Monday, October 21, 2013

The Incredible Shrinking President

I swear, Barack Obama has to be the pettiest person to ever occupy the White House.  He doesn't have an ounce of humility in his whole body.  He's the sort of person who never once heard the word "no" until he was an adult, and now treats even the slightest disagreement as if it were an act of treason or terrorism.  He's the sort of person who can't handle even the most innocuous criticism, but thinks falsely accusing his opponent of giving a woman cancer is just part of the rough and tumble of politics.  He's the sort of person who would send riot police after veterans to keep them out of their own memorials just to add to the pain he wants to scapegoat Republicans for.

Obama really thought that running for president itself would be the only experience he needed to qualify for the job, just because he's so darned special.  Résumés weren't meant for people like him; those are for the little people.  It worked, though.  He got elected.  Twice.  And after five years of being the least presidential president ever, he's still campaigning.  For what, I don't know.  He can't legally run for a third term in 2016 anyway.  It's almost as if his whole presidency has just been a campaign to get his own show on MSNBC.  Why not?  He seems to get pettier with each passing day, and I don't expect him to be any less petty once he's out of office.  He'd fit right in there.

At what point will people begin to hold Obama accountable for his own failures?  Just how petty and vile does the man have to get before people finally see him for what he really is?

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "What The Media Won’t Tell You About What’s Really Going On In Egypt" by Joshuapundit, and the winning non-council entry for the week was Walter Russell Mead's post "Bambi Meets Godzilla in the Middle East" over at The American Interest.  Congrats!

Update: Last week's winners can be found here.

Update: Stupid me, I neglected to notice this great writeup that Joshuapundit did to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Watcher's Council.  Happy belated anniversary!  Man, I feel so old.  :-(

Update: Thanks for the honorable mention!

Enough with the remakes, already!

Hollywood has always loved doing remakes because it's so much easier than coming up with an original idea; however, all the remaking of movies and rebooting of franchises seems to have really gotten out of hand in recent years.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all remakes are bad.  It's just that there have been so many, and the good ones have been so few and far between.

Tim Burton's Batman was great, but Batman Returns was a pretty weak followup.  I like Tim Burton, but he's not someone you want heading up a franchise; his obsession with originality renders him utterly incapable of making two movies that can both exist within the same logical universe.  Tim Burton was then replaced by Joel Shumacher, who decided to turn Gotham City into a gay disco for some reason.  (I'm not just complaining about the nipples on the Batsuit, either.  He turned the Batmobile into a giant glowing dildo on wheels, for crying out loud.)  If there was ever a franchise that needed to make a fresh start, this was it.  With Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan showed us how to do it right.

One bad thing about a remake that gets it so right is that other people who put no thought into how great movies are actually made tend to fool themselves into thinking they could have easily done the same, and then they run out to make half-assed remakes of a hundred other things.

Another part of the problem is that more and more movies are being made based on comic books, and at some point studio execs got the stupid idea into their heads that the movies themselves should be treated more like comic books.  But they aren't the same, not to me.  If DC and Marvel want to keep reinventing their entire universes at the drop of a hat, that's fine, but please leave my movies alone, at least for a reasonable amount of time.  Please let them breathe a while and at least try to figure out what went wrong (and right) with them before you start remaking them.

Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were both great films, but I have no idea what the hell Sam Raimi was thinking when he made Spider-Man 3.  I also don't understand what Columbia Pictures was thinking when they green-lit The Amazing Spider-Man.  I can understand wanting to start over, but why so soon, and why use a director whose prior experience comes mainly from directing music videos?

A lot of people like to dump on Ang Lee's Hulk; it did have its problems, but it's still a much better movie in my opinion than Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk.  The final confrontation at the end of Ang Lee's film made very little sense, but the rest of it was well done, and the casting was spot on.  Louis Leterrier on the other hand got almost nothing right in his film.  The backstory and exposition were badly bungled, just about every single joke fell flat, and there was no chemistry at all between Edward Norton and Liv Tyler.  (In fairness to Leterrier, some of these problems probably stemmed from Edward Norton's insistence on rewriting the script, but then why not just cast someone less meddlesome, like Eric Bana?  Really, they should have just made a sequel to Hulk that glossed over that film's problems while setting up whatever they needed to set up for The Avengers.)

