Saturday, December 04, 2004

Iraqi Terror Alert System

Courtesy, a bit belatedly, of this week's stellar-as-always Onion.

Click for bigness.

Friday, December 03, 2004


Barely made it to The Grove in time to catch this new release this evening. Traffic was remarkable, even by West Los Angeles standards. You'd get to the Farmer's Market faster by hiring Seth Brundle to invent a teleportation machine, rather than turning on to La Cienega after 5 p.m.

So, I missed the previews. Oh, well. I'll make it up to my OCD later.

Anyway, the movie is Closer, the latest release by Mike Nichols, who hasn't released a movie I've enjoyed since Working Girl in 1988 (and even that one I'm only so-so on). Most recently, Mix Master Mike earned acclaim for the (in my opinion) egregiously overrated Angels in America on HBO. He returns to movie theaters with this adaptation of the Patrick Marber play of the same name, the story of two couples whose infidelities overlap in intriguing and not neccessarily expected ways.

It gets better after the first sequence, I promise. For some bizarre reason, possibly ether-related, Nichols decides to open the film with a thoroughly ridiculous slow-motion shot, set to the strained ballad "The Blower's Daughter" by 2003 Shortlist winner Damien Rice. The song is one of those post-Dave Matthews breathy, whispered jobs, where the singer informs you about the depth of his emotions by over-pronouncing random words. In this case, it's "eyes," and so the phrase "I can't take my eyes off of you" becomes "I can't take my eeeeee-yieeeeee-yes off of you." Cause, you know, he's in love and stuff.

So, Jude Law's frustrated novelist Dan walks towards Natalie Portman's punkish American gal Alice on the streets of London in slow motion, Damien Rice's eeeeiiiiiieeeeeesssssss can't be taken off of her, and then she's hit by a taxi. I swear. It's sudden, ludicrous, and so surreal that you half expect Dan to take off his glasses, rub his eyes, and look back only to see everyone on the street around him looking at him like he's insane.

But, no, it's real, Alice is down for the count, and Dan rushes her to the hospital. And there, in the waiting area, they begin to conversate, and the movie gains its footing.

What transpires will feel vaguely familiar to anyone with a history of watching movies about turbulent romance. People meet, fall desperately in love, and break one another's hearts in fairly quick succession. The movie succeeds not by carving out any new terrain in the battle of the sexes, but by astutely observing its central four characters, and providing you with just enough information to invest in the drama, but not so much activity as to overwhelm quiet, individual moments.

Soon enough during the course of Dan and Alice's romance, complications arise. Dan has fallen for the feisty, recently divorced Anna (a subdued Julia Roberts), who says she wants nothing to do with him. He plays a cruel joke on her (in one of the film's few lively, comic set-pieces) that winds up bringing her in contact with Larry (Clive Owen), whom she later marries.

Over the course of the next few years, there are numerous infidelities on the part of each individual member of each couple. Nichols' sense of pacing here is immaculate; we never feel that the relationships or conversations are being "rushed," as occurs so often in films about budding romance. However, there is something of a frenetic feeling to the creation and dissolution of these affairs. Characters seem a bit hasty to fall in and out of love, and I suppose on some level, this is the point. As Alice points out near the film's opening, when a great love has ended, it's best to simply break someone's heart and leave immediately after, so as not to prolong the drama.

As happens with any theatrical adaptation, the passage of time in the film is handled rather abruptly. There were, I fear, woefully few transitional sequences added from play to film, so scenes tend to open with some obvious throwaway line to give the audience its bearings (generally of the "Alice! I haven't seen you in three long months!" variety). Sometimes it works, other times not so well.

But despite any structural deficiencies, the film moves along in surprisingly entertaining fashion, particularly considering the heavy nature of the material. Most of this must be credited to the performers, who keep an admittedly dialogue-intensive film from feeling too weighty for a Friday night at the movies. One of the great touches of Marber's script is its fluidity. We're never quite sure how to feel about anyone, and rarely get even a glimpse at the true moral character of the protagonists until the flm's final moments. (There are really no heroes or villains in a film where everyone cheats on each other). In this way, it reminds me of Neil LaBute's caustic Your Friends and Neighbors, but while that film argued that human beings are either sadists or cowards, Closer sees these qualities intertwined inside all of us.

