Saturday, December 13, 2008

to break from what we're tied to

Once again, I haven't been very active lately. I'm busy, and when I do have time I feel like I don't have much to say. About all I use this for anymore is to share some pictures. I'll be doing this year's Davie Awards at the end of the month, and then after that I'll have to reevaluate the purpose of this blog. The format may change, or it may disappear entirely. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, Penny-Arcade has started its annual Child's Play charity. Cincinnati's own Children's Hospital is on there this year. You should check it out and buy a present for some sick kids.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

just slowly fade away

A handful of us headed up to Columbus a couple weeks ago to see Nine Inch Nails play at the Schottenstein center. Unfortunately on the way we hit a snow storm which slowed us down and caused us to miss Boris, the opening band, which was disappointing. But NIN played another fantastic show. We were a lot further back on the floor for a change which allowed us to take in a lot more of the visuals without everyone bumping into us. The new visuals for Closer and Ghosts 31 were highlights, as was Trent chucking a microphone stand through the screen during Echoplex. My only gripe was the lack of variation in the set list from the Cleveland and Lexington shows, although we did get a great version of The Good Soldier. All in all it was another awesome concert. Thanks to Jake for editing the pictures for me.


999,999
1,000,000
Letting You
Discipline
March of the Pigs
Head Down

The Frail
Closer
Gave Up
The Warning
The Great Destroyer
Ghosts 5
Ghosts 17
Ghosts 19
Piggy (Ghosts version)
The Greater Good
Pnion
Wish
Terrible Lie
Survivalism
Ghosts 31
Only
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole

(encore)
Echoplex
The Good Soldier
Hurt
In This Twilight


1,000,000

March of the Pigs

Closer

Gave Up


Wish

Ghosts 31

Ghosts 31

The Good Soldier

In This Twilight

In This Twilight

Friday, November 21, 2008

can't take that away from me

Head Like a Hole

More to come.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

i think i used to have a voice


I realize I have been missing in action lately. Not a lot to talk about right now, plus I've been busy at work. I'll try to get some quality new content on here shortly.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

the best of them bleed it out

Bob Barr and myself at Christy's bar in Clifton, after Barr spoke at the University of Cincinnati.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

who needs action when you've got words

Sarah Palin: "Place In Hell Reserved For Women Who Don't Support Other Women"

Funny, as someone who is supposedly such a good Christian, she missed the whole lesson on who hell is meant for. Not only did she misquote Madeline Albright, but apparently she thinks statements like that are intelligent and appropriate things to say. Yet I'm fairly certain she wasn't supporting Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.

"Okay, now, thank you so much for receiving that well. I didn't know how that was gonna go over. And now, California, let's see what a comment like I just made, how that is turned into whatever it'll be turned into tomorrow with the newspaper."

The media doesn't need to do much to make you look stupid, Sarah, when you give them idiotic comments like that.

Friday, October 03, 2008

but gollum, the evil one, crept up and slipped away



Jon Stewart hit the nail on the head.

don't need no more lies

I haven't posted in awhile, but recent events have made a new rant inevitable.

Obama and McCain gave me further incentive to vote third-party when they both voted--along with Joe Biden--in favor of the revamped $700 billion Wall Street bailout. Far from helping end our economic woes, this move will simply push our country closer to recession and even possible depression. The government cannot keep buying bad debt, propping up failing industries, and giving handouts. Look what happens: now California is saying it needs $7 billion from the government. Our own states are asking for bailouts!

The worst part is that the new version of this bill is absolutely riddled with government earmarks and "pork barrel" spending. Some of those "important" groups receiving the nearly $150 billion in tax breaks, government money, or tax credits:
  • Makers of real-wood arrow shafts
  • Puerto Rican & Virgin Island rum makers
  • Auto racing tracks
  • Exxon Valdez victims
  • Movie studios shooting films inside the U.S.
  • Wool research, and more...
Voting for this bill exposes Obama and McCain as they hypocrytes they truly are. Both have pledged to eliminate earmarks as president; McCain has made it a cornerstone of his campaign. Additionally, McCain spoke out in favor of a smaller government, decreasing spending, and less government regulation. Well that's the exact opposite of the bill you just voted for, John.