And now everyone is freaking out about the news that Ben Affleck was chosen to play Batman in the next Superman movie, Batman vs. Superman.  Some of this probably comes from bitterness over Daredevil, but I think a lot of people are just apprehensive about the possibility of seeing Batman get Schumachered again, especially so soon after finally seeing the franchise reach its pinnacle.  People might also be a little leery about the idea of putting Batman in a sequel to a movie that probably shouldn't have been made in the first place.  (I haven't seen Man of Steel for myself yet, but I heard it wasn't very good.)

It'd be nice to see Christopher Nolan take off his executive producer hat for a bit and go back to directing.  I'd love to see him make a Nightwing movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a followup to his Batman trilogy; unfortunately, Nolan has said more than once that he wants his trilogy to remain a trilogy, so a Nightwing movie probably isn't in the cards.  But then why is Nolan attached as executive producer for Batman vs. Superman?  Does it mean they are planning to depart from Nolan's trilogy as much as possible in order to draw some arbitrary distinction?  I hope not, I don't think anything good can come from that.  I'd really hate to see Nolan end up being the worst thing to happen to Batman since Schumacher after having already been the best thing to happen to Batman since Burton.

Update: I'm really not a fan of The Atlantic, but I thought Nicholas Slayton had an interesting take on the potential problems surrounding Batman vs. Superman.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "Ropes Of Sand – Why The Latest Round Of MidEast ‘Peace Talks’ Will End In Failure" by Joshuapundit, and the winning non-council entry for the week was Michael Gurfinkiel's post "You Only Live Twice. Is there a future for Jewish communities in Europe?" over at Mosaic Magazine.  Congrats!

Update:  Last week's winners can be found here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A way with words

Sorry that posting has been so light here recently.  I've been reading The Lord of the Rings, which has cut into my blogging time somewhat.  It seems like every time I think about posting something it gets put on the back burner or I just end up snarking about it on Twitter instead.

At some point I'd like to do a writeup comparing what I liked about the books versus what I liked about the Peter Jackson films, but for now I just wanted to mention a passage from The Two Towers that jumped out at me.  I was quite taken with the way Tolkien chose to describe the general awfulness of the Dead Marshes:
It was dreary and wearisome. Cold clammy winter still held sway in this forsaken country. The only green was the scum of the livid weed on the dark greasy surfaces of the sullen waters. Dead grasses and rotting reeds loomed up in the mists like ragged shadows of long-forgotten summers.
It's such a horrible place, a filthy disgusting place, yet the way Tolkien describes it sounds so poetic.  I love that contradiction.

Some people prefer The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings because the pace of The Hobbit was much quicker and it was far less verbose.  I've heard more than one person half-jokingly complain that Tolkien describes every blade of grass seen on the way to Mount Doom.  But when you can write as well as Tolkien writes, I really don't mind you taking a few extra words to describe the scenery.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Where will it end?

It's maddening to watch this vortex of scandals swirl around President Obama month after month without any of it sticking to him in any meaningful way.  The same media that desperately tried to find a scandal in every single word that came out of George Bush's mouth--even if they had to invent a few of his words themselves--can barely be bothered to acknowledge any part of Scandalpalooza.  There would be a cacophony of outrage from them the likes of which the world has never seen if even one of these many scandals had happened under Bush, but now most in the media can't even bring themselves to raise an eyebrow at something as brazen as a Watergate-style break-in.

Impeachment might be too much to hope for after the debacle that was the Clinton impeachment, but I'd like to think Obama has more to worry about here than a decline in his poll numbers; after all, he won't be able to run for a third term anyway.  Still, it would be nice if we could get an investigation into these scandals that goes somewhere other than in circles.  If this were a Coen brothers movie someone would have been run out of town on a rail by now.

And in the meantime, much to Obama's delight, we've all been tearing ourselves apart over immigration reform and freaking out over the Zimmerman trial; not that we should never talk about those things, but when we do they seem to have a way of sucking up all the oxygen and then nothing else gets talked about.

Are we really going to sit here and accept this inept corruptocracy as our new normal?  I hope people wake up.  I hope someday this godawful nightmare will finally be over.  But what will it take?  It seems like we keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, and when it does we just find ourselves waiting for the other other shoe to drop.  I shudder to think how bad things may have to get for America before they finally start to get better again.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

RIP Jean Stapleton

This is how I'll always remember her:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "Obama and Henry II; Obama and Martin Niemöller; and Obama and Al Capone" by Bookworm Room, and the winning non-council entry for the week was Zombie's post "Progracists" over at his eponymous blog.  Congrats!