Clive Owen, who also appeared in the stage version of Closer, appropriately gets the meatiest role, taking Dr. Larry from needy pervert to vengeful manipulator to pained everyman in a series of sequences that could very well net him recognition come awards time. Will this film finally bring him the acclaim he so desperately deserves Stateside? Let's hope.

Portman also does a nice job with a tricky role. The much-discussed nude scene no longer appears (sorry, dudes), but she's on display in stripper-wear enough to satisfy the horndogs like myself in the audience. Alice is a lovely character, cold and distant in the way of all truly desirable movie women, and Portman's well-cast in the part. I must confess to harboring some leftover animosity for her participation in the disgracefully cloying wannabe tearjerker Garden State earlier this year. I tried, successfully I think, not to let it influence my feelings on this movie.

The film ends in much the same way as it begins, with Damien moaning about his eeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiicccccccceeeeeeeeee and Natalie strutting across the street in slo-mo. It annoyed me less the second time around (possibly because I knew the Rice song would be over momentarily, and I already knew the movie was good), but it's still not the best bookend. I'm not quite sure why Nichols decided to go so over-the-top for the film's beginning and end, particularly when the film's mid-section goes for intense, brutal realism rather than spaced-out movie fantasy.

Judith Reisman, Noted Whackjob

Read this New Yorker article, and hear the story of Judith Reisman, a PhD convinced that, among other things, Alfred Kinsey died from too much jerking off.

No, seriously.

You may remember Kinsey, the subject of the new Bill Condon film, Kinsey. Please read my review of the film here, if you so desire. He was the 1940's sex researcher whose work explored the sexual behavior of American men and women with a degree of clarity, nuance and accuracy never previously imagined.

Obviously, some rigid, uptight, probably religious social conservatives would have a problem with a scientist associated with a public university (Indiana) publishing "embarrassing" information about how almost every male on Earth masturbates, or about how most men cheat on their wives, or about how everyone likes porno. But this Reisman lady takes it to a whole new level.

She thinks that Kinsey was attempting to force Americans to accept his bizarre, and ungodly, sexual standards. For example, the idea that homosexuality is okay. Bear in mind that Kinsey never endorsed any sexual practice in his work; he merely reported what people were doing behind closed doors in an academic text.

But this doesn't stop Reisman from throwing around loony accusations about him. Take the following:

In her research on gays, for instance, [Reisman] has written that the “recruitment techniques” of homosexuals rival those of the Marine Corps. The Kinsey paradigm, she holds, created the moral framework that makes such recruitment possible. Reisman also endorses a book called “The Pink Swastika,” which challenges the “myths” that gays were victimized in Nazi Germany. The Nazi Party and the Holocaust itself, she writes, were largely the creation of “the German homosexual movement.” Thanks to Alfred Kinsey, she warns, the American homosexual movement is poised to repeat those crimes. “Idealistic ‘gay youth’ groups are being formed and staffed in classrooms nationwide by recruiters too similar to those who formed the original ‘Hitler youth.’”

Meh? "The German homosexual movement"? Is that anything like the Heimlich Maneuver?

So, yeah, she's batshit insane. It's kind of amusing, actually, until you realize that just about every important person in power in our government right now totally agrees with all this crap.

Reisman is active in lobbying for abstinance-only education, the unproven and, let's face it, utterly ridiculous theory that if children are taught that sex is wrong and dirty from a young age, they won't have it until they are married. And, even then, they'll have to close their eyes and think of George W. until it's over.

And that's not all! Reisman actually testified before Congress just last week about the dangers of pornography, "saying that police should be required to collect evidence of pornography consumption at any crime scene."

