2009 Books

>> Thursday, December 31, 2009

(I succeeded in reading more books than I did last year. Small victory for me.)

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2009 Movies


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The relationship between Christianity and Islam

Only by understanding the lost Eastern Christianities can we understand where Islam comes from, and how very close it is to Christianity.

Such incorporations of older faiths continued long after the initial spread of Islam. Asia Minor, for instance, had been Christian for twelve hundred years by the time the Muslim Turks secured political dominance, and many old Christian families survived, albeit as social inferiors. Women particularly tended to keep old beliefs alive, as they had neither the duty nor the opportunity to operate in the public sphere, where they would have been forced to reveal their religious loyalties on a daily basis. Christian women could pass on older ideas within the household, among the serving classes, and even to the children of Muslim masters. As late as the nineteenth century, many rural Turks who considered themselves faithful Muslims insisted on getting their children baptized, to safeguard their physical and spiritual health. In much popular Muslim practice, we hear the echoes of older voices.
——Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia——and How It Died, p. 38

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Up in the Air

This was the selection for the annual Christmas Day movie. I wanted to see this because I wanted to see how it handles laying people off since I was laid off last year. The movie has a company entirely dedicated to firing/laying off people from their jobs. I've never heard of a company like that, so I can only assume its existence lies in the world of fiction. I'm sure there are managers who would much rather pay someone to do that task for them though.

This is the third Jason Reitman film I've seen, and every one had a distinctive opening credit sequence. The font choices and aerial shots of farm land reminded me of old pictures of the 60s and early 70s. I remember hearing about the arduous process in creating one for Juno. I actually forgot about the one for Thank You for Smoking until my sister reminded me of it. Now I'm beginning to wonder what his next film will be and what he'll come up with for that.

Which seems to be the most lingering thought I have about this flick. I saw this a week ago. I'm not sure what to think of it. It didn't have a super duper happy ending, which made sense; although, I was surprised how Clooney and Farmiga's characters' relationship turned out. Mostly I just feel "Eh" about it now. A sentiment I find disappointing given how many critics' awards this has won recently.

Basically, I expected a little more from this movie. What exactly? I don't know. But I know that a week later I'm already beginning to think: overrated. Yeah, it has some great sequences, some great lines, and interesting characters. But a week later after watching all of this, all I can think of is: eh.

Julian Sancton came up with this in Vanity Fair:

But the film is also gliding to a great extent on a tailwind of hype. It’s easy to see why Hollywood is abuzz; Up in the Air contains all the elements required to titillate the Academy: a movie star in the old vein, a palatable love story, a popular director with friends all over town (Reitman), and, above all, a sobering relevance. The problem is that those ingredients are cobbled together in a tasty but inconsistent casserole. There are two movies in Up in the Air: one about a guy who’s flying around the country firing people, and one about a commitment-phobe who’s flying away from responsibility and a shot at true love, as embodied by Farmiga.

There is no attempt to braid these two threads together, and that’s where the movie feels unsatisfying. Only the love story comes in for a landing, and not necessarily a soft one; the economy story, however, has no third act—which is understandable, since we’re still flying through that storm.
Hm. I suppose that could be it. But I don't necessarily agree with that entirely. I see the ending more as a man who used to know what he wanted--pure superficiality--and learned that he wanted something deeper and more substantial and saw it slip through his fingers. Both threads are essential to make that point. He wouldn't have demonstrated that conclusion at the end if it hadn't been for both threads. Except he didn't get what he wanted, which is why he's "up in the air" about his future as he heads out on the road again.

Which is probably why I find it so unsatisfying a week later. All that and then... nothing. Not an epic fail. Not an epic win. Just more of "I still haven't found what I'm looking for." Great. Life's a journey 'n all that... It makes me feel like there should be a sequel for when Clooney's character, Ryan, actually finds what he's looking for.

Here's the author, Walter Kirn, on his novel:
The story, which I started writing at the peak of the dot-com mania, was conceived, in part, as a morality tale about the spiritual distortions forced upon people by techno-capitalism. It was also a satirical treatment of the drive to pile up useless wealth. But mostly it was a character study of someone (or a class of someones) who I felt was invisible in literature despite being all around me in real life: the pretzel-eating, mini-bar-raiding nomad, his existence pared down to a single carry-on, but his soul the same size as everyone else’s.
Well, that's something I can file in "shit I already knew." For a movie that has received so much critical acclaim, I expected more than that. Much more. I'm pretty sure I've seen this story before and better done. (Wonder Boys perhaps?) The only thing differentiating it is business travel and layoffs.


Since I think this film is overrated, that's not to say I don't think it deserves to be nominated as Best Picture. I think it does deserve that. As for whether it deserves to win or not, off hand I'd say no except I'll wait to see what 10 films the Academy comes up with. It is possible to do worse.

All that talk about Clooney possibly winning Best Actor is also overblown. I don't see much difference between Ryan Bingham and Michael Clayton except for the love story. (Some critic noted that we get to see Clooney's "vulnerable side." And for that he deserves an award? Wow. Clooney really is a charmer.) I would like to see him get nominated but definitely not win. I'd actually like Clooney to direct more. I think he still has untapped potential in that domain just waiting to be used.

And then there are those who love to tout Anna Kendrick. Um, why? It's clear to me that she can act, but all I saw was the same firecracker delivery that I saw in the two Twilight films. She just had a better script and role this time around. I can only think of her as a brunette Buffy.

In retrospect, it's Vera Farmiga's performance that I like the most. It's not a show stopper or scene stealing. It's subtle and doesn't look like acting, which I don't think can always be said of Kendrick's hyper junior flyer. Although, I do have to say that when I saw her character's ass in the first 15 minutes, I knew it wasn't hers. It was pretty obvious when we didn't see Farmiga's face until a close-up on the bed that it was a body double walking across the room.

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I'd like to see her win

>> Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From Jezebel:

On [Kathryn] Bigelow's chances for Oscar or future commercial success: The only thing Hollywood is interested in money, and after that prestige. That's why they'll be interested in something like The Hurt Locker. She's done so well critically that she can't be ignored.

