Friday, September 28, 2007

Back to work!

"I think this says it all... I bought it at Spencer's Gifts."

A new season of 'The Office' kicked off last night. Life is good.

Along with the premier of 'Lost' this is an event night for our family. If we actually knew anybody in this town yet who watches it too, we would've thrown a party.

Not only did we get a full hour that included the answer to all your Jim and Pam romantic cliffhanger questions, but we also got to watch Michael hit someone with his car and host a killer "race for the cure" fun run...for rabies, complete with rubber wrist bands and a "big check" made out to "Science" for $345, handed to a stripper "nurse" Michael mistakes for the real thing.

A few top moments in case you missed "Fun Run":
  • Michael ties his get-well-soon balloons to Meredith's IV tubes, tries to reinsert IV, gets yelled at by nurse.
  • Michael orders Phyllis to assemble an "until there's a cure" rabies quilt. The first couple squares feature a raccoon foaming at the mouth and a wild dog with a cat in its mouth.
  • Andy employs Scotch tape in the age-old battle against nipple chafing.
  • Andy drafts off Kevin during the race, shortly before nipples begin to bleed.
  • Dwight's .357 Magnum "starter gun."
  • Michael "carbo-loads" pre-race on two pounds of fettuccine.
  • Michael vomits on the finish line, garage-sale lamp "trophy" held high.

ANGELA: Dwight said he put Sprinkles in the freezer after she died, but there was fur everywhere and my frozen French fries were torn to shreds.

CREED: Ive been involved in a number of cults, both as a leader and follower... You have more fun as a follower, but you make more money as a leader.

MICHAEL: Attention, everybody. I have an important announcement--
OSCAR: You pushed Darrel out a window.
PHYLLIS: You shot Dwight.
MICHAEL: Not funny. I love my employees. Even though I ran over one of you with my car.

DWIGHT: At least it was only Meredith.
MICHAEL: Yes it was only Meredith, thank God. but did you see the way they were looking at me? Like I was a murderer or something.

MICHAEL: Kelly, you're a Hindu so you worship Buddha, right?
KELLY: No, Buddhists worship Buddha.
MICHAEL: Are you sure?

PAM: [into phone] Hello, Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Fun Run Race for The Cure, May I help you?
MICHAEL: [whispers urgently] Pro-Am!
PAM: What?
PAM: [into phone] Pro-Am fun race... They hung up.

DWIGHT: Meredith, just blink twice if you want me to pull your plug.
MEREDITH: Please don't unplug anything, Dwight.
[Dwight frowns.]

Oh yeah... We're in for another good season.

Catch the full "Fun Run" episode here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


More Libertas goodness. Funniest thing I've read in a long time. A simple plea for fiscal sanity sure to be ignored by Tinseltown despite the minimal grasp of basic logic required. Don't ask, just click here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jesse James is dead

Are we having fun yet?

Believe it or not, we now have two, count 'em, two westerns in American movie theaters, not just in the same decade, but at the same time.

Dirty Harry over at Libertas has written a glowing review of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
"Through methodical pacing and meticulous cinematography and sound design writer/director Andrew Dominik mesmerizes with his story of the final year in the life of Jesse James (Brad Pitt) and his death at the hands of Robert Ford..."

"Each shot of the film is like a painting [framed] deliberately using candlelight to its maximum effect to create any mood the scene calls for. ... Even more impressive is the sound design that brings you right onto the vast wintry plains and into the echoey wood floored cabins of the day."

DH considers it a masterpiece.
[Jesse James is not] only the best film I’ve seen all year, but in many years. It was more than a film, it’s what all great films are: an experience. One I look forward to reliving again many times.
Given the fact snobbier reviewers were praising the 2 hour, 40 minute experience as a "mournful ballad" and "probing character essay" of "lyrical fatalism," I wasn't eager to see this -- particularly since negative reviews preferred comparisons like "endurance test" and "watching a book on tape."

DH seems to acknowledge some of this:

"This isn’t a film for everyone. It’s a moody character piece that takes its time with very little action and draws drama from the movement of an eye. In many ways it’s reminiscent of Scorsese’s Age of Innocence..."

