Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In Other News

Coming in a fortnight late, is this announcement. 
That hand on the bottom is mine, the one on top is the beautiful woman I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. 
Your prayers are appreciated. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: Super 8

JJ Abrams has crafted a stellar piece of cinema with Super 8. (Trailer) To summarize loosely, it is about a group of kids making a movie over the summer. By virtue of filming next to a train as it wrecks, they become involved in a complex fabric of the Air Force, their fathers, and a town going it pieces through unexplained events.
That is a lousy summary. But only because this movie is so good I am choosing to not spoil any parts. As most of you know, the Super 8 part of the title is in reference to the film the children are using, and it is a wonderfully continuous component of the story. I am to young to have ever used a Super 8 film myself, but I know from seeing old videos that they do have a charm of their own.
A quiet and square charm, but a charm nonetheless.

In a summer movie season full of the sound and the fireworks of American (and now outsourced) special effects, Super 8 rings in with a deeply human story. Told through the eyes of a handful of children, it takes a firm hold on your attention and your  heart and refuses to let go. Abrams spins complex weave of mystery and learning, despair and delight, anticipation with the unexpected. Every character in the film was a real person, to the point where I often forgot I was watching actors on a screen. Remarkable, and a testament to Abram's skill as a director that a movie can be carried so well by such an array of young actors.

It is a wonderful movie. 7/10

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Review: Green Lantern

The Trailer should have been the warning I needed. 

Seeing this movie was a strange and disconcerting experience. The strange was that I felt like I had seen it before. The disconcerting part was that I had not seen it before. 
Green Lantern, directed by Martin Campbell, and 'played' by Ryan Reynolds (Of chick flick fame) is little more then an amalgamation of checks on a sub par super-hero movie check list. 

  • Struggling beginnings? Check.
  • Nonsensical new powers? Check.
  • Nonsensical development of a parallel villain? Check.
  • Rapid acceptance of new status quo? Check.
  • Vapid and needless drama with a female? Check.
  • Large battle at the end? Check.
  • Attempt at a moral message? Check.

Wrapped around this entire checklist is a series of events devised by twisted minds to fracture the suspension of disbelief held by all members in the audience. Lines like 'Now, I'm going to take off my pants and fly some planes' have no helpful place. Pretending like the faults of the hero and the villain are both the results of their lousy fathers does nothing to drive a derelict plot onward.

Layer on some pretty imaginative graphics, horrendous screen writing, and frost the cake with world ending alien threats. Now you have Green Lantern, and I will go to my grave struggling to understand how a comic book superhero movie that is early 90's bad came out in 2011.

4/10, with the caveat that it deserves a 3/10, but only because it did not offend me it can struggle to claim it's 4. But I want my 2 hours back. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Harsh Reality of Afganistan

H/t Cato

As my President preens in front of this nation to show his supposed dove feathers, please realize the reality of our troop situation in Afganistan over the past decade.

This stunt is little more then a vulture having the feathers of road kill stuck in its feathers, the true color still remains.

A simple return to the peak of Bush years level of military personnel would extract 65,000 from the theatre. This Obama withdrawal is less then half of that, and it leaves far too many occupational forces for it to be considered a change in US policy. We are not withdrawing, we are setting up yet another nation that will only exist so long as the US, in the name of 'liberty' occupies foreign soil.

Much like the withdrawal from Iraq, this administration has once again made the Oceania of Mr. Orewell's creation proud.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just a Minute

60 New Blogs created every minute?

Sadly for the rest, the best one is what you are reading right now.  (H/t Carpe Diem)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The New American Dreamism

President's Weekly Address, June 11 2011

Ladies and Gentleman, the New American Dream! No longer is it becoming rich through hard work and good ideas, it is now to be scraping through life one check at a time.

"In the end, the folks I hear from in letters or meet when I travel across the country – they aren’t asking for much. They’re just looking for a job that covers their bills. They’re just looking for a little financial security. They want to know that if they work hard and live within their means, everything will be all right. They’ll be able to get ahead, and give their kids a better life. That’s the dream each of us has for ourselves and our families. And so long as I have the privilege of serving as President, I’ll keep fighting to put that dream within reach for all Americans. Have a great weekend, everybody."

I wish we still had more of the hope and less of this change. A far cry indeed from the City on the Hill Mr. President.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Greek Credit

BBC News: "A top credit agency has cut Greece's rating, making it the least credit-worthy nation out of 131 countries it monitors.

The Greek government said the downgrade by Standard & Poor's - from B to CCC - ignored its efforts to secure funding. "

It is safe to say that if you are looking to secure funding, you deserve to have your national credit level cut.
If the greeks were American, they would just try and print their way out of this by creating new money out of thin air. Its a marvelous trick of central bankers and tyrannts everywhere. Inflationary monetary creation looks like it is working until it does not, then it bursts like an Icelandic volcano.

