February 29, 2004


Updated throughout the night...

Billy Crystal is talented and clever, nice intro. He left one analogy off his list of things that haven't changed in 13 years -- the same lies about the economy being in the tank are still being told.

Maybe they could have saved a lot of time if each presenter didn't have to walk 30 yards to get to the podium.

Can't Peter Jackson afford to get a shirt with a large enough collar?

I've got three teenage girls in the house who shriek every time anything to do with Lord of the Rings pops up. Or Johnny Depp.

My daughter and her friends are making a lot of rude comments about Bill Murray looking really old. I reminded her that she's going to want a car in about 2 years, so stifle it.

Diane Keaton resurrects the Annie Hall look. Ewwww.

I put the over/under on wisecracks about Democratic candidates for president at 2. I've already lost count of the Bush wisecracks.

I'll give Tim Robbins credit for restraining himself. He's awfully big for a hobbit though. I mean, isn't LOTR supposed to win everything?

The Clinton "Kill Bill" crack doesn't count since neither Bill nor Hillary is running -- as far as I know.

Bridget Jones wins! Well, to be fair, it's tough to imagine any women winning much for LOTR.

Rodya is blogging live. He's much wittier than I. Go there. Unless you like reading things top to bottom instead of upside down.

Goodbye Mr. Hope.

Sometimes I wish Ben Stiller and Owen whatshisname were funny.

I'm kind of only watching with one eye, but has anybody not present with a film that won't be up for an award until next year ever been mentioned as often as Mel Gibson has been so far? Oh yeah, Mel's made a huge mistake.

There's your first cue that the orchestra will start to drown you out if you take too long. I know it's only 6:30 PM on the West Coast, but the East Coast doesn't want this thing dragging on until 1:00 Am any more.

I miss Wallace and Gromit.

The girsl ewwwwed Liv Tyler.

First song... sorry, but I've never really cared for Sting all that much. I do like Allison Krause though. Too bad they couldn't have got Mark Knopfler to sing the lead with Sting backing him up again.

Another song... Allison Krause, Elvis Costello, and T-Bone Burnett. Cool. The King is dead. Long live the King.

Third song... I'll bet this one wins the Oscar, because of nostalgia for Annie Lennox as much as anything else. And, of course, it's from LOTR. Too bad it's so dark behind her. I'd like to see Dave Stewart's hair color.

Thanks for the nipple broach mention. Again. And the Pussy Galore joke. The kids love it. Who needs a 5 second delay? It's family entertainment!

Special effects... like, there was a contest?

Jim Carrey is bald. So much for having the power of God. Oh, it's a tribute to Blake Edwards. Watching the clips I'm surprised how long it's been since he'd done anything good. Looks like all the good jokes were used up in the intro. Hey! Jim touched his Oscar.

Makeup... pshaw, there was a contest?

Hmmm, when's the last time an actor thanked Jesus for winning? Or is that just an athletic thing? Hey, I'm just asking. Think anybody will thank Mel tonight?

Sound, um, there was a contest?

Sound editing, what? LOTR's wasn't nominated? Oh, that's why they didn't win.

Speaking of Bill Murray, anybody see the American Express "Caddyshack" commercial with someone besides Bill Murray playing Carl?

Goodbye Ms. Hepburn. Style, wit, and grace. Now we have Julia Roberts.

Ha ha. No one laughed at the joke that said a 4-year old could do their job.

I realize I may be barking at the moon here, but am I alone in not finding Julia Roberts (or Sarah Jessica Parker, for that matter) beautiful? Apparently not, Rodya thinks so too -- at least with respect to Julia Roberts.

Oprah's a hell of a woman. I don't much care for any of her products, but she's been phenomenally successful.

Clip form Mystic River -- looks like type casting for poor Sean Penn again.

Hey, what if John Cusack and Joan Cusack introduced an award, and joked that they were going to get married in San Francisco like Billy and Robin did? How do you think the audience would react? What? There are limits?

Documentary award: The Fog of War and The Weather Underground get the biggets applause. Jeez, these people are so sadly predictable. Oh, yeah, guess who won? Get off the stage, asshole. I guess Billy approves. Sorry Billy, that was the Clinton Adminstration that used the IRS to go after people they didn't like.

Goodbye Mr. Peck.

Didn't we lose Art Carney this year too? Yep. Charles Bronson deserved better. So did Elia Kazan, too bad he named names, huh? Well, he gets to share billing for eternity now with Leni Riefenstahl. And Jack Elam. John Ritter gets the most applause? Well, goodbye to you all.

Hey, they just played the Caddyshack ripoff commercial.

Phil Collins is going to sing? The Oscars have officially jumped the shark. Whew, they are just introducing the award for soundtrack. You know, they are going to have to give something to Finding Nemo to piss off Disney at some point. But not this time, since LOTR continues to win everything it competes in.

Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore are up now. Sean Connery is probably sitting in the audience thinking, "I could kick his ass." Hey, LOTR wins again. What a surprise.

I'm waiting for someone to thank his favorite sheep.

Wow, Jamie Lee Curtis looks a lot like Tony Curtis. Weird. Hey I didn't realize American Pie had a musical munber.

And now we have what sounds like a Django Reinhardt ripoff.

Wait until John Kerry finds out that The Fog of War won!

Did Jack Black pick up Will Farrell to reconstitute Tenacious D? Has anyone seen Jack Black and Curtis Anderson together at the same time?

Ha! I knew it. Sweet dreams are made of this.

Yea, but isn't it weird that LOTR is winning everything this year after not winning a whole lot the last couple of years, outside of a few technical categories?

Charlize ... "What's the frequency Kenneth?" ... Theron gives an award to films that no one has seen. They couldn't even get people to download these illegally. Blame Canada!

Jude Law looks almost lifelike, kinda like some Spielberg robot or something.

Maybe FFC should have advised Sofia not to make a Lost in Translation 3 should she get the chance. Oh hey, look LOTR wins again. Where are they going to find all the steel to build all the vaults to hold all the money Peter Jackson is going to have before this is all over?

Where's Smeagol?

It's the Tim and Susan show! Does Susan have two of those nipple broaches to hold her dress on?

Sofia can write and direct a whole lot better than she can act.

Time to pick up the pace, I want to go to bed.

Allstate runs a commercial that starts off with, "Sombody once said everyone will get 15 minutes in the spotlight." It was Andy Warhol. You know it, I know it, even the rubes your trying to reach out in flyover country know it. So why try to hide from it?

I do like the Jack in the Box commercials.

"Princeton can use a man like Joel."

Jeez, Peter's tie is as bad as his shirt. He did deserve the award though. I'm worried about his health, what with his huffing and puffing after going up about 6 stairs.