The truth of the matter is that these men don't care one iota about you or me. Every poll I've seen shows the American public is very against the bailout, but the politicians vote for it anyway. If this is Obama's idea of "change," it looks like things will be staying just as they are.



And I can't believe the gaul of John McCain. He votes in favor of the bill, then uses the excuse "that's the way the system works" when confronted with all this useless pork that he just voted for. Then he says the President needs to take leadership and veto bills like the one he just voted for if the system is going to ever be fixed! Sorry John, you cannot have your cake and eat it to. You cannot vote for a bill that is saturated in earmarks and then turn around to gripe and complain about the corruption in Washington that let's this type of thing happen. YOU, John McCain, are that corruption. You are a hypocritical, lying, manipulating snake. And you sold your principles for a shot at the presidency.


A voice of reason:


We're past the point of fixing our economy without anything bad happening. We need to suck it up and deal with some short-term problems, instead of prolonging this and making things worse.

Friday, September 19, 2008

the breath of the morning

A shot from my new WALL-E series on flickr. He makes a fun prop.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

turned the power to the have-nots

I meant to post this last week, but a lack of time and then the power outage delayed it. Ron Paul was recently on CNN urging his supporters not to vote for either John McCain or Barack Obama but to support third-party candidates, such as Bob Barr or Ralph Nader. Here's the speech Paul gave, in which his does a good job explaining how our political system is so slanted against anyone from outside the two major parties. He also addresses why it's time to abandon the idea of voting for "the leser of two evils" and instead vote third party in an attempt to shake up the politcal landscape.



And here's an interview with Paul and Nader on CNN talking about the same subject (and featuring CNN hack Wolf Blitzer):



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

say the right things when electioneering

For anyone that actual pays attention to real news, it is becoming pretty obvious the facade that Sarah Palin is a "maverick," reformer, and fiscal conservative is crumbling fast. One of Palin's most repeated claims is that she said "Thanks, but no thanks" to Congress over the "Bridge to Nowhere"--a claim which has been overwhelming proven false. Not only was Palin originally for this pork-barrel project, but when Congress killed the bridge, she kept the several hundred million dollars in earmarks that had already been appropriated for it. Yeah, she's a real maverick.

Lest anyone complain about me only choosing one source, here's a wide variety of reporting issue:

The conservative Wall Street Journal was one of the first to widely report that Palin's claims were false.

Even FOX News(!) reported her support of the bridge project and the huge number of earmarks requested by Alaska:



CNN's take:


MSNBC's Keith Olbermann:


Olbermann on newer Palin developments, including that she used government funds set aside for travel expenses while living at home:


Then there's the story about how she promoted the Alaskan National Guard General who originally criticized her and then changed his tune.

And just for giggles, here's Jon Stewart comparing how different McCain and Bush really are, based on McCain's convention speech:

Friday, September 05, 2008

it starts when you're always afraid


Terrorism
-noun
1.the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
2.the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3.a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.
This video is disgusting. The Republicans have shown time and time again that they have no qualms about using the September 11th attacks as a tool to advance their political agenda. John McCain clearly has decided to take up one of President Bush's favorite tactics: using the American people's memories of 9/11 to frighten them into giving the government more power to curtail civil liberties and increase the powers of the executive branch. What McCain is basically saying in that video is "vote for me or you'll die." Downright shameful.