Wow, what a great idea! Who needs fucking clues anyway?

Four More Years! Four More Years!

Your hero and mine, Lil' Donnie Rumsfeld, the kid, will apparently get a four-year extension to his ongoing campaign of murdering innocent brown people on the other side of the world.

Yes, that's right! Don "The Dragon" Rumsfeld has been asked by the President, the second-cutest Bush brother (sorry, but that Neil is just too dreamy), to stay on as Defense Secretary for another term. Here's an unnamed White House official:

"Secretary Rumsfeld is a proven leader during challenging times. We're fighting a different kind of war and it's crucial that we win this war."

Well, he's partially right. It can be proven that Rumsfeld was, in fact, a leader during challenging times. An utterly incompetent, vaguely sinister, but a leader nonetheless. And, really, the fact that he's merely incompetent and vageuyl sinister makes him one of the more promising members of the Bush Administration.

Michael and Me

Saw Michael Moore interviewed by John Dean as part of a special Writer's Bloc program at the Wadsworth Theater last night. If I was a far more professional blogger with some technological savvy, right now you'd be seeing exclusive photos from inside the event. But I don't own a camera, or any visual or artistic sensibility, for that matter, so you'll just have to imagine it. Moore wore blue jeans and a ballcap and Dean wore a suit, if that helps.

Their talk was intriguing. Most of the time was spent on Moore's recent documentary, about which you may have heard something, Fahrenheit 9/11. I greatly enjoyed the film upon its release last summer. It's probably the weakest Moore project in terms of filmmaking or entertainment value, but it's quite possibly the most important work he'll ever complete. In the filmmaker's own words, the movie may not have changed who won the election, but it "helped prevent a Bush landslide," which will be crucial for the propaganda wars of the next few years.

Moore seemed particularly passionate when discussing the role of Hollywood in the Democratic Party. He rejects the conventional wisdom that Americans distrust Hollywood liberals, insisting that the power and glamour of the entertainment industry is just what the Democrats need to turn their party around. It's not a bad theory, though I'm not sure Moore is correct in his assertion that the Democrats should run Tom Hanks for President. (Whether he was kidding or not, I leave to you, dear reader).

The crowd, being almost entirely made up of aging West Coast liberals, didn't really need to hear much of Moore's amusing but somewhat tired anti-Bush diatribes (though they did seem to enjoy them), so he wisely focused most of the evening on his filmmaking technique, and how the phenomenal success of his film has affected his life and his outlook.

Interesting info about the making of Fahrenheit 9/11 I didn't know until last night:

  • The Marine recruiters allowed themselves to be miked because they wanted desperately to be in a movie.
  • The plane used to fly the Bin Laden family out of the country in the days following the 9/11 attacks was the same plane typically used to fly the White House Press Corps around.
  • The video of Bush reading "My Pet Goat" immediately following the WTC attack was retrieved from a teacher at the elementary school, not from any media source.
  • A secret source at one of the major networks leaked the "satellite feeds" at the opening of the film to Moore, showing the President rolling his eyes as he prepares to address the nation.
  • For the first several months of pre-production, the film was financed exclusively by Icon Productions, Mel Gibson's Australian production company. When Gibson found out about the content of the film, he immediately insisted that Moore find alternate financing.
  • Moore's agent was the basis for Jeremy Piven's character on HBO's miserable disgusting failure of a sitcom, "Entourage"
  • Moore's family home in Northern Michigan is under 24-hour-a-day surveillance, because Dr. James Dobson's entirely reprehensible "organization" Focus on the Family has given out his home address to all their members.

And just in case you haven't read any of my previous rants about James Dobson, here's a quote from his website (which I will no longer link to, because it sucks) just to let you know where he stands:

Sadly, too many people today, including a few confused Christians, feel the need to affirm all belief systems and to avoid giving claim to any single religion as the one true faith. This thinking process goes something like this: All religions are equally true and they all deserve the same validation. Plus, it’s not good to “close your mind to vast areas of human experience and knowledge.” Based on this kind of thinking, you don’t have to make any hard decisions that involve a change of lifestyle. You can believe in everything and nothing — all at the same time — without any responsibility.