It's going to be the Whale Rider girl, since Adrien Brody was the youngest man to win an Oscar last year and she'll be the youngest woman this year. I haven't seen any of the movies, so that's my guess. Then again, she's up against drug users and prostitutes, so who knows. Oh well, Hollywood has a soft spot for drug users, murderers, and actors and actresses that put a lot of weight on for a role -- DeNiro, Zellwegger, and now Theron.

Johnny Depp is studied insouciance incarnate.

Just curious, have you read the previous post?

They should have got Jon Lovitz to do the Diet Pepsi "Acting!" commercial.

Wow, they've managed to make Nicole Kidman unattractive.

Sean Penn wins for playing an angry man. Amazing, they really reached for that one. Maybe we'll get the Iraq lecture now.

Yep. Maybe the president can offer movie criticism next year in the State of the Union address.

Bill Murray just saw his one chance to get a Best Actor Oscar go by the window. Even Billy Crystal picked up on it.

Well, good. LOTR deserved it.

Good night.

(Oh, Billy just made Michele's night.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:10 PM | Comments (9)

February 28, 2004

The Passion of the Reviewers

My friend Jon recently asked if I was going to see The Passion of the Christ. Honestly, I don't know. Not because of any pro or con attitude, but merely because I don't get out to see a lot of movies. Last year, the only two movies I saw in a theater were Finding Nemo and The Return of the King. If the opportunity presents itself, I probably will go see it however. But that's not really what this post is all about.

Reading all the reviews and different writer's perceptions about the film has been interesting. Since I haven't seen it yet, my observations are more like an interpretation of the shadows on the wall of Plato's cave. Nonetheless, I hope they may be illuminating. Thus far, there are five primary objections to the movie, in increasing order of seriousness -- too violent, historically inaccurate, emphasizes the wrong message, he's just in it for the money, anti-semitic -- and two primary endorsements -- achievement as art, emotionally powerful retelling of a well-known story. I will try and treat each of these in order.

Clearly, the movie is violent. But complaints about the violence seem somewhat misguided to me. What I believe is really offending or disturbing most people isn't the violence but the suffering. Rather than shoot for easy targets such as Kill Bill: Vol. 1 for the sake of comparison, I don't think it is difficult to make the argument that The Return of the King has as much, if not more violence than The Passion of the Christ. But what The Return of the King lacks are displays of pain and suffering, especially extended "real" instances of blood and guts suffering endured by either the good guys or the bad guys. Certainly, many more blows were struck and many more people and other critters perished, but all the deaths are relatively quick and lack gore or empathetic sufffering. The longest scene of suffering that leads to death I can remember off the top of my head is King Theoden's, and that lasts under a minute. I suppose an argument could be made for Gollum suffering the most and the longest, but that's something of a digression from the point I am trying to make. Overall, it seems eerily reminscent of the aphorism attributed to Stalin, "The death of one man is a tragedy; The death of a million is a statistic." by distributing all the mayhem to so many, it just isn't noticed, or at least felt somuch. But in the case of The Passion of the Christ, the suffering is relentless and, more importantly, it is concentrated on someone with whom many in the audience are automatically and deeply empathetic. The pain and discomfort those in the audience feel is real, but, as others have noted, how they deal with it and how they interpret what they feel depends greatly on the assumptions they held before they entered the theater.

The charge that the film is historically inaccurate seem almost laughable to me. Oh, I have no doubt that this isn't exactly how it happened, but how can it be? Compare more recent attempts at "historical" films like The Reagans or JFK to see how very, very hard it is to reach any consensus on what really happened and why. And we know a whole lot more about the Reagans and the assasination of JFK than we can ever know about Jesus Christ. And I have little doubt that scholars can nitpick aspects of the use of language or customs of the time, but given the incredible artistic and commercial risks associated with using ancient languages, I think you have to be far and offer a little leeway here. It's a film, and lots and lots of editorial decision have to be made about what to include and how to convey information for non-scolars as well as scholars. I am quite certain that The Passion of the Christ is substantially more historically accurate than Braveheart which far too many people seem to accept as historical. I'm not trying to excuse any historical accuracies, but I will note that scholarship is itself always evolving, so the question of how to interpret certain events is necessarily more subjective than is frequently allowed for.

But the complaints about historical accuracy pale in comparison to the silliness of complaints that the film should spend more time emphasizing Jesus' message of love and peace. It's Mel Gibson's film about the Passion of the Christ. It's not Mel Gibson's film about the life of the Christ. If you want to remake The Greatest Story Ever Told, well, have at it. Who knows, maybe Mel will do that next, but criticizing him because he didn't make the movie you would want him to make is the height of presumption in my book.

The charge that Mel Gibson is only doing it for the money, the most noted indirect allusion of this kind was perhaps made by Andy Rooney, is pretty damn repulsive on its face, as well as ludicrous. To make a charge like this is to say that Mel Gibson is exploiting his belief for cash. That's a very strong statement and one that is not justifiable in my mind. If there was any truth to this at all, does anyone really think it wouldn't have been filmed in English? The impression I've had all along was that Mel Gibson -- and everyone else -- expected this to be a financial loser, and that Mel Gibson's sole motivation for this was as an expression of his beliefs, which his vast fortune allowed him to indulge. And I wonder, would this charge be made if Mel Gibson was a Jew?

Which brings us to the charge of anti-semitism. There is no question that parts of this story have been used to condemn and persecute Jews throughout the history of Christianity. That history demands that we be sensitive to the concerns of those who have found themselves on the receiving end of so much unjustified grief and agony. But I believe it is asking a bit much of Mel Gibson, and Christians in general, to ask that they expunge the offending elements from any telling of the stories in the Bible because they have been misused in the past, and no doubt, will continue to be misused in the future to justify heinous acts. The problem is with those who look for and find rationales to justify their rasicm. Frankly, if it wasn't this, they would find something else because the racism is what drives them to look for rationales, not the other way around. The fact that there is some overlap between what Mel Gibson has said and what some racists believe does not in and of itself make Mel Gibson an anti-semite, nor does it make The Passion of the Christ anti-semitic. As I have noted before, I've heard that David Duke likes vanilla ice cream, but that doesn't make everyone who likes vanilla ice cream a racist. Blaming Mel Gibson and The Passion of the Christ for the acts of anti-semites is somewhat akin to blaming the Wachowski brothers for the Columbine massacre. I cannot do that.