I'm going to go buy some yogurt, I like this idea of throwing it as a protest. Protest for less government spending, rather then more of it. These Greek protesters are trying to further ruin their country.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Reviving the Economy, EPA Style

"The company, one of the country’s largest electric utilities, estimated that it will cost between $6 billion and $8 billion in capital investments over the next decade to comply with the regulations in their current form.

The costs of complying with the regulations will result in an increase in electricity prices of 10 to 35 percent and cost 600 jobs, AEP said.

In total, AEP estimated it will have to close five coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014. Six additional plants would see major changes, including retiring some generating units, retrofitting equipment and switching to natural gas."

At least we are not going german-crazy and closing every nuclear power plant in operation. On this path lies all manner of sustainable development. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Bees. Save the Bees.


We need help to Remove BEES - come over and get them out house
Bees are under siding - 8 Ft tall from ground - and probably 3 ft away from wall -

Will help with any assistance - as long as you take them all

location near by I20 and GREAT Shout West
REPLY with phone number - so we can discuss details - THANK YOU - "

"bee hive in siding/roof of carriage house in Fairmount. I thought someone came and got the hive, the last time I posted this, but it was the neighbors trying to kill them
call 817-247-0919 "

Further Updates may follow

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Review: X-Men First Class

The X-men franchise has been a mixed bag at the movies. Financially they have done more then paid the dues. To most audiences they have been solid additions to the expanding array of superhero movies. To X-men fans they have been a bittersweet creation. Movies redefine a franchise in the eye of the public and alter the story. Most injuriously to X-Men fans has been the overwhelming focus on Wolverine (played expertly by Hugh Jackman) to the detriment of almost all other characters, not the least of which was Prof. X and Magneto. The interplay between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr is one of the more enduring story lines in fiction. Xavier can read minds, Magneto can block his mind. Magneto controls the metal surrounding him at will, Xavier can control and aide those surrounding him. Magneto seeks to dominate mankind with those who are mutant, Xavier seeks to have equal station with those he lives amongst.

Fortunately there is a rich legacy of stories and characters to draw into these movies. I feel this X-Men: First class movie finally captures what an X-Men movie can be. The struggle for each individual to determine who they want to become. The petty pretenses of a government attempting to govern that which is ungovernable. The diverse interactions between characters. The conflicts of motivations finding its penultimate display in the chess matches on the board of nations between Xavier and Magneto. 

This movie has it all, and its marvelous. At this point I cannot summon to mind more then 3 movies of this genre I enjoyed as much, or more. (Fantastic Four(I loved it, so deal with it), Ironman, and The Dark Knight) The camera work did an excellent job mimicking the style of a comic book, even going so far as to have the screen split into separate, defined panels as various characters undertook different actions. Please make no mistake, this is not a movie for kids, as the director felt the need to push his PG-13 rating to the brink through the use of a well timed Wolverine cameo, as well as the persistent use of female skin to direct attention on the screen. But it never goes beyond that, which I was pleased to find by the end of the movie. 

This blogger is rambling.This movie does not.

7 of 10, I'll netflix the Blu-Ray for sure. 

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Our first realization of how bad the situation was came early Saturday morning, we were headed into Joplin and planned on picking up a bag of ice at the sonic on Main street. We follow the directions to the sonic, only to realize as we come in sight of it that it was on the edge of the twister. Driving through the destruction was surreal, I'm still not sure I have my mind wrapped around just how much is out of place, even a week after the event.

We cleared up the yards of 2 individuals on Saturday, and meet someone who set us up with lodging at a Christian youth camp not far out of town. Sunday we came back into Joplin early, and found a husband and wife just returning to their house for the first time after the storm. The center hallway of the home was the only portion of the structure still standing, and that was where they had stayed with their dogs to ride out the storm. We hauled what was remaining of their clothing from the wreckage, and with the assistance of a bulldozer someone else was helping with, recovered the gentleman's 1 of handmade cabinets and his retirement watch, as well as their daughter's wedding dress. This may have been our most effective assistance, on a person to person level. That afternoon we hauled relief supplies to various locations, and then found more yard clearing to help with. Fun parts of the day included repairing a head-to-nail collision and making one of my crew recover from heat exhaustion.

Leaving town on Monday, at first glance it looked as if nothing had changed across town. But as we got through the overwhelming scope of the disaster and began to realize the details of the situation, it was clear that much had changed. The enormous number of relief volunteers, the churches, the homeowners and anyone lending a hand had started to chip away at what the storm left.
The amount of work remaining is mindboggling in its scope. Most of the damaged area will require a clean sweep with a bull dozer before the reconstruction even begins. But Rome was not built in a day, and I this American town will not be denied.