Guess what. This viewpoint is off base, incorrect, dangerous — not to mention a lie straight from the father of lies: Satan.


Following Dean's questions, Moore opened up the floor for a Q&A. They discussed everything from 9/11 conspiracies to Harvey Weinstein's management style to the identity of Deep Throat. In all, the event lasted a little under 2 hours. I'm not usually one for sitting still through long lecutres, but I'll admit that I found the better part of the talk captivating.

Moore is dangerous to the Right, because he represents a direct contradiction to their traditional stereotype of liberals. He's not from the East or West Coast, he is not the scion of a wealthy New England family, he's connected to Hollywood only tangentially. He's a self-made man. And he's incredibly famous. Plus, despite what Sean Hannity and his magical hair helmet say, he's telling the truth.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Bit of Perspective

Great column by my nearly-almost-employer Arianna Huffington. You remember Arianna, surely? She's the nearly-almost-Republican candidate for First Lady of California who saw the light and ran for Governer as a progressive. Doesn't ring a bell? She's the foreign chick who used to pretend to flirt with the increasingly troll-like Bill Maher on "Politically Incorrect." Yeah, her.

Anyway, today's column picks apart the idea that Democrats are somehow doomed to permanent minority status. She points out (quite astutely, with quotes!) how despondant Republicans were after losing the 1992 election. And just look at them now...ruling the country with an iron fist like they've been running the show for decades. Check out this telling remark, for example, from my good buddy, The Right Reverend John Ashcroft:

“The Republican Party needs to shake itself loose from top-down management, undergo a grassroots renewal and adopt a vigorous, positive agenda that flows from the priorities, views and values of citizens who involve themselves in that process. . . . Our party needs to frame its priorities more in terms of what we’re for rather than what we are against.”

That's exactly the kind of demoralized argument I'm reading on lefty websites every day. It's also not at all what the Republicans did, unless you consider shipping Arabs to Cuba by night and then torturing them in secret for several years a "vigorous, positive agenda." But that's not the point.

The point is, there's no need for hand-wringing and despair. We missed the election by about 3.5 million people, which is a whole fuckload, for sure. But it is not an insurmountable number. There's a ton of people in this country. A ton. Even in places that don't seem to have a lot of people, like Iowa City, which houses several tens of thousands of people while appearing about as cosmopolitan as Ice Station Zebra.

They should have...sent a poet...

Hate to bring down the fun-loving atmosphere here at The Inertia, but I wanted to link to this captivating, extremely well-written account of a few months spent driving a truck in a convoy in Iraq. It's by Matthew Doherty, taken from the December issue of what is quite possibly the least-read publication in the White House, "Poetry Magazine." (The most-read publication in the White House? Do you even have to ask?)

Here's a brief excerpt:

I watch the moon. It’s reassuring to track its familiar, patient cycle. And the full moon has been pretty much in synch with our paychecks. May 4th the moon was full over Anaconda. I wondered if the camp would get mortared that night. Anaconda gets a lot of mortar and rocket attacks, but I thought that the brightness of our satellite might make for a quiet evening. In these days of night-vision and drones and infrared, maybe moonlight doesn’t matter as a detection tool. Besides, even broad daylight doesn’t forbid the mortars and rockets. And sometimes a mortar round is frozen, caked in ice, and placed in a launcher on the sly. The ice makes it too big to fit down the tube, but the ice melts. The mortar slides down and launches with no one around.

Good stuff.

