Friday, February 8, 2008

Where have I been?

Did ya miss me?
How was your Super Tuesday? Mine wasn't too good. I'm thinking this Democrat deal is going to go to Hillary, and while I thought that might be a good idea - a year ago - now, I'm not so sure. Mostly because John McCain appears to be the Repugnican candidate, and that makes Hillary the anti-Christ to Democrats. We don't need a reason for Democrats to vote for McCain, and Hillary gives them that reason. I'm fearful that America is gullible enough to believe that McCain is a moderate, when actually, he is a clown.
I'm seeing a lot of signs and slogans that are getting behind the "Woman in Charge" idea, which I find appealing, I'm just not sure that this woman is the one I want in charge.
There it is, the American flag and the waving, happy politician, telling us that she's going to do the right thing. Change. It's all about change. I don't know about you, but I've been through a couple dozen of these Presidential campaigns, and every one of them promises something or other to us, depending on the times. It's either economic prosperity, getting government off our backs, ending a war, stopping the [insert] crisis or finding a way to make ourselves better. Whatever it is, it generally doesn't happen. When is the last time you thought government was less intrusive in your life? Ronald Reagan ran on that slogan at least once, and I don't see it happening, and that was 20 years ago.
Various candidates have pledged to stop a war, but once they get into the office they find that the war was a pretty big deal, and like a lot of big deals, they're hard to stop.
Economic prosperity is subjective. If you have a good job and you're getting nice pay increases every year, you're prosperous. If you're in jail or unemployed, the prosperity has pretty much come to a halt. You can't blame or credit the president for either one, but they take credit or blame for both. Life is funny that way.
Oil is a big deal. It's bigger than war. I don't hear a lot of "energy independence" stuff coming from either of the Democrats. Meanwhile, I'm still seeing huge vehicles carting around one person and gasoline prices are headed for three dollars in these parts. I liked John Kerry's idea about an "Apollo Project", where he would shove money at a bunch of smart people and they would come up with another propulsion mechanism, just like we came up with a way to get us to the moon. It isn't all that difficult, really. It's mostly a matter of getting the people to buy into the idea. Hybrid cars work. Make them affordable and we'll buy them. Make hydrogen available and we'll use it.
It's a popular idea to tell people that you're going to end the war in Iraq. Every time Obama says it, he has to stop for the applause. People applaud because it's a good idea - on its face. In the grim reality, it might not be the best thing. The war is bigger than any of us realize. As big as you think it is, multiply that by a really big number and write the result on a piece of paper. You'll need another piece of paper. Take the "end the war" stuff with a thousand grains of salt, then don't pay attention to it, because it literally takes an act of Congress to get us out of there, and they can't even make a decision to give us $600, so how long do you think it will take for them to get us out of Iraq?
In the end, you have to vote your conscience. That's a hard thing to do, since our conscience often conflicts with our emotions. That's what politicans count on. The emotion/conscience conflict. They build careers on it.
Let your conscience be your guide.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

WARNING: Severe liver damage.

I am heavily medicated. Sudafed PE, vitamin C and whatever is in this “Cold-a-rest” stuff that we have at work. All I’m missing is Robitussin to complete the cycle. I’m probably doing severe liver damage, but my liver is just going to have to deal. The faster I can chase this head cold out – or mask its effects – the better I’ll like it.
I did it to myself. An ill-advised bike ride on a chilly Saturday afternoon followed by a binge-drinking Super Bowl Sunday and here I am nursing a head cold with over-the-counter junk that does a good job of masking the symptoms and making me a little dizzy at the same time.
Perhaps that explains my Obama choice this morning at the polls? If I had to pass a drug test in order to vote, I probably would have failed and been made to recite the alphabet backwards from R or something.
I’m thinking I should go out and get some woman pregnant so I could see what kind of over-the-counter-drug influenced baby comes out. That’s easier than it sounds, trust me. It is. It might have 6 toes or something, but I can guarantee it wouldn’t have a head cold until it was at least 10 years old.
Anyway … I suppose I’m committed now. If Obama gets the nomination, I’m all in. Of course, it’s not like I’d vote for Romney or McCain in November, so it isn’t much of a choice. I just hope I’m not being duped into believing that this guy can do everything he says he can. I’ve lived long enough to have seen plenty of candidates who think they can change the world. When (or if) they’re elected they find out that it’s harder than it seemed.
Lyndon Johnson thought he could do it. Following in the Kennedy legacy, he got bogged down by the war in Vietnam and could never get his domestic programs off the ground. Later, a couple of other guys said they were going to get us out of there. One was assassinated and the other one lost in the biggest landslide in history – to a guy who turned out to be a crook, even though he said he wasn’t. History (and living through history) makes one skeptical.
All of that took place 40 years ago, and (except the assassination part) you could replace the names and faces with more familiar ones to this generation.
You don’t think history could repeat itself, do you?

“Screws fall out all the time. The world’s an imperfect place.”
- John Bender “The Breakfast Club”

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's time to play, "You be the Conservative!"

