Saturday, May 26, 2007

30 years and a country far, far away:

Wow, has it really been 30 years since Star Wars came out? It may be hard to believe for some nowadays but during those doldrum years between the demise of Star Trek and the summer of '77, SiFi seemed to be pretty much dead. Sure, after '69 there would be the odd Gene Roddenberry TV movie/pilot for a new series that would go no where, like Planet Earth -- John Saxon didn't help his career with that one -- or the Planet of the Apes sequels or something out of left field like Logan's Run (which was awesome); there was nothing, though, that really captured the public's imagination.


The SIFI world was a vast Tatooinesque desert populated by a small number of diehards like myself who went to Star Trek "conventions" at the Polish American club in Lake Worth FLA where, maybe a hundred, people would gather to contribute a few bucks each to rent a movie projector to watch Star Trek episodes and movies like When World's Collide or The Day the Earth Stood Still. (Those were the days!) There was Space 1999, but that show was all cool space ships and uniforms, nothing else: Nothing to really grab a 13-year old boy by the throat and transport him out of the late seventies.

Until, that is, Star Wars came along.

I remember seeing the ad in the movie section of the newspaper and saying to myself, "hmmm. . . . . . maybe I'll check this out." I was a latch-key kid out of school and bored of my mind. I dipped into the cookie jar where my mom kept her spare change, took 8 quarters out, got on my 10-speed and made my way to the other side of Lake Worth. I paid my money, went into the dark air conditioned theater, and had my mind blown again and again. (I still get goose bumps when I hear that first crash of the opening music.) By the time the violins were lightly lilting and the camera was panning down to Tatooine, before I even saw the colonial ship being fired on, my mouth was already agape: "In a galaxy far, far away!" Sold and sold!

That summer I went every day and sat through every showing, which I think was three a day. Back then, they would let you pay once and just stay all day. And as the summer went on, the air conditioning really became a selling point (it may sound hard to believe now, but not everyone in Florida had AC in 1977).

By the time my mom figured out where all her spare change had gone -- the jar was empty -- the world had changed forever. Right after Star Wars -- well, two years after? -- The first Star Trek movie came out and SiFi geeks all over the country rejoiced. [Though, Robert Wise probably could have waited another year to figure out how to cover up Deforest Kelley's liver spots -- or just passed on that one altogether and gotten right to ---- Khan!!!!!] After Start Wars, I was firmly planted in my TV chair every Sunday night for Battlestar Galactica and I was absolutely in heat over Erin Gray’s tight, tight space pants in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. (Man, its hard being 15 and being hard all the time.)


Those were good times to be a SiFi geek. Every chance we could, my cousins and me used to make it to the local drug store to buy up every magazine that had anything to do with Star Wars. Luckily, also, MAD and Cracked saw what was going on and pretty much had to have an issue every month lampooning the movie. With characters like Luke Skywalker and C3PO, it was a real no-brainer. The perfect combination of two of the world's most important things to a teenage male in American in the late seventies!

And then came Punk Rock: I was outa' there.

I've got to say, though, George Lucas seemed to realize that the little kids that had started out on A New Hope were growing up, to his credit he made the following episodes a little more adult to keep our interest. I was always there on opening day to see the next installment; this is, until after the Empire Strikes Back. This latest stuff holds not the least bit of interest for me. Lucas fiddling with the originals really ruined it for me, I've got to say. Oh well, we'll always have the summer of '77.

Post Script: Bring Firefly back!

Thank God, we now have the new Battlestar Gallactica and the 14 episodes of Joss Whedon's Firefly and the movie Serenity, which we can watch over and over again and never get sick of.

Hey Joss, could you please get on with making Wonder Woman and get back to Firefly? If you do, I'll buy two copies of the box sets just to make it worth your while, ok? Please?

P.P.S. Bring back Book and Wash! I can't believe you killed them off!

Use the standard "temporal anomaly" ruse: The Operative is really the young Book before he went into the Abbey. That explains how Book knows so much about fire arms and knee-capping and get's medical treatment from the Feds with no questions asked. Alan Tudik comes back as another character, very similar to Wash, who initially sports a mustache, and who, incidentally, Zoe also hates. We'll suspend our disbelief, I promise. (That Nathan Fillion is becoming a big star fast, grab him while you can still get him cheap!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

From Russia with Nashis:

Well, I must say I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the British government hasn't swept the Litvinenko Polonium 210 killing under the rug. I figured for sure the British government wouldn't want to get the Russian bear all worked up and risk getting their oil and natural gas cut off.

