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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Movie reviews

Rented two movies this past weekend. "Saw" and "Finding Neverland." Got some short reviews that hopefully will move you to see one and consider passing on the other.

First, "Saw," a psychological horror/thriller. Cary Elwes, the main character, a a doctor who doesn't appreciate his family, and there's a twisted man who decides it's up to him to teach Elwes' character the love his family by locking him in an underground bathroom chained to a pipe. But he's not alone. There is a younger man, who's been taking photos of him, chained to the other side of the room. A dead body lays in the center, blood pooled around the head and a gun in hand. Things flash back often to explain how the "killer" works. He kidnaps individuals and places them in traps forcing them to try and work their way out. O-k..... Semi-interesting plot gets filled with too much blood and gore. Not very scary, and more disgusting. The attempts to scare end up being nothing more than just what is grosser than the last "scare." Acting is ok, with Danny Glover as a cop (not a stretch for him there. see Lethal Weapon 1-4). Over all, not an impressive movie and at best a rental. Shocking ending, but ruined by Elwes' character's stupidity.

"Finding Neverland," with Jonny Depp, Kate Winslett, and Dustin Hoffman. I had never heard anything about this movie except from critics saying it was good. And this time, I agree with the critics. This movie begins slowly, with Depp playing the role of James M. Barrie, watching one of his plays flop. His life is slightly sad and lacking. But his imagination inspires the children of Winslett's character. The acting is very good from all parties in this movie, even the child actors. The plot pulls you in, slowly and into Barrie's world where you can enjoy the thought of never truly growing up. Depp meshes well with the children actors and you can watch them inspire his own imagination to write Peter Pan. This movie should make you smile and laugh, especially the out takes. But there are some very sad parts allowing you to lose track of that star as you head on to morning. Gets a thumbs up from yours truly.

Rage returns..

Ok, I've been on a break of sorts.. Letting the world settle and watching the vultures circle before I let fly with more verbal eviscerations (not a word known by blogger's spellchecker. go figure) . I've tolerated the annoyances of tax season, enjoyed (look up sarcasm if you think i actually enjoyed any of this) getting the news that I owed personal property taxes from 03. For the record.. You taxing me for something I own and already paid taxes on is rather crappy. Why am I paying taxes on a new car when I buy it only to keep paying year after year? To give money to a government who spends it hand over fist on less than useful items. I'm giving money to the same people who decided that there had to be a law your headlights must be on if your windshield wipers are on? Excuse me if I fail to give a vote of confidence to you half-wits in the Arkansas government.

On to my real rage.. There's a monkey on my TV and I can't get away from it. GWB has decided to interrupt scheduled programming to gives us more of his pre-cooked BS. My message to GWB: step away from the social security and find a issue we give a squat about. You wan to reform the UN? Get someone who isn't quoted as saying we could remove floors from the building (meaning we could remove nations) and no one would know. Mr. Bolton, remove the bad hairpiece, trim the stache and fade away so we can stop hearing about your bully tactics.

Why does he feel that Social Security should have "voluntary personal savings?" Umm.. Lets look at that.. Voluntary personal savings accounts. Mutual funds, bonds, stocks, CDs. Yup, those look like voluntary personal savings. You control when to buy or sell, how much to put in, and how much to take out. "You can go from bonds and stocks to bonds as you get older." I can't do that without it being part of social security? Lets move on...

I applaud the efforts going on Iraq (yup, I said it. i'm still a left leaning liberal independent though!). The ground work is being set for democracy. The way we went there, very wrong. The way we've conducted everything, not so great. But there has been progress. I don't think the government Bushco put in place will last, but maybe the system will take hold. Even with all the dreary nay-sayers in our Liberal party, we still must look at this as something we're in and we damn sure need to do what we can to make it better. I don't say lay down for the Repub thugs, but I say work on cleaning their mess up. Dude, it's still my country, damnit!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Nick Anderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Political Cartoonist

This is Nick Anderson's prize-winning portfolio. Very nice work. I listened to a few minutes of an interview that he did with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air today. He is a very insightful person who is unashamed of being labeled a liberal. (Ooh, ooh, what a dirty word that is.) I could not imagine the amount of heat he takes from his readership; Louisville, Kentucky is not exactly like San Francisco.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Greenspan Back-tracking

To be fair, I do remember the Chief invoking a warning that triggers should be implemented should certain budget goals not be met, but damn, it sure took him long enough to quit sounding like a personal campaigner for Bush's tax cuts.