What kind of government do we have when those in power repeatedly show graphic footage of American civilians being killed in order to frighten Americans into giving up their freedoms, but banning footage of American soldiers' coffins coming home from Iraq so people won't get discouraged about the war?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

the sky is filled with light

Justin, Perry, Daniel and I headed up to Lexington last Sunday night for my second (and unless someone commits to going to one of the November shows with me, probably last) show of Nine Inch Nail's Lights in the Sky 2008 tour. Great show; right up there with the Cleveland one. The crowd was a little mellower than in Cleveland, which makes it strange that I got much clearer shots at that show. While Perry and I ended up a little closer to the stage than Jon and I had been at the first show, we also ended up on the right side of the stage (which you can clearly see from the pictures).

The band was on top of things yet again. A lot of the same great songs from the first show were just as good this time--"Head Down," "Reptile," "The Warning," and "God Given" especially. As always "Terrible Lie"
was another highlight of the night. After playing it for twenty years, Trent Reznor still pours everything into it. I couldn't believe we got to hear "The Great Destroyer"--best song of the night; "The Beginning of the End" and "Ghosts 14" were two new standouts as well. In fact, I liked the whole "Ghosts" mini-set even better this time. The only real disappoint was not only did we get "The Frail" without "The Wretched" but the exclusion of "The Big Come Down" left us without any real songs from The Fragile. Overall it was another unbelievable show and it left me eager for November. Seriously. Any takers?

All my photos from the concert can be viewed at my flickr page.


999,999
1,000,000

Letting You

Discipline

March Of The Pigs

Head Down

The Frail

Reptile

Closer

Gave Up

The Warning

The Great Destroyer

Ghosts 21

Ghosts 14

Ghosts 19

Piggy (Ghosts version)

The Greater Good

Pinion

Wish

Terrible Lie

Survivalism

Ghosts 31

Only

The Hand That Feeds

Head Like A Hole


(encore)

Echoplex

The Beginning Of The End

God Given

Hurt

In This Twilight



Discipline

Closer


The Warning

The Great Destroyer

Wish

The Hand That Feeds

Thursday, August 28, 2008

in this world for you

It's football season, which means it's time once again for fantasy football games. As usual, we have pick'em games to join. So do it.

College Pick'em: League #1650 password bearcats

Pro Pick'em: League #3371 password bengals

NFL Survival Football: League #957 password cincy08

College Pick'em starts in just two days and the NFL games start next week, so don't delay!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

old enough to repay but young enough to sell


Libertarian Presidential Candidate Bob Barr was on The Colbert Report yesterday. It was a decent interview; not a lot of substance, but that seems to be how a lot of Colbert's interviews go. But hopefully Barr will reap the benefits of the "Colbert Bump".

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

no more time to waste





More photos from Daufuskie Island.

not a single thing here i can recognize

NIN have already announced a fall leg to their North American summer tour (which is separated by a short jaunt to Central and South Americas). They'll be hitting this area in mid-November; the closest date is Columbus on November 17th, but the presale already started an hour ago, so that makes that show less likely (that's also Jess' birthday, but I was given the green light for the concert because she has class all day). So it might be better to either hit the Fort Wayne show the next night (Nov. 18th), which would be about four hours each way. Or maybe people would rather go to the Grand Rapids on Nov. 15th, which is a Saturday, so we could either take our time with the six-hour drive back or get a hotel and not have a crappy day at work the next day (since that would be a Sunday). Or maybe no one else but me really has any interest in seeing them again so soon...

If people want to go to the Columbus show they'll have to let me know very soon. Plus, I don't have the funds to buy tickets at the moment, so someone else would need to pay for those tickets. Please let me know soon if you're interested so I can make plans.

NIN Lights in the Sky 2008 Tour Dates.

Directions to Fort Wayne.

Directions to Grand Rapids.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

really all that there ever was?

More pictures and video from the concert; the videos aren't mine--I took them from Youtube.

Vessel

Ghosts 5

Head Like a Hole

Echoplex

God Given

In This Twilight




Piggy


Wish


The Big Come Down


Only


Reptile


God Given

Saturday, August 23, 2008

nothing can stop me now

I headed up to Cleveland with a few people yesterday to see Nine Inch Nails at Quicken Loans Arena for the first of two shows I'll be seeing this tour. Jon and I had general admission floor tickets, and we started with decent spots dead center in the middle, and about thirty feet from the rail. The opener--a local named Nicholas Megalis--started around 7:15, and NIN started playing around 8:30 (which was a welcome surprise, I was expecting them to start around 9).

