It's been a slow day or two, newswise. Not that there aren't stories worth reading; just that I've felt sort of uninspired to write about them.

Here's a collection of interesting movie tidbits, from all around the WWW.

Spielberg explores alternate dimensions for a future project.

Jackass gets a sequel; a sequel I will actually see in a movie theater, as the first one made me shoot soda out of my nose.

Let your inner geek loose and mourn the death of ILM's physical effects unit.

All these apocalyptic types raving about the coming End Of Days keep forgetting to mention zombies. Don't zombies deserve some love? What's honestly more frightening? A plague of locusts? Or a plague of motherfuckin' zombies?

The long-in-demand Missy Elliot biopic is underway. Thank the gods. If there's a musical personality whose life I want to watch dramatized, it's Missy Elliot. Presumably, the big-budget Kajagoogoo film starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman will follow swiftly.

In a move as appropriate as it is deeply ironic, the Dukes of Hazzard sequel will be direct-to-video. The film will apparently be a prequel, wherein we will learn how the Duke boys got the General Lee, learned to shoot flaming arrows, fight in bars and woo loose southern women. It will be called Hazzard Begins.

Waste time with script reviews of Transformers and Iron Man.

Caption Me


It was only after Andy began to scream that Codemorse realized he'd once again forgotten to remove his beard of Atomic Albino Bees.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Our Nero-ian Senate - Fiddling While Flags Burn

Let's talk about flag burning.

I really wish we didn't have to - there are about eight zillion things that qualify as "more important" in the grand scheme of things. But apparently, we do have to talk about it, because the U.S. Senate is hypothetically one vote short of banning flag burning:

Supporters of a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to outlaw flag burning have their best chance ever to win Senate approval later this month....The Senate is slated to try again in the next two weeks -- right after Flag Day today and just in time for July 4 -- and the margin is expected to be razor-thin.

Based on public pledges and prior votes on the issue, 34 senators are expected to oppose the amendment and 66 -- mostly Republicans -- are expected to back it. That would put the amendment within one vote of winning the two-thirds majority of senators, if all 100 participate....

The proposal would add a sentence to the Constitution: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."


First thing's first: This isn't a flag burning amendment. It's a flag "desecration" amendment.

There's a significant difference between the physical act of burning a flag, and the far more vaguely-stated physical desecration of said-flag. What constitutes desecration? Burning it, assumedly. But what about writing on it? Or wearing it as a ridiculous poncho?


God, Kid Rock. You're a RAWK STAR, for pete's sake. Get a decent wardrobe.

Brief fashion disgression aside, the point's a serious and valid one. What counts as desecration? Who decides? Congress, apparently.

Secondly, but even more importantly, is there a simpler, purer expression of political disagreement than the "desecration" of your nation's flag?* And is the elimination of that expression a significant curtailment of your First Amendment rights?**

*Why, no. No, there isn't.

**Why yes, yes it is.

Lastly, is this how we want to be spending our (apparently never-ending supply of) money? On debating and passing bills that arguably do absolutely jack - with a side order of shit - for the people of this country? Who does this bill help? Whose life does it better? Who will wake up, the morning after this bill is passed, and realize a significant difference in the way their life is lived?

No one, as far as i can tell. Sure, blowhards like Debbie Schlussel may feel a certain, glowing, pride that their fellow Americans can no longer express their dissent through a symbolic gesture, but isn't that sort of an...insane reason to alter the Constitution?

With luck, this amendment, if passed, will pass into the sort of unused obscurity shared by U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8(d):

The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.

Tell that to the NASCAR crowd. As I type this, I'm wearing a U.S. Soccer hat which clearly takes liberties with the flag. I expect the FBI will be breaking my door down any minute. Heh.

Hey...who're you?!

Let go! OWWWW! Why're you...HEY! My HAT! Give it back!

(all links and materials compliments of DebbieSchlussel.com which, to no one's surprise, heartily supports the flag "burning" amendment. Because too much freedom makes the peanut gallery nervous.)

Fresh-Baked Nostalgia - Piping Hot




Advertising at it's weirdest.


Is this not the funniest photo you've seen yet today?


Madballs. Remember these things?

Don't ask me why I seek this stuff out at all hours of the night.

What can I say? Late night television gets boring.

Click HERE to instantaneously become eight years old again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

iDon't Get It

UPDATE!

Codemorse would like to extend a hearty welcome to the good folks at Grey Advertising, who've been rather interested in our iDon't article, posted below. Assumedly, they're the ones behind this totally dudical advertising campaign.

If you live in NYC, you've seen them. They're plastered to walls all over the city.




Get it? If you own an iPod, you're a "sheep."

Baah.

Here's another:



Rise up, brothers and sisters! Throw off the shackles of the oppressive, bourgeoisie marketers who lie and tell you that you must own an iPod to be COOL! Rise up! Rise up and...follow like sheep to buy iDon'ts product instead!

Yes, as you'd expect, iDon't is a campaign designed, not to foster individuality and consumer choice, but to get you to be their sheep - not Apple's.

