Monday, November 29, 2004

Games! Books!

I'll make my contribution to the Game Day blogging. Game Day was loads of fun, although since I joined long games I did not play as many as I would have liked. Still, I enjoyed everything I did play. Highlights of the day included a continuation of my undefeated streak in Modern Art, and a mind-boggling suicide move by Yagathai in Game of Thrones.

-->I'm still staggered by this. When I play strategy games I play 100% to win. I hold no grudges and I settle no scores; I just do what I have to do to win. I can't comprehend why anyone would act differently.<--

I discovered, however, that I don't like Trivial Pursuit, and here's why. One, no matter which version I play (80's, Star Wars, etc.), I know virtually none of the answers. Either those questions are too hard or I'm too stupid, but either way I don't have many answers. Two, the game goes on for hours, and you don't spend much time actually playing it. You try in vain to answer a question, then you wait fifteen minutes to try vainly to answer another. I think I'll skip the next game.

Now, to justify Word Two of my heading, I received some books today from Amazon. I tried to get them at Borders on Chestnut, but, as usual, they had none of the six books on my list, three of which are less than one year old. (That's why I no longer search for books at bookstores. When I want a book I get it from Amazon, and reserve my time in actual bookstores for browsing.) I got "Under the Banner of Heaven" as my serious reading, and three Babylon 5 books for mind-candy. Now that my class is winding down I have time to least until my next class starts. Ugh. Save me.

P.S. There are alot of parenthetical phrases in this post, which is not really recommended in terms of good writing. Too bad! My blog, my rules.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Stepford Wives (or I Wish I Had One for Just One Day)

I saw the remake of "The Stepford Wives" the other day, and it was...interesting. For those of you who don't know, I judge remakes by two criteria:

1) Does the remake say something the original doesn't?
2) Does the world need this remake?

If you, the producer, answer "no" to either of these questions, don't make the movie.

"Wives" certainly meets criterion #1, because it's a black comedy or even a farce, whereas the original was horror. Also, I think that where the original asked, "What is woman?", the remake asks, "What is man?" A relevant question, I suppose, but the movie doesn't do very much to answer it. In addition, there is one crucial point in which the story contradicts itself, and while I'm not expecting that kind of movie to be 100% believable, I don't expect it to be self-contradictory. Be that as it may, yes, the remake does make a different statement than the original.

As to criterion #2....well, one of the reasons the original movie was so compelling was the time in which it was released, and when you watch it you have to think of it in that context. The new movie obviously can't be retroactively released in the 70's, but I felt that it was fairly context-neutral, and that in my opinion makes it less interesting. Therefore, I think that I can say that, no, the world really did not need a remake of "The Stepford Wives."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

More Election Madness

In considering the disaster that befell us November 2, let's take a look at the massive but sparsely populated state of Alaska. As you may know, Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski was running against Democratic challenger Tony Knowles. Let's review each candidate's respective qualifications:

Tony Knowles: BA from Yale in 1968. Served on the Anchorage Assembly (1975-1979), was Mayor of Anchorage (1981-1987), and was then Governor of Alaska (1994-2002).

Lisa Murkowski: BA from Georgetown U in 1980, JD from Williamette College. Served in the Alaska House (1998-2002).

Now, if asked which candidate is more likely to serve well in the US Senate, which would you choose? If you said, "Lisa Murkowski", you're as big a fool as the 121,000 who kept her in office. Lisa Murkowski did serve in the Alaska House, yes, but she was elected to her second term by 57 votes. Yep. That means if Wal-Mart had had a sale that day, she'd have been out of luck. She became a senator only because her father, Frank Murkowski, was elected governor and appointed her to fill the seat. Apparently, out of the hundreds of thousands of people in the state, there was no one more qualified to represent Alaska in Washington than Murkowski's daughter. Uh-huh. Nepotism is evidently spelled A-L-A-S-K-A.

The point I'm making with this odd couple is that some people vote along party lines regardless of reason, wisdom, or, apparently, sanity. How can you possibly change that?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The new Civil War

Before you get started, read this, for laughs and to contextualize this post.

Have you contextualized? Good. Now, the author of the above screed gets some of his facts wrong, but I understand and sympathize with his sentiment. Blue staters are supposedly less moral, less down-home, less realistic, less useful, and more full of smarty-pants elitism than red staters. The fact that some of those red-staters voted for Kerry, and some blue staters for Bush, doesn't even register with the hysterical right-wing media.

I cannot stand this red state-blue state divide that's being sold by conservatives in an attempt to woo low-income voters with cultural warfare instead of solid economic policies. Let me give you an idea of just how fundamentally cracked the far right-wing view of reality is. I heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio pre-election, and he was saying that the Democrats actually wanted Kerry to lose. Why? So they could impeach George Bush and put Hilary Clinton in his place. Let's review exactly what's wrong with that assertion:

1) Nobody in Congress really wants to impeach Bush.
2) The Republicans control Congress, so even if every single Democrat actually wanted to impeach the Republicans could squash it.
3) If all of reality shifted and Congress actually did impeach Bush, Dick Cheney would assume the White House, not the junior senator from New York, aka Hilary Clinton.

You see, it's part of the conservative agenda to wail that liberals exercise a jackbooted control over America, even though Republicans control all three branches of the federal government. This gives conservatives a handy scapegoat for their failure to achieve anything of substance, such as getting health care coverage to the poor or enabling Americans to find living-wage jobs. The real pity of the situation is that Americans fall for it year after year.

Winston Churchill said that, in a democracy, people generally get the government they deserve. Well, you asked for it, America. Here it comes.

Friday, November 05, 2004

My turn!

OK...I'm ready to make my own commentary regarding the election.

I took a good long time thinking about this election, and one of the first things I did was ask myself, "Am I getting it wrong?" Was invading Iraq really a wise and moral use of national resources? Can the United States honestly hope to bring about a Middle East democracy at a price (in dollars and lives) we can afford? Is my opposition rooted in knee-jerk loathing for the socially conservative agenda Bush pushes? I turned these questions over in my mind very honestly and carefully, and all I can say is that my former position remains unchanged. Maybe I'm a fool or too liberal and elite, but at the very least I'm honest with myself on this issue.

With those questions answered, I had to turn to a larger question: "What do I do now?" I've decided that, from now on, I will no longer speak against the Iraq invasion and occupation, nor will I debate its values. The American people have endorsed Bush's actions of the past three years, and further debate at this juncture is pointless. I'd hoped that the majority of my countrymen would come around on their own and take the path of reason, but instead they have chosen blood. So be it. Perhaps the only way for us to remember the lessons of Vietnam is to relearn them.

If America wants war, perhaps it's best that America gets it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Yawn of the Dead

I was home yesterday, resting my poor foot, and I decided to rent a few movies. It killed me to drive to a video store only about a mile away, but my foot and I had a showdown and I lost. Anyway, I got the remake of "Dawn of the Dead" and "Ginger Snaps Back."

Dawn of the Dead: Like the Romera original, this features a group of humans who take shelter in a mall from hordes of ravening zombies. The similarities pretty much end there. As could be expected, this version has zombies that are faster and more hyped, and more explosions, and prettier actors, none of which improved things in my opinion. Naturally the social commentary is gone, as are the in-your-face gore scenes. Still, since I love me some zombie movie, I enjoyed the remake for what it was, although it in no way displaces the original. Grade: C+

Ginger Snaps Back: I'm a big fan of the "Ginger" oeuvre, so it's no surprise that I should like this movie. It takes place back in the 18th century, but Ginger and Bridget are no less entertaining than they were in the new millenium. I'll say no more, except, "Rent this." Grade: B+