Apr 27, 2006

Well, GET ready 

As anyone who has read this blog for awhile knows, I love movies. I can quote you line and verse on far more films than anyone should be able to who doesn't get paid to review the things. So when I saw this, it sparked a question in my mind before I was even done reading it.

Mark Steyn - uber-conservative extraordinaire and freakin' genius, to boot - has posted an interesting thought on his website about how a lot of Americans seem to be "unready" for a movie like United 93, or for that matter ANY movie dealing with September 11th, 2001. The crux of his argument is this: Americans at the time commented how the whole thing seemed "like a movie," so how - almost five years later - can they not be "ready" for this?

Americans on the whole, love their movie violence. To quote Jay Mohr's "Peter Dragon" from the short-lived but brilliant show Action,
"I'll tell you exactly what they want, Senator: they want chase scenes and car crashes! They want firm breasts and tight-assed Latino men! They want their cowboys to be strong and silent. They want their cops to bend the rules to get the job done. They want the boy to get the girl. They want the alien to be killed...unless he's cute. They want the good guy to win. They want the bad guy to die, hopefully in the biggest explosion the budget will allow. But most importantly, Senator, they want to walk into a theater for ninety minutes and forget the f---ing mess you have left of this nation."
That whole rant is, without a doubt, true - especially the last line. They WANT to forget. But the problem with that is that 9/11 is unforgettable. Or at least it damn well should be.

As time has gone on Americans have grown less and less comfortable with reality, to the point that - on screen - the blood spilled is five times what the human body holds, the gun shoots three times as many bullets as it should be able to without reloading, the car jumps whole city blocks to get away from the cops, and Jack Bauer redirects satellites with his iPod while never getting in so much as a power nap. Hell, RAMBO is making a comeback, and if he was shooting down helos with explosive-tipped arrows in the 80's, I shudder to think what kind of capabilities he'll have now. He might actually throw someone into the sun…

This is not new, and a lot of it used to be attributable to technical inabilities of the special effects guys to reflect reality. Computer technology and other improvements have solved that particular problem for the effects department. Now it's just a question of wanting to be accurate. And when somebody shows an accurate representation on screen anymore, it makes people squirm.

Steyn asked why the American people aren't ready. My question is, why isn't Hollywood?

How many films about World War II were made while that war was underway? Dozens?

Casablanca - 1942. Sahara - 1943. They Were Expendable - 1945. The Flying Tigers - 1942. The Fighting Seebees - 1944. Bataan -1943. Back to Bataan – 1945. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo - 1944. Guadalcanal Diary -1943. Gung Ho! – 1943. The Story of G.I. Joe – 1945.

Hell, even Bugs and Daffy got in on the act!

As time went on, Hollywood shrank from showing war on screen. And if they did, it was to apply “current sensibilities” to the past, the greatest example of which was MASH, which transported the Vietnam anti-war vibe to Korea. It took somebody with the testicular fortitude of John Wayne to make a movie actually about Vietnam, during Vietnam (The Green Berets).

War movies – if they’re done well – are guaranteed money makers. Black Hawk Down was a huge success. Saving Private Ryan was so successful it practically funded the making of Band of Brothers, which was maybe the best mini-series that will be made about war ever. Gettysburg, We Were Soldiers, U-571, hell, even Jarhead (which I have yet to see, but as I understand it is the war movie that basically features no war) made money at the box office. So the topic of a fight between peoples, the concept of death, and the “biggest explosion the budget will allow” are all A-OK with Hollywood. So what is it?

Look at the films from World War II. Look especially hard at those two cartoons… what do you see? Propaganda? Jingoism? A demonization of the enemy, perhaps? Call it what you will, but dehumanizing the enemy – reducing him to little more than a target – went the way of the dodo and we ushered in the era of political correctness. And that movement was driven especially hard by the folks in Hollywood, who somewhere along the way stopped being patriotic entertainers and started being world-traveling, jet-setting “elites.”