Update: Last week's winners can be found here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ace on low information voters

In which Ace laments the voting public's lack of interest in Obama's many failings:
The low information voter barely understands what's happening now, let alone what may happen or the implications of what's happening.  Even if it's a fairly dire threat to democracy-- people agree to peaceful, civil rule only when they believe the power of government is not being used to target them for their beliefs.

But the low-information voter doesn't appreciate this.  He's too busy being Common-Sensical and Independently-Minded to fret any about serious threats undermining the rule of law and the civil order.  And he considers people who think about such things as Why Democracy Endures and Why It So Often Fails to be crazy, hyperideological extremists.

Low-information voters assume that everything's okay and everything will continue being okay because they ignore all warnings about things going off the rails.  Then, when the country is torn apart by a crisis, they go into Demanding Answers mode, angrily asking "Why weren't we warned?"
Ace has some ideas on how we can try to get through to these people.  I suppose it's worth a shot, but at the end of the day it's very difficult to reason someone out of a position that they never reasoned themselves into in the first place.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Poem for Dzhokhar

You and your brother thought it would be fun to blow up a bunch of innocent people.

You smiled as you placed a bomb right next to an eight-year-old kid.

You really thought you'd get away with it.

You were wrong.

Now your brother is a speed bump and you have a hole in your throat.

Now you get to spend the rest of your life in a cell waiting to die.

How will it end?  With a needle in your arm or a shiv in your thigh?

Your lunatic mother can't save you.

Your idiot groupies can't save you.

I hope your cellmate loves your puppy dog eyes as much as they do.

Don't drop the soap.

Don't drop the soap.

Don't drop the soap.

Don't drop the soap.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Yet another eco-friendly pipe dream

So, some dufus says he invented a car that runs on air:

Yeah, that sounds great, except they never explain how much energy it takes to compress the air in the first place; after all, that energy is what will ultimately power his car, not the air itself.  Sorry, hippies, but there's no such thing as a perpetual motion machine.  The energy has to come from somewhere.  This car was a cute idea, but it takes a lot more than just a cute idea and sharing a birthday with Jules Verne to rewrite the laws of physics.

(By the way, what are the chances that a minor fender bender could cause the car's air tanks to explode?)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "Appomattox: The Fire Is Quenched" by Joshuapundit, and the winning non-council entry for the week was Sarah Palin's post "The Grocer's Daughter" over at National Review Online.  Congrats!

Update:  Last week's winners can be found here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What the hell?

Someone with too much time on their hands made a really disturbing parody of a Japanese Furby ad:

Good lord... I'll never be able to look at a Furby quite the same way again.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mitt Romney's speech at CPAC 2013

Here's Mitt Romney speaking at CPAC, with an introduction from Nikki Haley:

Except for the part where he praises that worthless piece of crap Chris Christie, I thought it was actually a pretty good speech.  But try telling that to the folks who are still 100% convinced that Obama=Romney and fly into a rage every single time they so much as hear Romney's name being mentioned.  (By the way, where's all the outrage about Donald Trump speaking at CPAC?  Is being a birther all it takes to get called a conservative these days?)

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "'Yes We Can' – Al-Qaeda’s English Mag Publishes Wanted Dead or Alive List" by Joshuapundit, and the winning non-council entry for the week was Victor Davis Hanson's post "Why Do Societies Give Up?" over at Private Papers.  Congrats!

Update: Last week's winners can be found here.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here...

Remember when everyone was in love with Chris Christie because he yelled at some idiot teacher?  Yeah... not so much anymore, huh?  At this point he probably has a better chance of running for president as a Democrat than he does as a Republican.

Just recently I was hearing some folks on the right seriously pushing the idea of Ben Carson running for president in 2016, after hearing the man give only one speech.  He seems like a decent enough fellow, but is that really all it takes these days to get Republicans excited about somebody?  There was a time when Republicans looked at our governorships to find potential candidates with executive experience and a decent record of accomplishments; now it seems like all you have to do is somehow manage to say something vaguely conservative out loud and we all go nuts.

Rand Paul's 13-hour filibuster of the Brennan nomination got Republicans even more excited than Ben Carson did.  I admit it was nice seeing someone spend an entire day holding President Obama's feet to the fire on something, even if it was a bit of a straw man argument.  (Does anyone really think Obama was planning to attempt a drone strike on American citizens on our own soil?)