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney argued on Monday over who is the real conservative with their battle headed toward a Super Tuesday climax.
Now, you two play nice. Imagine, arguing over who's the conservative. And the winner ... gets to be the conservative? That's like arguing over who's the child molester. OK, maybe that's a little extreme. It's like arguing over who's the best child molester. That's right.
I'm such an oddball. Regular readers are nodding their heads right now. Sure, I watched the Super Bowl like a hundred million other people, but I skipped most of the commercials and the entire half-time show. In fact, I turned the game back on with 11:48 remaining in the third quarter, so I overshot a little.
The talk at work today (most of it) centered around which commercial was best and what we thought of the half-time show. I only saw a few commercials - the baby spitting up and the Will Ferrell one - but I was a little disappointed that I missed the half-time show. You'll have to help.
I'm hearing stories that people think Tom Petty was lip-syncing. Supposedly, he moved away from the microphone a couple of times and you could still hear him singing. If he was, I suppose it's because the Super Bowl is such a big deal that he didn't want to risk forgetting the lyrics to a song he wrote that he's probably sung a thousand times. Why would he lip-sync?
ROMNEY: I'm a conservative.
McCAIN: Sure, you're a conservative. I'm a way bigger conservative than you.
ROMNEY: Really? Prove it, fatso.
McCAIN: OK, you know that whole gay marriage thing? Totally against it.
ROMNEY: Big deal. Not only am I against it, I'd tax them for being gay. Homo tax. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, whitey.
McCAIN: Screw you. You know what? If I'm elected, I'm putting William F. Buckley on the Supreme Court.
ROMNEY: Dope. He isn't even an attorney.
McCAIN: That's right. Pretty conservative, huh?
LONDON (AFP) - The former chairman of Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has called on the European Union to ban gas-guzzling cars, saying they are unnecessary, the BBC reported Monday. "Nobody needs a car that does 10-15 mpg," Mark Moody-Stuart was quoted as saying.
Sure, he says it and it's a Yahoo News story. I say it and I may as well be screaming at my cat.
Face it, gang. You were sold a bill of goods with these giant SUVs and trucks. They're good for maybe 5 days a year around here. The other 360 they're clogging the road, using expensive gasoline and generally a big waste of ... everything.
Like the conservatives, only with wheels and a reverse gear.
McCAIN: I'm so conservative, I masturbate in front of the Fox News Channel.
ROMNEY: Yeah, well ... I'm ... We're ... umm ... OK, you can be the conservative.

That's right, it's Super Tuesday! I'll be out bright and early tomorrow morning voting. I won't tell you for whom I'm voting. You'll have to guess.

BLOGGER'S NOTE: It's Tuesday, I voted at 7:15. Obama.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The most despicable character in the history of American film

That's what I said as I was walking out of the theater after seeing "There Will Be Blood", the master work of acting by Daniel Day-Lewis as early 20th century oil tycoon Daniel Plainview in the adaptation of the book by Upton Sinclair. Can't say enough rotten things about him - the character that is. The acting is deep, intense and regardless of who else is nominated this year, Oscar worthy. In fact, he should be nominated next year, too.
I had an argument with a radio host/movie critic once, after he said that it is necessary for the lead character in a film to be likable in order for the film to be likable. I argued to the contrary. Since then, several popular films have been successful in spite of dislikable lead characters, "Wall Street" among them. This one is the latest, but Daniel Plainview makes Gordon Gecko look like a boy scout.
The film is at once arresting and disturbing, but it probably accurately depicts life among the oil men in turn-of-the-century America. They were ruthless and competitive. That much hasn't changed in 100 years, only the location.
If the idea of this film is, at least in part to show us that oil has been a blood sport since the beginning, it succeeds handsomely. It also depicts life in America's oil boom days, when things were happening in California and Texas, and men went where the oil was.
The film centers around Plainview and his quest to acquire property in and around the Sunday family, good church-going folk who know nothing of the fortune that rests under their feet until Plainview and his oil drillers show up.
We spend the early part of the film trying to figure out whether or not Plainview is a genuine character, wishing to do good and make himself wealthy, or if he is indeed a snake and only out for his own gain. It doesn't take long to figure out which.
I will give you one little hint that gives nothing of the plot away. The characters Paul and Eli Sunday are identical twins, and it is not adequately explained in the film. You will see Paul Sunday first, then he will disappear, and his brother Eli will emerge, and you will wonder if they just look alike or are the same person. It turns out they are played by the same actor, Paul Dano (who played older brother Dwayne in "Little Miss Sunshine"). I spent a few minutes working that out in my head, so I figured I'd save you the trouble.
Even though the film is dark, disturbing and truthful, I would highly recommend it. Mostly for the masterwork of Day-Lewis whose performance is riveting to the point that you think he is possessed by the character.
It's one of the must-see films of 2008. In fact, if you're reading this soon, you can skip the stupid Super Bowl and see this instead.