Incidentally, I'm not saying that Mel Gibson isn't an anti-semite. I really have no idea whether he is a closet anti-semite or not, but I haven't heard him say anything to lead me to believe that he is. Since I haven't seen the movie, I can't say whether it is anti-semitic or not, but I'm guessing that if I do see it I probably would not pick up on the details that are leading some to call it anti-semitic. If you are looking for anti-semitism I have little doubt that there is some ripe fruit there for the picking, but that doesn't mean Mel is trying to be anti-semitic. Mel Gibson has said repeatedly that the message of The Passion of the Christ is not that the Jews killed the Christ but that we all did in the sense that the Christ died for our sins. Of course, Mel's dad does seem to be a bit of a nutter, and whether Mel is really an anti-semite or not I'm not surprised that he refuses to denounce his father. I guess that what I'm trying to say is that I will keep my mind open for factual evidence that Mel Gibson is an anti-semite or that The Passion of the Christ is anti-semitic, but thus far I have not been convinced of either.

As to the good points, since I haven't seen it it will be tough for me to say much about it as a work of art, but I will take the word of many who think it is powerful and very well done. Many of the criticisms I have read are in fact strong endorsements of the film as an artistic acheivement. It is only because it is so well done that it has inspired strong opinions and fears that it may be used to incite anti-semitism. I am very impressed by the decision to use the ancient languages. That is a real bold risk that seems to have paid off. I wonder if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will nominate it next year for best foreign language film. I really look forward with some sense of schadenfreude to how the Academy deals with this film next year.

As to the emotional impact this film has had, there is no shortage of evidence to suggest that this film has inspired stronger feelings from more people than any film I can remember. On this level, The Passion of the Christ has to be considered a major success. It has got people talking, thinking, rejoicing, complaining, yelling, condemning, and pontificating like no movie I can remember. I certainly remain sensitive to the concerns expressed by those worried about the film sparking a resurgence of anti-semitism, but I am just as sensitive to the casual dismissal of the positive feelings so many Christians have expressed after seeing this film for what seems to be no reason other than that they are, well, Christians. Many Christians are having phenomenal reactions to this film and that has to be taken into account when judging the film's success, intent and impact.

I hope I do get to see it. I promise a shorter review than this pre-review. Here are some links and links to links to different perspectives that I found informative and useful:

Rev. Donald Sensing
Judith Weiss
Roger Ebert
Andrew Sullivan
Kevin Murphy

Unfortunately, it has become difficult to talk about this is some circles. The charge of anti-semitism is a killer from the word go, as is the charge of facism (facism!) by Christopher Hitchens. Personally, I find it strangely worrisome, but also curiously enlightening, that so many of us who share virtually identical feelings about the War on Terrorism still see so many other aspects of the world around us so differently.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:51 PM | Comments (3)

February 25, 2004


Frankly, reading some of the posts across the blogosphere in the past 24 hours concerning the President's endorsement of the FMA, I think a significant number of bloggers may have forfeited the right to use the prefix anti-.

I may have to insert a blogroll just to make it clear whom I think has jumped off the deep end with their silly rhetoric, starting, of course, with Andrew Sullivan. Please cite an instance where President George W. Bush said or did anything in the past that should have led anyone to believe that he wouldn't favor the FMA? Andrew's self-righteous indignation notwithstanding, where has all this rage and fear come from all of a sudden? I'll give Andrew this though, he's a clever wordsmith. He manages to leave the innuendo in the air that President Bush is no better than the terrorists, in that both want to destroy the constitution, without quite saying so explicitly. On the other hand, Andrew's conflation of the constitution with his rather expansive ideas on civil rights leaves much to be desired.

Welcome to a pluralistic society. Sucks, doesn't it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:48 AM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2004

Please Spare Me

Please spare me the cafeteria constitutionalism that is spreading rapidly now that President Bush has endorsed the FMA. Hey, the constitution and the rule of law are great things until somebody tries to do something I don't agree with! Jeez.

Please spare me the ad hominem attacks on all sides calling people that disagree with your preferred position heathens, bigots, fools and/or racists. How about trying an actual argument using logic and facts to persuade, or finally accepting that we may have to agree to disagree because we have different fundamental views about human nature or the human condition and God -- but that we can still get along in a civil manner on everything else?

Please spare me the sanctimonious self-righteousness of those who oppose gay marriage because it involves, gulp, homosexuals! They're here, they're queer. Get used to it. Hint -- you don't have to become one or even condone it, but they aren't going away and it is past time to reach some accomodation with their humanity.

Please spare me the sanctimonious self-righteousness of those who suddenly oppose President Bush because he has adopted what is actually quite a popular position, and one that does in fact have a moral pedigree, even if it's not one you agree with.

Please spare me Andrew Sullivan's painful feigned naivete:

I wonder if the Bush administration even thought about how mean-spirited this was going to appear. And how nakedly political. Some journalists are reporting that White House sources are telling them that they do not expect this to pass but they need to fire up their base. They'd go this far for purely political reasons? I guess I really was naive.

Come on, Andrew. Are you really that naive or have you allowed your desires to overwhelm your otherwise reasonably critical view of the world around you? And then there's this:

HEADS UP: Tonight, I'll be on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings; and on CNN's Newsnight with Aaron Brown.

Gee Andrew, you think they'd invite you on if it wasn't for an opportunity to bash President Bush? How does it feel to be used by people who wouldn't otherwise give you the time of day? Oh, sorry, that sentiment is reserved for President Bush now, I guess. But seriously, Andrew adopted the in-your-face approach recently to gay marriage and then he feels insulted that the other side hasn't just rolled over? By all means, fight for what's important to you, but please drop the pretense that your particular view of where the moral high ground lies is not open to discussion. It tends to make me believe that your faith in your cause must not be quite as strong as your rhetoric indicates.

Please spare me the double standard of skewering President Bush for doing what he believes is right, while letting Senator Kerry, Senator Edwards, and Senator Boxer off the hook for so clearly adopting a politically convenient position that I'm quite certain they do not agree with. Do you prefer honest people you don't agree with or political cowards and cads with whom you agree, even if they won't quite stand toe-to-toe with you?

Please spare me the eye-rolling that accompanies my statement that this just isn't anywhere near the top 100 of what is important to me right now.

Please spare me any comparisons equating "compassionate conservatism" to the Taliban.

Please spare me the endless drivel that we can expect on this topic for the next few months.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:23 PM | Comments (5)

February 22, 2004

Hurtling Towards the Cliff

I'm 44 years old. Has there been a presidential election since I could vote that wasn't the most important of our lifetime?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:31 PM | Comments (5)

February 19, 2004

It's Only A Movie

I find it curiously amusing that so many people are worked up about the "historical accuracy" of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, especially considering how casually "historical accuracy" was tossed aside in Mr. Gibson's Braveheart and The Patriot for dramatic effect. And don't even get me started on Oliver Stone.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:52 PM | Comments (5)

DNC's Playhouse

Hi, I'm Kerry the Panderer and I will grant you one wish. But one per day! Think of it real quick, drop your cash into the campaign bucket, and then repeat after me:

Mekka Lekka Hi Mekka Hiney Ho!
Mekka Lekka Hi Mekka Hiney Ho!
Mekka Lekka Hi Mekka Hiney Ho!
Mekka Lekka Hi Mekka Hiney Ho!