NIN always puts on a great light show, and this one was the best I've seen yet. I was glad I took my camera; surprisingly I got some decent pictures and managed to avoid having my camera destroyed.
I tried getting a picture during every song, but it just wasn't possible during ones like "March of the Pigs" and "Gave Up". I wasn't willing to risk having my camera broken while being shoved around.

Musically the band was tight and energetic. Trent Reznor was fantastic as always--though his reported throat problems were evident a couple times--while Josh Freese and Robin Fincke were especially amazing. There wasn't a dull song in the whole two hours of the show. Even staples like "Wish" and "Terrible Lie" were fantastic. They ended up playing mostly songs from The Slip and Year Zero, which sounded great, with a handful of older classics thrown in. I was really glad they incorporated a mini Ghosts set. It was great getting a couple less popular Downward Spiral songs like "Piggy"--which had a different feel from the album version--and "Reptile". Jon and I managed to slip to within ten feet of the front of the stage during "Wish". I'd have to say my own highlights were "Head Down," "Vessel," "Terrible Lie," "Echoplex," "Reptile," and "God Given". Oh, and Freese's drum solo on "Piggy". This also had to be the best engineered concert I've ever been to. The sound mixing was perfect; no overpowering bass, no ear-splitting highs, no vocals being drowned out by the music. At times it sounded like an actual live album mixed by an engineer in the studio. My hat goes off to the stage and sound crew.

Fantastic show by the best band out there right now. Can't wait till the Lexington show. Hopefully Trent's strained voice will hold up.


999,999
1,000,000
Letting You

Discipline

March of the Pigs

Head Down

The Frail

Closer

Gave Up

Warning

Vessel

Ghosts 5

Ghosts 25

Ghosts 19

Piggy (Ghosts version)

The Greater Good

Pinion

Wish

Terrible Lie

Survivalism

The Big Come Down

Ghosts 31

Only

Head Like a Hole


(encore)
Echoplex
Reptile

God Given

Hurt

In This Twilight


Head Down

The Warning

Ghosts 25

The Greater Good

Terrible Lie

Echoplex

In This Twilight

All of my NIN pictures can be found here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

an illusion caused by the world spinning round




Daufuskie Island, South Carolina.

take their passage into night

I apologize for the lack of updates, which is the result of both a lot going on and my (failing) continual effort to limit my computer usage for the sake of my arm.

There have been some big changes lately. First off, I sold my Canon Powershot S3 IS camera, and bought a new Sony A200 DSLR. I only have the standard 18-55mm kit lens but I hope to get Sony's 55-200mm lens soon.

The bigger and better news is that I finally have a new job. Starting Monday I will be a new claims processor for Great American Insurance. It may end up being boring, but the pay is nice and it gets me out of Circuit City. The real test will be how my wrist and arm fair being in front of the computer for eight hours a day.

I just got back from Daufuskie Island in South Carolina with Jess and her family. The island was beautiful and we had great weather most of the time. It was great to get out of Cincinnati for a few days.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

a siren singing you to shipwreck

"If you're looking for Kid Rock you're in the wrong place." - Thom Yorke

Robby and I traveled to Indianapolis Sunday night to see Radiohead at the Verizon Wireless Music Center. We had lawn tickets, but still had a good view of the stage since the Verizon amphitheater is laid out much better than Riverbend here in Cincinnati.

I'll keep this brief; but the band was fantastic. Awesome light show, great set list. The band played for slightly over two hours, blowing through all of In Rainbows, along with a good peppering of songs from Hail to the Thief, Amnesiac, Kid A, and OK Computer. While there wasn't a bad song among them, I'd say my personal highlights included "How To Disappear Completely," "Idioteque," "There There," and all three cuts from OK Computer.