Let's acknowledge that the Oscars are bullshit and we hate them. But they are important commercially... I've learned to never underestimate the academy's bad taste. Crash as best picture? What the fuck.
—Manohla Dargis of the NY Times

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Rings true to me

From a reader of Andrew Sullivan's blog:

I'm a New York native who's lived in Alabama for close to five years now. Here's what Northerners miss: The South is an aristocracy, and the key to understanding Alabama is that it was founded -- and to some degree remains -- as a state at war with a good portion of its residents. If you live outside the region, you can get a vague sense of that, but living here really brings it home.

Slavery and segregation have both died away, but the state is still run by a relatively small number of lawyers, businessmen and lobbyists located in Montgomery. The fiendishly awful 1901 Constitution centralizes all power in the state capitol, making local control almost nonexistent. To get permission to, say, spray for mosquitoes in a county, you have to amend the constitution in a statewide vote. This is not an exaggeration. The small clique of folks in the capitol city dictate tax, education and business policy for the whole state, and if you're not part of that clique -- even if you're the mayor of a major city -- you're not going to have a say in how the state is run.

They prefer it that way, and always have. Alabama was founded as a slave state, and the founders of this state were slaveholders who bent the government to keep their unjust system going and protect themselves from insurrection. After an interlude in Reconstruction, the elites took over again and started systematically locking blacks and poor whites out of Montgomery for fear their state would be taken over. The folks who wrote the 1901 Constitution were landholders in the middle part of the state who wanted to hold the black population under the lash and industrialists in northern Alabama who wanted to keep their (mostly white) workers in line. Both groups shared a fearful memory of the 1890s, when the Populist Party and its humane agenda came within a stolen election or two of taking control of the state. Alabama never had a Huey Long-type governor to smash the old boys' network, and this bunker mentality has persisted through most of this state's sad history.

So if you wonder why Alabama politicians are always looking for the "other," the one to blame for all their homemade problems, look no further than the history of this state. The people who run Alabama are only concerned with protecting their power. They're brazen about it, and care about their voters only inasmuch as they can convince them their frustrations are less about the system and more about liberals or immigrants.

Try to make a trip to Montgomery during the next legislative session, which starts in January and ends in April. You'll get about three feet off the elevators before you see the hallways choked with lobbyists trying to sell (or dictate) policy to elected officials. An actual constituent would have a hard time making their way through the crush to see their representative. That's Alabama, and that's the best way to understand it.

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The Daily Dumbass: "FOX newscasters are the most informed"

>> Tuesday, December 15, 2009

According to a letter to the editor in yesterday's paper. I couldn't find the actual letter online, so I typed it out.

To the writer of the Dec. 5 letter, "Murdoch a 'skinhead in a Brooks Brothers suit,'" who refers to Rupert Murdoch, the FOX News network, and their listeners as dangerous skinheads: The majority of news listeners today tune into FOX News Network.

The writer refers to listeners as uneducated, easily led Americans. He then says that Hannity, O'Reilly, Beck and the rest of the FOX commentators are telling us nothing but hate-mongering propaganda.

FOX newscasters are the very best informed people in this business. If they were not, they wouldn't have the positions that they are in. They give us what they call, the fair and balanced news of the day. If viewers check out these facts, they would find out how well informed they are.

The letter writer then says that if these newscasters are left unchecked they will turn the clock back to the days of the KKK.

After this writer was through writing his ridiculous and laughable letter, did he actually reread it?

Then, he tells us, the majority, "The truth is out there, make an effort to find it." This is very good advice and I for one, in the majority know who needs to follow this advice. Why doesn't this letter writer start by tuning into Rush Limbaugh every day, remember "the truth is out there."

The letter writer is obviously blinded by his liberal views and refuses to listen to true political facts.

Move over. Conservatism is on it's [sic] way back, and in a big way.

—K.H., Hunstville
Yes, they are SO smart.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gretchen Carlson Dumbs Down
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And honest.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Beck - Not So Mellow Gold
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Or perhaps FOX news viewers are just lemmings.

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Lost: Season 1

>> Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just finished it.

I actually started watching this back when it premiered in 2004. Watched the first three episodes. Then parts of some of the others. Then stopped watching. I just didn't feel like devoting myself to another tv series. I also had given up my cable a few months before and watching tv via antenna was a pain. The local Fox channel put out the best signal. (No, I don't watch 24 either.)

So this past week I decided to start watching it online (via Netflix) since I could watch episode after episode without having to go get another dvd. I suppose I could have watched them via Hulu too, but no commercials is always a plus. And it's nice knowing that I can watch everything leading up to the season 6 premiere and not have to suffer the agony of waiting in between seasons to find out what happens to whom.

Because this thing is one giant telly novel. I haven't watched anything but season 1 yet, but I've read bits and pieces about Lost for years now. And heard and read people complaining that they have to wait so long to find out what happened. I'm so taking the easy route. Granted, I kind of know when some characters die like Boone (that's a strange name), which kills part of the suspense but I don't really care.


I care that Claire doesn't lose her baby again. Walt gets back to Michael. Hurley surviving through it all. Finding out who The Others are and some character named "Juliet." And no more back stories on Jack. Really, that man's back story is boring. I'm always looking at the clock when the episode centers on him. I would much rather see episodes devoted to Sawyer.

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Oh! That darn documentary!

>> Friday, December 11, 2009

That would be 8: The Mormon Proposition, which is scheduled to premiere at Sundance in January. Looks like "The Church" is already doing research on this documentary, seeing as they popped onto my blog this past Monday. I wonder how many more gay rights measures they will start supporting to lessen the public relations disaster that is surely coming...

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Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow

I remember when I saw the trailer for this five years ago. I thought it looked so great. I couldn't wait to see it. Then the reviews came out for it, which if I remember correctly, weren't all that great. Totally dampened my enthusiasm for seeing it in the theater. (I could look the actual score up on Rotten Tomatoes, but I don't care at the moment.) But I wondered at the time, how could a movie with such great visuals be so mediocre?

Well, that's kind of a dumb question, but it kept popping into my head while I was watching it. The scenery is fantastic. The characters, not so much with the exception of Angelina Jolie. She does enliven it for the few scenes she's in it. But the two leads, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law, need to drink a bit more coffee or something when they come to set. Paltrow's character was almost interesting. If she would have wound the character up a bit more, instead of choosing mild restraint so often, then Polly would have been a joy to watch. And Jude Law's Sky Captain Joe? Well, he has the brains. Charisma to help the audience fuse with him on this grand adventure? Um, no. Sorely lacking in that department. The chemistry between Paltrow & Law's characters seemed to be all Paltrow, operating on 85% of her character's necessary gusto.