Age of Innocence was a brilliant, brilliant film that has never really been given its due, either in following or its rightful place in Scorsese's catalog. But we're talking about a western, of which DH has this to say:
The Western wasn’t killed by an indifferent audience but rather at the hands of political correctness. Straight-forward stories like Tombstone, 3:10 to Yuma, and Open Range, still put as many butts in seats as any zombie film. It’s only when stricken with the modernism of a Silverado, the grating feminism of Bad Girls, and the hand-wringing self-loathing of Geronimo that they die well-deserved premature deaths. Other than touching on the fascination of celebrity — something as old as mankind – Jesse James is about the universal themes we all relate to. How refreshing not to once hear about the plight of the Indian."
So all in all, a brilliant Film, but another moody downer in the tradition of Unforgiven.

Me? I'll take the Open Range end of the Western spectrum over depth and artistry every time.

Give me Tombstone -- historically and artistically challenged, but the last shoot-'em-up with a sense of adventure and real fun. I want something that revisits the West and delivers not only black hat/white hat thrills but also views the setting as an exciting land of opportunity, not a decaying page in a forgotten history book.

Even action-packed Yuma was too grubby and introspective to really put those butts in the seats in a major way.

Don't get me wrong. Dirty Harry won't lead us astray. He knows his stuff and is relatively stingy with the ole thumbs-up. I'll therefor surely give Jesse James a shot, pun intended.

But whatever the reason, viewer indifference -- i.e. the very real prospect of NOT having a good time at the movies -- really is what killed the western. And despite two really quality films in the blessed space of a month, I think we can all agree the western is as dead as it was a year ago.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bye bye, Barry

UPDATE: I was wrong. I caught Barry's curtain call last night courtesy of the great Jon Miller on KNBR (which truly does run all the way to Canada). Got a little choked up after all. Got worse later when it was reported his locker was already cleaned out, including the name plate, before the game was over. End of an era, one with a ton of good memories.

I've worn his jersey to the games almost since he arrived in San Francisco, but even I can't say I'll shed many tears when Barry Bonds departs the Giants soon, as it was announced Friday he in fact, after long assumption, would.

The only real surprise was how early and emphatic the Giants made the decision.

It's been a dismal season. One largely sacrificed for The Almighty 756 (which a Mets fan walked off with) and for the McCovey Cove boatloads of money that one swing of the bat brought the organization.

But at a record of 69-89 (game is tied 2-2 tonight, for what it's worth), this year was uglier than Peter McGowan envisioned and he's clearly ready to get it over with.

Don't miss Ray Ratto's San Francisco Chronicle column on the topic. A smart and funny outline of the situation and Barry's uphill battle to find a new home for his price tag and aging ego. (Barry a Texas Ranger...? If he's lucky.)

Andruw "Male Gigolo" Jones is rumored as his possible replacement. That would be my worst nightmare. I won't let Jones on my fantasy team. For all the headache he became, Barry at least had the benefit of my (blind, willful) doubt. Andruw (stupid name for starters) admitted in court to being a sex perv, apparently with at least as much ego as Barry ever had. Hopefully this comes to nothing and will disappear like a bad dream in the morning.

Also depressing is Ratto's point about Randy Winn's trade value. As Kruk and Kuip like to say, Winn is as classy as they come and -- along with some young pitching and late-season acquisitions like Rajai Davis -- one of the few bright spots this season.

Personally, I loved the '07 Giants. Sure they sucked, but without the media circus distraction to keep them from gelling most of the year, things might have been different. Definitely an easy squad to root for and fun to watch...apart from the, er, scoreboard, with some great guys who had me watching more games this year than I have in many a season.

Thankfully, sounds like Omar Vizquel will be making magic in a Giants' uni again next season. And if Sabean and Co make good on the promise to go younger, faster and smarter next year, Andruw Jones, who is none of the above, won't make the cut.

That will leave us with a capable (and politically conservative) manager in Bruce Bochy; a young, starting rotation with a rosy future; another Barry with plenty of upside potential; and if we're lucky, another round of Good-time Ryan Klesko and that hi-yahh! follow-through swing. (Ask Kruk and Kuip.)