(Ed: If this doesn't work for you, then try Jambi instead.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2004

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Was anybody else listening to Morning Edition this morning? Bob Edwards was talking with Miles Hoffman about orchestral auditions and Mr. Hoffman explained that auditions were all done behind screens to eliminate any possibility of favoritism based on anything other than the skill of the performer. At which point, Bob Edwards said:

"This is very cool, because this is about merit. Wouldn't it be great if all jobs were filled this way?"

Wow! Check it out. It comes at about 2:44 of the story titled "Playing to Win: Politics and Auditions" on Wednesday morning's Morning Edition.

I'm shocked.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:52 PM | Comments (3)

February 17, 2004

A Question (Well, Several Actually)

Are men and women different? I mean, really fundamentally different? If so, does that form a basis for defining marriage to be something that unites these two inherently different aspects of humankind in a way that is fundamentally different than uniting two men or two women?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 PM | Comments (6)

Attention Reuters!

Isn’t quoting PETA on anything a little bit liking making fun of the handicapped?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

Woo Hoo!

I won again. Well, I tied again anyway.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

A Rare Baseball Post

It used to be said that one of the primary reasons the New York Yankees of the middle of the last century were so dominant was because their farm systems had so much talent on them. The Yankees were able to plug holes and draw on incredible pools of talent to replenish themselves while at the same time depriving the rest of the league of a lot of talent that could be used against them. The Yankees scouting was so good and their farm system so deep that it was speculated that the Yankees AAA club might have been the second best baseball team in the world for a while, and the Yankees were able to keep it that way because of the reserve clause.

In these days of free agency and player movement, it was often been posited that there would never be another dynasty like the Yankees of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s primarily because the Yankees could never lock up so much talent in their farm system again. Unfortunately, I think we are headed for just another such dynasty, because in these days of free agency and player movement, MLB itself has effectively become the New York Yankees farm system.

The New York Yankee’s payroll of $180M heading into this year is more than 50% larger than the number two team in payroll, which, incidentally, happens to be the New York Mets at $116M. The New York Yankee’s payroll is 130% larger than the league’s median payroll of $80M. The New York Yankee’s payroll is larger than the bottom five teams in payroll in the league put together (Kansas City, Milwaukee, Montreal and Tampa Bay).

Other teams can afford high-priced players, but their margins for error are very slim, as St. Louis, Texas, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and even the New York Mets have discovered. No one can afford to make high priced mistakes like Aaron Boone and just shrug them off and keep acquiring even more high-priced talent like the New York Yankees.

Arguments about respecting a free market are not relevant here. Oh, I respect free markets and you should too, but arguments about unfettered free markets in this context should pit MLB against the NFL and the NBA, not the New York Yankees against the Kansas City Royals. The NFL understands this quite well and the salary cap has gone a long way to provide a fair, equitable way to keep the playing field level within the context of the NFL. The NBA sort of understands, but has kind of mucked it up a bit with the draft lottery and the Larry Bird rule (I hope I have that right – I haven’t paid any attention to the NBA for years). The NHL is a whole other ball of wax not relevant to this discussion. Every sports league thrives on competition. If it isn’t competitive, it isn’t going to be very successful. If you want to argue that we don’t need a level playing field as measured in dollars in MLB, then why not argue that the NCAA shouldn’t limit the number of football scholarships that Notre Dame can give out or the number of basketball scholarships that Duke can issue?

George Steinbrenner and Yankee fans may like a rigged game pitting their team of All-Stars against the league, but it is not a good thing for baseball. In the long run, it is not a good thing for George Steinbrenner or Yankee fans either as more and more teams are forced to fold up because no one will show up to watch their team compete for second place.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:28 PM | Comments (3)

This May Be Much Bigger Than You Think

According to the BBC:

The American commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan says he expects to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice by the end of this year.

Lieutenant-General David Barno said dealing with Bin Laden and ex-Taleban leader Mullah Omar was a top priority.

"The sands in the hourglass of all of the al-Qaeda senior leadership is running out," said General Barno.

Do we have the will and the wherewithal to invade Syria or Iran if necessary to accomplish this goal? If Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar suddenly pops up quite openly in Damascus or Tehran, to paraphrase the immortal words of Sean Connery as Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables:

“What are we prepared to do about it?”

And what if it’s Beijing instead?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:26 PM | Comments (3)

Could This Make Sense to You?

Too bad Immanuel can’t hear Immanuel Kant’s Immanuel cant.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

What If ...

John McCain had won the Republican nomination in 2000 and then the presidency in the general election? Virtually everyone except the DNC and a few elected Democrats are glad that Al Gore didn’t win in 2000, but what if it had been President McCain who got the report that two planes had just slammed into the WTC?

What would the cabinet look like?

How would the War on Terrorism have taken shape and been executed?

Would we have had steel tariffs? Or a massive new prescription drug benefit? Or a new immigration proposal on the table?

What would John Kerry be talking about, since Vietnam would presumably not be on the table?

I’ve always thought that perhaps the international community might have gone along with the War on Terrorism if Al Gore was President, just because the “right” people were leading the war, rather than the Right people. You really can’t blame President Bush for the intransigence of the UN, France, Germany, and Russia, if it is their hostility to him that motivates their actions. But how would it have all played out if it had been President McCain?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

Speaking Of Martin Niemoller…

It may not be fair, but while I'm sure most Muslims would not consider carrying out an act of terrorism or directly support acts of terrorism, they haven’t exactly been breaking down the doors of the mosques to denounce it or actively fight it either. The behavior of Big Islam to date can easily generate the perception to those of us not in the Ummah that acts of terrorism don’t really matter so long as they are doing it to the infidels. Maybe it isn't this way at all, but how would I know? By reading the newspapers? Like I said, it may not be fair, but perception has this nasty habit of becoming reality.

I get the same feeling about John Kerry and the interminable Bush was AWOL nonsense. Sure, he’s made the obligatory request to stop it so he can once again appear to be above the fray, but he’s not really going to do much to inhibit it since he probably perceives that anything that hurts Bush helps him. Can anyone doubt that John Kerry is upset about the perception that Bush was AWOL, regardless of what the reality was?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)

The UN in a Nutshell

While reading The Right War for the Right Reasons, I came across a reference to Bill Clinton saying last year:

“So I thought it was prudent for the president to go back to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don’t cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions.”