I have to again mention how cool the stage setup was. With the exception of my second Nine Inch Nails show--which was at this same venue, coincidently enough--I haven't seen a better light show. Check out these awesome pictures from Keith Klenowski to get a good idea of what I mean (although even they don't do it justice).

It was an awesome show, and I wouldn't hesitate to see Radiohead again.


01. 15 Step
02. Bodysnatchers
03. There There
04. All I Need
05. Pyramid Song
06. Nude
07. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
08. The Gloaming
09. Climbing Up The Walls
10. Faust Arp
11. Videotape
12. Morning Bell
13. Idioteque
14. Reckoner
15. Everything in its Right Place
16. Just
17. How To Disappear Completely

Encore 1
18. You and Whose Army?
19. Bangers and Mash
20. Exit Music (For A Film)
21. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
22. Karma Police

Encore 2
23. House of Cards
24. The National Anthem
25. Street Spirit


That ends the first of my three big concerts in August. Next up: Nine Inch Nails in Cleveland on August 22...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

won't get fooled again

Part of me still wants to believe that Obama would do something to help turn America around; I have no hope of McCain doing so. That said, I'm not naive enough to actually vote for him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

echoes off these walls

My lack of activity isn't because I have nothing to say; there's plenty to talk about--The Dark Knight, sports, and of course, politics. No, the reason I haven't posted at all in the past couple weeks is because of the serious carpal tunnel-like symptoms I've been experiencing lately. I've always occasionally had cramping and stiffness in my hands and wrists--the product of years of online gaming and internet use. But lately the symptoms have grown much worse, so I've been severely limiting my computer usage in attempt to relieve the pain. We'll have to see how things go but it may be a little while till I get back to regular posting.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

the politics of greed

video

This still isn't getting any easier to swallow. John Turley does an excellent job of laying out why the passage of the FISA bill is a horrible blight on the history of this country (this video was aired on July 8, a day before the bill was passed). Quite simply, the spineless Democrats are allowing Bush and his Republican cronies to cover up the fact that the President is guilty of a felony--a felony he committed at least thirty times! From the clip:

"What the Democrats are doing here with the White House is they're trying to conceal a crime that is hiding in plain view. ... Nobody wants to have a confrontation over the fact that the president committed a felony. ... That's a very inconvenient fact right now in Washington."

"The Democrats have learned well from Bush," Turley said in amazement. "They're just going to change the rules. ... It's otherworldly. ... I am completely astonished by Senator Obama's position -- and obviously disappointed. All of these senators need to respect us enough not to call it a compromise. It's a cave-in."

"It's like all those stories where someone is assaulted on the street and a hundred witnesses do nothing," continued Turley. "In this case, the Fourth Amendment is going to be eviscerated tomorrow, and a hundred people are going to watch it happen because it's just not their problem. ... There's not an ounce of principle, not an ounce of public interest in this legislation."

Turley added that even though the telecoms could still be prosecuted criminally, it's unlikely to happen. "The fix is in," he concluded. "Tomorrow night, there's going to be a lot of celebrating among telecom lobbyists. ... What we will lose tomorrow, it's something very precious."


This country has come a long way since Watergate in how it deals with Presidential felonies and unfortunately the change is not for the better.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

watching with their shiny satellites

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Today the Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill to expand Federal domestic surveillance powers and grant retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies for aiding the federal government in spying on American citizens.

I'm furious. Our elected officials in the federal government have made it clear what their priorities are, and it isn't upholding the Constitution or looking out for the rights of the American people. I will never vote for the reelection of Congressman Chabot, Senator Voinovich, or anyone else who supported this act. In fact, I plan to write both of their offices and tell them this. It's not much, but it's something. I'm tired of people saying that there's nothing that can be done about it. The solution is actually fairly simple: stop voting for them!! These people have willfully betrayed the Constitution and the American people. In my mind they are traitors and should be dealt with as such.