Perhaps this is just a difference between watching it on the big screen and small screen? I don't know. But I do know that it took far too long for them to get to Shangri-La. The story didn't really kick in for me until about then. If they could have trimmed some of the earlier scenes by just a second or two each, then perhaps the first half wouldn't have dragged so badly for me.

Interesting story once it reaches the end though. Just takes too damn long to get there. I love the design and 1930s look, but I can get that in comic and coffee table books.

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Sarah Palin, The Coward

>> Thursday, December 10, 2009

Since the only thing she knows how to do now is make posts on Facebook, it should be no surprise that when asked if she would (could) debate Al Gore on climate change, after the Washington Post published an op-ed (with her name on it no less) regarding the subject, she declines.

From today's Laura Ingraham show:

INGRAHAM: Would you agree to a debate with Al Gore on this issue?

PALIN: Oh my goodness. You know, it depends on what the venue would be, what the forum. Because Laura, as you know, if it would be some kind of conventional, traditional debate with his friends setting it up or being the commentators I'll get clobbered because, you know, they don't want to listen to the facts. They don't want to listen to some reasonable voices in this. And that was proven with the publication of this op-ed, where they kind of got all we-weed up about it and wanted to call me and others deniers of changing weather patterns and climate conditions. Trying to make the issue into something that it is not.

INGRAHAM: But what if it's an Oxford-style, proper debate format. I mean, he's going to chicken out. I mean, if you challenge him to a debate, do you actually think he would accept it?

PALIN: I don't know, I don't know. Oh, he wouldn't want to lower himself, I think, to, you know, my level to debate little old Sarah Palin from Wasilla.
Coward. Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post captures it perfectly:
So, there you have it, if you find a venue for this debate where the odds are totally stacked in Sarah Palin's favor -- like maybe a dogsled race that you quit halfway through? -- she's game! Otherwise, she'll get clobbered. This was "proven," you know! Totally "proven!" When she was afforded the opportunity to write an op-ed in the Washington Post -- free from any editors who might normally say things like, "No, this is wrong," or "Sorry, we actually would prefer to not insult or readers intelligence because we'd like them to keep buying our newspaper" -- and when said op-ed wasn't universally showered with praise and accolades, it absolutely "proved" that the media and Al Gore's friends and "commentators" were just out to get her. Millionaire lady gadabout just can't catch a break!

This is sort of Palin's de facto setting for media appearances. May I remind you, she hasn't even bothered to go on any of the Sunday morning political talk shows. Not even Fox News Sunday!
She won't even answer questions from reporters on her book tour, even in the most Republican areas like Utah.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Coward.

Oh, by the way, the Chinese believe that those who are wearing green hats are getting chumped. Guess those divorce rumors must be true!

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Fun is always free

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Sharp Contrast

Digby on Sunday:

Yesterday I wondered whether the president would come up to Capitol Hill today and finally lay down his own bottom line on health care reform, which Democratic Senators were insisting he needed to do to break the logjam.

Harry Reid just emerged from the meeting and said this about the Pubic Option:
Q: Senator Lieberman said that the president didn't mention the public option.Is that true and do you think that that's significant?

Reid: The President didn't say a lot of things. Senator Lieberman said that to me after the meeting also. But that doesn't mean it's not an issue just because the president talk about it.
If anyone's still wondering where the president stands on this, he stands where he always stood. On the side. Either he doesn't give a damn or he doesn't want it, you choose.

Senator Lieberman, on the other hand, clearly wants nothing other than to stick it to the liberals. That is why he's against the PO. And he wants everyone to know that. He's a vindictive, nasty piece of work and he doesn't care about his reputation, his legacy, his relationships or the future of the country. It's all about him. And the president and the majority leader seem to think, as always, that it's better to appease Holy Joe and let him win.
Compare that to what Daniel Schorr wrote about Bill Clinton warming up in the health care fight in February 1993:
Then, a massive attack is expected to be mounted against both the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. The president is already warming up for that with remarks like "The pharmaceutical industry spends $1 billion more each year on lobbying and advertising than it spends on developing new and better drugs."
Huge, huge difference.

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Twilight: New Moon

>> Wednesday, December 9, 2009

By some fluke, a friend and I went to see this tonight. I actually wanted to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox, but it was 8:30 when we arrived at the theater and Mr. Fox didn't start until 9:40. But New Moon was starting at 9:00. New Moon it was. I said that since that since practically no one would be in the theater, we could feel free to laugh at the cheese without worrying about being lynched by TwiHards.

I gave my friend the brief run down of what happened in the previous film. (I really hate that movie.) She was unfamiliar with it. I also told her some of the thrilling bits that happen in the final book, i.e. Jacob falling in love with a newborn. And she was like, if you were an immortal vampire, why would you spend almost a 100 years going to high school. Why exactly!

Why is Bella in love with Edward? I really couldn't grasp why during the movie. They're just in love. It doesn't matter that Edward basically has no personality. He's the pretty boy constantly concerned about Bella. It's the only thing he does with his life. How fucking stalkerish. Jacob has a personality. And a hot body. My friend even commented on his hotness during the movie. I said he's not legal, even by gay math standards.

The best parts for me were the cheese like the sparkle sound effects. A vampire just can't sparkle in silence. When you see glitter in real life, you must know that it isn't truly sparkling until you HEAR it sparkle.

Granted, this movie was WAY BETTER than the last one. There is an actual climax and a plot. However, as I said to my friend before the movie started, it's all about the blue balls. Edward can't/won't have sex. Neither will Jacob. Amazing how a teenage boy has the celibate restraint of a monk. I wouldn't expect a teenage boy to be able to do that until he's 50 and needing Viagra. I love that my friend then said, after Jacob rejected her, that Bella is going to be getting a vibrator. Poor girl, she's partly rejected by both boys in her life.

But my favorite moment had to be when Michael Sheen's character, a Volturi, saw a vision of the future, via "Alice," where sparkly Edward was running through the forest in slow motion wearing a white, flowing blouse with a beige vest and then Bella runs, via slow-mo, into view wearing a pastel dress and then she sparkled too! Major laughs throughout the theater. This is Stephenie Meyer's vision: running sparkly through the forest. I don't care if that's how it didn't happen in the book. It IS the ludicrous essence of the books.