Of course, the U.N. would never threaten to carry out regime change, much less actually do so. Why? Because the U.N. is chock full of regimes that fear they might be next, or to paraphrase Martin Niemoller’s observation about cowardice and indifference in the face of the Nazi’s, here’s what much of the U.N. really thinks about the what Charles Krauthammer has called the Democratic Realism approach to the unipolar world we now inhabit:

First they came for the Taliban, and I didn’t speak up, because the U.S. had a legitimate grievance after 9/11.
Then they came for Saddam Hussein, and I didn’t speak up, because, well, let’s face it, it’s kind of hard to defend Saddam Hussein.
Then they came for Kim Jong Il, and I didn’t speak up, because that freak scares the bejesus out of all of us.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no willing to speak up for me, because I was the worst tyrant in the world.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

What Liberal Bias?

Compare this headline:

Bush Tries to Boost Troop Morale in La.

To the first few words of this AP wire report:

Snapping a sharp salute before cheering soldiers…

And then compare those first few words to the rest of the sentence:

…President Bush put his credentials as wartime commander in chief on display Tuesday against suggestions he ducked his military duty as a child of privilege during the Vietnam War.

No, no bias here. Just the news, strictly objective and impassionate, without pride nor prejudice. But wait! There’s more!

Democrats have questioned Bush's stint in the Texas Air National Guard — how he managed to get in and whether he fulfilled his obligations — at the height of the Vietnam War. The Democrats also have contrasted Bush's stay-at-home duty with the combat-decorated record of Sen. John Kerry, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Under pressure, the White House released Bush's military records last Friday but there was nothing new to document that Bush showed up for service in Alabama when Democrats have suggested he was AWOL, or missing.

Funny how it is never noted that there has yet to be any credible evidence provided that President Bush did not fulfill his National Guard obligations. But you have to appreciate the irony of Democrats and the Left getting so cozy and comfortable with someone whom they formerly would have called a “baby killer.” But wait! There’s still more!

It also was his first appearance on a military base since former chief weapons inspector David Kay concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, as Bush had alleged in leading the nation to war.

Is there any point at all in noting that that is not what David Kay said? Probably not. But, all is not lost if we can judge from the perspective of the troops whose morale President Bush set out to boost:

Staff Sgt. Jim Lee, an Arkansas National Guardsman, said, "I think he did his duty. We're certainly supportive of the president. We're all Guardsmen, so we know what happens when you transfer from one state to another. The records get convoluted."
Pfc. Allen Harmon, also from Arkansas, said, "In a sense you've got to look at people's past. But right now, he's doing a good job."

First Lt. Jason Cannon, a soldier of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment who was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq, said, "I think it was a really long time ago. The press gets focused on things that aren't that important. I don't think he was AWOL. I've been in the Guard. He switched states. It looks like he was looking for a place to drill."

Pfc Willie Wade, a guardsmen majoring in education at Grambling State University, said, "I wondered (about Bush's Guard flap) when I first saw it. I take it he fulfilled his duty. They showed the papers."

I take it that the AP couldn’t even find a single troop to jump on the Bush was AWOL bandwagon. Looks to me as though the President managed more than just try to boost their morale, AP reticence to note same notwithstanding.

NOTE: I didn’t realize that the Professor (and a whole lot of other people) had already hit this.

DOWNDATE: Apparently the wire report has been changed.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2004

A Modest Proposal

Before anybody else in Big Media writes anything else about John Kerry's medals or George Bush's National Guard Service record, or John Kerry's rumored dalliance with an intern, or Dick Cheney and Halliburton, they must first explain why it is relevant to whether or not they should be elected or reelected. I'm not saying that any of these things aren't relevant, but I cannot exactly figure out why, even if some of them are true, they matter one whit beyond being able to say "See, see!".

Jeez, can't we talk about something important? I'll make exceptions for clever, witty, or funny remarks, but the folks who take this seriously need to get a life.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:26 PM | Comments (6)


I got an unsolicited plug from Glenn Reynolds (thank you sir, may I please have another), but as far as I can tell, it has resulted in only about 100 extra hits.


Posted by Charles Austin at 07:21 PM | Comments (2)

Perhaps Lieutenants Aren't So Bad After All

Former presidential candidate Wesley Clark has decided to lend his support to John Kerry in the senator's bid for the presidential nomination.

Just two weeks ago, when Wes really lit into John Kerry about affirmative action, I guess he didn't really mean it when he said in reference to John Kerry:

"I'm attacking his leadership,"

It's amazing how much John Kerry has grown in two weeks.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:15 PM | Comments (0)

Repeating History

As some are fond of imagining, this won't be the first time that George Bush won a war in Iraq and then lost a bid for relection. Then again, this won't be the first time that George Bush demolished a liberal governor from Massachusetts that wanted to raise taxes and ban guns either. Oh, sorry, John Kerry was only a liberal lieutenant governor from Massachusetts that wants to raise taxes and ban guns. Darn, these analogies always break down somewhere. Maybe the fact that John Kerry was Michael Dukakis' lieutenant governor will mitigate this analogic dissonance and restore the electoral harmonic convergence.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

Boy, I Bet He Really Let Mugabe Have It!

It's as though Israel's actions come out of the blue for no reason whatsoever:

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan strongly criticized Israel on Thursday for using disproportionate force in military incursions in Gaza that killed 15 Palestinians and injured more than 50 others.

Then again, Robert Mugabe isn't a Jew.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

Kerry Establishes His Boner Fides

So John Kerry may have been diddlin' with an intern as well. Personally, I think it's all rather tawdry and I kind of hope it isn't true, but reading that rather than denying it the Kerry camp has told the DNC that they can handle it isn't exactly encouraging. But the single most important aspect of this whole affair (no pun intended) is that it has nothing to do with, and did not originate from, the GOP or the Bush campaign, Andrew Sullivan's comments notwithstanding. Frankly Andrew, if you don't know where it came from, why are you devoting so much ether space to worrying about if the Republicans did leak it? Jeez, next thing you know, Kevin Drum and Josh Marshall will be insisting the Republicans prove they didn't leak it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

Drugs Are Bad, So Don't Do Drugs, 'Cause Drugs Are Bad

Why is John Ashcroft announcing a drug bust for steroids that results in the arrest of four men? Is it possible that this is why steroids made its way into the SOTU address? Kind of cheesy and amateurish if you ask me. I may have to go back and reread the SOTU address to see what other things might be popping up in the headlines soon.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:32 PM | Comments (1)

February 10, 2004

This Is My First, and Hopefully My Last, Post on Scott Peterson

Can we get Mark Geragos disbarred for sheer stupidity?