We elect people to go to Washington to speak and vote on our behalf; anyone whose votes show their lack of respect for the principles this country was founded on does not speak for me. Senator Obama ultimately voted in favor of the bill, which is the last straw for my declining support of him. He does not care about the Constitution. He does not care about the rights of the American people. His "change" is a lie. I do not want him to be my president. Even Hillary Clinton voted against this bill!

At least John McCain hasn't tried to hide the fact that he's a disciple of Bush and will unapologetically continue to expand the executive branch while eroding civil liberties. I've come to the conclusion that Barack Obama may actually be worse--he's guilty of manipulating people into believe in a movement towards change, and once the Democratic nomination was secured, he's shown his true colors.

Not that it ultimately matters which one of them is elected; they'll both continue to expand the powers of the executive branch at the expense of checks and balances, the Constitution, and our civil liberties. Not that any of those things are important to Americans--not if they can continue to grow fat and watch reality t.v. with the false illusion of safety. Getting angry and actually taking action requires too much thought. We are sheep, and I fear we're letting ourselves be led to the slaughter.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

democratic elections under martial law


George Stephanopoulos should be ashamed of his slanted questions and arrogant attitude, but what can one except from someone in the mainstream media?

I've been hesitant to support Bob Barr for president, mainly because I wasn't sure how sincere he was in his political beliefs. Barr was once a die-hard conservative Republican who espouses a libertarian philosophy (the video explains this in more detail). But since he realistically has no real shot at winning the presidency, I feel confident that his conversion from neo-con to libertarian is fairly genuine--and since the evolution of my own political beliefs is fairly similar, I'd be a hypocrite to hold that against him.

I've been feeling that a third-party vote is the way to go this November. Voting for McCain is completely out of the question--as cliched as it sounds after hearing it over and over, he really is running on a platform that sounds exactly like four more years of Bush. I've been growing more disillusioned with Obama--especially after his FISA flip-flop--and I'm sadly realizing that all his inspirational speeches and talk of "change" are nothing but more empty political change. Since the two major political parties are essentially one and the same--and care nothing for the Constitution--I doubt that I can vote for even more of them in good conscience. It makes me happy that I stuck with my guns and voted for Ron Paul in the primary.

Stephanopoulos might be right about Barr taking votes from McCain and helping Obama win, but since one of those two has to win, I'd rather take a chance with Obama. Neither option looks promising. That said, after feeling guilty for the past few years that I helped reelect a president who is one of the worst violators ever of our Constitution, I don't want a vote for either McCain or Obama on my conscience. That way I can maybe take some small satisfaction--offer a smug "I-told-you-so"--as our country continues circling the drain towards a bankrupt police-state.

Friday, June 27, 2008

a change of scene with no regrets

WALL-E was everything I hoped it would be last night. The film covered all the bases with romance, comedy, action, and a socially-responsible moral to boot. Bringing Ben Burtt--Skywalker Sound's guru behind the Star Wars sound effects, among other films--was a brilliant move, as the robot characters in WALL-E were filled with life despite never really speaking more than a few lines of dialogue. It usually goes without saying that a Pixar film is visually stunning, but WALL-E was probably one of the most beautifully shot films I've seen. Not only was the animation jaw-dropping, but the cinemetography was on par with the best live-action films. The movie is an instant classic, ranking up with the Toy Story movies and The Incredibles as the best Pixar films. A must see.

5 out of 5 Davies. *****

Thursday, June 26, 2008

feed me weird things

In anticipation of seeing WALL-E tonight at midnight, I thought I would take a look at what other movies are coming out--or maybe are already out, in a few cases--this year that look at least somewhat promising.

The Top 2:
If these aren't the two best movies of the year, I will be greatly shocked.