Maybe it’s time we started calling a spade a spade. Maybe it’s time we cut through the bull by both showing (on the Hollywood end) and seeing (on the public end) the enemy for who they really are. I hoped that someone had finally figured this out, and the people who actually made the film seem to. But the studio, on the other hand, has not. Universal Studios – in a rather bold-faced attempt to undercut it’s own film – gnashes it’s teeth, and whiningly wonders, “Why do they hate America?” Here’s a better question: WHY DO YOU CARE?

The people who hate us, hate us. Past attempts to reach out to these people should clue us in that no amount of goodwill or foreign aid or happy thoughts of butterflies, puppydogs, and ice cream is going to change that. It’s time to start viewing the enemy as the enemy, instead of a friend we just haven’t done enough to make yet. They know they’re at war with us… when are “we the people” going to figure out we’re at war with them?

“But those other movies were about wars far away or long past. This is too close to home,” you say. Well then, you have a frame of reference.

“But it’ll be too emotional,” you say. Bring a handkerchief.

“But it’ll only make them hate us more,” you say. F---ing, please… they pegged the meter on that one a long time ago.

“But it’ll only inspire hate here at home,” you say. Ahhh... but if that’s focused in the right direction, it can be useful.

Forget what Yoda has to say on the subject. He’s nothing more than a mouthpiece for George Lucas, who himself went down the “dark path” quite a few years ago. Hate can be turned into motivation, commitment, drive. It can become resolve; so much so that the hate itself is supplanted by nothing more than determination. I would argue that the hate and anger directed at Japan after December 7th, 1941 was little more than “the will to win” by 1945. I don’t want mobs in the streets rounding up muslims and burning down mosques. However, it wouldn’t hurt to have a nation that spoke with a common voice, showed the rest of the world a united front in the face of strife, and committed to the concept of freedom and the destruction of those who would destroy us. And there are American muslims who are on board with that. So, to the people who are basically afraid of this film, fear not.

Look, I’m all for dropping into the movie theater, checking my brain at the door, and for two hours installing the contents of a whole popcorn machine in my gut. I love it. I’ll usually do it a couple times a month. But this whining, hand-wringing lament about how “we aren’t ready” for a 9/11 film pisses me off. To both Hollywood and the public in general I have only one message: grow a freaking backbone.

Apr 26, 2006

From the "That's freakin' cool" file 

USA Today -
A narrow strip of red plastic connects the Brain Port to the tongue where 144 microelectrodes transmit information through nerve fibers to the brain. Instead of holding and looking at compasses and bulky-hand-held sonar devices, the divers can processes the information through their tongues, said Dr. Anil Raj, the project's lead scientist. In testing, blind people found doorways, noticed people walking in front of them and caught balls. A version of the device, expected to be commercially marketed soon, has restored balance to those whose vestibular systems in the inner ear were destroyed by antibiotics.

Michael Zinszer, a veteran Navy diver and director of Florida State University's Underwater Crime Scene Investigation School, took part in testing using the tongue to transmit an electronic compass and an electronic depth sensor while in a swimming pool. He likened the feeling on his tongue to Pop Rocks candies. "You are feeling the outline of this image," he said. "I was in the pool, they were directing me to a very small object and I was able to locate everything very easily."

They plan to officially demonstrate the system to Navy and Marine Corps divers in May. If the military screeners like what they see, it could be put on a "rapid response" to quickly get in the hands of military users within the next three to six months. Work on the infrared-tongue vision for Army Rangers isn't as far along. But Raj said the potential usefulness of the night vision technology is tremendous. It would allow soldiers to work in the dark without cumbersome night-vision goggles and to "see out the back of their heads," he said.

