Thursday, May 28, 2009

Credit Card Legislation of Doom passes Senate

The Credit Card Responsibility and Disclosure Act (HR 627) was gleefully passed by 90% of the senate last Tuesday. When this bill first cropped up, your faithful blogger decried it here.

90 United States Senators voted to pass this legislation.

Reminds me of a quote from that venerable bastion of intellectual dialogue, Star Wars. "So this is how liberty vanishes. To thunderous applause."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Friday, I discovered I had Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech on my ipod, courtesy some podcasting shenanigans. I listened to it while i was at work. And then again. And then again. And then again. I've never heard the full length and breadth of this speech, and it is truly oratory for the ages.

But where any politician can have oratorical skills to marvel at, there is something much more potent in this glimpse of the past. There is a strength of character, an ironclad assurance of the justice of the cause of freedom, and the persist, unfaltering appeal for this nation, for these United States of America to live up to its promises to its Citizens.

Yes, its long, but it doesn't actually start until 1 minute in.

The saddest part about this whole event? that it was necessary, that it was required for hundreds of thousands of Americans to gather at once to cause a change in freedoms.

The next saddest part?
How far the decedents of this movement have fallen since.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Review: Terminator Salvation

In my continued efforts to turn this into a movie review site, here's my thoughts on Terminator Salvation.

Having only recently watched the original 2 terminators (Terminator & T2-Judgment Day), its subsequent tag-along T3-Rise of the Machines, I am pretty fresh on my terminator films. As a rough sketch of the past films, Robots take over earth, and send robots back to prevent a man, John Conor, from being born. The second and third films is about the humans trying to prevent the creation of a Sentient computer system, Skynet. They win once, Skynet wins in T3 and nukes all of mankind to assure its survival.

Salvation picks up several years after 'Judgment Day/Apocalypse', and the Humans have formed a resistance to fight for their survival. John Conor is seen as a prophet of sorts, the man destined to wrest control of earth from Skynet and return it to mankind. But something new is happening, Skynet is capturing humans to turn them into the Robots, and in turn infiltrate and destroy the Resistance. The story revolves around two characters, John Conor and Marcos. Marcos is an artificial creation, not human but with the firm belief that he is, in fact, a human.

With an avalanche of action, bedazzling special effects that are inextricable from reality, an A-List lead actor, and a solid Science Fiction foundation, this film was poised to be one of the best science fiction films in years. It even gets many little things right, be it camera angles, story development, or the Unix programming used for the opening credits. However, it fails at one crucial point.

The driving force behind humanities struggle for survival, the simple fact that makes mankind different from the machines we created, is emotions. The heart, the will to survive, the sacrifice that man can make even when logical algorithms would dictate it impossible, this is what separates the Man from the Machine. Yet Christian Bale's character seldom shows emotion, even in moments despair, wrath, acceptance, love, or joy. Much like Batman: The Dark Knight, Bale is a chalkboard that refuses to be drawn upon, a blank slate of darkness that is hard, cold, and immovable. Even the robotic creation Marcos has more emotion.

Still, its an enjoyable ride. No star Trek, and certainly better then Wolverine, but much less then it could have been.

5/10, I won't be buying the DVD

Thursday, May 21, 2009


The premise of Taken is quite simple. Dad is CIA, and divorced without custody of his daughter, who he has to watch grow up from a distance with only limited involvement. When Kim turns 17, she goes on a trip to Paris with a friend of hers, who has lied about several aspects of their prospective trip. They are both kidnapped on the first day, and shuffled into a large scale prostitution ring.
Dad goes to get his daughter back. In glorious, righteous, unpretentious fashion, he goes and gets his daughter back. The good guy is a good guy, the evil is evil, and the good guy win.

This is a one man show, with Liam Neeson turning in a wonderful performance. Acting that doesn't look like acting. The camera work is generally good, a step back from the tumultuous work of the recent Bond and Bourne movies.

7/10, I'll buy the DVD when its cheaper.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tyranny's Next Target: Cheerios

WCBSTV: "According to a letter from the FDA General Mills' advertising violates the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The agency said claims that Cheerios ingredients can lower cholesterol within a certain amount of time, all while providing cancer-fighting and heart-healthy benefits, essentially makes Cheerios "a drug" by their definition. And no drug in this country can be legally marketed without an approved new drug application.
The FDA gave General Mills 15 days to explain how it will correct the statements on Cheerios boxes."

I like Honey Bunches of Oats, but this is absurd. How can a breakfast cereal that has been sold for decades and decades be a drug?

When the state controls frivolous aspects of society, that's how. I can not blame Obama himself for this, only the years heaped upon the years of fascist bureaucracy toiling away to prove it's own importance.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Review: Star Trek

Having never seen any Star Trek movies, and my experience with any of the TV shows being limited to but a handful of random episodes, I did not know what to expect going into this movie.

What I saw was an incredible rush of Science Fiction, Space Opera, and quality action film. Woven throughout with wit and emotional firepower, it is a spectacular movie. Even when the camera work was irritating, the movie itself has the power to sweep you along into it's story, one both epic in scope and yet, personally endearing at the same time.

James T. Kirk is born into this universe as his Father captains a ship to his death, and with that over his head, the boy grows into a young man who refuses to loose. He joins Star Fleet, trains with his comrades, and then is thrown into the mix of things immediately. If Kirk is the star, Spock is his binary twin, in orbit around each other. Where Kirk relies upon the emotions and sheer will power of man, the Half-Human/Half-Vulcan Spock attempts to rely solely upon logic and rational decisions. This is what really propels the movie, and does so like a well tuned warp drive.

Incidentally, the special effects were nothing short of spectacular in every sense. Space, Space ships, land cruisers, aliens, planetary destruction... all put together with such astonishingly clarity it's difficult to comprehend without seeing. Now I want to see it all over again on digital projector.

7/10, I'm buying the DVD.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Pork Flu

Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I attended the midnight showing of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It was no Ironman, but its a solid contender as a summer movie.

Earlier in this decade, a trilogy was created out of the Marvel Comic book series, the X-Men. The basic premise is that parts of humanity are evolving beyond normal men, and how they deal with their powers and how mankind deals with them.

Logan (To be Wolverine) heals, ridiculously amazingly fast.
Victor (To be Sabertooth) heals, ridiculously amazingly fast.
They are bothers. For over a century, they fight for the US in various wars, only to develop a problem with authority and be tucked away into secret weapon programs. From there, a cornucopia of plot lines emerge, culminating in a fantastic, nuclear-reactor-destroying fight on Three Mile Island, and ultimately Wolverine having no memory of anything, and restarting his life as a enraged weapon of incredible destruction,

Yes, that's a big jump. No, its not unwarranted.
That's how this movie is, a marvelously enjoyable bullet train of comic book sound and fury, tied together with the spit and bailing wire of the marvel universe.

It's special effects are iffy, much of the action is ill paced, and characters don't always behave in believable ways. But where it matters most, the Hugh Jackson's Wolverine rings true once again, as does his love of the girl (name? :/) and his brother Sabertooth.

It's also remarkably clean. No sex, innuendo, drugs, gratuitous blood, and only a spattering of coarse language throughout.

I liked it well enough, 4/10, and I'll probably get the DVD just to round out my collection.