I do appreciate that the filibuster helped to draw attention to Obama's completely incoherent policy on the use of drones (seriously, why is it ok to blow up random groups of people just to kill one guy, but not ok to throw water on the face of one particular guy?) but I'm not crazy about the idea of Rand Paul running for president in 2016, or 2020, or ever.  I hate so say it, but as incoherent as Obama's policy on drones may be, I'm still much closer to Obama on drones than I am to Rand Paul.  The point of the filibuster was supposedly an objection to one particular very extreme drone scenario, but after all of Rand Paul's talk about "perpetual war" I really wonder if there is any drone scenario that he wouldn't object to.  Rand may not be his father, but he's still his father's son.

Call me a RINO.  Call me a neocon.  Call me whatever you want.  I'm never going to be comfortable with the idea of a presidential candidate that comes from the Code Pink wing of the Republican Party.  I'm glad that Rand Paul is in the Senate, but that's as far as it goes; anyone who would vote to confirm Chuck Hagel has no business being commander-in-chief.

(By the way, please don't read any of this as a defense of John McCain and Lindsey Graham.  I think they are both idiots.)

Monday, February 25, 2013

My review of "Tron: Legacy"

I got the chance to see Tron: Legacy recently.  I have to say, I was rather impressed with how much better the look and feel of this sequel was when compared to the original Tron.  The original movie was considered revolutionary at the time, but I don't think it holds up very well.

Fans of the original movie will be pleased to see that the new movie features updated versions of the classic disc battle and light cycle scenes... one of my favorite moments came when the two things were combined, something you never saw happen in the original.  The 2010 light cycles are capable of operating on multiple levels, going up and down ramps, and even jumping over people, leaving behind a deadly ribbon of light everywhere they go.  (The 1982 light cycles are practically two dimensional by comparison... they never go through the air, and while on the game grid they can only move straight ahead or turn exactly ninety degrees to either side.)  There are updated version of other classic vehicles too, along with a few entirely new ones... there's even a dogfight between light jets at one point.

Another thing the new movie has that the original doesn't: an awesome musical score by Daft Punk.  Their music breathes life into the movie in ways that are difficult to explain... the special effects (and Olivia Wilde's cheekbones) are nice to look at, but it would all feel pretty cold and dead without the music.  By the way, the musical duo has a cameo in the movie; they appear as the two DJs playing music at the End of Line Club.

It was a bit tough to make sense of the plot at times, but you could easily say the same of both films; however, the filmmakers did such a good job of making Tron: Legacy feel like it was happening in a real place that it made the absurd premise of the movie a bit easier to swallow, and it somehow allowed the film to skate around gaping plot holes by calling them "miracles" and "biodigital jazz."  It also helps if you like Jeff Bridges, which I do... his own personality really comes through quite a bit in his role as the older Kevin Flynn.  (It might help if you like Garrett Hedlund, too... but I really don't know him from Adam.  One of the problems I had with the movie was that Kevin Flynn's son Sam actually isn't very likable when we first see him as a grown man, and so a lot of the real-world stuff at the beginning of the movie ends up feeling kind of pointless.)

One other thing I'll add, without trying to spoil anything too much, keep an eye out for one villain in particular who bears some very distinctive markings upon his chest.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "So, You Bought a Gun, Huh?" by The Right Planet, and the winning non-council entry for the week was Daniel Greenfield's post "It’s Not Easy Being Red and Green" over at Sultan Knish.  Congrats!

Update: Last week's winners can be found here, and winners from the week before can be found here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Presidents' Day!

Senator Ted Cruz took to Twitter to ask his followers who their favorite Presidents were... so of course lots of folks started flipping out and calling him a birther for no reason.  (Protip: Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th in office, so don't freak out too much when someone says we've only had 43 presidents... that's technically true.  FDR was a couple of months into his fourth term when he died, but he only gets counted as one president... Cleveland only served two terms, it just so happens that those terms were interrupted by Benjamin Harrison's single term.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "How The UK Sunday Times Observed Holocaust Memorial Day..." by Joshuapundit, and the winning non-council entry for the week was David Mamet's post "Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm" over at The Daily Beast.  Congrats!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

More idiocy from Ron Paul

If your response to the news of Chris Kyle's death is to spout bromides like "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword", then you should probably just shut the hell up... but that's the thing about Ron Paul, he never seems to know when to shut the hell up, especially now that he's not running for office anymore and no longer feels the need to pretend he's sane.  When he was rightfully called out for his disgraceful statement, he issued a clarification that didn't really sound any better.