Yesterday, British prosecutors accused former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi of killing Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko last November. Naturally, the Russians have reacted very badly to the accusations and vowed to resist a British extradition request. For his part, Lugovoi denied that he killed Litvinenko by dropping Polonium 210 into his tea, saying the charged against him are politically motivated.

As much as the Brits might want to paper this over, they can't just ignore the fact that a foreign agent assassinated someone in the heart of London while also managing to spread radio active material all over the city, exposing over 700 Brits to radiation poisoning and another 670 people outside of England. (Not too subtle those KGB types.)

The AP quotes a former US intelligence officer saying that the Lugovoi prosecution is "Foolish." Bob Ayers says, "Russia is becoming a monopoly when it comes to energy supplies in Europe, and the last thing you want to do is jeopardize that supply." I like how these spooks stick together, but the problem is that Vladimir Putin's Russian is rapidly turning into a fascist nation which not only crushes internal dissent with thuggish tactics, but also sends assassins abroad to knock off its opponents.

Letting him and his goon squads get away with this sort of thing for fear of the spigot being turned off would be an admission of weakness and the worst example of British appeasement since Neville Chamberlin flew into Munich.

Of course, as Peter Hitchens writes in The Daily Mail, what exactly can the UK do about it?:

"It is a new experience for Britain, so long herself a feared power who could behave much as she wished, to be the weaker party in such a quarrel, and with no great hope of getting stronger.
We are, in my view, being warned crudely and bluntly that in future we must treat Moscow with respect, in the street-gangster sense of the word."

And I don't suppose we should be worried about the fact that Vlad has started up his own little army of Brown shirts, called the Nashis, (rhymes with?), who storm around Russia beating up people who don't like Vlad and haranguing the British ambassador on a regular basis. Nashi means "our thing" but has nothing to do with the Mafia. As Vlad told Romano Prodi once, "The word Mafia was born in Italy, not Russia." [Raw Story]

Recently the Nashis turned their ire towards Estonia for moving a statue of a Russian "liberator" a few feet down the road. NEWSWEEK reports that the Nashis shut down a highway out of Russia into Estonia and disrupted a press conference by the Estonian ambassador "retreating only after her body guards sprayed them with pepper gas." The paramilitary Nashis: "Now claim 15,000 ranking members and 100,000 supporters," NEWSWEEK reports. Sergei Markov, one of the main members of the Nashis says, "The idea was to create an ideology based on a total devotion to the president and his course." Hmmm. . . Where have I heard that before?

Are you getting the impression that Vlad isn't giving up power any time soon?

"Two weeks ago," Owen Matthews and Anna Nemtsova write, "in the city of Sosnovy Bor, on the Estonian border, Nashi volunteers visited local schools to show a film titled 'Lessons in Courage.' It opens with footage of a vast Nashi meeting of young people wearing identical white T shirts with a big red star. Next came shots of Putin juxtaposed with photos of a noble-looking wolf, followed by images of rats. 'Putin is a lonely wolf surrounded by rats, [a ranking member of the group Nikolai] Panchenko told the school kids. 'Russia has become too corrupt. It is time to change things, time for stronger leaders -- like us.'"

Rats, huh? Who used to use images of rats in his their propaganda? Oh right, that was Goebbels, who used rats to depict the Jews. But not to worry, we don't want to do anything foolish like challenge Vlad's new 21st century Reich. As long as he's playing ball on the Iran thing and just cutting off oil to old Europe, we've got nothing to be concerned about. Oh, but there is this: Niklai Panchenko also says:

"It's time to put an end to America's being the strongest and most influential empire."

And as a little post script, here:

As I write Vlad is railing against the new US plan to put anti-missile missile batteries (that, by the way, don't work) in Eastern Europe to protect the US against Iran and North Korea. (What?)
Condi Rice says we can talk to the Russians about this, but "I don't think anyone expects the United States to permit somehow a veto on American security interests." I don't think anyone expects the US to just go around the world telling everyone to shut up or put, either, but I'm just thinking what Vlad must be thinking of Condi these days. I seem to remember him saying something about African culture that wasn't exactly very enlightened, yet totally characteristic of the man.