The Highly Anticipated:
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - David Fincher has some awesome movies. The trailer looks great.
  • Gonzo - Hunter S. Thompson is one of my favorite authors, and this looks like an excellent documentary on him.
  • Burn After Reading - From the looks of the trailer, this should be another classic from the Cohen Brothers.
  • Choke - A good book from Chuck Palahuniuk (author of Fight Club) and the movie looks promising.
  • Pineapple Express - Looks hilarious. [Red band trailer, probably NSFW]
  • Tropic Thunder - Ben Stiller has been stale lately but this film looks like it might change that.

Looks Promising:
  • The Admiral - The trailer is very impressive, despite the fact it's entirely in Russian with no subtitles. I'm sure the American release of the movie won't have that problem.
  • War, Inc. - Looks like it could be a funny satire.
  • Quantum of Solace - The newest James Bond film will hopefully improve upon the success of Casino Royale.
  • Miracle at St. Anna - It looks like there is more to this movie than simply a World War II film but it looks good from the trailer.
  • The X-Files 2: I Want to Believe - Looks like it could be a solid second installment in the X-Files movie franchise.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Weird - This ridiculous-looking Korean spaghetti-western looks like it could be hilarious.
  • Traitor - An interesting action/political thriller starring Don Cheadle.
  • OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies - This should be a funny French spoof on the 1960s spy genre.

Might Not Be Bad?:
  • The Mummy 3 - The first two movies weren't terrible, so this might be a decent action movie.
  • The Clone Wars - You would think I would be more excited about this, seeing as it is Star Wars related but I have no faith in George Lucas anymore.
  • The Rocker - Could be funny.
  • Righteous Kill - Normally a film starring both Robert De Niro and Al Pacino would look awesome, and this but could be good, but the trailer didn't blow me off my feet.
  • RocknRolla - Another British crime film by Guy Ritchie.
  • Taken - Looks like a decent action movie starring Liam Neeson.

No doubt there are some I've missed, but that's all for now.

Friday, June 20, 2008

white house shadows who hide behind closed doors

The Democratic-controlled Congress helped the Bush administration strike another blow against the Constitution today when it voted to grant telecommunication companies retroactive immunity for spying on American citizens for the federal government, and broadening the domestic surveillance powers of the executive branch.

"The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation," said Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, the only senator who voted against the Patriot Act in 2001. "The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President’s illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home."
---

California lawmaker Barbara Lee referred to the days of J. Edgar Hoover and concluded, "This bill scares me."

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Washington) slammed retroactive amnesty, asking "Don't we realize there are some lines we should never cross?"

But the short debate and quick scheduling made it clear that the House leadership was confident the measure would easily pass, thus sparing conservative Democrats from campaign ads in the fall attacking them for not being tough on surveillance.


I don't see how someone can argue that this isn't a horrible thing. By definition, the very fact that Congress had to vote to grant telecom companies retroactive immunity means they were breaking the law; which also means that whoever ordered the companies to break the law--the Bush administration--are guilty as well.

Even if trust the Bush administration and don't think they would use these powers for ill, how can you be okay with the precedent this sets? All it takes is for a would-be tyrant to get into office, and all the groundwork has already been put into place. This should have nothing to do with allegiances to political parties.

Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats who have continued to give the Bush administration a free pass to violate the Constitution should be ashamed, not to mention removed from office. They are either cowards for being too afraid to oppose Bush, or they are crooks and villains guilty of greed and a lust for more power at the expense of our liberties--in other words, they are cut from the same cloth as Bush, Cheney, and the rest. It's time to start holding our elected leaders accountable; they are in Washington to look after our interests, not their own. Steve Chabot will never get another vote of mine until he stops toeing the Republican Party line and starts voting for the Constitution.
Even Barack Obama disappointingly seems to be too afraid to disagree with the Democratic majority. Some "change" that is. It's truly a sad state of affairs when Dennis Kucinich is one of the most rational, patriotic politicians in the federal government by actually standing up in defense of the Constitution.