Defense lawyer Mark Geragos may have a tough time Wednesday convincing a judge in the Scott Peterson double-murder case that Global Positioning System technology is inaccurate and unreliable.

The decades-old technology developed for the military is now used by everyone from airline pilots to wildlife management officials and weekend hikers to Sunday drivers. The latest devices can pinpoint a person's location within a few feet, using signals bounced off satellites.

Geragos said his client was followed -- electronically -- by GPS tracking devices installed in vehicles he owned, borrowed and rented after his wife disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002. He wants all the GPS tracking evidence excluded from the trial.

"The GPS technology has not been generally accepted by the scientific community," Geragos said in court papers filed in October. "GPS has inherent inaccuracies. ... Furthermore, there is no case law establishing that GPS technology has gained general acceptance."

He may be right that there isn't any case law concerning the technology, I have no idea. But if that argument flies, I guess we'll never have any case law since every other lawyer can use that same argument forever to prevent any case law from being established. But if the judge needs any evidence concerning the reliability and accuracy of GPS, may I suggest that he check out Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk which manages to take off, fly its mission which requires it to know with great precision exactly where it is, and land without benefit of a pilot.

Somehow, I think the technology can be scaled down to tracking slower moving cars and people without too much trouble.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:15 PM | Comments (3)

Has That Thing Got a Hemi?

Let's hope Guinness hasn't gone to press yet:

The Spirit rover shattered a one-day distance record on Mars, rolling nearly 70 feet across the planet's rocky surface, NASA said Tuesday.

Maybe they should wait a while before going to press. I predict a steady stream of new records as each week goes by.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

He Blinded Me With Pseudo-Science

Here's a "scientific" report that disproves a classic pop culture reference. Why? Because it's Scottish and it's crap:

The growth rate of trees in the Amazon Basin's pristine rainforests has nearly doubled in recent decades, which may have helped slow global warming

Post hoc ergo propter hoc. The rainforests are getting bigger! We have to put a stop to that. No, wait... Of course, they offer another argument:

Yadvinder Malhi of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, a contributing scientist and one of the publication's editors, said the change in these pristine areas - making up more than half of the Amazon rainforests - may have acted as a brake on global warming. The increased biomass helps clean carbon dioxide from the air and slow its buildup in the atmosphere.

Fascinating how it goes from "may" to certainty in one sentence. Please note that the greenhouse effect is not the issue. That is well documented and understood. The question is still whether or not an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide does other things that offset the greenhouse effect, such as increased cloud cover, or increased biomass, or other as yet fully unknown and unappreciated effects. It's all incredibly complicated and not at all clear. My weatherman cannot reliably predict snowfall 2 days out and yet I am to believe that these same models can predict temperature increases 20 or 100 years out? Puhleeze.

If the proponents of global warming would consider something other than the US as the sole culprit and transnational progressivism as the solution, maybe I'd listen more closely, but for now I'm remaining fairly deaf to all illiberal utopian statist solutions. But it's a moot point anyway because we'll have cut down all the rainforests in the next couple of years according to the fund raising literature I've received. We're doomed! Doomed!! DOOMED!!!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:57 PM | Comments (4)

Upside Down

Over at Instapundit, some are speculating that Max Cleland might be John Kerry's running mate. If it turns out to be true, I expect Big Media will purge that phrase from their vocabulary, FWIW. Personally, I still think it will be Dick Gephardt because of the electoral votes Missouri can offer and the likelihood that Gephardt can deliver them. But think about it, twenty years ago, or even ten years ago, who would have predicted that the Democrats might be featuring two proud, decorated Vietnam Veterans as their candidates for president and vice president? Their other problems and political positions notwithstanding, that has to be considered a good thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

Big Gnosticism


Posted by Charles Austin at 09:34 PM | Comments (1)

Vive Le Difference!

What the **** is wrong with French people?

A 35-year-old Frenchwoman became both bride and widow when she married her dead boyfriend, in an exchange of vows that required authorisation from the French president.

I kind of assumed that he must have have just passed away and that there was some really good reason for following through, but no:

The deceased groom, a former policeman identified as Eric, was not present at the ceremony. He was killed by a drunk driver in September 2002.

Well, I would think the word former would be redundant, but hey who knows? But lest you think this is some unusual request that Jacque Chirac granted as a one-off:

According to French law, a marriage between a living person and a dead person can take place as long as preliminary civic formalities have been completed that show the couple had planned to marry. Before the ceremony can take place, it must be approved by the French president.

I've heard of gibbeting the dead, but forcing the deceased to marry seems a bit much. Anway, I wish her wedded bliss with their unholy necrimony. Oh jeez, now somebody's going to want gay necrimony.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:12 PM | Comments (1)

Pretty Pennies

PRI's Marketplace started off this evening with host David Brown saying that he was lucky because he topped off his tank last night at $1.99 a gallon and this morning gas was $2.07 a gallon. Wow! Conservatively, I'll speculate that Mr. Brown might have saved as much as $0.80 overall, since he was only topping off his tank and, of course, we just know that's he's driving some fuel efficient minicar rather than a big SUV with a couple of 20-gallon tanks -- I mean, he is a host on PRI's Marketplace after all. Assuming that he won't fill up for, say, 4 days, that would mean that Mr. Brown has saved himself $0.20 a day for each of the next four days!

Now, what's funny to me is that Mr. Brown probably spent $4.00 buying a cup of coffee this morning, and yet he considers himself lucky that he saved $0.20 on gas today. But what bugs me is that Mr. Brown then wastes his time and mine talking about it as what I can only assume his producer considered a clever seque into OPEC's decision to cut production. While I have no doubt that when aggregated to the national level, the rise in the price of gasoline has enormous effects and implications, at the individual level this is beyond meaningless. Not that I have come to expect sophisticated market analysis from Mr. Brown, the show's title and the imprimatur of Public Radio International notwithstanding. For a program with a name derived from the most basic element of the free market they show an unyieldingly consistent hostility to capitalism. But then again, if Mr. Brown truly believed in capitalism, he probably wouldn't be working at PRI.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

Midlife Crisis

I'm going to wait another 6 years before I start mine so I can live to 100.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2004

Don't Want My M T V

Scott Ott doesn't like MTV. I mean, he really doesn't like it.