I liked the article, and other writerly first-person accounts from Iraq, because it gives you some real sense of the task at hand, at what these soldiers and third-party operatives face when they arrive in that particularly miserable corner of the world. You can listen to pseudo-intellectual Christopher Hitchens rail on about the importance of the Iraqi mission for weeks (what it feels like every time he opens his mouth) and not get the perspective Doherty lays out in just a paragraph or two like the above.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

She's like Erma Bombeck, but more horny

What is going on at the University of Pennsylvania? Yesterday, I ran an article about how there's a restaurant set up just to provide them with bowls of cereal, and then today I read this column from their school newspaper, by a female junior English student, mind you, about how much she and her fellow students love porno.

Here's the (forgive me in advance) money quote:

Most of the people around me watch porn. Most of us are not engaging in any illegal behaviors that I know of offhand...And behind the doors of my bedroom, I'm going to continue to watch porn, eat my Cocoa Puffs and use my spinning toothbrush. And I'd be willing to bet that four out of five dentists would agree with me.

Geez, between the Korova Cheerios and Milk Bar and the communal screenings of Hard Ticket to Hawaii, do these kids find any time to, you know, study? These are the future doctors, math teachers and, yes, unemployed bloggers of the future!

Dubya: The Movie

It's official. Hollywood will finally tell the remarkable true story of everyone's favorite American, your President and mine, G. Dubs.

This likely will be the biggest event film of 2005. Who knows? Maybe Episode III will have some competition as next summer's tentpole film.

And, of course, only one actor could play him...


The Picture of Dorian Gay

Alabama, already leading the nation in illiteracy, infant mortality and moonshine-production, can now proudly boast that it's the only state to consider banning all books with gay characters in them.

Yes, this is true! State Representative Gerald Allen (the fetching specimin in the photo above) has suggested that Alabama ban all books from public libraries, including university libraries, which include gay characters. Actually, according to the wording of the bill, it would ban:

"the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle."

So, of course the classic novel referenced in the headline would be gone, along with other great books like "Brideshead Revisited," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay," "Portrait of the Aritst as a Young Man," "LA Confidential," "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and, of course, "Where's Waldo." Oh, come on, don't tell me you never wondered about THAT guy.

They want to keep these books from universities? The Crimson Tide can't handle any discussion of gay themes whatsoever? Do these people really think that they can extinguish homosexuality by throwing away all them swishy books? If we can take solace in one thing, and one thing only, about this heinous affront to free speech and common decency, it's that people in Alabama are at least still aware that there is a product called books, and that they occasionally include thoughts and ideas.

Clearly, the biggest problem isn't just that Alabama has elected a hate-filled bigot (though that is a problem). It's that this law grants the state government essentially complete control over what books can and can't remain in the curriculum. Representative Crotchety McCornpone (R) decides he doesn't like some new book, cause it's too "faggy" for him, and BOOM! Banned.

So, this law is stupid and blatantly unconstitutional, and probably designed to gain acclaim for Rep. Allen in the non-reality-based community rather than actually affect public policy. Hey, why not call him and let him know how stupid it is? Here's his home number: (205) 556-5310.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Cer-eal Life

The University of Pennsylvania this week plays host to the first-ever cereal-only restaurant.

It's called Cereality. Har!

This is the sort of thing Kramer would think up on "Seinfeld," isn't it? Ideas that are kind of funny because they're so implausible.

But, after giving this a little thought, I've come to realize it's actually not a bad concept. Think about it...Let's say you want a bowl of cereal for breakfast. You're an on-the-go young collegiate. You may not have neccessarily slept in your own bed the night before (or slept at all), you may still have blurred vision at 7:30, 8:00 in the morning, but most importantly, you never ever go grocery shopping and don't have any clean bowls.

So, whereas most people would just be able to walk over to the cupboard and get a box of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs, then go get some chocolate milk from the fridge and pour it all in a bowl to eat, students at the (Ivy League) University of Pennsylvania will just be able to spend $6, $7 on a bowl of the stuff (plus tip!), then stumble off to go fall asleep face-down on the desk in their early Musicology 61 class.

Now I'm getting all nostalgic

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

I missed Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow when it was first out in theaters. I was supposed to go see it at the Mann Chinese with my friend Cory, but what we didn't know...what we didn't dare suspect...was that The Kilmer himself, his Valness, was starring in a new musical (!) production of The Ten Commandments at the adjoining Kodak Theater.