When the movie ended, I just wanted to yell, "FUCK!!!!" I needed some kind of release.

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The Girlfriend Experience

>> Sunday, December 6, 2009

I find it interesting that this movie is rated R, given that there is no sex in it. Some brief nudity, yes, but not closeup. I suppose it's rated R for "adult situations" or something like that.

Anyhow. I got interested in seeing this last spring when it came out. Of course, it didn't play near here. I don't think it even played in SLC. Naturally, I put it in my queue after listening to a Salon.com interview by Andrew O'Hehir with Steven Soderberg. At least, I think it was Soderberg. It might have been Sasha Grey, the porn star who plays the lead role in this.

The interview discussed "The Girlfriend Experience" in general terms, which is not the movie but people paying escorts for dates that simulate having a girlfriend because they don't have the time or wherewithal for dating or actual relationships. I remember hearing about that and thinking, "Wow. Lots of people really hate dating!" It's harder out there than most people admit. Of course, there are people, usually guys, who do this and still have girlfriends, wives or families as the film depicts.

My interest kind of waffled during the first half. Some of the scenes were interspersed such as this Vegas trip that Christine's (played by Sasha Grey) boyfriend (played by Chris Santos) was taking and his regular work as a personal trainer. I couldn't tell at what point in time they had taken place. Was this Vegas trip before the boyfriend was selling his clothing line to a store or after? Or was it during? Eventually I could tell what went where by the last third of the movie.

I can understand why scenes were split up. There isn't much of a plot. It has a documentary-type feel to it. It's Christine going about her day job, minus the sex parts, and seeing how it affected both her and her boyfriend's personal lives. Showing what happened in a purely linear format would remove the layers from it, and there are some very subtle layers.

As Roger Ebert noted:

We listen to them talking. We watch them talking. Most of them want to talk about what she does for a living. There is the polite fiction that she is talking about other men, hypothetical men, and not the one she is with. They like to give her advice about how to invest her money, and who to vote for (the story takes place during the 2008 campaign). Each one has some reason for thinking he is somehow special. Set during the run-up to the stock market crash, it shows both sides more interested in investing than sex.

[...]

You wonder how a person could look another in the eye and conceal everything about themselves. But the financial traders who are her clients do it every day. Their business is not money, but making their clients feel better about themselves.

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Lego Matrix: Trinity Help

>> Saturday, December 5, 2009



And the side by side comparison:

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"idiots whose parents paid for prep school"

I can't believe I missed this last year, but I just came across this today when reading a column Chris Hedges from last fall.

Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, “What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it.” I could not agree more with that statement. I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.

[...]

I will no longer manage money for other people or institutions. I have enough of my own wealth to manage. Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth, might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest. That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others try to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Blackberries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Balmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life.

[...]

I have no interest in any deals in which anyone would like me to participate. I truly do not have a strong opinion about any market right now, other than to say that things will continue to get worse for some time, probably years. I am content sitting on the sidelines and waiting. After all, sitting and waiting is how we made money from the subprime debacle. I now have time to repair my health, which was destroyed by the stress I layered onto myself over the past two years, as well as my entire life — where I had to compete for spaces in universities and graduate schools, jobs and assets under management — with those who had all the advantages (rich parents) that I did not. May meritocracy be part of a new form of government, which needs to be established.
Andrew Lahde, the hedge fund manager who made a killing speculating on the subprime mortgage defaults.

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Sarah Palin, The Racist

From The New Yorker review of Going Rogue:

She is equally circumspect on the issue of ethnicity, pointing out that Todd, whom she met in high school, is “part Yupik Eskimo” and opened her to the “social diversity” of Alaska. (Wasilla is more than eighty per cent white.)Palin, though notoriously ill-travelled outside the United States, did journey far to the first of the four colleges she attended, in Hawaii. She and a friend who went with her lasted only one semester. “Hawaii was a little too perfect,” Palin writes. “Perpetual sunshine isn’t necessarily conducive to serious academics for eighteen-year-old Alaska girls.” Perhaps not. But Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, gave a different account to Conroy and Walshe. According to him, the presence of so many Asians and Pacific Islanders made her uncomfortable: “They were a minority type thing and it wasn’t glamorous, so she came home.” In any case, Palin reports that she much preferred her last stop, the University of Idaho, “because it was much like Alaska yet still ‘Outside.’ ”
Oh, so Palin felt more comfortable in Idaho because there were more white people than brown people, unlike Hawaii? As The New Republic noted, "Why hasn't this gotten more media attention?" Excellent question, I say.

(Conroy and Walshe are Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, the authors of Sarah From Alaska)

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Mr. Bitchy

On Friday morning, Glenn Greenwald appeared with Christopher Hitchens (and some Republican lady) on Dylan Ratigan's "Morning Meeting." Greenwald, unfortunately, didn't get as much talking time as Hitchens did, but he did make this comment in the letters section of his Friday column/post:

You're often at a time disadvantage when you're not in studio and it's a 3-person panel, but I agree: this was egregious.
Dylan seemed impressed with Hitchens' pompous, rambling tripe, and particularly fascinated by the "wisdom" that all we have to do to to fix things there is change the "vectors."

I tried interrupting several times but to no avail, though I expressed a few points i wanted to express.

I actually thought it was sort of funny when the woman (whose name I don't know) interrupted me to say, in this shocked and incredulous tone: "you think we should just leave??!!?!"

They're so accustomed to the idea that we have the right to invade and control whatever countries we want that the only crazy idea to them is: "Hey, we've been waging war there for 8 years now - maybe we should stop":

"You mean we should just leave!?!?!"

"Well, it's not really our country, so yeah."
So, in the letters, I wrote:
Dylan seemed impressed with Hitchens' pompous, rambling tripe,
This is why I tend to refer to Hitchens as "Mr. Bitchy." I suppose it's a little high-schooler-ish, but I think it's more reflective of Hitchen's personality in a Dances-With-Wolves way.
Then I checked what I had written about Hitchens a couple of years ago. It wasn't "Mr. Bitchy." It was "Mr. Bitter." "Mr. Bitchy," I remembered this morning, was a guy down south who would come over and complain about everything when the team I was on at the time was working on gutting a house down to the studs in New Orleans. Oops! Oh well, it's not like it mattered much anyway.