Rand Paul must be giving a presidential run serious consideration, since he made a point of publicly disagreeing with his father on this... but Ron Paul will always be saying this kind of crazy shit, so unless Rand is willing to completely disown his father, he's never even going to have a chance.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "To win the future, conservatives need to give voters a positive image of a can-do America and a can-do Republican Party" by Bookworm Room, and the winning non-council entry for the week was Caroline Glick's post "Bye Bye London" over at her eponymous blog.  Congrats!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Obamapalooza 2013

My, what a disgraceful inauguration that was.  Everything about it disgusted me: the way President Obama tried to superimpose it upon the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, the hyperpartisan inaugural speech he gave (and the insipid inaugural poem that accompanied it), the awful-looking Romulan outfit that Michelle Obama was wearing, and her utter classlessness as John Boehner tried to make polite conversation.  So now we have to suffer through an orgy of media sycophants falling all over themselves to wash Obama's feet and anoint him with oil, and to remind us all for the trillionth time how profoundly historic he is... brace yourself for four more years of failure, and four more years of him (and these same sycophants) blaming Bush for that failure.

Sure, Obama is historic.  He's the first black president--if you don't count Bill Clinton--but so what?  He's also got the thinnest resume of any president in our nation's history, and probably the thinnest skin.  In only one term he's already added more to the national debt than any of his predecessors.  And, as I like to joke, it turns out the first president to eat a dog will be the last to eat a Twinkie.  Not everything you could call historic is inherently good.  If Obama ate a baby on live television, that would be pretty historic too.

These days, I find myself thinking a lot about another historic president.  Calvin Coolidge was the first president to have his inauguration broadcast on the radio, and the first to have his State of the Union address broadcast on the radio... he was also the first president to appear in a sound film:

Calvin Coolidge left office with a budget that was smaller than than the one he inherited... how many presidents managed to do that?

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "Disunity in the Republic" by The Right Planet, and the winning non-council entry for the week was Rob Kerby's post "She survived Hitler and wants to warn America" over at Beliefnet.  Congrats!

Update: And last week's winners can be found here.

Scats and dogs

Have you heard of Dog Shaming?  It's this hilarious website that posts pictures of dogs being shamed by their owners for various bad behavior.  (Lots and lots of pictures... it goes on for hundreds of pages.)

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

I'm not sure why but all my favorites seem to involve poop for some reason... hmmmmm.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "Corporals of the United States Marine Corps" by The Mellow Jihadi, and the winning non-council entry for the week was Bob Owen's post "What You’ll See In The Rebellion" over at his eponymous blog.  Congrats!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Why is Jack Lew so loopy?

This man's signature could soon be on our money:

That mess of loops is supposed to be Jack Lew's signature.  He's currently serving as White House Chief of Staff, but he's been nominated by President Obama to replace Tim Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury... if confirmed, his signature would have to be printed on our currency.  Presumably, the signature will be fixed beforehand in the same manner that Geithner's was... but I just wonder what it says about him (about both of them, actually) that such a thing is even necessary.

What kind of a man can't be bothered to spell his own name right?  Is this laziness?  Arrogance?  Something else?  I don't know, I can't make sense of it.

Are those loops even supposed to be letters?  If they are, I count eight of them... is one of them meant to be his middle initial?  Or maybe it's meant to be read as Jacob Lew, not Jack Lew... that's another weird thing about this, why does everyone call him Jack?  Jack is usually a nickname for John, isn't it?  Never in my life have I met a Jacob who went by the name Jack... Jake maybe, but never Jack.

I'm not saying this should be a reason for Republicans to oppose him at his confirmation hearing... I just find it odd, that's all.  I know nothing about the guy, I can't say whether he's qualified or not... I take it as a given that anyone Obama picks is going to suck anyway, so all I can do is shrug and hope that Lew somehow manages to not suck as badly as Geithner did.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Council Has Spoken!

This week's results for the Watcher's Council vote are in, they've been posted over at Watcher of Weasels.  The winning council entry for the week was "A Game Change In Syria" by Joshuapundit, and the winning non-council entry for the week was Larry Correia's post "An opinion on gun control" over at Monster Hunter Nation.  Congrats!

Screw you, Chris Christie!

So I'm guessing that Chris Christie has no plans to run for president in 2016, or ever, unless maybe it's as a Democrat.

I wouldn't mind seeing some more video of him yelling at teachers who need to be yelled at, but other than that I'm pretty much done with him.