So, we were both held up in some traffic on Highland that can only be described as "potentially suicide-inducing," and didn't get to the theater until about 45 minutes after Sky Captain was supposed to start. Which, of course, means the trailers were half-over. And I have to be in my seat for all the trailers.

So that plan was ruined.

I figured, Hollywood still owed me something in exchange for my valuable time. So, I took the liberty of downloading the film for free this weekend.

And I'd encourage you to do the same, except that would be illegal and wrong. So, you should definitely go out and pay to see the movie, either in a discount theater or when it comes out on DVD, even though I didn't. Becuase it's really quite exceptional.

I don't know if I read a terrible amount of good Sky Captain reviews, and I can't imagine why. I see Yahoo! users gave it an overall grade of B-. B-? Shrek 2 got a B+...come on, people...

Sure, the whole thing is a blatant Indiana Jones rip, and there's far too much exposition in the film's middle section that bogs the entire enterprise down...But what kind of a churlish curmudgeon do you have to be to reject a movie that looks this amazing?

You probably read upon the film's release about the technology that went into its production. How director Kerry Conran and his team designed the better part of the imagery in computers, only to later plug in actors like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law, as well as props, into the foreground to create the finished image. But I'm not sure that pictures, or even the brief television ads that appeared a few months ago, do the movie justice.

It has a truly innovative style, half-Star Wars prequel and half-Hudsucker Proxy. There are off-handed references in the film to the comics of the 1930's, and those forms were clearly influential to the final look. This film shares with Blade II and The Incredibles a real cinematographic sense of comic books coming to life. Odd that this movie is essentially a cartoon with live actors, and yet it feels more fully realized than most completely live-action comic book movies, like X2 or the original Spider-Man.

So, Conran is clearly an innovator with a master of film style. Now, he just needs to de-Spielberg-ify by approximately 70%.

Yes, regrettably, Kerry has the old Stephen Sommers curse...Filmmakers of a certain generation (mine) that just can't divorce themselves from their slavish devotion to The Master, the man himself, Steve-arino. You may know Stephen Sommers as the director The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and the cringe-inducing Van Helsing. Every shot in every one of his films can be traced back to some Spielbergian origin. And Sky Captain cuts it so close to the classic Indiana Jones series, Stevie may want to consider legal action. Submitted for your approval:

  • The film takes place between WWI and WWII.
  • The film has the feel of old movie serials, including montage sequences of the heroes traveling around a map of the world
  • The villain is an evil German scientist with a fetish for eagle insignias and black leather gloves.
  • The snarky, seen-it-all hero travels with an attractive, plucky, fiercely independant firecracker of a single gal, with whom he was once romantically involved.
  • An overweight, cantankerous foreigner guides the hero on his way.
  • Do I really need to keep going with this? You get the idea.

So, yeah, Kerry could have put just a teensy more thought into originality.

But, I mean, the guy was busy designing CG robots, so it's a forgivable lapse. If I were a Yahoo! member (and, come to think of it, I am!), I'd give Sky Captain at least an A-, but I'd probably bump it up to a straight A considering the effort involved. This is a truly remarkable feast for the senses, even if it's not the strongest-told story of the year. Recommended.

KJ: Classically trained to rock your freakin' socks off

I don't mean to blow it for you, but one of my personal heroes, baby-faced Mormon Ken Jennings, apparently loses his long-standing Jeopardy! championship tonight, after a remarkable 74-game run, to a real estate agent named Nancy Zerg.

I'm sorry, but Kenneth losing to a mortal human being can't help but be somewhat disappointing for me. This guy is not only the most amazing competitor Jeopardy! has ever seen, but truly one of the most insidious trivia depositories imaginable. The guy's a Mormon, so he doesn't drink, and I saw him run several entire Wine and Spirits categories. He knew the ingredients to a Brandy Alexander, for Chrissakes. I drink all the time, and all I know is that there's brandy in there (and it was probably invented by a guy named Alexander...unless it was R&B songstress Brandy who invented it, in which case I have no fucking clue what's in it).