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Maybe I'll get a chance to see this

Yesterday, the local newspaper had an article about one of the documentaries premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

At 2 p.m. Thursday, the 2010 Sundance Film Festival announced that former Utah newsman Reed Cowan would bring his new documentary to the elite festival.

By 5 p.m. Thursday, Cowan learned religious and anti-gay activists were organizing, discussing online whether they should gather at Park City to show their angry opposition to the screening.

Cowan's film is "8: The Mormon Proposition." It is described on the Internet Movie Database, www.imdb.com, as "a scorching indictment of the Mormon Church's historic involvement in the promotion and passage of California's Proposition 8," the proposition that banned same-sex marriage in California.

"I know that it's going to be protested," Cowan said in an e-mail interview from his home base in Florida.

"I just got forwarded a blog threatening boycotts and protests. ... I can tell you thousands of gay-rights leaders from all over the country are going to be marching in counterpoint to the other marches."
Guess this means the Mormons are going to have to do more on behalf of gay rights than just support measures up for review in the Salt Lake City Council.
Cowan said he initiated the film project because he saw the need.

"I saw pain," he said. "Pain from people who were affected by the 'YES ON 8' movement. Pain from LDS people with gay family members. My motivations were 100 percent personal."

Cowan said officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declined to be interviewed for the documentary. He said LDS Church spokeswoman Kim Farah spoke briefly with producer Steven Greenstreet in a segment that is included in the film, but then insisted in going off the record.

According to an Associated Press story, Farah later told a reporter, "It is obvious that anyone looking for balance and thoughtful discussion of a serious subject will need to look elsewhere."

Other high-ranking church officials refused to be interviewed, Cowan said.

"Because the church, as they put it to me, is only interested in participating in stories that 'make them look good,' exact quote, unfortunately the official LDS Church reaction is not reflected," he wrote in his e-mail.

"That's ultimately a tragedy for the LDS Church. We had no other choice but than to tell the story through the statements of their past and present leaders, and the actions of their more verbal members."
And we all know it isn't going to look good. I wonder what steps their public relations people are planning now. They have about 6 weeks until it premieres.
Cowan is well aware that he is bringing a documentary critical of the LDS Church to ground zero.

"The chickens are coming home to roost," he said. "What happened in California began in SLC. And now we're bringing it home."
Yeah, baby!

I just hope this plays outside of Park City too. I don't want to drive all the way up there in the snow to see a movie.

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Goodbye Butterstick!

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Background on "Butterstick" as a name is here.

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Our police state neighbor to the north

>> Friday, December 4, 2009

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I wouldn't think it possible until I heard the news last week. I have Democracy Now! updates appear in my Facebook feed, which is how I heard about it.

I've been to Canada three times so far. Twice I've been to British Columbia and Vancouver Island. I really like the BC ferries. They're so big that I felt much safer on those than the smaller Washington state one I've been on. Granted, the Washington state ferry had several smaller stops in the San Juans, which is why they need smaller ferries. The one time I've been in Canada and not gone to Vancouver Island was when a friend from Utah was visiting one of my other friends, and we all went up to Vancouver for dinner.

Yes, just for dinner because he had never been out of the US before. They drove down to Tacoma to pick me up, and then we all drove up to Vancouver for a late dinner. This was in early 1998, so all we had to do was present our drivers' licenses at the border. Needless to say, the border guards were quite suspicious of our dinner plans, so of course we had to pull over and go inside while they searched the car, presumably for drugs. (That was our best guess.) We were there for about a half hour before they let us to go, but we didn't get the interrogation and photography treatment that Amy Goodman got.

The full Democracy Now! segment on this is well worth watching:
But I particularly like what one of the anti-Vancouver Olympic Games said to The Globe and Mail:
Olympic critic Chris Shaw, meanwhile, couldn't be happier.

“This is the best pre-Christmas gift I've had in years. The CBSA has taken a non-issue and made it a major one. Millions of Americans now know about this,” he said. “There's nothing quite like pissing off a major talk show host. Only if they tasered her could it have been any better.”
So true. Police states function much better when ALL of the press is under sanction. Duh!

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Down With Love

Now this was a movie I wanted to see. I missed seeing it in the theaters all the way back in 2003. I wanted to see it because I loved the trailer. In fact, I still love the trailer. I know this didn't get the greatest reviews when it was released, back in 2003, but I really liked it. Yes, it's cheesy. It's full of double entendres just like some of the Bond films.

I know it's a send-up of the Doris Day-Rock Hudson romantic comedies even though I have never seen one. To me, it's like a candy-colored, editorial-cartoon version of Mad Men. I've only seen two episodes of Mad Men, but still, I can see the cultural similarities since these are both supposed to take place at about the same time, in the early 60s.

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Saved!

>> Thursday, December 3, 2009

This is the second time I've netflixed this. First time I've finally watched it. I've had it for a little over three months. I actually considered sending it back without watching it, again. The last time I had it, I sent it back without watching it and put my account on hiatus. One of my friends suggested I watch it, three years ago. It's been in my queue ever since. Clearly, I've been jonesing to see this since...never.

But I watched it this afternoon. It was only an hour and a half, yet it felt a lot longer than that. I actually took a break watching it to go get something to eat for 10 minutes or so. Something that doesn't happen when I'm invested in watching something.

The-boy-who-would-be-gay scenes at the beginning reminded me of the minor fracas going on within the ELCA. Watching it, I kept on thinking that people who are like this in real life purposely keep themselves insulated from the rest of the world. You know, because they're under siege from everyone else's sin. They're never going to think of their own, like Mandy Moore's "Hilary Faye." And that, in reality, most of the people who probably--I'm guessing--see this film would be in automatic agreement because they're not the hardline Christianists the film satirizes and chronicles. Hence, it preaches to the choir. The mega-church-attending Christianists will never see themselves as the persecutors; they only see themselves as persecuted by secular elites.

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This is right up there with Robert Wexler's

>> Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a Lobby - Ploughshares Fund
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

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Tiger Woods is an ass

and not because of his car accident or who he is or isn't fucking. No, he's an ass because he chooses money over having a social conscience.