Apr 25, 2006


I found this somewhat strange. Look at this image (click it for biggie-size):
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Notice how every news outlet out there recognizes that Russia tossed a spy satellite into orbit for the Israelis to watch Iran EXCEPT Xinhua, the Chinese news agency. Check out the varsity dodge on this one:
A Russian Rocket carrying an Israeli commercial satellite was launched from Russia's Far Eastern cosmodrome Svobodny in Amur Region on Tuesday, the Federal Space Agency said...
The photographing of one and the same point on the Earth's surface is possible with a periodicity of four days. These satellites can be also used for prospecting purposes. (all emphasis mine - Mike)
Hmm... kinda odd...

Until you realize the following:
These guys are all supposed to be in bed together, and China probably doesn't want to throw a monkey into the wrench... confused?

Here -
(CNSNews.com) - The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which currently comprises China, Russia and four Central Asian republics, is preparing for a mid-year summit that is expected to enlarge the group...
Iran and three other observer nations -- Pakistan, India and Mongolia -- will soon be invited to join as full members, SCO Secretary General Zhang Deguang said last week.
So, Russia launches a spy satellite for the Jooos - who Iran has vowed to destroy - so that they can spy on Iran, thereby making the Chinese squirm and not want to deal with a slap-fight in their clubhouse, so a couple pinches of magic fairy dust later and poof - WHAT spy satellite? Of course, what more would you expect from the offical state-run Chi-comm news source?

News coverage... 

...of the SDPD ceremony for Sgt. Rafael Peralta that I mentioned yesterday is located here.

Apr 24, 2006

You are unworthy 

It was the intro that stuck with me.


I knew I'd heard it before in my comments. It wasn't recent, but it was memorable - I'll give him that. Sadly, the free version of Haloscan that I use eats up old comments after awhile. I'm probably gonna quit screwing around and just turn on the Blogger comment feature. If anybody has an opinion on THAT one way or the other, let me know... but back to the main event.

In a post I put up in November, a comment was left in December that started with those same words. I don't remember how it finished, but I do remember responding to that opening line by stating that I ALWAYS leave my comments intact because I want to have solid examples of the very jackasses that I love to engage in mental combat with.

Now I'd love to stifle some dissent, don't get me wrong. It's been over TWO YEARS since I stifled ANYONE - just click on the tote board to the right for a replay. Trust me: my stifling finger is gettin' itchy. But I need some good trolling first. Two comments in five months does NOT a troll make.

So, if you want to call this "trolling for trolls," so be it. From the comments (of my Cindy Sheehan post on the 19th, no less) here's the full screed:


http://www.deanberryministries.o...org/ index3.html
DEAN BERRY -- REAL AMERICAN | 04.23.06 - 2:56 am | #

I would give you a little of the ol' Man in Black from The Princess Bride. You know, the whole "The battle of wits has begun. And we'll find out who is right... and who is dead." But nooooo... this is like battling a child... Bring me MEN!

I'll not even go into your pathetic excuse for a website. Anything that starts out with the line "SIMILARITIES BETWEEN BUSH AND HITLER," and goes any farther than that they were both white males alive for a part of the 20th century is pure 200 proof stupid. No, no no.

I'll spare my readers the gruesome details of your Blogger user profile - which I'm sure you thought was gone, but Google cache is a bitch, ain't it?

I'm AM a little insulted, however, that you spew EVERYWHERE! I kinda want you all to myself... like a little rat I can feed and play with... before throwing it to a python.

No... I'll only say this: if we're STEALING oil... then why am I paying $3.10 a F@#KING GALLON!?!?!

And finally, for the love of Jesus - who you claim has your back, but I seriously doubt - MOVE OUT OF THE MOTEL SIX AND GET A REAL RESIDENCE. Anybody in Texas wanna go ask this fool what his major malfunction is?

Sgt. Peralta 

Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who was killed in 2004 in Fallujah when he absorbed the blast of a handgrenade that could very well have wiped out his whole fireteam, was today recognized by the San Diego Police Department, and posthumously awarded a police badge. His mother was presented the police shield at a SDPD promotions and awards ceremony held at the Bob Hope Theater at MCAS Miramar. I have yet to find any news coverage of the event, but the base PAO was present and I assume there will be a story forthcoming from at least the Marine Times or USMC.mil.