As for Barry, I thank him for the memories and wish him well. Hope things work out wherever he lands. Gonna be weird without the 'Bonds Squad,' the rubber chickens, the flashbulbs and the body armor, the attitude (perhaps prophetically?) the size of Texas reigning supreme in left field...

But then again, maybe the curse is finally gone too. Like I always say about this time of the Giants' season, there's always next year.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Keys to 'The Kingdom' II

Oooo, baby... The early reviews for Peter Berg's The Kingdom are rolling in, and I like what I see.

Emanuel Levy writes:
"...Some critics may have reservations about the movie's gung-ho politics and its pro-American slant in both text and subtext. However, with the right marketing and handling "The Kingdom" should become the first bona fide hit of the fall season, and more significantly, the first 9/11 movie that's a commercial hit, embraced by the large populace regardless of specific political orientations..."
Did he say "gung-ho" and "pro-American"???

Next, from CinemaBlend:
"...This movie is real and the brutal terrorist attack you’ve just witnessed is something that could happen tomorrow, or might even be happening right now. ... We follow an FBI team trying to hunt down the types of terrorists responsible for attacks like the one those brave [United 93] victims suffered."
Oh but it gets better.
"...Steering clear of hot-button religious or political issues, "The Kingdom" instead centers on a wild bunch of pros trying to do their best to battle violence—-and in the process make the world a better place to live. As such, it encourages the audience to root for the triumph of good over evil, which explains why at the end of the screening there was enthusiastic applause. But "The Kingdom" does have a political agenda, evident in verbal and non-verbal scenes, suggesting that only Americans can do the job well, quickly, and effectively."
Audiences cheering? For the good guys? Americans???
"These chauvinistic elements about the vigor the American military institution, the American know-how, may prove problematic for some viewers..."
Not me.
"...The messages are stated explicitly in several agit-prop speeches, where Fleury says: "Let us teach you how we Americans can help resolve your problems." The movie implies that Saudi Arabia, and by extension other foreign countries, of both the First World and Third World, are not strong, rational, and skillful enough to fight terrorism."
Preach it, brother!

More evidence, from from CHUD:
"...The small team of FBI agents [is depicted] trying to do the best investigative work possible to capture the monsters responsible for killing hundreds of Americans. ...

[Foxx's] Fleury, a good father and good agent who won’t settle for the obstructionist bulls---t the Saudis throw at him. Chris Cooper remains the most reliable character actor in Hollywood, and he’s completely believable whether dispensing homespun Southern wisdom or aerating bad guys with an automatic weapon."
I now have goosebumps. More CHUD:
"...I want a film that will make me sit on the edge of my seat, applaud some righteous ass-kicking and send me home mulling deeper thoughts. God bless Peter Berg, Matthew Carnahan and Universal for giving me exactly that."
And -- this is fun for a change, isn't it, folks? -- from's review:
"...It's that type of movie -- the protagonists have got it going on in every possible way ... The only real help our white-hatted heroes get from the locals comes when the police colonel assigned to protect them (Ashraf Barhom) -- perhaps sick of Foxx's condescension -- suddenly takes an active interest in catching the culprits. ...

"...the body count is spectacularly high, and everyone in a thobe, it seems, is fair game. It may be a bad neighborhood, but is everyone in sight really culpable in mass murder? Mostly, Berg and Carnahan ignore the question."
At last. Somebody in town gets it. Could this be the movie we've been waiting for?

For further evidence this is going to be fun, check out the more obviously liberal aspects of some of these reviews at the link above. (The openly liberal reviewers don't like it at all.)
"...The last scene depicts Fleury consoling a Saudi Arabian boy ... in the patronizing manner that John Wayne used to behave in his war pictures with Filipino boys during WWII and then Vietnamese kids in his Vietnam action flicks ("Back to Bataan," "Green Berets")."
To recap: world sucks...righteous ass-kicking...John Wayne.

Case closed. This is gonna be good.

Now excuse me while I click over and enjoy the trailer again.

Have fun storming the castle!

This is completely random, but I haven't posted in a while. It's entertaining. It's educational. It's the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

G.I. Joe to become U.N. Joe

Rumors have been flying for months about the possible fate of perhaps the most American comic book hero this side of Captain America.