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As Dave Zirin put it in one of his columns:
This squeaky-clean reputation has helped Woods become the richest athlete in history, the first billion-dollar man. His career course earnings are $92 million. Only when you factor in advertisements, corporate appearances and other off-course aspects of "Tiger Inc" does Woods reach billionaire status.

As the saying goes, behind every great fortune is a great crime.

Following his car "accident" Woods's agent said that it is unclear whether he will attend his foundation's Chevron World Challenge Golf Tournament. In 2008, Chevron entered a five-year relationship with Tiger Woods' foundation under the guise of philanthropy. But if Woods had a shred of social conscience, this partnership would never have existed. Lawsuits have been issued against Chevron for dumping toxic waste all over the planet. Alaska, Canada, Brazil, Angola and California have all accused Chevron of dumping. Even worse, Chevron has a partnership with Burma's ruling military junta on the country's Yadana gas pipeline project, the single greatest source of revenue for the military, estimated at nearly $5 billion since the year 2000.

Ka Hsaw Wa, co-founder and executive director of EarthRights International, wrote in an open letter to Woods, "I myself have spoken to victims of forced labor, rape, and torture on Chevron's pipeline--if you heard what they said to me, you too would understand how their tragic stories stand in stark contrast to Chevron's rhetoric about helping communities." Chevron is underwriting a dictatorship but Tiger Woods apparently sees them as upstanding corporate partners.
It used to be quite common for professional athletes to take political stances on issues. I remember hearing about Muhammad Ali's stance on the Vietnam War in the 60s or 70s even though I didn't exist at the time. I remember hearing about it because in the 90s another sports columnist contrasted Ali to the dominant sports figure of the decade—Michael Jordan. Anyone remember Michael Jordan taking public stances on the big political issues of the 90s? Yeah, I don't remember any either. Money was priority number one. As it is for the ethically challenged Tiger Woods.

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Tristero got it right

on Mike Huckabee's choices as governor:

In the comments to my last post about Huckabee, several folks felt that the real issue in the Clemmons case was a miscarriage of justice, namely sentencing a juvenile for life imprisonment for armed robbery, and that Huckabee's behavior was perfectly sensible. It is astounding that anyone would fall for Huckabee's obvious, and lame, attempt to change the subject, yet so many people have, including prominent liberals I respect. It's almost as if Huckabee has a reality-distortion field around him as powerful as Steve Jobs'.

First of all, it is Huckabee's delusion that he is Jesus Christ, not genuine compassion, that spins the Clemmons case as a miscarriage of justice against a hapless juvenile. It is clear from the record that Clemmons was then, and continued to be, an extremely troubled person with a propensity for extreme violence. Huckabee ignored this, focusing - Christ-like - on an opportunity to show mercy towards a young sinner who showed what Huckabee misapprehended as signs of redemption. The issue is Huckabee's lack of judgment.

If you argue that it is unfair to sentence a juvenile to life in prison for an armed robbery committed when he was 16, I won't disagree with you. But that is not the issue here. The issue is Huckabee's spectacularly bad judgment and his failure to take responsibilty for his behavior. The justice system, for all its incredible faults, has numerous mechanisms, including but not limited to commuting a sentence, for dealing with mitigating circumstances, like the age of an offender, signs of redemption, and an unfairly long sentence. Flawed they surely are, imperfect and inadequate no doubt, but they exist. Huckabee, imitating Christ, chose to deal with the Clemmons case in a very particular way, showing not mercy, but simply awful judgment that set into motion further tragedy.

The incredibly cruel, incredibly unjust way that juvenile offenders are treated in the United States has nothing to do with the fact that Huckabee behaved the way he did. It simply gave him an excuse to exercise his egomania, his delusions of grandeur, and his incompetence. As a result, innocent people died.

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Battlestar Galactica: The Plan

This was a disappointment, particularly when compared to Battlestar Galactica: Razor, which was very good. The main story and some of its "revelations" such as what happened to Shelly Godfrey were almost no-brainers. She went out an airlock? I actually figured as much when I first saw the episode.

As Entertainment Weekly said, it's practically a clip show. Not what I wanted to see. I thought it was going to be about all the planning that happened before the attacks on the Colonies, not start with the Colonies getting nuked and proceed through the first two seasons from a different vantage point. Those first ten to fifteen minutes when they're showing the Cylon basestars get into position to nuke 12 planets was the most interesting part.

When they showed the Cylons talking about how grateful the humans should be for having their pitiful lives ended, I thought what they were saying was kind of cheesy. Like, who would say something like that, i.e. wreaking havoc on a group of people equates to an act of generosity.

Actually, since I came across this last week, American political leaders have talked that way quite frequently as A Tiny Revolution pointed out a few years ago:

  • Andrew Jackson regarding the US government's position towards Native Americans:
    Rightly considered, the policy of the General Government toward the red man is not only liberal, but generous.
  • Teddy Roosevelt on the same subject:
    In [our] treaties we have been more than just to the Indians; we have been abundantly generous... No other conquering and colonizing nation has ever treated the original savage owners of the soil with such generosity as has the United States.
  • The US involvement in Vietnam by an editor of US News & World Report:
    What the United States is doing in Vietnam is the most significant example of philanthropy extended by one people to another that we have witnessed in our times.
  • And just for good measure, a non-American, such as Hitler on Poland just prior to invading:
    Herr Hitler replied that he would be willing to negotiate, if there was a Polish Government which was prepared to be reasonable and which really controlled the country. He expatiated on misdoings of the Poles, referred to his generous offer of March last, said that it could not be repeated...
  • Oh, lets not leave out Goebbels too:
    If we Germans have a fateful flaw in our national character, it is forgetfulness. This failing speaks well of our human decency and generosity, but not always for our political wisdom or intelligence. We think everyone else as is good natured as we are.
Yeah, because Goebbels was the German Mother Theresa of generosity!

If anything, the "re-imagined" version of Battlestar Galactica nails the us-versus-them dynamic throughout the entire series to a tee. When your current enemies, not friends, start talking about "generosity" towards you, it's best to keep them as far away as possible.

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That was then

But the main battle over health and cost containment will come in May, when Hillary Rodham Clinton's task force is scheduled to produce a master plan for reform. Then, a massive attack is expected to be mounted against both the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. The president is already warming up for that with remarks like "The pharmaceutical industry spends $1 billion more each year on lobbying and advertising than it spends on developing new and better drugs."