Why are we so willing to impeach a president for lying about oral sex, but not for repeatedly violating the Constitution? Which one of these actions truly represents "high crimes and misdemeanors"?

I think George Orwell could see the future when he wrote 1984, he was just off the mark by about twenty-five years.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

never failed to feel

I've been thoroughly enjoying Euro Cup 2008. Makes me a little less sad that the next World Cup is still two years away. Originally I had predicted that Portugal would defeat Spain in the championship game. I still could see that happening, but there are some other teams that have really proven themselves in the group stage. Netherlands has probably been the most dominant team in the tournament thus far. Germany and Italy have both under-performed so far, but seem to be improving and could get back into form in the second round. Turkey, Russia, and Croatia have been the big surprises--at least positive surprises--but the only one of those teams with a real chance of getting to the semifinals is Croatia. France and the Czech Republic were the two big disappointments to go out in the group stage; Sweden and Greece to a lesser degree. In the second round Croatia and the Netherlands should be able to handle Turkey and Russia, respectively. The really exciting matches should be Portugal versus Germany and Spain taking on Italy. While I still think my Portugal over Spain prediction for the final may pan out, I wouldn't be shocked to see something like the Netherlands against Germany instead. We shall see...

I wish that the South American World Cup qualifying games were also being aired on TV. The United States completely destroyed Barbados 8-0, and sadly we have to play them another time. In the three games the U.S. has played against Barbados, the cumulative score now comes to a total of 19 goals to none.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

say it ain't so

Weezer should go down as one of the most underachieving bands of the past twenty years--maybe of all time. I can think of few other bands off the top of my head right now that showed so much promise with their first couple albums, only to ruin it with a slew of mediocre releases. The band's self-titled debut album (often known as The Blue Album) was a masterpiece, and their sophomore follow-up Pinkterton came close to replicating that success. But when Pinkerton failed to receive a warm reception from most fans, frontman Rivers Cuomo put the band on the shelf for a few years.

Weezer attempted to channel the success of their debut album when they finally returned, making it their second eponymous album and even using a similar album cover. What has come to be known as
The Green Album is a good pop album, but it failed to reach the same level of excellence as the band's first two efforts.

Things got worse with the band's next two albums,
Maladroit and Make Believe. Maladroit featured a more "metal" sound which resulted in a lot of dull tracks, although the album is not without its highlights ("Burndt Jam" and "Keep Fishin'" to name a couple). Make Believe was even more disappointing considering the album was made with Rick Rubin, one of the best producers in music. While "This Is Such a Pity" ranks up there as one of Weezer's best songs, the album also features "Beverly Hills," which might be the worst piece of garbage Cuomo has ever recorded. Aside from a couple decent tracks, the album was the band's weakest yet.

With their latest release, Weezer once again tried to mimic the success of their first album by self-titling their new record and using a similar cover,
Weezer (The Red Album) is way off the mark from the band's early releases. It shows a slight improvement over Make Believe, but that may have more to do with the fact that the record doesn't have any songs as bad as "Beverly Hills" and "We Are All On Drugs" than that it features better songs. Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of stinkers here like the emo-sounding garbage like "Heart Songs" and the irritating "Everybody Get Dangerous," but they aren't the worst we've heard from Weezer. Cuomo can't be blamed for all the bad songs, as the tracks written by the other members of Weezer ("Thought I Knew," "Cold Dark World," and "Automatic") are equally awful. The album has a couple hits like the catchy singles "Pork and Beans" and "Troublemaker," but most of the other tracks are completely forgettable. The Red Album is ultimately another disappointing release from a band that we know can do--and has done--much, much better.
  • 1994: Weezer (Blue Album) - 5 out of 5 Davies
  • 1996: Pinkerton - 4 Davies
  • 2001: Weezer (Green Album) - 3 1/2 Davies
  • 2002: Maladroit - 2 1/2 Davies
  • 2005: Make Believe - 2 Davies
  • 2008: Weezer (Red Album) - 2 Davies