What would commie pinko Hollywood do to mess this up? Because it had to do something. Because a model for children dressed in camouflage and dog tags? Whose sole purpose is to fight the enemies of America? Right now, during time of war? Can't happen.

And it won't. The rumors are confirmed.

In the politically correct new millennium, G.I. Joe bears no resemblance to the original.

Paramount has confirmed that in the movie, the name G.I. Joe will become an acronym for "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity" — an international, coed task force charged with defeating bad guys. It will no longer stand for government issued, as in issued by the American government.

So there you have it. International... Coed... The one-two punch of guaranteed floppage and the 157th time Hollywood has shot itself in the foot this year.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Imperialism, in their own words

At the risk of this blog becoming a one-trick pony, let me post a link to this excellent piece on the timeline of the Mexican government's intent to erase our borders.

This is for those of you who, like President Bush's current spokesman this week, choose to believe President Felipe Calderon's recent comments were not as odious as many in the U.S. found them.

Contains direct quotes from several Mexican leaders on what they hope to achieve by undermining control of our national boundaries.
"In June 2004, President Vicente Fox took the Zedillo road to the Mexican-American community in Chicago. There, he, too, declared: 'We are Mexicans that live in our territories, and we are Mexicans that live in other territories. In reality, there are 120 million that live together and are working together to construct a nation.'

President Fox was saying that the construction of his nation is taking place — inside our nation. Is that not sedition?"

Yup. Sanctioned openly by the Bush administration.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Down with John McCain, Pt. II

Third from right, closest to the Left

We were out looking at houses last night and nearly missed the Republican debate (man, I miss my DVR right now). Saw all but the first 10 minutes, which I caught on the replay.

What floored me was the voter panel and others who have awarded John McCain the win.

"McCain was the most honest and detailed in his answers" was the consensus after the debate.

You've got to be kidding me.

Let me say again, McCain is a sell-out and the epitome of the career politician. And again, even with Ron "Magneto" Paul on stage, McCain said the stupidest thing in these debates from either party so far.

When asked the torture question, McCain again said he opposes it because it would allow our enemies to give us the same back. As if our hacksaw-wielding, suicide-bombing, village-destroying enemies are signatories to the Geneva Convention, at the offending of which the gloves will really come off.

And he's the one with the surest grip on the terror fight??

Then there was his rationale for not signing the tax pledge. "My record is my pledge."

Nice. The old "she knows I love her, why do I need to give her a ring?" defense.

And his record? You mean the record they play every time he's spotted square dancing around the senate floor with Kennedy/Feingold and friends?

Anyone who buys a thing McCain is selling deserves the shoddy goods in his rickety cart.

Ron Paul has a screw loose and he almost filled me with more confidence.

Rudy and previous best in class, Romney, both took it on the chin last night, and both gave better than the recycled robot-speak McCain had to offer.

Brownback was more Grover and Huckabee more Gomer Pyle-esque than ever, and they... Well, you get the picture.

But no matter. Wipe the whole ugly slate clean. Fred Thompson is finally in the race.

And thank God.

One appearance on Leno was enough to convince me he's the real deal. He was sharp, articulate and that rarest of all qualities in politicians...wise.

And if you think it was only the actor in him, a visit to his Web headquarters should convince otherwise.

There you'll find not only the folksy smarts he's usually credited for, but also -- and I'm still in shock -- a spirited exposition of federalism. He nearly out-Reagans Reagan himself. Oh, and he's presented this bit of Federalism 101 online.

The second coming of the Great Communicator? I vote yes, as I will for Fred at the earliest available opportunity.

Thumbs up to Fox News, too, for again demonstrating they understand what these early stage debates are supposed to be: a forum for tough questions the party base wants to hear. Too often these moderators pepper Republican candidates with questions Democrats want asked. Yet another way the MSM subtly gives more credence to the other side, as if liberal "pressing issues" are the only issues the country cares about.

P.S. -- Did I mention John McCain sucks?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dobbs on Calderon

"That's it, amigos! Keep moving north!"

Along with Glenn Beck on Headline News, CNN's Lou Dobbs has probably been the most vocal about the dangers of unchecked illegal immigration and the miscarriage of justice visited upon railroaded border agents Ramos and Compean.