Sgt. Peralta had expressed an interest in becoming a San Diego Police Officer after he got out of the Corps. The badge was presented by the police chief after taking about five minutes to convey how proud he was of Sgt. Peralta and stating that a man like the Sgt. would have been eagerly welcomed into the ranks of the SDPD.

This was the second award that the Peralta family accepted on the Sgt.'s behalf in the last week, after the state of Hawaii presented him - along with 47 other honorees - with the Hawai'i Medal of Honor on 18 April.

For more about Sgt. Rafael Peralta visit The Mudville Gazette, Blackfive, and USMC.mil.

Gramps 2.0 

So it happened over two weeks ago and I just heard about it, but so what.

U-Dub Students Vote For Medal of Honor Memorial

Pappy Boyington, and four other Washington grads who won the Medal of Honor, will be getting the campus memorial (if the real 'powers that be' at the school approve it as well) that they were at first denied by a portion of the student government that thinks they're actually in charge of something.

Slightly off topic, but just what does the student government/council at any college really do? They don't control the purse strings, so aside from being an extra layer of bureaucracy that supposedly speaks for the student body, to steal a quote from Office Space, "What would ya say… ya DO here?" I never once voted for the student government in college because, even then, it seemed to me that they were a body of people who were de facto in charge of nothing and had no bearing on whether or not the food got better in the student union building or the price of tickets to the football games went down. I never really knew anything about the people who were running, and maybe that's bad on me, but…

The most brilliant thing I remember anyone doing when I went to college was the group of people who ran for office solely on the platform that, if elected, they would immediately resign. If I recall correctly, at least at UW at the time, there was no provision to fill that seat until the next scheduled election the following year. So by quitting, these guys were trying to prove the point that the student government was pure window dressing. Some of them even won and then, true to their word, resigned. And wouldn't ya know it: the world kept right on spinnin'. But, back to the real point…

The five Medal of Honor alumni are one step closer to being recognized for their sacrifice and commitment to the nation that would later produce some of the fine, upstanding students who would wonder if a United States Marine was "really the type of person we want to be honoring." These are also the type of people who word-smith the official documents to make them more warm and fuzzy than the actual words that were used. Example? Comparison of the Fox News video of the meeting of the UW student council and the minutes of that same meeting find a few words highly noticeable by their absence.

Council member Deidre Lockman of the ASUW Women's Action Commission has this to say on the video:
"This has served as leverage for the conservative right-wing movement, which can also be characterized as quasi-fascist according to the backlash we've all received for speaking out against it."
To view the video you must first go to foxnews.com and then paste the following into your address bar:
javascript:videoPlayer('040506/040506_springer_memorial','Medal of Honor Memorial','FNL','acc','Only on FOX','-1');
Of course, the official minutes delete all mention of the fascist accusation and simply say that students were "harassed for expressing their opinions." html/PDF

True, meeting minutes usually convey the general idea and are not word for word transcriptions, but I don't think I'm the only one who finds that omission interesting… and having gone to UW, not the least bit surprising. The fact that fascist accusations were leveled against people who support honoring men who actually fought against fascism is so common at this point that I almost have to laugh and marvel at the unfathomable black hole density vortex of ignorance and stupidity that Deidre and her like possess. How a person with so little grey matter between the ears continues to operate even basic life support functions on a daily basis baffles me. The further fact that the remark doesn't appear in the single official document of the proceedings? Not shocked in the least.

Am I making too much of this? Eh… maybe… Like I said before - a university student council doesn't carry much import to begin with. But isn't it nice to know that when people are just flat WRONG they get called on it?

Apr 19, 2006

Mother of the year 

Mama Sheehan just shot to the tippy-top of my "short list" (it's actually quite long, but I digress) of people who really need to be beaten about the head and shoulders, possibly with their own appendages. Courtesy of Little Green Footballs:
“Peace mom” Cindy Sheehan apparently told despicable lies about the return of her son Casey’s body from Iraq.

