The Dark Knight Rises

>> Sunday, July 29, 2012

Finally saw this so I can read all the commentary about it. That might almost take me as long as watching the movie.

My thoughts before I watched the movie basically amounted to the following: 
  • Bane will break Batman, probably his back, because why else would you have Bane around?
  • Batman will have to recover from having his back broken.
  • Why does Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) not have her hair covered? Like, in this world of DNA testing, would you really want to leave stray hairs around?
  • It's almost THREE hours long? Wha? This isn't Lord of the Rings. C'mon!
  • Oh, some people speculated that Marion Cotillard was playing Talia al Ghul because of her appearing on one of the Batmobiles in a picture. I thought to myself, "No way would they go there because they'd just concentrate on having a new villain each picture." 
So there I was watching Bruce Wayne finally get laid in who knows how many years, and wouldn't you know it, there is a little scar on Marion Cotillard's back that was prominently photographed. And I thought to myself, "Please no. Not Talia al Ghul. Something else. Please."

Nope, it's Talia and the League of Shadows.

Which makes me feel like, wait, didn't I see the last third of this movie before? Wasn't it titled Batman Begins? The whole shock and surprise that, hey, your "true" villain was someone else the whole time has already been done before BY CHRISTOPHER NOLAN.

I actually got angry while I was watching the last 10-15 minutes or so. I wanted to pull Talia's eyes out, but really, it's Christopher Nolan's I'd rather pull out. I just spent two plus hours watching Batman get broken and put himself back together to realize that Nolan used the same gimmick that he did in the first movie.


I feel ripped off. And I am pissed off because of it. Because by the third Batman movie, Bruce hasn't matured or learned much. He's clearly back at square one, the entire movie, because why else would you make the same mistake TWICE. That whole learning curve that he went through on the first two movies is clearly gone.

There's certainly some arrogance to him in the first half until he is broken by Bane, which makes sense, but the sudden attachment to Miranda Tate... I found it really annoying. Was it supposed to be a shock regarding damsels in distress or something?

And don't even get me started on the thought that most people had that there would be "issues" discussed after the film was released. When I saw the final theatrical trailer, I thought perhaps that there would be. After seeing the movie, oh hell no. There is no sociological or political issue that could possibly be discussed. It's a bunch of thugs terrorizing people under the guise of thematic originality. A city trapped in its confines but wanting to escape to safety? Done in The Dark Knight. A group of thugs led by someone our hero trusted? I give you Batman Begins.

When I saw Guy Lodge's tweet, where he gave the film a C/C+, I couldn't quite believe it. But after having seen it, I totally believe it. Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle is the most vivacious thing in the film. She is the bright spot in this extraordinarily long dirge. I was pleasantly surprised I liked her Catwoman as much as I did.

(Yes, The Avengers was WAY better!)


Lifetime Supply

>> Saturday, July 28, 2012

You couldn’t make this stuff up: thanks to Harold Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and the power of “earmarks,” the Army has bought $6.5 million worth of “leakproof” drip pans “to catch transmission fluid on Black Hawk helicopters," reports the New York Times. Those pans were purchased from a company called Phoenix Products, whose owners, coincidentally, are contributors to the congressman’s political committee (and other Republican causes). Oh, and according to the Times, “the company has paid at least $600,000 since 2005 to a Washington lobbying firm, Martin Fisher Thompson & Associates, to represent its interests on federal contracting issues.” Anyway, do the math and you end up with a $17,000 Army drip pan -- and there’s one tiny catch: another company sells a comparable drip pan for about $2,500.
--TomDispatch, July 17, 2012

This reminds me of the days I spent, twenty years ago almost, in an inbound call center, taking orders for vacuums and vacuum parts. My friends and I were so bored, we decided to see who could sell the most air freshening units to those who called in. We were bored. The parts were cheap. And I often used that well-known catch phrase--"lifetime supply"--to sell large amounts of something most people certainly couldn't have used within a reasonable time frame.

Doesn't seem very different with those drip pans.


Dispatch From The Island of Misfit Toys: "An 1861 Moment"

>> Wednesday, July 11, 2012

So, I was listening to two attendings discuss "ObamaCare" briefly. I heard one of them note that the Republicans were bashing one of their own ideas. I wanted to listen to them talk about it more since they seemed to have a good conversation going for a solid five minutes, but this elf was too busy working!

But, anyway, that reminded me what one of my coworkers said when the SCOTUS ruling on "ObamaCare" came out. Oh, her sister (and she seems to believe it too) said that ObamaCare's survival by SCOTUS is an 1861 moment.

Yes, that's right.

ObamaCare = Fort Sumter



Media Mistrust

>> Saturday, June 30, 2012

People sense that the media--being progressively merged into bigger and bigger media--consider them a market more than an audience, and use sensationalism to hold and enlarge that market. Even while spellbound by coverage of O. J. Simpson, Ennis Cosby, Tonya Harding, JonBenet Ramsey, they know they're being manipulated by an increasingly tabloid media.
--Daniel Schorr, "Media Mistrust," September 21, 1997


Dispatch from The Island of Misfit Toys

>> Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Riding the elevator with another employee, I asked how he was. He said:

"If I was any better, I'd be twins!"


The illusion of American omnipotence

>> Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Many years ago, in an illuminating essay, D. W. Brogan pointed to a state of mind which he called "the illusion of American omnipotence"--defined as "the illusion that any situation which distresses or endangers the United States can only exist because some Americans have been fools or knaves." The best illustration, he suggested, was our response to the Chinese Revolution, toward which Americans had neither historical awe nor historical curiosity, preferring to regard it as no more than a problem in our foreign and domestic policy. The oldest civilization in existence, comprising about a fifth of the human race, situated six thousand miles from the Pacific coast of the United States and having a contiguous frontier with Russia, had taken a turn--presumably for reasons deeply rooted in its history and geography, its traditions and problems--which was understandably very unwelcome to Americans. Instead of concluding that this was a response to massive strategic and economic realities largely beyond our control, millions of Americans were apparently convinced that this enormous country had been in our pocket, and had been lost or stolen only because of the mistakes (or treachery) of Roosevelt, Marshall, and Acheson, mistakes which could easily have been rectified by greater statesmen like Walter Judd or Senator Jenner. Roosevelt was anathematized for having "permitted" Russia to become a Pacific power at Yalta, although Russia had been a Pacific power before the United States existed. It was all too lightly assumed, Brogan prophetically remarked, that Russia had "taken over" China as she had taken over Poland. Moreover, the persistent faith that American intervention could have changed Chinese history was accompanied by the faith that this involved nothing more than the choice of a few sound alternative policies, without demanding of the American people the massive sacrifices necessary to sustain a major commitment in China.
--Richard Hofstadter, "Goldwater and Pseudo-Conservative Politics"


Right-Wing Politics & Religion

>> Friday, June 1, 2012

Not only is the entire right-wing movement infused at the mass level with the fundamentalist style of mind, but the place in its ranks of fundamentalist preachers, ex-preachers, and sons of preachers is so prominent as to underline the mutual congeniality of thought. Leading right-wing spokesmen have brought into politics the methods and style of the evangelical revivalists, just as many preachers have discovered that they can arouse more fervor and raise more cash by politicizing their message than they can by appealing solely to the religious sensibilities of their audiences.
--Richard Hofstadter, "Pseudo-Conservatism Revisited--1965"


OMG! I love this...

>> Tuesday, January 10, 2012



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