Or with an apology to Mark Knopfler,

Now look at them yo-yo's, that's the way you do it
You pull her clothes off on that MTV
That ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' and your nips for free
Now that ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Lemme tell ya, them guys ain't dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

We got to take o'er Super Bowl halftime
Grabbin' crotches, dissing stank hos
We got to move these album releases
We got to move these brand new Tivo's

That Janet Jackson with the titring and the makeup
Yeah, buddy, that's her own pair
That Janet Jackson got her own jet airplane
That Janet Jackson she's a millionaire

We got to take o'er Super Bowl halftime
Grabbin' crotches, dissing stank hos
We got to move these album releases
We got to move these brand new Tivo's

I shoulda learned to play the guitar
I shoulda learned to play them drums
Look at that mama, she got it stickin' in the camera
Man we could have some ...
And he's up there, what's that, nasally noises
Grabbin' on his bongoes like he's got scabies
Oh, that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Get your money for nothin' get your nips for free

Now that ain't workin, that's the way you do it,
You pull her clothes off on that MTV
That ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' and your nips for free

Don't want my, don't want my, don't want my MTV...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Al Bore

I used to give Al Gore the benefit of the doubt about Afghanistan and the Taliban. I was fairly sure that Al's obeisance to transnational progressivism would have kept him from doing anything about Iraq or just about anything else, but I was fairly sure he would have done something about the Taliban.

Now, I'm not so sure:

"He betrayed this country!" Mr. Gore shouted into the microphone at a rally of Tennessee Democrats here in a stuffy hotel ballroom. "He played on our fears. He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place."

This level of detachment from reality is not easily achieved. I'm not going to go into details because anybody reading this already understands how wrong this is, or else they agree with Al's Machiavellian machinations. But is it really worth the sacrifice of his integrity and the utter debasement of the body politic to win? Remember that it was the fallen angel Lucifer in John Milton's Paradise Lost who said, "Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven." Unfortunately, this scorched earth policy seems to be the order of the day.

Seek some professional help Al.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:19 PM | Comments (4)

(Lack of) Adventures in Headline Writing

Today's front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch featured a story below the fold from the Los Angeles Times about Howard Dean's troubles with the headline:

Missteps Tripped Dean's Campaign

Of course, it's no surprise that the headline writers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lack a sense of humor or they might have used this instead:

Missteps Trippi'd Dean's Campaign

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:18 PM | Comments (1)


A good time was had by all Saturday night here in greater Kirkwood. Thanks to Sean, Sara, Rodya, Jim, Chris, Tanya, Kevin and Dodd for another enjoyable evening where "meat was back on the menu." Congrats to Sara and Sean on their pending marriage. And a special thanks to Dodd for driving all the way from Kentucky. Since we've lost track of the number of MWBB's we've had, we'll number them as n+1, n+2, etc. from this point forward.

Now, does anybody know how I can get the infamous "YEEAARRRGGGHHH!!!" for the ringer on my cell phone?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:13 PM | Comments (3)

February 05, 2004

I See I'm Not Alone

Andrew acknowledges that others have noticed his preponderance of posts pertaining to his sexual preference and how it may have prejudiced his perspective, and his perceptions, on politics.

I only mention this since my last post on it got more comments than anything else I've written. It was either that or the opportunity to have a lot of "p"-"p" alliteration.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:00 PM | Comments (2)

February 04, 2004

If They Only Had a Brain

According to Drudge:

CBS announced today plans to enhance their ability to edit out any inappropriate and unexpected events from the Sunday, Feb. 8 broadcast of the "46th Annual Grammy Awards" on CBS.

Of course, this will virtually guarantee further boorish behavior since the "artists" know that their indiscretions won't really be exposed, so to speak, and yet they'll still get credit for being brave and bold, keeping it real, fresh, and on the edge. Jeez, this is so predictable you can't even chalk it up to unintended consequences. The only thing more predictable are the inevitable charges of censorship or squashing dissent when the delay is used to actually edit out something we aren't supposed to hear or see. Unless, of course, it is the correct kind of dissent squashing, like VH-1 editing out Hillary being booed, for instance.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:31 PM | Comments (2)

Sad Day for the DNC

With Joe Lieberman joining Dick Gephardt on the sidelines, both of the Democrats running for President that could be taken seriously on the biggest issue of our age are now gone -- and gone quickly and decisively. I certainly don't agree with much of their politics, especially Gephardt's populism, but at least I wouldn't have worried quite so much about the War on Terrorism if either of them had been the Democrat's nominee this year for president. I contend that this is very bad news for the DNC, because ultimately this election will come down to one issue when each thinking, informed citizen steps into the ballot box and that is who is going to protect America from its real enemies. John Kerry, John Edwards, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Al Shaprton, and Dennis Kucinich have all been measured and they have all been found wanting. Each of them still seems to fail to understand what the War on Terrorism is all about and they each lack the will to fight it effectively.

This isn't just my perception incidentally, but that of a significant number of Democrats. For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about George W. Bush lately, have you found any Republicans openly coming out and saying they will be voting for any of these Democrats? On the other hand, there are already many declared Democrats who are quite loudly saying that it looks like they'll be voting to reelect George W. Bush this November. There's a huge difference between some of President Bush's "base" sitting on their hands and actively voting against him. If John Kerry is the presumptive nominee, there will not only be a number of Democrats also sitting on their hands, e.g. true Deaniacs, but also a number voting for his opponent. In fact, I think these swing votes will almost exactly match the margin of victory in the general election. Like I keep saying, despite the "base" issues President Bush has right now, it still looks like a blowout to me -- even more so if Howard Dean doesn't come back into the fold or if Ralph Nader decides to launch another vanity campaign.

But there's something even worse going on that demonstartes the current political and intellectual bankruptcy of the DNC today. Shouldn't Democrats be arguing that any Democrat is better than reelecting President George W. Bush, instead of having a contest to see who's "most" electable compared to him? Isn't this a tacit admission that it's a race to see who will lose least worst? On the other hand, the circus freak show that includes Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, and even Wesley Clark as serious candidates ought to be shaking the foundations at DNC headquarters. This is very bad for the DNC and bad for the future of politics in our country. We should always expect criticism to come from across the aisle, but most of the criticism offered today is nothing more than vacuuous gainsaying of whatever the other guy says. Personally, I'm still looking forward to the issue of The New Republic that chastises the DNC for no longer being a serious party. Unless the Democrats can offer constructive criticism, the Republicans are more likely to drift further and further into destructive policies calculated primarily to further their interests and hold on power, rather than the nation's interests. The Democrats forty year lock on Congress was not a good thing and, frankly, there is no reason to believe that a Republican forty year lock on Congress would be any better.