Greetings fellow radical. And welcome to iDon’t.com. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be hosting the iDon’t news page. Nothing fancy. A few opinions here, a few links there-maybe a few guest writers along the way. I promise to keep it light. But first off you probably want to know what the hell this is all about, right? So here’s the deal.


This site and the iDon’t campaign (check out our cool posters above) are the creation of several of us renegades behind the new Sansa player, from SanDisk. And this is our playful way of saying “Enough!” Yeah, we’re just fed up with the ever-expanding flock of iSheep swarming through our cities. You’ve seen them. They’re everywhere. Every bus, train and city sidewalk is a mass of white headphones. Blindly they’ve bought into the hype without ever realizing there are other mp3 players out there.


The faux-"hip" writing...the modest claims of being "nothing fancy" despite being a major marketing push...the urging buyers to stop being sheep and start being...well...sheep...it's enough to make one's head explode from an excess of iRony.

iDon'ts' campaign is transparent Madison Avenue pap - the sound of a fourty-year old trying to maintain his former cool with badly-chosen ponytails, trophy wives and Hootie and the Blowfish albums.

What's so rebellious or daring about tossing Marketing Stones at the current King of the Ring? Especially when what that marketing amounts to is a baldfaced, hypocritical call for individuality through mass consumption?



Media (Weather) Bias

Is it just me, or does it appear that the media (liberal and conservative alike) we're just praying that Alberto would be another killer hurricane? Please tell me that I'm not the only one who could really care less about the hurricanes. Maybe it's because I don't live in the Gulf of Mexico, but still....I think the media hurricane fetish is tired.

Convert Or Be Destroyed

UPDATE!
Scott points us to this post on the Left Behind video game. It's written from the POV of a faithful Christian, and it's interesting to see that its focus is on the commercialization (sp?) of a sacred belief. Scott touches on this as well in the comments section. This would seem to confirm to me that the target audience for this thing isn't moderate Christians.

Regular readers of Codemorse know that I harbor something close to disgust at the popular Left Behind series. As an admirer of Christ, and as a newly-minted proponent of the sort of theology espoused by philosophers like Rudolf Otto (big ups to Scott for pointing me toward The Idea Of The Holy, a fascinating and wonderful book), I find the Left Behind books to be disturbing, frightening things.

Mostly, this is because of the book's central philosophy: those who do not convert to evangelical Christianity are doomed to death in a holocaust brought by God. The "infidels" are murdered, starved, possessed, and generally obilterated in the name of God's "love." Does that sound familiar to anyone? Is it, perhaps, reminiscent of radical Islamist theology?*

Further backing up my view of Dominonist theology as essentially harmful is the news of a new Christian videogame, based off of the Left Behind novels:

Left Behind: Eternal Forces simulates armed conflict in an apocalyptic New York City setting evocative of 9/11 between an armed paramilitary Christian organization known as the Tribulation Force and the forces of the Anti-Christ known as the Global Community Peacekeepers, who are deliberately reminiscent of the United Nations Peacekeepers....

....Gameplay incidents such as the execution style shooting of unarmed Peacekeeper nurses and civilians who fail to convert[
citation needed], indicating they have sided with the Anti-Christ in the book series worldview.....Arguments that Left Behind: Eternal Forces refrains from depicting cop-killing, criminal behavior, or "radical extremists killing in the name of God" are debateable in light of the fact that Global Community Peacekeepers are the police force of the book series world, the Tribulation Force is engaging in criminal behaviors within the context of the game, and they appear to be killing in the name of God considering they declare "Praise the Lord!" in the midst of their militaristic actions....

....Some
Christian speakers have called the multiplayer feature, allowing gamers to play from the perspective of the Anti-Christ's forces, into question. As Global Community Peacekeepers, players are able to play as demons that consume Tribulation Force units. Detractors have suggested this feature takes away from the stated inspirational goal of Left Behind Games by making the forces seem equally matched or encouraging violent, antichristian roleplay.

Here's the game description as given by the Left Behind Games official site:

Wage a war of apocalyptic proportions in LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces - a real-time strategy game based upon the best-selling LEFT BEHIND book series....Conduct physical & spiritual warfare : using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world. Enjoy a robust single player experience across dozens of New York City maps in Story Mode –fighting in China Town , SoHo , Uptown and more!

Gosh, that doesn't sound like radical Islam at all.


*This is a rhetorical question.

Why They Hate Us

This war against "terror" will not, and cannot, end so long as this behavior continues:

"The U.S. military has concluded its investigation into a video that appeared to show private security contractors shooting at civilian vehicles on highways in Iraq and determined that no one involved will be charged with a crime, a military spokesman in Baghdad said. The investigation, which officials have not released publicly, began after the video was posted on an Internet site purportedly run by employees of Aegis Defense Services, a London-based firm with a $293 million U.S. government security contract."


You can view the video HERE - and you should. It doesn't simply "appear" as though private contractors shot at civilians. They shot at civilians. Have we reached the point where what we see with our own eyes is suspect until some Authority confirms it?

Apparently so.