Well, Kenny can dry his tears with hundred dollar bills, I guess, seeing as his final tally came to $2,520,700. Even after taxes and a 10% tithe to the MoMo's, he'll still be doing a-ight. I was on "Win Ben Stein's Money" once, and all I came away with was a watch and a certificate signed by Mr. Stein, so I can't really feel too bad for the guy.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Texas Book Depository Massacre

This is a screen capture from a new video game called "JFK Reloaded," where you re-enact the assassination of JFK. Salon has a "think piece" about how this reflects the deep wound the Kennedy assassination has left in our psyche, and how the game is a cathartic acting out of American's deep mistrust of their own government, and on and on and on. I doubt it suggests much, other than a misguided attempt to get in on the new craze of historical first-person shooters.

Honestly, it sounds like kind of a boring game. I mean, according to the article, you play out sort of a conspiracy simulation, imagining different scenarios of how a few characters might have come to kill the president. But, still, the game's got to be kind of light on the action, like "Grand Theft Auto" with only one auto. And no bats or chainsaws.

Hi Mom!

I did a stupid thing. I told my parents about the Inertia thing. And now they're checking it constantly.

I'm sure they're reading this right now...

See, they think blogs are the sort of thing that explode overnight. Like, today I'm just some guy in LA typing out what he thinks of movies on the Intar-Web, and tomorrow I'll be Kos, Atrios and Dave Barry all mixed together, delighting the masses with my witty rejoinders about oil spills and recent Liam Neeson movies.

But I digress.

Anyway, if you're reading, Jackee and Lee, you can feel free to check in whenever you want. I'm just kidding around.

Now, I am sort of feeling self-conscious about what stuff I write up on here. I'll just have to leave out comments about the heroin abuse and constant whoring.

No, just kidding about that last part. I can totally control my heroin use.

New reviews...

will be coming as soon as I get out to see some freakin' movies. I'm looking at checking out Very Long Engagement or Alexander.

Yes, I know Alexander is supposed to suck. I never listen to reviews on Ollie Stone movies...I don't think most critics appreciate his style fully. His movies are never intended to be viewed as accurate recordings of history. He makes impressionistic, over-the-top thrillers about real-world events, and I usually find them invigorating, entertaining and expertly put together. This includes typically maligned Stone films like Nixon, JFK, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July, The Doors, and will quite possibly include Alexander, if I ever get around to actually seeing it.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Let the Eagle Soooooooooooar

Some interesting facts about John Ashcroft's tenure as Attorney General, compliments of Atrios' excellent blog:

Number of U.S. terror trials brought before a jury since September 11, 2001: 1

Wow, that's almost as many trials as R. Kelly! And, remember, that's without video of Muhammad Atta peeing on a minor!

Number of terrorism convictions resulting: 2

And now that both Martha Stewart and two evil terrorists have been put away, we can all sleep a little more confidently at night.

Number of them dismissed due to a 'pattern of mistakes' by the prosecution: 2

Hey, way to...Oh, no, wait. That means no one has actually served any time for any terrorist malfeasance since John Ashcroft took office. But, that can't be right, because, remember, he said...

"The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been

...when he left office? And these statistics would almost make that look like a lie. And, as Todd Flanders once told us, lies make baby Jesus cry.

Why is it that all these government officials aren't being held accountable for the screw-ups and mistakes that have happened on their watch? I mean, yeah, I get it, everyone loves the president...he's adorable and he always asks Jesus' approval before bombing the shit out of brown people...But Ashcroft isn't the president. NOBODY likes John Ashcroft. How come no one has ever thought to question this record until now, when he's stepping down and it's too late to do anything about it?

Oh, because he's stepping down, and it's too late to do anything about it. I get it. Touche, Karl.