Anyway, I dread the next nine months of having to listen to the daily repetition of John Kerry's sonorous, monotonic recitation of meaningless talking points. But you want to know what's really scary? Dennis Kucinich got 5% of the vote in New Mexico's primary. I think I'm going to reconsider retiring to the high desert there because there are just too damn many loons on the loose.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2004

Stargazy Pie

Piling on... you gotta believe that Madonna is kicking herself for just not going farther at the MTV Video Awards with Britney and Christina. But Justin's hip hop, over the top attempt to bust a move on Janet's bust has to be seen as a bust given all the backpedalling by everyone involved to cover their butts when all they really had to do was cover her bust. Perhaps the glam slam of Jan's mammary was too low to go, especially in slo-mo on Tivo. Hmmm..., I wonder how their passion played in Peoria? Or Oberammergau for that matter -- this is the most watched TV event in the world every year, after all, except perhaps every fourth year when the World Cup Final is on. The race is now on for who will be forever remembered for displaying his or her genitalia first on national TV -- accidentally, of course. As Barney Fife used to say, you'd better nip it in the bud. Wise, or not so wise it may have been, or not been, for these soon to be has-beens. You know, if they had played the Super Bowl in the Astrodome, perhaps it wouldn't have been so nippy.

And now I must apologize for dragging Cornwall into this. But should you get the opportunity, I can highly recommend Cornwall, and especially Mousehole (pronounced Mowzul), where stargazy pie, immortalized in The Mousehole Cat, can still be found.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:47 AM | Comments (2)

February 02, 2004

It's Not TV...

HBO is playing the movie Unfaithful right now, starring Richard Gere as a man whose wife is cheating on him. I can only imagine that someone thought Richard Gere would be believable as a cuckold, in what they no doubt thought was a brilliant piece of casting against type. But why they thought audiences would feel any sympathy for him on this point is rather strange to me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:15 PM | Comments (2)

If History Repeats Itself, the First Time as Tragedy, the Second Time as Farce, What Is the Proper Description for the 9,045 Occurrence... So Far This Year?

I just heard someone named Michael on Dennis Miller's MSNBC show say once again that he cannot understand why the BBC is viewed so badly because of one error, which in fact wasn't really an error at all as we have seen, blah, blah, blah...

People -- and some journalists -- come on. Mr. Gilligan said something that was wrong and couldn't be backed up. No big deal really. Everyone makes mistakes or gets carried away with hyperbole from time to time. Apologize or ignore it, but just move on. But that is not what this is about. It's about the institutional problems that the BBC had in drawing a line in the sand over an indefensible position and sacrificing their actual integrity for what they claimed was their integrity but turned out to be little more than their personal bias.

Everybody who might read this probably already knows this, but I am sick to death of the mendacious dribble that passes for acceptable political discourse these days. And then, of course, there's the miserable defenses offered for what has transpired in the past year. Dennis Miller is disappointing me by letting Noami Wolf and Martin Short ramble on as though WMDs were the only reason Iraq was liberated (unilaterally, natch), not to mention Martin Short asking why Syria couldn't invade Israel claiming they had WMDs. Well Martin, dear boy, aside from Syria getting it's ass kicked big time if it tried, I think I'm within my rights to resent comparing the US and its allies to Syria, much less comparing Israel to Iraq. Personally, I'd love to see President George W. Bush give a speech announcing that the US, the UK and their allies saved the UN from terminal irrelevance by enforcing its resolutions.


Posted by Charles Austin at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

Fantasy Football

I'll spare you the details and give you the results.

Eight teams, five made the playoffs, and I won two championships. Last year I won two championships with only five teams, so maybe I'm slipping. Then again, and most significantly, I won the league I've been in for thirteen years now for the first time, and since it's a dynasty league... Michael Vick, Tom Brady, Rex Grossman, Carson Palmer, Priest Holmes, Jamal Lewis, Rudi Johnson, DeShaun Foster, Warrick Dunn, Torry Holt, Marty Booker, Rod Gardner, Ashley Lelie, Tony Gonzalez, Ryan Longwell, and the Baltimore Ravens defense/special teams may mean I'll just skip the draft next year altogether.

Two teams in a playoff league, won one. In the one I didn't win, I picked fifth from what was left after the other teams had already drafted and still finished third, so we'll call that a moral victory. The league commissioner claimed after week two that I'd have trouble not finishing fifth. Hah!

I have about a ten-thousand word post that's halfway done on the NFL this year, but I've abandoned it. You're welcome. And it would reveal too many secrets to my competitors about my strategery that is so often misunderestimated!

All in all, a good year that had the potential to be great. But that's why there is always next year.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:01 PM | Comments (2)

Polls and the Polling Pollsters Who Poll Them

So John Kerry now "beats" Bush according to the latest polls. Wow. That's a stunning acheivement since we've had nothing but ABB for six months running from Big Media and the New and Improved Seven (formerly The Nine) -- who currently are hyping ABB deficit disorder. And to think that President George W. Bush hasn't run a single commercial yet. Like, wow man.

I'll take bets now from anybody who wants to take Kerry and spot me 5 percentage points. Or could it be that this kind of polling is really just a colossal waste of time and money. Those pundits who claim this means Bush is vulnerable are frankly making the same kind of mistake as those who whine about Al Gore getting more votes. If the game was about being in first place on February 2, I think President George W. Bush and Karl Rove might have played it a bit differently.

It's still a blowout in November from where I sit.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

Star Gazing With Jack Horkheimer

I missed the big event yesterday. Oh, I saw most of the game, but I missed the halftime show. I cannot prove it, but I wondered after seeing a promo in the airport for the game early yesterday if this was the year that they would finally expose a breast for the sheer shock effect. After all, the pop culture sled that's slouching towards Gommorah must have a couple of those AOL 9.0 boxes tied to it. I do have a couple of questions and thoughts though:

Has that star thing shown up on E-bay yet? If not, when?

I've heard that those things can poke your eye out if you aren't careful, but I always thought it was a bad joke. I wonder if Janet has one on the other side as well. Imagine how embarrassing it would have been if Justin had exposed the wrong breast!

Is it just me, or does anyone else think there's a face in the middle of the star?

Was JJ singing her big hit Nasty Boys? You know, "My name's Janet, Miss Jackson if you're nasty..." And we all thought athletes were the ones who refused to retire gracefully.

Was this a crude attempt to make jury selection for Janet's brothers's child molestation trial that much more difficult?

Which was more stupid from young Justin, doing it, or saying afterwards that he didn't intend to do it? Or does Janet wear one (two?) of those things all the time? Ewwww....

Who was more deceitful, CBS for planning the whole damn thing, or the NFL for being shocked, I say, shocked by it? Here's an idea, get rid of the overproduced halftime show and put on the bands from a couple of small black colleges. That would be a hell of lot more entertaining.

The Super Bowl must be the only sporting event that people will purposefully go to the bathroom while the game is on so as not to miss the commercials. No wonder the networks drool over it so much.

Oh, and I am sorry for dragging Jack into this mess. I don't know why I did that.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)