Task force working papers indicate that the health reform plan will also call for a second round of tax increases, $50 billion or more, to pay for insurance coverage for those who now lack it. These increases may include a tax on health benefits over a certain limit, a tax on corporations, and special taxes on products defined as "bad for your health." This innovative approach would target not only tobacco and alcohol, but pollutants and guns, which are arguably a health hazard.

As a London economist has noted, the momentum behind some kind of federal reform to America's health system now seems unstoppable, but probably not without a battle over who controls, and who pays.
—Daniel Schorr, "Health Care Is a Major Issue in the Clinton Economic Plan," Come to Think of It: Notes on the End of the Millennium, p. 41-2

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The Blind Side

>> Monday, November 30, 2009

So yesterday we got to see the movie that we had planned to see the week before. The showing was almost sold out, close but not quite. If Twilight hadn't been playing on three screens, it would have played in a bigger theater no doubt.

My inner cynic was mollified. I don't have much to quibble about the movie. I know some people have complained that the character "Michael Oher" in the movie doesn't speak much. I can definitely see a (possible) gentle giant stereotype in the story, but I don't know what the real Michael Oher is like in real life. Perhaps he's soft spoken as well?

I teared up quite a bit during the first half, and why not? The poor kid is struggling against impossible odds—a society geared to the rich and white, not fairness. The legacy of Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman kept coming to mind at certain points.

But at a certain point, it stopped being sad points and clearly became about love. The kind of love that moves beyond differences and circumstances and etc.

No wonder it had an 18% increase in its box office from opening weekend. In times like these, who doesn't want to see a movie about someone making it?

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There goes Mike Huckabee's political career

That was my first thought upon hearing that the suspect, Maurice Clemmons, in the Lakewood Police Massacre had his prison sentence commuted by Huckabee.

Then I took the time to read a lengthy article from 2005 by the Arkansas Times regarding Huckabee's involvement in the parole of Wayne Dummond, a convicted rapist with a long criminal record. This passage stood out:

The state official who advised Huckabee on the Dumond case confirmed that the governor knew very little about Ashley Stevens’ case:

“I don’t believe that he had access to, or read, the law enforcement records or parole commission’s files — even by then,” the official said. “He already seemed to have made up his mind, and his knowledge of the case appeared to be limited to a large degree as to what people had told him, what Jay Cole had told him, and what he had read in the New York Post.”

Jay Cole, like Huckabee, is a Baptist minister, pastor for the Mission Fellowship Bible Church in Fayetteville and a close friend of the governor and his wife. On the ultra-conservative radio program he hosts, Cole has championed the cause of Wayne Dumond for more than a decade.

Cole has repeatedly claimed that Dumond’s various travails are the result of Ashley Stevens’ distant relationship to Bill Clinton.

The governor was also apparently relying on information he got from Steve Dunleavy, first as a correspondent for the tabloid television show “A Current Affair” and later as a columnist for the New York Post.

Much of what Dunleavy has written about the Dumond saga has been either unverified or is demonstrably untrue. Dunleavy has all but accused Ashley Stevens of having fabricated her rape, derisively referring to her in one column as a “so-called victim,” and brusquely asserting in another, “That rape never happened.”

The columnist wrote that Dumond was a “Vietnam veteran with no record” when in fact he did have a criminal record. He claimed there existed DNA evidence by “one of the most respected DNA experts in the country” to exonerate Dumond, even though there was no such evidence. He wrote that Bill Clinton had personally intervened to keep Dumond in prison, even though Clinton had recused himself in 1990 from any involvement in the case because of his distant relationship with Stevens.

“The problem with the governor is that he listens to Jay Cole and reads Steve Dunleavy and believes them ... without doing other substantative work,” the state official said.
It's downright Palinesque. Why bother doing your homework when conservative commentators can do it for you? Huckabee had no problem lying about his involvement in this matter two years ago.

Of course, there are others...

Wow. He let a convicted murderer go free because he found Jesus? WTF? (A few more details can be found here.) And this is a man who some consider worthy of the presidency? Huckabee's political career should be sinking faster than the Titanic today.

****

I first found out about this shooting yesterday when I saw a headline on the Huffington Post about a shooting in Washington State. I knew at that moment that it was probably in the Tacoma area, just going off a gut feeling. Sure enough it was. I'd driven by that area numerous times since it's near PLU, my alma mater.

I had worked for campus safety two years when I was there, so until they released the names of the slain officers, I was worried that I may have worked with one of the fallen. I didn't, but it was something that bothered me for awhile.

They keep on saying that the shooting was close to McChord Air Force Base; although, that is technically true since the fence separating McChord is right next to South Steele, realistically PLU is closer since any of the gates to enter McChord are farther away.

At this point, there's nothing I want more for them to find this guy and put him in jail. I keep checking the Seattle Times and Huffington Post for a headline saying Clemmons was caught. I sure hope he is.

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I used to call it "Fuckbook"

>> Sunday, November 29, 2009

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Could he make it any more obvious?

Ted Casablanca on Friday:

Dear Ted:
Call me naive, but how can Fake à la Ferocity travel around the world and not get caught with heroin? Surely she can't risk withdrawal on her jaunts. Is this why she has a pilot's license?
—Nan in Wisconsin

Dear Drugged Traveler:
Fake's on the synthetic stuff now, that's not illegal.
Why not come out and say it? Angelina Jolie is a heroin addict.

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It could be over in six months?

Devin Faraci at CHUD:

With New Moon likely to make yet another metric fuckload of money this weekend we need to find the bright side to the entire Twilight mania. There must be something good that comes from this awful Mormon fantasy that seems to have invaded our culture on every front. That something is the eventual movie version of Breaking Dawn.

Even though New Moon has made a bazillion dollars and even though the third Twilight book, Eclipse, is already filming, Summit has declined to announce the fourth and final Twilight book as a movie. There's a good reason for this: Breaking Dawn is completely fucking insane, and it is probably totally unfilmable. But if they do film it... man, we are in for a treat.
I thought the first one was insane enough. But the fact that the next movie will come out this summer and no fourth one confirmed as of yet means the rest of the world could be mercifully spared another year of bizarre anticipation about this crap.