Last week Cindy wrote on why her son’s grave is left unmarked. World Net Daily reported Cindy’s response:

I will tell the world why Casey has no marker yet. In the first place, does anyone who is attacking me know how Casey was brought home from Iraq? We picked him up in the United loading dock in a cardboard box and he was off-loaded into a hearse without one honor guard...
But sadly for Mama, her comments don't exist in a vacuum (and sadly for us, neither does she). You see, someone who is WELL acquainted with the whole situation begs to differ.
A Vacaville funeral home owner took exception to "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan's allegation that his mortuary did not fulfill its duties after her son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004…

In an e-mail sent to The Reporter Sunday, Nadeau expressed hurt and disbelief at Sheehan's comments. He said that the amount of money the military gave the mortuary for Casey's funeral service and cemetery arrangements didn't even come close to covering the costs.

"Several kind citizens made donations," said Nadeau. "I absorbed the rest."

Now, I'll admit that the price of a funeral these days is rather spendy and that the specific government allotment for a funeral doesn't cut it. However, all costs should be offset (if not immediately - due to processing times - then eventually) by the service member's SGLI policy which defaults to $400,000, or the death gratuity of $100,000. Now I don't know anything about Casey Sheehan, but I'll go out on a limb and say that - like most of us - he would rather not have done the extra paperwork involved in decreasing any of those figures and just gone with the defaults. (The numbers have increased to what I stated above since Casey was killed in combat, but the amounts have been made retroactive, as outlined here.)

Furthermore, I promise you that NOBODY gets shipped home in a cardboard box - in this case, confirmed by the funeral home owner, Mr. Nadeau, and further confirmed by the Department of the Army. And I also assure you that SOMEONE from the Army accompanied the body from Iraq or Germany (where most of the staging is done for flights home), or at least met it at the airport.

Cindy Sheehan has finally - and undeniably - done the one thing that she couldn't afford to do if she wanted to maintain whatever shred of credibility she had left: she started believing her own bullshit. You want to scream at the government, the POTUS, Rummy and the rest - fine. They're too busy to deal with you. But you think you can talk crap about someone in your own community and he's not gonna say something about it? Think again. You are just the woman from down the street to Mr. Nadeau. You are not the "national face of the anti-war movement," you are not the new best buddy and shill of Venezuelan thug Hugo Chavez, and you ain't Jesus. You're just the bitch down the block who went and smeared a good man's name after he went above and beyond for your family.

Like I said before, her comments don't exist in a vacuum, and now she's got to explain her "facts" against somebody who has the receipts to prove her wrong. Of course, she's already stuck her fingers in her ears and done the equivalent of saying "LALALALALA CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALALA!" by sticking to her "cardboard box" story when pressed to explain herself. Any wonder why her and her soon to be ex-husband have "irreconcilable differences"? I'm betting on his pure revulsion at the sight of her playing into it…

Not to get off on a rant, but this woman deserves to be slapped.
Not shot.
Not hit with a truck.
Not lit on fire.


By every other Gold Star mother who wants a free whack. By every other Gold Star mom who believes in the cause their child fought and died for, because their child likely believed in that cause as well. And Cindy can start off by slapping herself, as Casey's re-enlistment would be a rather good indicator of how he felt about this country and the need to protect it.

Rest in peace, Spc. Sheehan. Hopefully, someday people will remember you for your own actions and not those of your mother.

Apr 16, 2006

Okay, let's try this one more time 

Hey there folks!

After some questions and wonderment in the comments (and even some of it from my dad), I'm back - bigger than life and twice as ugly!

Leave was great. Then I get back home only to be called out to that garden spot of the Marine Corps for two weeks: Yuma, Arizona.


Not really a bad time though. So I've been home for about two months now, and actually been in my house for about three weeks. Now that I'm snapped in, I think you can expect to see me putting more rounds downrange and dropping some pop-up targets. Let the games begin...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com