"We all know that African countries used to have a tradition of eating their own adversaries." [The Sun]

Goodling not so good.

Well, Monica Goodling has finally testified in front of the House Judiciary Committe and right off the bat she blamed deputy AG McNulty of basically lying to Congress.

"I believe the deputy was not fully candid," she said. According to her it was all Sampson and McNulty, she had nothing to do with the firings and she never spoke to Rove or Miers about them.

She is under oath isn't she? When she initially balked at answering Chairman John Conyers' first question he had to remind her that: "You are obligated to answer each question completely and truthfully." I mean, this woman got imunity to testify and she's still trying to stonewall. The gall of this person!

Of course, she's not the most qualified lawyer out there, she is, after all, a Regent University grad. Someone ought to tell her that lying, even under a grant of immunity, is perjury. She did tell the committe that that she may have gone a little overboard with the whole hiring political ideolgues thing:


"[Goodling] admitted to have considered applicants for jobs as career prosecutors based on their political loyalties — a violation of federal law.

'I may have gone too far, and I may have taken inappropriate political considerations into account on some occasions,' Goodling said.

'And I regret those mistakes.'

Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., hammered Goodling on her decisions to hire prosecutors who favored Republicans.

'Do you believe they were illegal or legal?' Scott asked.

'I don't believe I intended to commit a crime,' Goodling, a lawyer, answered.

'Did you break the law? Is it against the law to take those considerations into account?' Scott said.

'I believe I crossed the line, but I didn't mean to,' she responded."

Ok, so I broke the law, but I didn't mean to, that's ok right?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A note on Tony B-liar's pathetic departure from the political stage and the "special relationship."

Tony B-liar's craven allegiance to W.'s mad-capped mis-adventures in the Middle East has not only dragged his own political fortunes down, but also Britain's. The UK isn't our partner, its our bitch. They'll do anything we tell them, and they'll say like it. I wouldn't expect Gordon Brown to do anything too radical when he moves into #10. He might like to extricate his country from the black hole W. has drug it into, but he won't be able to.

The problems for Britain all started back when good King George III took over. He and his host of bumbling PMs blew it when they tried to crush the American colonists under their heels. They should have let us have a say in parliament and gone a little easier on the taxes. Don't feel too bad for them, though, this is the sort of thing the Brits thought of us back when they were in the saddle:

[Again from Origins of the American Revolution]

"Now 'these Saucy Americans' needed to be taught humility and obedience; and it was better to take them in hand while they were yet in their infancy then to postpone the reckoning until they had become great lubberly fellows who might knock their old mother down when she attempted to apply the birch. Time seemed to be on the side of the Americans: One Englishman pointed out in 1769 that by 1944, Americans -- the most powerful people in the world --- would visit the ruins of London. Clearly, Americans must be taught who was master in the household, exclaimed an Englishman, before they felt strong enough to 'wrestle with us for Pre-eminence.'"

Too late!

It looks like Kendall Myers was right about the so-called "special relationship"and B-liar's decission to go along with W. in Iraq:

"It was a done deal from the beginning, it was a onesided relationship that was entered into with open eyes . . . there was nothing. There was no payback, no sense of reciprocity. . . We typically ignore them and take no notice -- it’s a sad business." [Times Online]

Jimmy, don't pull a Billy!

Jimmy Carter is flaking on us. Now he says his comments about W.'s administration being the "worst in history" were "careless or misinterpreted." Well, which is it Jimmy? He's claiming that he was simply comparing Nixon's foreign policies to W.'s. [He might have mentioned that Nixon's domestic policies were a lot better too.] He said on NBC's Today show, "I wasn't comparing the overall administration, I was certainly not talking personally about any president." [TIME] Yeah right!

Deputy press secretary Tony Flacko was all over it saying of Carter's contrition, "I think it just highlights the importance of being careful in choosing your words. I'll just leave it at that."

Boy, that's really white of you Tony. You're doing a heck' va job!

Certainly when Rummy said he knew exactly where the WMD were or when Condi was warning of imminent mushroom clouds over Manhattan or Cheney was predicting the "last throes" of the Iraqi insurgency, they were all carefully choosing their words, too.

Common' Jimmy, watch what you say, you'll get somebody killed!

We're the chumps:

AP reports:

"In grudging concession to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said yesterday. The legislation would include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats the officials say."