I will never understand the inanity that is Twilight. But Devin at CHUD is wise enough to recognize the hilarity that Breaking Dawn culminates.
Breaking Dawn opens with Bella Swan, the lacteal heroine of the series, finally getting married to Edward Cullen, the mopey vampire hero. They go off to honeymoon on Isle Esme, a Brazilian island the Cullen clan owns (this is already ridiculous beyond belief. Imagine a vampire going snorkeling; it basically happens in this book), and Edward is afraid to fuck his new bride. The reason: he's super strong and she's just a human - Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex type of situation here. But Bella wears him down and Edward throws it in her - and knocks her the fuck out, leaving her badly bruised.

Let's go over that again: Edward fucks Bella into unconsciousness. This alone should have you running to Fandango to pre-order your tickets, but it only gets better.

Despite being knocked out cold by his sexual style (and having the headboard destroyed), Bella goes back to Edward for seconds. This time he knocks her up. Yes, an undead vampire apparently has enough viable sperm to impregnate a human woman while fucking her off the coast of Rio de Janero. Stephenie Meyer, you fabulous idiot!

The baby in Bella's belly starts growing incredibly fast. And it starts hurting Bella, as each kick it gives has the super strength of a vampire behind it. As it grows, Bella gets sicker, and then the good stuff starts. The baby kicks so hard it breaks Bella's ribs and then severs her spine. Are you imagining Kristen Stewart wearing a fake pregnancy belly and pretending to have been suddenly crippled by her own fetus? Because I am and it's making me laugh and laugh and laugh.

Oh wait, I missed something. Edward is completely freaked out about the baby, fearing it will kill Bella. He tries to convince her to get an abortion (but seriously, how could she? Vampires are tough to kill even in this shitty series), and goes so far as asking Native American wolfboy Jacob to impregnate his wife so that she can have the baby she desperately wants. I'm dizzy with how ridiculous this is, and we're just getting started.

Eventually the baby starts to get born and Bella is dying. The baby has telepathy, by the way, so everybody can read its thoughts while it's in the womb, and it turns out to have an essentially adult mind. Like Alia in Dune; I would accuse Stephenie Meyer of ripping this off, but anyone who thinks that Meyer might have read Frank Herbert has never been within spitting distance of Twilight. The woman is a moron.

In a moment that demands to be shown on the silver screen, Edward gives Bella an emergency C-section with his fucking teeth. It's like something out of XTro, for the love of God. It's so horrible it's brilliant, and this scene alone is why I remain firm in declaring that David Cronenberg must direct Breaking Dawn. This is surely his movie.

Once the baby is out, Bella gets vamped by Edward, as she's about to die at any moment. Then comes the most astonishing turn of events in 21st century literature, and possibly in the entire history of awful fiction aimed at tweens: Jacob the werewolf, who has been madly in love with Bella, sees the new baby girl and immediately imprints on her. What this means, in layman's terms, is that he falls in love with the baby.

I want to pull this out on its own: Jacob falls in love with a baby.

The book makes no bones about this; while Jacob doesn't want to fuck the baby right off the bat, he can't stand to be away from it and visits everyday. His love has been transferred from Bella to the baby (who has the tongue shattering name Renesmee), and because of the science behind imprinting he'll love her forever. So one day he's going to stick his wolf dick in this girl that he see as a bloody newborn. Romance is not dead, it's just being abused by insane Mormon writers.

There's more in Breaking Dawn - the Volturi come back, for one thing - but these are the main amazing events that demand this book to be turned into a film. I will not rest until I have seen a movie in which a werewolf falls in love with a baby. Hell, once I've seen a werewolf fall in love with a baby I may quit movie watching - I will have seen the ultimate culmination of a century of cinema. The entire film of Breaking Dawn would play like the weirdest exploitation film since Doris Wishman died - brutal sex, bizarre body horror, unbelievable pedophilia.

A werewolf falling in love with a baby. This is why Thomas Edison invented this shit in the first place. So we could see a werewolf fall in love with a baby.
I can't imagine how you would make a movie out of that shit either, but I know all the mocking and hilarity that would/will ensue if they did/do. Falling in love with a baby and not in a parental way? Who are the nuts who are devoted to this shit? Seriously. Some of them clearly need some kind of therapy.

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The DDL Third Oscar Theory

Some people happen to be convinced that Daniel Day-Lewis is a contender for a Best Actor Oscar this year. A concept which baffles me completely.

However, here is Example A:

As for Daniel Day-Lewis, well, this is his time. Awards season. Strangely enough, DDL has taken a backseat to Colin Firth and George Clooney early in the game. Some prediction sites don’t even have him in nomination contention.

Dumb.

You never count out DDL.
And Example B:
Click here for the review. See? You never, ever EVER count out Daniel Day-Lewis.
Um, no. You can count out DDL winning his THIRD Best Actor Oscar next year. It ain't gonna happen. No man alive or dead has won THREE Best Actor Oscars. Not even Jack Nicholson. So why would the Academy just decide to anoint DDL with this honor? Because he did a musical? Please. He'll get the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, but he ain't gonna be bringing another Oscar home next March no matter how hard Harvey campaigns. If the Academy decides to give DDL a THIRD Best Actor trophy, then it'll be several years in the future, not two years after he won his second. The Hollywood Institution known as Tom Hanks couldn't make a Third Best Actor happen for Cast Away even when he was practically the only actor in half the movie and won several critics' awards. And everyone knows DDL will be a contender for something in the future eventually, unless he decides to retire from acting after Nine. And if he did, then it just would prove that there's no point in giving him a THIRD.

If you really think DDL could bring it home, then you need to explain why the Best Actor Oscar won't be going to Jeff Bridges, who has never won an Oscar. Or Morgan Freeman who has never won the Best Actor Oscar. Or George Clooney, who also has never won a Best Actor Oscar. Or Viggo Mortensen, for The Road, who has never won an Oscar. Or Colin Firth, who has never won an Oscar. Or "newcomer" Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker. Hell, you can fill the nominations for the Best Actor category quite easily without including DDL. At this point, no matter what "the buzz" is saying, DDL will be lucky to be nominated for an Oscar this time around. It's far more likely that Ben Foster will be nominated as Best Actor for The Messenger than DDL will win his THIRD Best Actor trophy for Nine.

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