It's in moments like this where I can truly, honestly understand why an average citizen of the globe might hate the United States. I'll never understand the sort of man or woman who'd kill to make their point, and I do not in any way endorse terrorism. But frankly, if I were an Iraqi civilian, I'd hate the shit out of the U.S. for this.

Horrible things happen in war. They're inevitable. But shirking responsibility is not inevitable. Private security firms need to be held to the same standard of accountability as our troops - otherwise, their use is a transparent attempt to get around what few rules of combat conduct we still hold.

If we're going to take the side of righteousness in a battle of ideologies, we have to be willing to be accountable for our mistakes. To attempt a whitewash of this sort is to figuratively spit in the faces of the people we're purportedly helping.

Undiscovered Stars

Harry Groener first knocked my socks clean off on Broadway. When I sat down - iced tea in hand and insomnia settled firmly over me - to write a small appreciation for this arguably underappreciated actor, I had no idea he'd been on Broadway at all - let alone that he'd dazzled me with the talent of his performance in "Crazy For You." That immediately qualifies Groener to be the first recipient of Codemorse's Undiscovered Stars award.

Harry Groener belongs to that most hallowed category of thespian: The "Character Actor." The "Hey, it's that guy" guy. The sort of fellow who's kicked around in film and television for decades - solid, dependable, and never quite hitting that next level. The Movie Star level.

But Groener's a talent that'll live on for decades to come, despite his lack of notoriety. He's been in everything - and that's not much of an exaggeration. He's done stints on Remington Steele, St. Elsewhere, Matlock, Star Trek, Quantum Leap, Law and Order, Home Improvement, Mad About You, Just Shoot Me, Boston Public, King of the Hill, The Drew Carey Show, Malcolm in the Middle, The West Wing, Monk, and The Bernie Mac Show.

That's just television. He's also popped into film from time to time, in Road to Perdition, About Schmidt, Amistad, and that most risible of Robin Williams films, Patch Adams.

But people probably know him best as Mayor Richard Wilkins III, arguably the cleverest villian who isn't named Angelus to have come out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.




His performance on that show was, by turns, hysterically funny and deeply disturbing. Somehow, Groener turned a man with a Ward Cleaverish disposition into someone genuinely frightening.

Despite the talent growing clearly from his ears, Groener continues to be a relative Hollywood non-entity. That's a shame. Still, one can't feel too terribly for a man who's stepped in to fill Tim Curry's monumental shoes as King Arthur in Broadway's "Spamalot." On top of Groener's skills in TV and film, he's an accomplished stage actor - earning Tony nominations for "Crazy For You," "Cats," and "Oklahoma." Given that pedigree, I'm puzzled as to why Joss Whedon couldn't figure out a way to slip Groener's Mayor back into Buffy for the musical episode.

Hollywood, if you're listening, give this man more work. Good work. Showy, big-time, blockbuster work.

Harry Groener, we salute you.

Monday, June 12, 2006

War of Ideology

One of the more prescient points made by the great Codemorse was a recent point that the War on Terror is really a battle of ideas (I'm paraphrasing, of course). In that, we could not agree more.

How to best win a battle of ideology seems to at least need to start with the recognition that we're in a battle. We're not there yet, so says Mark Steyn.

USA!


11.55 am today - The US plays the Czech Republic.

Set your Tivos, and cheer on America as the world salivates in prospect of our failure.

Let's go, Gooch!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Superman Soars For Snippy, Snooty, Sometimes-Snotty Scribe

I am not a fan of Jeffrey Wells. Wells, a film critic and professional curmudgeon, has a habit of routinely using his reviews to destroy perfectly effective big-budget films on specious grounds.

He's an annoyingly over-analytical and nigh-prissy presence, and as a rule, I tend to take his reviews with a truckload of salt.

So when Wells not only likes, but actually seems to dig Superman Returns, it's both exciting and worrisome to me. On the one hand, if the movie's good enough to win over this guy, it's got to be pretty good, right? On the other hand, since I agree with Wells about as often as a Priest and a Rabbi come to theological common ground, I have to wonder if this means that Superman Returns will be some sort of stilted, art-house bore.

Still, the review's undeniably exciting, and surprisingly well-written:

Superman Returns feels as if Singer and his team loaded up the finest 2006 CG technology in a big suitcase and time-tripped back to 1982 and '83 in order to make the Superman III that should have happened (instead of the Richard Pryor version that did).

And yet Singer has made a much better film than part I or part II --craftier, a bit dryer, more fully rendered, less comic book-y, and more deeply felt.

Singer makes movies about gifted outcasts, and this is easily his saddest and most personal to date -- not just about a superhero who's forced to live in his own realm and walks around with a broken heart, but one who's more or less doomed to stay that way. The poor guy (Routh) is good and gentle, simple but generous of heart...and yet he's stuck in that blue suit and wine-red cape forever. And either you get the sadness of that situation or you don't.


The rest of the review is available on Wells' site, and it's worth your time. The news that Superman will be playing on Imax 3-D - with 20 minutes of the film in 3-D - should make every arrested adolescent in this country do backflips.