I thought ending the war was also a top priority of the Democrats, what happened to that? Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't they locked in a political battle with the lamest of lame duck presidents with a slightly higher approval rating than halitosis?

Why are they conceding? There are people dying over in Iraq. There are 35,000 more soldiers getting ready to go over for their third or fourth tours as we speak. Screw that, the Dems say, we'll go ahead and try to pass a $ 7.00 minimum wage bill, so if any of these kids in Iraq actually make it back with their lives, limbs or mental facilities, they'll be able to make a little extra chump change.

That's really standing up for principle!

Alexander Hamilton would be proud of these Democrats; they're preserving the revolutionary values that made this country great. John C. Miller's excellent history, Origins of the American Revolution (1943), points out that the American:

"Patriots proposed to overcome the handicap of high wages and scarcity of labor by putting the 'idle and indolent' and women and children to work. Alexander Hamilton, in particular, impatiently awaited the day when tens of thousands of children would be happily trooping off to the factories. The high birth rate of the colonies offered hope that some day America would be able to compete with Great Britain if children were properly utilized.

One colonist deemed it proper that they be employed 'from the time they were able to move their hands and feet.' High wages were denounced as the bane oft he colonies: 'It is certain,' remarked an American, 'that high wages more frequently make labouring people miserable; they too commonly employ their spare time and cash, in debauching their morals and ruining their health.' Clearly, to save the American working man from himself, it was necessary to beat down wages to a salutary level; and many of the advocates of manufacturing were ready to do this service for American labor."

And the National Resturant Association, too!

Monday, May 21, 2007

George Bush, not irrelevant!

Alren Specter thinks W.'s good buddy Al "waterboard" Gonzales could step down this week before the Senate takes a no confidence vote. AP reports:

"Specter, of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he believed a 'sizable number' of GOP lawmakers would join Democrats in expressing their lack of confidence in the attorney general. "

That crazy old coot can't make up his mind. He's been trying real hard to follow the party line on Gonzales, but apparently, James Comey's testimony last week about Gonzales' bedside manner shocked him out of his Depends.

As usual, as soon as he departs from the reservation the White House questions his intelligence and or sanity:

"White House spokesman Tony Fratto said yesterday that Gonzales would not be affected by a potential vote of no confidence. 'As for no-confidence votes, maybe senators need a refresher course on American civics,' Fratto said while with Bush at his Texas ranch. 'I think you find no-confidence votes in parliamentary systems, not the American system of government.'"

You see, crazy old Arlen Specter has only been in the Senate since 1980, so he needs to be lectured on American civics by some media flack from the White House.

Just like former president Jimmy Carter: He told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: "As far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history."

Even worse, on the BBC . . .

"Mr Carter [said] Mr Blair's backing for US President George W Bush had been 'apparently subservient'. He said the UK's 'almost undeviating' support for 'the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq had been a major tragedy for the world.'"

He's broken the unwritten law of the former president's club! It's bad enough he left the reservation on the Israel thing but, this is unforgivable.

Again, Tony Flacko, is on point:

"I think it's sad that president Carter's reckless personal criticism is out there. I think it's unfortunate. And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments.'"

See, one of only four living former presidents; a Nobel Peace Prize winner; a man who builds homes for homeless people all over the world; a man other countries trust so much they ask him to validate their democratic elections; is now irrelevant.

He's irelevant, I think Tony oughtot look at this latst poll:

AP: "It's gloomy out there. Men and women, whites and minorities - all are feeling a war-weary pessimism about the country seldom shared by so many people. Only 25 percent of those surveyed said things in the United States were going in the right direction, according to an AP-Ipsos poll conducted this month.

Asked in April why they felt things were veering in the wrong direction, 33 percent overall volunteered that it was the war and 25 percent blamed poor leadership. Nine percent faulted the economy, 8 percent a loss of moral values, and 5 percent gasoline prices."

The hidden headline of this story, is this bit:

"Those who think the United States is heading in the right direction tend to be white male Republicans in strong financial situations, who say they sense a solid economy and are satisfied with the country's leadership."

Naturally, that's W.'s base. These are the people he and his loyal majorities in Congress have been working for all these years. That's the GOP's consituency. Anyone who can look at the mess they've created and think things are going great, obvioulsy is insolated by a big green wall of money made from the sweat of other people labor.
hit counter script Top Blog Lists Favourite Blogs Top List
My Zimbio
Top Stories