Second thoughts / Fed chief acknowledges 2001 tax cuts encouraged deficit

Thursday, April 21, 2005

House Update

As some of you may know, my wife and I have recently come into ownership of a house that has been in her family for several years. For the last 15 years or so it has been a rental house, which means a lot of work to do before it is suitable for our high-falutin' lifestyle. It is extremely exciting and gratifying being a home owner, but damn, this is a lot of work!

Thus far I have destroyed a closet, pulled up hardwood flooring in order to use it to patch flooring in other parts of the house that were in need of repair, pulled up a crapload of old nasty carpet, and been a go-fer for my father-in-law, who is project manager extraordinaire for this remodel job. The next step is scrubbing several walls and painting them. After that the floors will be refinished (we are hiring someone to do that, thank you very much!), then some serious cleaning, appliance delivery, and then, finally, moving in to the house. We have finally set a deadline of May 27th for moving day.

This coming fall the major remodeling effort will take place. More on that later.

If anyone would like to donate a digital camera for me to use to record these events, please email me. ;)

David Brooks: Roe's Birth, and Death

I wonder if Brooks thinks that the Equal Rights Amendment should remain buried, too.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Roe's Birth, and Death

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Boring Update

Here I am, eating a Lean Pocket (yes, Lean) and some baked Cool Ranch Doritos, drinking a Sam Adams Boston Lager (it is always important to note exactly what beer one is drinking--Sam Adams in and of itself is not an adequate descriptor), listening to Interpol's "Evil" at the moment, and blogging.

This is night #3 alone with me, myself, and the cats. Ashley is in Benton, working on the new house. "New house?" you ask. Yes, new house. Well, actually it is an old house, built in 1931 (Craftsman brick), and it has been in her family for twenty-plus years now, but she and I now officially own it, so it is new to my ownership. I am extremely excited at the prospect of home ownership, especially of a house for which I do not have to have a mortgage, but at the same time it is rather nerve-wracking. We are currently doing some remodeling work that has to be finished before we can move in--painting walls, patching and refinishing the floors, buying and installing appliances, that sort of thing. We should be finished with our bit (the floors will be done by hired help) in a few weeks. Then it will just be a matter of living with orange Formica kitchen counter tops and without the services of our to-be-remodeled master bedroom and our to-be-built master bathroom for a few months. Then the real fun begins...

So far I have learned how to tear up a linoleum floor (kitchen) to find the treasured hardwood floor beneath, destroy a closet while salvaging the cedar lining, and pull up hardwood (the master bedroom will be carpeted--maybe a mistake) in order to use it to patch the dining room's bay window floor, the old floor furnace hole between the living and dining rooms, and part of the kitchen/breakfast room floor. I also just about broke my neck cleaning pine needles out of gutters and roof valleys.

The work has been delayed twice now. My father-in-law, master craftsman extraordinaire, is in charge of the project, but suffered for well over a week from a pinched nerve. About the time he started feeling a little better, my long-ailing grandfather died. Life goes on, however.

P.S. Blogger's spell check dictionary is just about worthless.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Or maybe this should be called culling. In an effort to keep things fresh I have deleted a few (and added more) BlogRolling links (to the right of the screen). The deleted links are effectively links to blogs that have gone dead. In an effort to avoid becoming a dead blog, I will rededicate myself to actual writing instead of just throwing up random links (or any other regurgitative matter).

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

EFF: Let the Sun Set on PATRIOT

EFF: Let the Sun Set on PATRIOT

This is a great resource site for what needs to be eliminated from the Patriot Act ASAP. These provisions do little to prevent terrorism. It is up to law enforcement agencies to work within the framework of the Bill of Rights. It offends my sensibilities to think that there are citizens who believe we should live in a police state, and I hope the majority feels the same. Say no thank you to Big Brother and write your Congressional Representatives.

Fight the good fight.