Dobbs has written a nice piece on the latest attacks on U.S. sovereignty, one from Mexican President Calderon and one from the good old U.S. judicial system.
"In his state of the union address to the Mexican nation, Calderon established his imperialistic imperatives: 'I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.' "
As suspected at his election, 'El Guapo' Calderon is just as useless as his predecessor Fox. The U.S. exists solely as a pressure valve for the multi-million-strong lower class created by the failed national experiment best known as Mexico.

And when DHS makes the rare attempt at actual law enforcement over this issue, yet another activist judge steps in to tell us all how we should be ruling ourselves.
"That U.S. District Court judge ruled as if she were an employee of the Mexican government, rather than the U.S. government. Homeland Security was simply enforcing existing immigration laws. Are we not a nation that follows the rule of law? If not, we're no country at all."
Unfortunately, that's exactly what we're becoming, Lou.

God help us all if the 2008 election doesn't result in some explicit border- and employment-enforcement promises that can't be broken once our next leader takes office. If not, our grandchildren may well be pulling the lever here for Presidente de los Estados Unidos someday.

Speaking of Glenn Beck, check out the T-shirt selling over at his Website: "U.S. Border Patrol -- To Protect and Serve Time." (All proceeds going for the Ramos/Compean defense fund.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Again with the Chinese aggression?

Did you see the news this morning about China attacking the U.S.?

You didn't? Maybe because you'd have to live in Malaysia or the UK to actually see it in print.

I'm hoping this news is just too new for many outlets to have picked it up yet, but I suspect that as with other recent news of China, oh, blinding our satellites or acquiring deep water ports in Latin America, this news will largely be ignored by the MSM.

Looks like Fox News and the AP at least are carrying it.

Make no mistake, thanks to its forced abortions policy, China's unbalanced population of increasingly restless males (happens when you have no females) needs an outlet soon, and that outlet appears to be war. Will it be open war with us? Seems unlikely. Taiwan is likely the first move in whatever their game plan actually is. But if their booming yet rickety economy collapses in the future, all bets are off.

Seems too crazy to be true, but every move China has made in recent years has been geared toward neutralizing us. Or at least putting us on notice that we oppose their will at our own peril.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Fast train a'comin'?

I'm back.

The wave is rolling again in calmer seas.

And after a weekend of rodeos and state fairs in our week-long new home in rural Ellensburg, Washington, what better way to return than with my long-delayed post on 3:10 to Yuma?

I've been excited to see the remake since I first heard about it. Certainly at least since hearing the part about "starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale." Open Range remains one of my favorite films of the past decade, and on paper this one looks at least as good.

Now the reviews are coming in, and they're too good to be true... Phenomenal... At the time of this writing, the ultra-rare 100% rating on

And apart from one except from, I think, Susan Granger's review, there's no hint so far of the story being "updated" for today's audience -- often code for P.C. whitewashing or a film having been cheesed up with a Justin Timberlake cameo or hip-hop soundtrack.

Speaking of cheddar, I'm still cheesed at what Turner Classic Movies just did to Tombstone. It seems the self-appointed guardian of film purity has sold out to the La Raza crowd. Remember that great opening-sequence line by Johnny Ringo?

"That's not what he said, you ignorant wretch. Your Spanish is worse than your English."

Gone. Removed. Banned from the airwaves. Can't have a white guy dissing undocumented outlaws, can we? Or maybe the problem was having a Latino bad guy in the first place. Either way, I must now view TCM with one eyebrow firmly arched. Just waiting for that cigarette to be digitally erased from Bogie's hand in Casablanca next.

And this from the people who pride themselves on showing pre-Code films, people who, last I checked, still allowed the Marx Brothers line about the Headstrongs marrying the Armstrongs. ("That's how darkies were born!")

Sorry. Fresno Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome kicking in there for a moment. Back to Yuma.

In the move and the ensuing culture shock/fatigue/jet lag (albeit a Penske truck) I actually jumped the gun a little and thought the release was this weekend. Better it's Sept. 7 actually. Might have our stuff together in time to make it for opening night yet.